5 Most Underappreciated Green Bay Packers in 2011

Matt SmithContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2012

5 Most Underappreciated Green Bay Packers in 2011

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    Many call the Green Bay Packers' season a disappointment.

    Many call the defense and several key players disappointments as well.

    Overlooked due to Aaron Rodgers' success and the sad end to what could've been a magical Packers season are several players who played extremely well.

    Though they don't get as much credit as others, these five players were essential to the magnificent season the Packers before the bad playoff loss at home.

Scott Wells, C

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    Wells, a free agent, is 31 years old and has just made his first Pro Bowl.

    The career-long Packer excels in run-blocking while also doing a good job in pass protection. He's a top-five center in this league, but has gone largely unnoticed despite making the Pro Bowl this season.

    On a Packers line that has been shaken up multiple times due to injuries and poor play, Wells has been a rock.

    Pay the man.

Clay Matthews, OLB

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    Many people quickly point out Matthews' six sacks and call this season a down year. In truth, this was arguably his best year as a pro.

    Matthews' run defense was less than stellar last year, but he's improved vastly. He also drops into coverage more and is triple teamed at times due to the lack of any semblance of a pass-rush from his teammates.

    The former first-round pick didn't have a down year, as is perceived by many, and it's not even close.

Nick Collins, S

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    The Packers struggled in coverage all year long, and losing Nick Collins, the best safety in the NFC, was about the worst thing that could happen.

    Collins was gone, but many thought the Green Bay secondary wouldn't take a huge hit, as Charlie Peprah played adequately in Morgan Burnett's absence the year before.

    That did not turn out to be the case.

    People look at the defense and talk about all the things wrong with it, but don't bring up Collins' name very often.

    We pray for a full recovery.

Bryan Bulaga, RT

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    When Green Bay lost Clifton, it was a big blow. When Green Bay lost Bulaga, it was a huge blow.

    Bulaga was playing like one of the best right tackles in the NFL when he went down to injury.

    Though it was well publicized how the Packers lost both starting tackles to injury, many thought Clifton to be the bigger loss than Bulaga, when actually, it was the other way around.

Jarrett Bush, CB/ST

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    Though Bush does have his fair share of troubles in coverage, he's an excellent special teamer.

    The captain of Green Bay's special teams, Bush's contributions go far beyond his blitzing capability from the cornerback position.

    Some think Bush shouldn't be re-signed, furthering the point that Bush's play goes unnoticed.