Browns safety Jabrill Peppers returns to fight for starting job

Peppers passes physical, cleared for practice Monday

Daryl Ruiter
July 30, 2018 - 11:22 am
Cleveland Browns defensive back Jabrill Peppers (22) runs onto the field during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training Complex.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – It was widely assumed that even with a change in position this year Jabrill Peppers would still find himself in the starting lineup.

Five days into training camp, Peppers has some catching up to do.

“Jabrill is a very talented player, but at the same time, you have to practice football,” head coach Hue Jackson said. “The thing about sliding back in, that was the Joe Thomas days, guys that have done it for a long time. We have a lot of young guys that they have to practice and get back to playing football, making football plays and getting your body ready for the grind of football.”

Peppers was activated Monday morning after passing his physical. He missed the start of camp due to a groin injury that landed him on the active/non-football injury/illness list.

"That makes camp way harder when you can’t go out there and practice and let loose that energy," Peppers said. "It just sucks being on the sideline watching the guys. Today, I get the chance to be out there with them a little bit.”

Peppers, selected 25th overall in the 2017 draft, didn’t have the impact that anyone had hoped he would as a rookie – partially because of toe and knee injuries that cost him 3 games and partially because of scheme and having to play the “angel” position for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as the free safety.

Peppers was limited to a safety valve role where he lined up 15, 20, sometimes 30 yards from the line of scrimmage last season much to the consternation of fans and media.

That won’t be the case in 2018.

“I definitely think that it will be a different dynamic,” Peppers said. “Very instinctual around the ball. We have a lot of great players on the D line and in the linebacker room who all complement each other very well. Just being around the ball, it just gives you a chance to make more plays, more opportunities. I am looking forward to it.”

This year Peppers hopes to have a much bigger impact as the strong safety but he'll have to beat out Derrick Kindred for the job.

“He was one of, if not the most physical strong safeties in the league, and I watched pretty much all of them,” Peppers said. “What Coach [Gregg] Williams does is he gets everyone in a position that best fits their skillset. DK is a maniac down there. He sets the edge for us, makes TFLs [tackles for loss] – he was leading the league in TFLs at one point.

“Just his overall approach and aggression, his aggression to the game and how he approaches it. It is nice to feed off of each other. ‘What do you see? What could I have done there?’ At the end of the day, we are competing, but we are also trying to be the best that we can be. We know that there are going to be times when we are both going to be out there. The better we know each other, the better we can play off of one another. That has just been the main thing.”

Peppers was pretty matter of fact when asked about his own expectations for the upcoming season.

“A year that is filled with production, point blank,” Peppers said. “I am not going to say what I am going to do, just produce.”