Peppers' progress shows in second preseason game

Ryan Wood
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Julius Peppers was brought here to be his counterbalance. Naturally, Clay Matthews has watched intently as Peppers transitions from defensive end to outside linebacker.

But Matthews hasn't offered any advice, or felt the need to. Quite contrary, there's a certain reverence with how Matthews sees the 34-year-old Packers newcomer.

"I'm asking him for advice. He's done this a lot longer than I have," Matthews said Peppers, an eight-time Pro Bowler to Matthews' four. "As far as playing outside linebacker, I think it's a lot easier for him than, say, a hands-down defensive end – which I know he played, but more so because of his physical attributes and what he possesses as far as speed, change of direction and just understanding the game, too. So I think it makes it a lot easier for him.

"It's not so much me helping him out now as opposed to just making sure we're on the same page, which we are."

Count Matthews among those impressed with Peppers' progress in the Packers' second preseason game Saturday against the Rams.

In two series, Peppers finished with one tackle for loss. He hit the Rams' Sam Bradford while the quarterback released a pass, forcing an incompletion.

Peppers received underwhelming reviews following the Packers preseason opener at the Tennessee Titans. The game was played in a downpour, and Matthews said it was a "bad indicator" for where Peppers was in his transition to linebacker.

Given perfect weather conditions inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Matthews was pleased with Peppers' improvement.

"Just being more of a presence, really," Matthews said. "But the thing is, that's what Peppers has done for over a decade now, so I don't anticipate that to fall off. He's going to do that. As with every player here, you'll have great games, you'll have some down games, but for the most part I think it's about improving right now, and he's continued to do that. Especially in light of learning a new defense."

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