GREENBAY, Wis. – Now that we know a little bit more about how the Green Bay Packers plan to use Julius Peppers based on what coach Mike McCarthy said last week at the NFL annual meetings, it's time to start talking about production.
Peppers had only seven sacks last season despite playing in all 16 games for the Chicago Bears. It was only the fourth time in his 12-year career that he failed to reach double digits in sacks despite playing 865 snaps, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
For his career, Peppers has 118.5 sacks, which works out to an average of 9.875 per season.
So what kind of sack numbers should be expected of Peppers, who recorded 29.5 sacks in his last three seasons with the Bears?
According to the online oddsmaker Bovada.LV, the over/under on Peppers' sack total for 2014 is 9.
McCarthy said last week that he doesn't expect the 34-year-old Peppers to play as many snaps as he did last year for the Bears, but his role will be different. The Packers plan to move around Peppers more than the Bears did. He could line up at defensive tackle, defensive end or outside linebacker depending on what personnel package the Packers are in on any particular play.
"We're in the business of projecting right now and the path we'll take as a team will obviously have a lot to do with that too," McCarthy told reporters last week. "There's times where you may not think a player is going to play 1,000 reps or you go into the season thinking he’s going to play 600, 700 reps and he may play 1,000. So that happens too, as we know. And injuries pretty much drive those type of scenarios. But for planning purposes, defensively, we want to do more things with different personnel groups. We want to be more personnel groups, less volume schematically."
It's interesting to note that Bovada.LV set the over/under for Jared Allen’s sacks at 12.5. Allen, the former Minnesota Vikings defensive end, signed with the Bears less than two weeks after Peppers signed with the Packers.