BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers is a competitor to the core, and that is why the first week of training camp was so difficult for the second-year defensive back.
Peppers reported to training camp with a groin injury, and that issue kept him out of the first five days of practice, but he did what was possible to stay involved in the defense while recuperating from the offseason setback.
“Just have to keep the mind sharp,” Peppers said.
“The body does know the difference between a physical rep and a mental rep. I just stay as in-tune as I can be mentally. When I get out there, there are still going to be some things that I have got to clean up, but I would not have been as far along as I would if I was not be in-tune.”
Following the 2017 season, Peppers said he would not grade himself very favorably for his performances as a rookie, but there was no curve in his grading system.
Peppers spent the entire season as a free safety, often playing 20 and 30 yards off of the line of scrimmage, which negated the very playmaking abilities that made him a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft and minimized the impact he could have on a game.
“I definitely think that it will be a different dynamic,” Peppers said.
“Very instinctual around the ball. We have a lot of great players on the D-line and in the linebacker room, who all complement each other very well. Just being around the ball, it just gives you a chance to make more plays, more opportunities. I am looking forward to it.”
In 13 games with the Browns, Peppers made 57 total tackles, including 44 solo stops and 13 assists, with three passes defended and one interception, which came in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 31, 2017.
On special teams, Peppers gained 318 yards on 14 kickoff returns and averaged 6.0 yards over 30 punt runbacks.
Since the end of Peppers’ rookie season, the Browns have committed to switching him to strong safety, his more natural position, and letting him play closer to the line of scrimmage in order to make more impactful plays.
“It is just a combination of everything,” Peppers said. “I know what kind of year I have to have. I know what I have to do to get there. I am just trying to stick to the system and just be as sharp as I can be. I am not a young guy anymore. I have to help the young guys out. The more that I know, the more I can help those guys out.
“A year that is filled with production, point blank. I am not going to say what I am going to do, just produce.”
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