Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Peppers' focus on Pittsburgh, not slow start
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears veteran defensive end Julius Peppers had no desire to revisit his two performances in the opening weeks of the regular season when he stopped to meet the media at the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice inside the Walter Payton Center.
Peppers’ productivity is a hotly debated topic in Chicago. The eight-time Pro Bowl selection failed to register a sack in either of the Bears’ wins against Cincinnati or Minnesota, and according to the team’s official defensive stats based on coaches review, Peppers has just two total tackles and one quarterback pressure in 97 combined snaps.
“This week [the pass rush is] going to be improved,” Peppers said. “I’m not interested in talking about anything from last week. My focus is on Pittsburgh and getting better.”
Peppers battled an illness last week that forced him to miss the Thursday practice leading up to the Minnesota game and eventually landed him on the final injury report as “probable." The 12-year NFL veteran continued to feel ill on Sunday during the Bears’ 31-30 victory over the Vikings, and then actually felt worse the next day on Monday, according to Bears coach Marc Trestman.
However, Peppers was listed as having full participation on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling fine. I’m not interested in talking about the first two weeks right now," he said. "My focus is on Pittsburgh and winning the game this week.”
The prospects of Peppers having a rebound effort Sunday night in Pittsburgh look to be promising. The Steelers are one of the worst offenses in the league through two weeks (No. 31), and 6-foot-5 quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had a difficult time staying upright -- Roethlisberger has been sacked seven times in two games.
“It’s getting him down,” Peppers said of the challenges in facing Roethlisberger. "It’s one thing to get there, but when you get there you have to get him down, and we’re going to need a group effort to do that.
"We’re not looking past anybody. We’re really concerned about ourselves, and getting better, that’s where the focus is at.”