Breakout year for Jabrill Peppers is a coming

Submitted by mGrowOld on May 9th, 2018 at 11:31 AM

I have a friend who works for the Cleveland Browns in an executive/administrative capacity.  As such he's privy to information not generally available to people outside the organization as he's connected with some of the scouts and other employees of the team.  He doesnt tell me much (he cant) but he also knows I went to Michigan (he went to OSU) and he called me this morning to share a little story about JP he had recently heard in the building.  And yes, he said it was ok if I shared it.

It seems that at the beginning of the season last year our DC Greg Williams had a one-on-one with Peppers and told him what his role with the Browns would be in 2017.  That he would play Free Safety and because Williams would be blitzing a lot he would be lining him up so far off the LOS people would think he was in a punt return formation.  Williams told him he was doing so to keep 15 yard gains from becoming 60 yard gains when the blitz didnt get home.  And according to my contact he also told him he was doing this cause JP was the only player in the Browns secondary he trusted and that fans & media would crush him over it cause Williams knew this wasnt Jabrill's strength.

According to my contact as the horrible 2017 season wore on Peppers never once complained about his role and never asked to be moved closer to the LOS despite all the negaive press he was getting and this impressed the hell out of the Browns coaching staff.  He said the #1 reason the Browns moved Kizer to Green Bay for Damarious Randall was to move Peppers to Strong Safety and have him playing back in the box for the Browns this year where they can turn him loose and let him play more aggressively.  He said the Browns defensive staff is expecting a lot from Peppers this coming year and plan to move him all over field in an effort to maximize his talents and really get the most out of what he can do on the football field.

I know I'm biased as hell on this issue - both regarding the Browns and Peppers but I am very fired up thinking about Cleveland using JP this way and havoc he will create.



May 9th, 2018 at 11:52 AM ^

And that's exactly the point and why think he's going to do great this year.  In the clip you posted he's lined up four yards from the LOS and makes a play on the ball immediately.

Try doing that from where he was lining up for the Browns last year (and no, this wasnt a punt)

Image result for peppers line up deep


May 9th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

I think that's exactly what they were doing.  In the NBA tanking is not only acceptable, it's the preferred method of trying to reestablish a franchise but nobody (until the Browns) had really committed to the process yet (thank you Sam Hinkie).  Quietly the Browns HAVE been assembling talent, significant talent, over the past three years although to look at our record (just like Sixers before this year) you'd never know it.

I know we're the punchline for every shitty sports team joke right now and we deserve it.  But dont be terribly surprised if things look very different on the field this year for the Browns just like they looked very different for the Sixers simply due to the steady influx of talented players.




May 9th, 2018 at 12:57 PM ^

And if was betting on outcomes I'd bet on us to suck again cause that's just what we do.  But while the Sixers were in their mult-year tank project the exact same things were written about them were they not?  The difference is they were public about the desire to lose and the Browns, IMO, just did it on the DL so idiot season ticket holders (like me) wouldnt give up their seats.

Nobody's ever torn an organization down to the studs before in the NFL.  We are definitely in uncharted waters here but i truly do believe they have amassed enough talent to win some games this year - maybe more than a couple - but I dont blame you for thinking this wont turn out well given our long track record at being terrible at things.


May 9th, 2018 at 1:17 PM ^

There's some plausibility in most of what you say here, and I love the anecdote in the OP.

But I will say that I'm not sure that it really works for a football team to tear down "to the studs." Football teams are so big, and many contracts are so disposable, that you can rebuild rosters much more flexibly than in the NBA. The NBA uses small rosters and is very dependent upon having players of a certain high caliber, the sort that most teams can only acquire through the draft. The only way the Sixers can get a combination of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is to lose enough to draft them.

But NFL teams build through multiple rounds of the draft and also through free agency, where valuable pieces are readily available. By the time a "to the studs" NFL rebuild is finished the early players that you drafted at the start of the process are past their sell-by date. The only player that absolutely has to be a high-draft hit is the franchise QB.

My opinion only. And there's no question that the Browns are: 1. In need of talent; 2. Getting quite a bit of it with high draft picks. I'm just not sure that there's this much method behind it at the front office, particularly given how frequently people have been fired from it.

On the larger front, though, I find your assertions persuasive. I do expect the Browns to start really showing some results from their talent acquisition, and they have now drafted a QB with a lot of potential.



May 9th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

I think your argument that tanking in the NFL isn’t as successful is spot on.

1. There are more draft rounds (7 vs. 2). Teams that didn’t tank have more opportunity to make up for their draft position with smart picks.
2. There are more players on the field and on the roster. Depth is more important, and it will take a lot longer to build a great team by drafting alone.
3. It’s easier to scout basketball than football for the top picks. You know a top pick when you see it in basketball. Size, speed, athleticism, and shooting ability are all pretty evident in basketball when paired with statistics. Whereas in football, we can see that Saquon Barkley is very talented, but some of his success can be attributed to the system and good line play. A lot of guys that are freaks in college football like Reggie Bush just don’t pan out in the NFL.


May 9th, 2018 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm comparing "the process" of tanking to accumulate draft collateral which is what I think both franchises did.  

You're right - Peppers alone cannot win and NFL game by himself.  But Peppers + Garrett + Njoku + Coleman + Ogbah + Mayfield + Ward + Chubb + Corbett just might.


May 9th, 2018 at 7:04 PM ^

The Browns didn’t get Njoku and Peppers because they tanked, they got them because they made trades. Tanking isn’t what got them 3 first rounders last year. Teams in the NBA and NFL don’t tank to get better second round picks, so I’m not sure why you included half those guys.. Also, instead of taking Mayfield with the first pick, they could have just not traded in 2017 and taken Deshaun Watson. Lastly, 4 of the guys you have listed there haven’t played a down in the NFL, whereas Philly won a playoff series with their tanking because Ben Simmons (a high first round pick) and Joel Embiid (a high first round pick) are really good. You’re comparisons are not very good

Lou MacAdoo

May 9th, 2018 at 1:20 PM ^

As a Toledoan I get to watch the Browns and Lions every week and I will say that I’m very interested in seeing how they look this year. They’ve added a lot of talent and the rest of the teams in their division are looking more and more beatable every year. They should be a better watch at least. There’s a lot of young talent on that roster and I think they have a shot at .500 if they gel and stay healthy. Hugh will actually have to win game early so they learn how to do it and get some confidence.


May 9th, 2018 at 1:22 PM ^

I think the NFL mostly knew too — the Osweiler trade was a giveaway. I think it’s a pretty poor strategy in the NFL given the massive uncertainty in the draft, the violent nature of the support creating substantial injury risk, the much stricter salary cap in the NFL relative to the NBA, and the huge amount of variance in year-to-year results caused by unbalanced schedules and a small number of regular season games.

But yeah, my comment wasn’t off the cuff. I think the Browns actively tanked last year, and their defensive scheme of lining Jabrill 20 yards deep was part of it.


May 9th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

Honestly what has happened for 40 years is irrelevant to next season. There are some really good pieces, and all it takes is one side of the ball to step up, which it seems to be the defense. A top ten defense, which isn't impossible, and a mediocre offense will get them around .500 and a good OL, another year of qb development, and a reliable wr (They have a good TE) will be enough to get them into the playoffs. 

49ers were horrible before Harbaugh, more recently the Jags went from painful to watch to really good in a short period of time.  


May 9th, 2018 at 2:23 PM ^

He designed and implemented a plan to purposely lose.  Fine, just publicly apologize, admit what you did, and refund every fucking ticket from the 2016 and 2017 season.  The only person I hate more is Haslam for being stupid enough to go along with it.

The NBA is the only league where purposely tanking makes sense.  You can never win a championship without at least 1 superstar.  With only 5 players on the court, one player really can make a difference, and the only real chance at drafting one is to be in the lottery.

I'm also still waiting for Hue to jump in the damn lake like he said he would.


May 9th, 2018 at 2:24 PM ^

doesn't work in the NFL like it does in the NBA, where three or four consecutive lottery picks or one big free agent signing can change the entire face of your team. You only need five guys on the floor at a time in the NBA. In football, you need to be solid at 22 starting positions before you even begin to address special teams or building depth to account for the higher occurance of injury in the NFL.

The closest example of an NFL team changing its fortunes primarily via the draft is the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990s, and they had plenty of help from Minnesota. The Cowboys required a flurry of draft picks that came from an historically short-sighted trade with the Vikings, and even then, Dallas had to hit a home run on virtually every one of those picks to turn things around.

More often than not, there are no shortcuts to becoming a perennial contender in the NFL. It takes a keen eye evaluating talent, acquiring that talent via the draft, free agency and the waiver wire and having a coaching staff with the vision to build a system that best utilizes what you've got on the roster. In short, do what the Patriots do, not what the Sixers did.

1 percent

May 9th, 2018 at 9:48 PM ^

The idea isn’t the same as it is in the NBA. NBA is to have the top pick, the way the browns did it is to have as many picks as possible ... hell they took on Brock Osweiler for 18 million just to get a 2nd round pick.

The more picks you have the better chance you have on hitting on some of them. By doing that you can assume you’ll have a top pick but the idea wasn’t to make the browns suck so they would for sure have the #1 pick. Every trade they made was the accumulation of draft picks.

The more picks you have the better chances of hitting


May 9th, 2018 at 3:53 PM ^

But it's not crazy.  They have stockpiled a ton of picks and kept on a HC that has one win in two years.  Eventually all that talent has to turn into something (See: Jags D).  They also traded for a pick and took on the Osweiler contract, which is something I can't ever remember in football but is common in basketball.

Obviously the sports are way different.  One pick can make all the difference for a basketball team when that's very rarely the case in football.  

Blue in PA

May 9th, 2018 at 11:39 AM ^

It wont be difficult for him to stand out, will it?


Hope he stays healthy long enough to get another contract and he gets to go win somewhere.


May 9th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

I know he's an aggressive coach, but it seems weird that you'd be so inflexible that you'd run a system that you don't actually have the talent to be successful with.  If you have to put one of your most athletic players out of position because you expect to fail with blitzes and don't want to have them turn into huge gains then what's the point in running that sytem at all?  This seems like the kind strategy that would lead to a lot of losses... like 16 of 'em.


May 9th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

"I trust you enough that I'm going to put you in a position to fail and take a lot of heat when the team also fails" is not what you want to hear from your boss...