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The 10 Most Important Bears for 2011 - #5 Julius Peppers

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SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 14:  Defensive end Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears battles offensive guard Tyrondne Green #69 of the San Diego Chargers on August 14 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO - AUGUST 14: Defensive end Julius Peppers #90 of the Chicago Bears battles offensive guard Tyrondne Green #69 of the San Diego Chargers on August 14 2010 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Julius Peppers is arguably the best defensive lineman in the NFL, and at least one guy thinks he's the best defender period.  His signing was a huge boon to the Bears defense last year, and although his sack numbers were lower than he'd have liked, his impact on the game was felt every snap he was on the field.  Last year Peppers was #3 on my list, but this year I just feel a few other Bears need to come through for them to have the ultimate success.

But it's not like #5 is a knock on Peppers.  I fully expect him to improve his numbers across the board, and that's because I'm high on 2nd year defensive end Corey Wootton to be a legitimate part of the DE rotation.  If Wootton makes that expected leap in play, Peppers will be that much fresher to wreak havoc, and even Israel Idonije will benefit from a 3rd quality DE added to the mix.

Peppers will flip back and forth from the right to the left side, looking to exploit the most favorable match-up and looking to keep offensive lines guessing.  I love watching the trenches during games to see how they block Peppers.  Keeping a tight end in, a chip from a back, or sometimes both.  With the attention he draws, I'm fired up to see the new and improved Henry Melton and the just plain new Stephen Paea inside at defensive tackle.

The bottom line with Peppers is, he makes the entire defensive line legit.  And with solid d-line play, the Tampa 2 can be effective.