Defensive line coach Eric Washington knows Julius Peppers well. Washington was with Peppers when the two were with the Chicago Bears back in 2010 and Washington played a role in bringing Peppers back to Carolina in free agency this year.
So, for Washington to say he’s impressed with what he has seen from Peppers should come as news, because Peppers’ ability isn’t exactly “news” to him.
“Julius looks like he did seven years ago when I had the first opportunity to coach him,” Washington said this week on the Panthers Podcast (H/T NFL.com).
“He still looks like he’s a dynamic player. The combination of his size and the ability to move – I don’t see a lot that’s changed with him. He’s aged extremely well.”
Although Peppers is 37 and playing on a one-year deal, he has said he doesn’t consider his run in Carolina as some sort of “retirement tour”.
Peppers is playing at a high level into his late 30s and is coming off a successful stint with the Green Bay Packers where he notched 18 sacks over a 2-season span.
That sort of production is what Carolina needs, after the team took a marked step back last season, not far removed from an appearance in Super Bowl 50.
The Panthers are hoping the Peppers of 7-years ago sticks around, but my guess is that they will be content with the Peppers that showed up in Green Bay
Either way, things are off to a great start in regards to the Panthers/Peppers reunion.