Joe Thomas' Film Room

Joe Thomas' Film Room, Episode 9: Jared Allen and Julius Peppers

Two-hundred and ninety five and one-half sacks. Eighty-two forced fumbles. Seven touchdowns. Fourteen Pro Bowls.

Those are the incredible combined totals posted by Jared Allen and Julius Peppers, two elite pass rushers who are now enjoying the spoils of retirement after completing Hall of Fame-caliber careers.

Neither faced fellow future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas very often, but when they did, it was guaranteed to be a battle.

Thomas said so himself on the most recent episode of the Joe Thomas’ Film Room podcast, co-hosted by senior staff writer Andrew Gribble. While some pass rushers are physically imposing (see: Peppers, who also starred in basketball while in college at North Carolina), Allen wasn't that guy -- at least not by NFL standards.

Sure, he stood at 6-foot-6 and weighed 255 pounds. But his didn't have a freakish wingspan or gigantic arms. He didn't draw a ton of pre-draft attention, which is why he wasn't selected by the Kansas City Chiefs until the fourth round of the 2004 draft.

But boy, was he good.

"He wasn't blazing fast," Thomas said of Allen, who finished 11th in all-time sacks. "There was nothing that jumped out on paper about Jared Allen, but when you watched him on film, his ability to close and get to the quarterback using that slipperiness and that savvy, especially at the top of the pocket, those last two yards (to the sack), was unparalleled."

Allen occupies the same space of podcast time with Peppers because they both were fantastic, but didn't get a ton of on-field time with Thomas. From the time Thomas entered the league in 2007, Allen spent just one of his next nine seasons in the AFC. Peppers, meanwhile, never suited up for an AFC team, guaranteeing a meeting with Thomas just once every four years at most.

But Peppers and Allen were vastly different.

Allen, who twice led the league in sacks during his career, thrived off the fine details and the hand fighting involved with pass rushing. Peppers, who played 17 seasons, made nine Pro Bowls and forced 52 fumbles in his career, didn't have a whole lot of pass-rushing moves, according to Thomas. But he was so fast upfield, and that combined with his size and strength made him dangerous in all areas of the pass-rushing game.

When one thinks of one of the best pass rushers ever, they think of Peppers.

"I feel like Julius was an old player by the time I played him when I was young in my career," Thomas said. "I remember, shoot, watching him in college when I was like 10 years old. It seems like he just doesn't age at all, and it's pretty amazing for a guy that's as big as he is. Usually those big guys, they break down later in their career but it seems like he's never had any injuries whatsoever."

Thomas dives into why each were fantastic at their craft and his own memories battling them.

Give it a watch or listen. Episode 10 will air next Tuesday.

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