Why did Jabrill Peppers sign with the Patriots? It all starts with Bill Belichick – New England Patriots Blog
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Many New England Patriots players, including two-time Super Bowl winner Rodney Harrison and current center David Andrews, said playing for coach Bill Belichick is like receiving a high-level education in football that forever changes the way they see the game.
That’s precisely why free agent safety Jabrill Peppers signed a one-year contract with the team late last month.
“Playing for Bill, his understanding of the game, what he’s done for the game, the moment I had the opportunity to come and learn from him, I really wanted to jump on it,” Peppers said Tuesday from his new football home, Gillette Stadium.
“He’s seen a lot of the ball. He’s been a coach in many eras. So I’m more excited about picking his brain, seeing things the way he sees it, curious to see how he watches a movie or breaks down opposing offenses. “
Additionally, Peppers said of the Belichick-led Patriots, “They like a three-safety look. They know how to use multiples. I already know the system. I thought it was a no-brainer.”
The 5-foot-11, 213-pound Peppers join returning starters Devin McCourty (5-10, 195), Adrian Phillips (5-11, 210) and Kyle Dugger (6-2, 220) on the depth chart of security. Joshuah Bledsoe (Missouri), a 2021 sixth-round pick, is also in the mix assuming his previously injured wrist doesn’t become an issue.
For Peppers, the Patriots base defense typically has three safeties on the field, with McCourty making 94.7% of snaps last season, followed by Phillips 81.1% and Dugger 68.6%.
“I just want to come into that safe room and be another asset that they can move around and disguise looks and different things. It’s great to have guys with similar skills because you can confuse coaches and opposing quarterbacks,” Peppers said. “I want to add to that, compete with these guys and make it difficult for coaches to put the best guys on the pitch.”
Before Peppers can get to that point, and possibly take over from late gunner Olszewski (Steelers) as top punt returner, he needs full medical clearance.
Peppers said he suffered a partial tear in his right ACL during a game in late October last season, and since the ACL is not regenerating, it required surgery. He described his recovery as “going well” and added, “I feel great. I haven’t had any setbacks. Hopefully we can keep going.”
He has spent the past week and a half in New England, where he will reunite with former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge, who returned to the Patriots as an offensive assistant. Peppers had been captain under Judge and would have been a strong candidate to return to the Giants in 2022 had Judge not been fired.
“Pep is a guy who when you walk in on Wednesday wears his heart on his sleeve,” Judge said in October. “He is so invested in the team, puts the team first, does everything you ask him to do to the best of his ability, brings so much juice. [He] is a productive player on the pitch, wears so many hats.”
Another reason Peppers was thrilled to join the Patriots was Judge’s presence.
“I love Joe. He came back to New England and I wanted to come join him,” Peppers said. “Now we’re here, and I’m just thrilled to learn from some of the best coaches in the game and be put to work wherever they need me.
“I’ve always had great regard for the Patriots. I came in knowing the expectations were going to be high, knowing that you’re going to have to work hard, … I think I’m tough, intractable, a hard worker. I still think that my best ball is in front of me.