etting the chance to play for the New England Patriots is still something that players strive for.
The Patriots’ newest safety, Jabrill Peppers, met with the media for the first time as a member of the organization and he spoke about how he ended up in New England.
Peppers also added that New England’s scheme and culture were reasons why he wanted to join the team. He also mentioned that he wanted to learn from some of the best coaches in the game.
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“You could tell those guys were coached pretty well,” Peppers told media when asked about his impression of the Patriots from participating in joint practices.
The Patriots signed Peppers to a one-year deal worth up to $5 million. He was selected in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns. He would be traded to the New York Giants in 2019. Last season Peppers only appeared in six games due to a ruptured ACL in his right knee ending his season.
Peppers’ best season came in 2020 when he racked up 91 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an interception. The safety also had 11 passes defended for the Giants.
New England has an impressive group of safeties heading into 2022. Captained by Devin McCourty, the Pats also have veteran Adrian Phillips as well as the young Kyle Dugger. With such a crowded secondary, Peppers’ role was a question mark but now it seems more clear after he spoke.
3 Is Company
Peppers told the media that he is willing to return punts but that he has been involved in conversations surrounding the defense.
Having a former first-round pick on the field with the likes of McCourty and Phillips would be scary for opposing offenses. Phillips had 92 tackles and 4 interceptions last season and McCourty racked up 60 tackles and three interceptions.
This will be especially important as the Patriots suffered a major loss in the secondary this offseason. With J.C. Jackson now with the Los Angeles Chargers, having such a talented and deep group of safeties could help soften the blow that comes with Jackson’s departure.
New England did acquire Malcolm Butler but it’s hard to expect him to play at Jackson’s level of play. The Patriots signed Butler out of retirement and at 32 years old, his best days seem to be in the rearview mirror.
That doesn’t mean that Peppers won’t be returning punts once the 2022 regular season arrives. He has 117 returns in his career consisting of both punt and kick returns.
What to Expect From Peppers
At 26 years old, Peppers still has plenty of football left in him. The safety is confident that he is entering the best years of his career.
“I still think that my best ball is ahead of me,” Peppers told reporters on Tuesday.
This statement goes along with Peppers‘ belief that expectations will be high in New England.
“I’ve always had a high regard for the Patriots, so I came in knowing the expectations were going to be high,” he said. “Knowing that you’re going to have to work hard, things like that.”