Sorry, dopey. Peppers is not a "freshman sensation". He has yet to play a down, let alone play well. And comparing him to Joe McKnight (who?, you say, rightly) just makes the point. No one is a sure thing to be great. Not that I think it's crazy to project Peppers as a very good player, but even Charles Woodson didn't set the world on fire as a true freshman.Two very good reasons NOT to play Peppers both ways.1. He's a true freshman, not even an EE, and he'll have a lot to learn just on one side of the ball. Why slow his progress on defense by making him learn the offense too? Even Woodson didn't start playing offense until his second year.2. We don't need him urgently on offense. We have 8-10 guys who are potentially in the mix at WR, and as many as 6 at RB if Isaac is eligible. Could he potentially be better than the worst of those? Sure. But if we have a real weakness on offense, it will be on the OLine, so unless Peppers will be putting on 80-90 lbs between now and the end of August, he won't be an asset there. When Woodson played on offense, we were very thin at the skill positions, particularly in 97, but we really aren't now. Lock Peppers in as part of a really good defensive backfield, and let him show his stuff returning kicks this year. But don't spread him thin when there's no need.
I like your point #2 ... it rings true ... we don't really *need* Peppers on offense, so let him focus on defense his freshman year. Later, maybe, let him do some stuff on offense.It'll be interesting to see how quickly Peppers sees the field on defense. Will he start game one? Or will he come in later? Or will they hold him until some later game?
Agree with "hold up a second" skepticism for a freshman, but if you start with the premise that he IS indeed a special athletic talent you have to consider how best to use him. Long-term and short-term. How to get immediate help from his abilities.CB is pretty loaded, but safety has an open position. If the buzz that he will start at safety is true, then your comments are dead-on. Don't distract him with anything else.But, if someone else is going to start at safety you get into "how can we use this guy" territory. Nickelback? OK - but we have a lot of options there including another talented kid in Thomas, not to mention guys like Countess, Lewis, Taylor, Stribling. How much marginal impact is he going to make here.Then you look at the offensive side of the ball and you see a dearth of playmakers other than Funchess. WR is wide open. RB is unproven. TE is lackluster. It could easily be true that Peppers biggest impact is to apply that elite athleticism as an offensive weapon, on simple stuff like screens and slot passes, even straight-up handoffs. The kind of stuff Norfleet got last year. I think the NEED is far more dramatic on O than on D, where we have a ton of veteran experience and young talent pushing them.I think things have accelerated since 1997, when Carr was patient with how Woodson was used. Freshman are used a lot more these days and there are examples of two way players at UCLA and Stanford. It's a possibility. Peppers COULD be a 2-way difference maker. Lets see him get through some practices before we start expecting it though.
I don't like the mindset that he should either be a two-way player OR a defensive player only. Players can quite easily learn small packages of plays in a week without hampering their abilities to do other things. I absolutely believe that Peppers could be ready to run 5-10 (let's say an inside run, a sweep, a screen, a reverse, and a play action pass) plays a week on offense while still holding down a job as a slot corner, cornerback, safety, or whatever.