The term "nagging injury" is often thrown around a lot, and the appliance of the term couldn't be any more fitting in this case. Plantar fasaciitis can need nine months or more to heal so Peppers likely will deal with it all season.
The pain likely won't hamper Peppers' play, and it also should not affect the production of the Bears' pass rush. The Bears are likely to keep four defensive ends and two of those young DEs should step up and be more productive in the pass rush than the players tasked with getting to the QB last year.
Peppers' snaps should already be limited this season due to Shea McClellin's presence and Corey Wootton's emergence. Wootton likely makes the roster and should immediately contribute. There is no more waiting for him to come in and make an impact, it has to happen.
Shea McClellin has one job: rush the passer and contribute five or more sacks on the season. McClellin was drafted to come in and be a force on third downs and whatever production he adds will be better than the 2011 production from the third DE.
A healthy Corey Wootton, should also contribute five or more sacks on the season. Wootton has enjoyed a strong camp and has shown he is healthy and ready to contribute.
Those 10 sacks at a minimum are nine more than the Bears received from the third and fourth DEs in 2011.
Corey Wootton battled injuries throughout last season, and Chauncey Davis, Nick Reed and Mario Addison combined for one sack during the 2011 season.
Production from the third and fourth defensive end spots this year should be light years ahead of last year. This in turn should lessen the amount of snaps Peppers takes and help to keep his production at a high level in the fourth quarter.
Peppers enjoyed a strong season last year racking up 11 sacks for the Bears and over 55 quarterback pressures.
Even if that production drops slightly, the Bears will more than make up with a drop in production from the production of the other DEs on the roster.
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