Bears size up Peppers' performance

  • The Packers' Julius Peppers forces Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to fumble during the second half Sunday.

    The Packers' Julius Peppers forces Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to fumble during the second half Sunday. Associated Press

Updated 9/25/2014 6:47 PM

Former Bears defensive end Julius Peppers plays outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 base defense, but the 6-foot-7, 287-pound, 13-year veteran also plays some D-line when the Packers utilize a 4-3 alignment in certain nickel situations.

"They're doing a good job of resting him and then playing him, so he's staying fresh," said Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer. "They have a group of seven to eight guys who can rush the passer, (including) their outside linebackers moving to defensive end in the nickel.


"He's not playing every down, so when he comes in, he can give it everything."

The 34-year-old Peppers has 9 tackles and 1 sack to go along with 2 pass breakups, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble.

"He shows up on tape," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "Every game he's making a few plays here and there and getting after the passer. (He's) still got a lot left."

In the previous four years as a Bear, Peppers had 38 sacks.

Great expectations:

Twelve-year veteran linebacker Lance Briggs said first-round pick Kyle Fuller showed early on that he could contribute at cornerback sooner rather than later.

"The first thing you do is see if a DB is going to be in position," Briggs said. "When we were in OTAs (in the spring), he was a guy who was putting himself in position. The ball was in the air and he was in a position to compete.

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"When you see stuff like that, you know this guy has the potential to do that once the season comes in. And now that the season's in, he's made some big plays in big games. Those are impact plays."

Fuller leads the NFL with 3 interceptions, including Monday night's pick against the Jets in the end zone.

Briggs said Fuller has raised expectations to the level that teammates expect bigger things from him.

"There's a chance the Jets could have scored points," Briggs said of Fuller's most recent interception. "When you do stuff like that, now you set a standard for yourself. We're now going to rely on you to be an impact player week in and week out."

Coming and going:

Linebacker Darryl Sharpton was signed to a one-year contract, and the contract of vested veteran fullback Tony Fiammetta was terminated with an injury (hamstring) settlement.


Fiammetta was the only true fullback on the roster, but coach Marc Trestman believes tight end Dante Rosario can handle the fullback role of lead blocker for Matt Forte, which the Bears rarely employ.

"He has the flexibility to go in the backfield and do some of the things that Tony can do," Trestman said. "We'll utilize him in those areas and be a lead back in some cases.

"But, for the most part, he's our move tight end, and we have to be able to function in our offense with him in it and another wide receiver out. I think we move fluidly into those personnel groupings without any trouble."

Rosario and Martellus Bennett are the only tight ends on the 53-man roster, although Blake Annen is on the practice squad.

The 5-foot-11, 235-pound Sharpton has played in 42 games with 19 starts over four seasons with the Houston Texans (2010-13). He has career totals of 144 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and a sack, interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery, in addition to 17 special teams tackles. He was drafted by the Texans in the fourth round in 2010.

Injury update:

Seven Bears did not practice Thursday, including center Roberto Garza (ankle), guard Matt Slauson (ankle), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), defensive end Jared Allen (illness), linebacker Shea McClellin (hand) and cornerback Sherrick McManis.

Safety Ryan Mundy (shoulder) was a full participant, as was defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), while safety Chris Conte (shoulder) was limited.

For the Packers, three linebackers were limited: Clay Matthews (groin), Brad Jones (quad) and Nick Perry (wrist).

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