Signed to a six-year, $84 million deal in 2010, Peppers has collected 19 sacks in two seasons. But the Bears still struggle to get to the quarterback as a unit, squandering the opportunity provided by the constant double-teaming Peppers demands.
How weak was Chicago's pass rush in 2011? The Bears had one sack or less in half their games. Peppers had 11 sacks, accounting for one-third of their rush. The Bears were 28th in the NFL against the pass -- the inability to get to the quarterback had a lot to do with that.
The Bears attempted to alleviate that problem through the draft, selecting Boise State defensive end Shea McClellin with the No. 19 overall draft pick. The Bears like to rotate three ends, and McClellin is in line to take the spot of Corey Wootton, who underwhelmed last season.
"The biggest thing it meant for me was that they were looking for somebody else to fill the void of third end," Wootton said of McClellin's arrival, via Gene Chamberlain of CBSSports.com. "Unfortunately, last year I didn't really contribute like I wanted to and that's why they drafted him."
McClellin got work in the place of a resting Peppers on Sunday, taking some lumps in the process. He fared better going against the second team, according to Chamberlain.
McClellin and 10th-year end Israel Idonije will be called upon to win the one-on-one battles up front. If they can't, it will be another comfortable year in the pocket for opposing QBs.