The 10 Most Important Packers of 2014

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Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) sacks St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8). Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

2) Clay Matthews

The Packers defense is a completely different unit with Matthews on the field.

Green Bay struggled to generate consistent quarterback pressure the second half of the 2013 season with Matthews injured with a broken thumb.

Now, Matthews is back and almost at full health. His impact on the field goes beyond just getting after the quarterback. He makes plays against the run, in coverage, and takes on regular double-teams, which opens things up for other pass rushers, like Mike Daniels and Mike Neal.

Matthews on the field means something opposing offenses have to fear and gameplan for. Hopefully, with Peppers’ presence and young players, like Mike Daniels and Mike Neal, coming into their own, Matthews will get more one-on-one looks this season.