Posted by Mike Florio on March 17, 2010 9:17 PM ET
Bears defensive end Julius Peppers has heard the criticism of his motivation, his drive, his will to be great.
His response? "Sometimes in your career, people have to nitpick about things because they have nothing else to say," Peppers told The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "They can't say there's a lack of production, or anything else, but a lack of motivation. That's the thing people try to nitpick at."
So was it nitpicking when Peppers had only 2.5 sacks in 2007? Was it nitpicking when Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer looked at every defensive snap in the Panthers' first three games, during which Peppers had only one sack, and concluded that Peppers faced a lone blocker 75 percent of the time and still couldn't win his matchups?
And was it nitpicking when Panthers linebacker Jon Beason said during a radio interview that he plans to ask Peppers to step his game up? "The pressure is what you want to see -- the intensity," Beason said about Peppers, and Beason said he planned to tell Peppers, "I need everything you've got."
Frankly, we recall no "nitpicking" of men like Reggie White, who averaged 13.75 sacks per season over a 14-year period.
Look at it this way. If Peppers was as good as he thinks he is, the Panthers would have paid him the same $20 million this year that the Bears will pay instead. And if the Bears' front office weren't desperate to do something/anything to get back to the postseason in order to save everyone's job, Peppers wouldn't have gotten $20 million this year from anyone.