In the years since Tom Brady left the Patriots, many have concluded that players no longer have the desire to play for New England now that the best quarterback ever to play is not there to sway their decision.
Although that may be true to an extent, plenty of players have chosen to sign with the team despite offers from other teams with better rosters or chances of making the postseason, defying the logic that Brady was the sole driving force to play there.
Some have cited wanting to be coached by Bill Belichick as their reason for making the move to the northeast, while others are revealing more unexpected motivations for signing on the dotted line to play in Foxboro. The most interesting one to date has to be Jabrill Peppers, who mentioned his main reason for joining the team while discussing their latest win over the Steelers on Thursday Night Football.
Since he was again a leading force of the defense, Peppers was asked about his second-quarter interception, which eventually led to the team's second touchdown of the night. He was told about the high praise he received from Bill Belichick when discussing the play while mentioning fellow safety Kyle Dugger's pressure on Trubisky as the leading cause for the eventual interception.
Belichick stated they were two of the best safeties in the league, which Peppers agreed with.
"I definitely agree with that. We’ve got to play much better to improve this (3-10) record, but if you check the tape out — especially with Dugger. I think he’s the best in the league. So it’s definitely been fun playing with him."
Watching guys like Dugger and Peppers over the last few seasons has been exciting, and the two have only become more significant parts of the defense as the weeks go on. Their efforts this season, in particular, continue to stand out, and their performances have been the leading factors in most of the defensive success this season, which has been much needed with an underperforming offense.
It's something that Peppers said he hopes to continue and shared he is just trying to play more like Dugger, who he has been a fan of since he was drafted by the Patriots in 2020.
And apparently, his admiration for Dugger was the main reason he chose to sign with New England in 2022, wanting to play alongside and learn from Dugger firsthand which has inevitably paid off for both the players and the team.
"One of the main reasons I came (here) was to play with him… I think we’ve got a hell of a safety room."
Considering how well the two have performed during their tenures in New England and their apparent desire to continue improving, it would be ideal to see them remain teammates for years to come. As of right now, that is not certain since Dugger will be a free agent this offseason.
Hopefully, Belichick will prioritize getting a deal done to keep him on the team. He hasn't been the best at re-signing draft picks beyond their rookie deals, but Dugger has more than proved to be an asset for the team and has earned himself an extension.
And how could you pass up watching him and Peppers continue to dominate in the secondary for more years?