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Green Bay Packers: The Top 5 Players of the 2011 Regular Season

Chad LundbergCorrespondent IIIJanuary 12, 2012

Green Bay Packers: The Top 5 Players of the 2011 Regular Season

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    Boy, oh boy does the NFL season seem to just pass on by so fast. Kind of makes you wonder what if we had 18 games of regular season like Roger Goodell would have it.

    Anywho, the 2011 regular season is over, and now, it's onto the playoffs. But that doesn't mean we can't do a quick little year in review before the Packers face the Giants.

    And every year, someone shows up big and has a significant impact on the team's success, and this year is no different.

    Here are the top five Packers of the 2011 regular season.

Honorable Mentions

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    Randall Cobb

    Cobb certainly had an impact on special teams, and he could become one of the best returners in the game if he just keeps practicing at it. But he was also drafted to do wide receiver duties in which his best game was only his first game.

     

    James Starks

    Starks is Green Bay's best runner, but injuries kept him from having an impact late in the season, plus, I feel as though Ryan Grant could have done most of the work Starks did anyway.

     

    Greg Jennings

    Jennings is certainly a talent receiver, but that goes without saying. I wanted to put him on this list, but an injury kept him from breaking 1,000 yards this year. I felt that honor should have gone to Nelson.

     

    Scott Wells

    Wells I think may be the best 31-year-old offensive lineman in the league, but he lost a little bit of his beast mode as the season dragged on, and it feels as though age kept him from being explosive throughout the entire season.

No. 5: Bryan Bulaga

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    The only reason Bulaga isn't higher on this list is because he only started 12 games this season. But even in those 12 starts, it's already clear that Bulaga was a gigantic reason for Green Bay's success this season.

    Bulaga's run-blocking ability is arguably the best on the team, and he and Sitton should make one of the best run blocking duos in the league for years to come.

    Unfortunately I could retrace the source, but from what I can remember, Bulaga has allowed only one or two sacks the entire season. Don't be surpsied if he shuts out the Giants defenders this weekend.

    Bulaga is making a case to become the best right tackle in the NFL. Knowing that he's only 22 years old, that essentially wraps up Rodgers' protection on the right side of the line for his career, assuming of course, that Bulaga is never shifted to the left tackle position.

No. 4: Clay Matthews

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    The only reason the Packers defense had as much as success as it did this year was because of players like Clay Matthews.

    At first glance, it would appear as though Matthews had a down year since he only had six sacks.

    The truth is however, Matthews was effective at rushing the passer throughout the season, causing penalties, quarterback hurries, pressures and the like.

    Matthews also had three interceptions including a pick-six, three forced fumbles and 50 tackles. Plus, he greatly improved on his ability to stop the run, and looked as though he was Green Bay's best run defender on the team earlier in the year.

    Sure, he doesn't have the big plays or the sexy stats he had last year. But that doesn't mean he's had any less of an impact this year as Marshall Faulk would have you believe.

No. 3: Charles Woodson

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    Charles Woodson is the prime example of the cliche saying, "like fine wine, he gets better with age." It's one thing for a quarterback or a kicker to last this long in the NFL at this level, but a cornerback? That's usually around the age where all his speed is gone, and his ability to keep up with the game has long gone.

    Woodson wasn't doing so swell in coverage earlier this year, though most of that might have been him getting the rust off from such a lengthy lockout in the offseason, and it appears as though he's cleaned most of that up since.

    Woodson, at the age of 35, has seven interceptions tied for the league lead... wait, what??? Seven at 35 years old? Well, what more needs to be said?

No. 2: Jordy Nelson

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    Before this season, Nelson never played any role bigger than an above average slot receiver. This year, he looked like arguably a top five wide receiver, and that's while competing with the league's deepest receiving corps.

    More impressively, many believed that Nelson was just a player that benefited from being in a great passing system, and playing opposite side of Greg Jennings, but removed all doubt of that when Jennings went down in Week 14. Nelson caught three touchdowns passes in Week 17.

    Nelson had 15 touchdown catches total this season, good enough for third most in the league.

No. 1: Aaron Rodgers

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    Don't you just hate when you know what happens in the end? It's like watching a Hollywood movie where it keeps you on your edge the whole way except for one small problem. You've already figured out the ending, and it a way, it just completely ruins it.

    Aaron Rodgers has had doubters throughout his entire life, all the way from high school, college, on the professional level, and even after winning a Super Bowl and having one of the best seasons ever, there are still those that feel as though it's their job to make his job even harder.

    Rodgers had 45 touchdown passes to just six interceptions this season, and broke Peyton Manning's NFL passer rating record with 122.

    What's amazing is that he threw 45 touchdown passes with only 502 passing attempts. Brady threw 50 in 2007, but it took him 578 passing attempts for to get there. Dan Marino threw 48 with 564 passing attempts in 1984. Heck, the runner-up for MVP, Drew Brees, threw 46 touchdowns in a whopping 657 passing attempts

    Rodgers is the hands-down NFL MVP in my book, and part of me believes, it's not even close. Rodgers isn't just best player on his team but the best player in the NFL.

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