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Who Powered Through: Chad Clifton and Charles Woodson

Yes, this is a sponsored post, but it's a Green Bay Packers topic that I should have written about earlier. LT Chad Clifton (knee) and CB Charles Woodson (toe) have been listed on the injury report every week this season, and they are playing through injuries that have caused them pain for years. Instead of struggling with their injuries, both players are playing as well or better than they did last season.

Woodson's interception total is down, though an INT he returned for a touchdown against the Lions was the difference in that game, but all his other stats are as good as last season, or better. His aggressiveness still gets him in some trouble (he had a couple of bad penalties against the Redskins). But he remains their shutdown corner, and he's arguably the key to their blitz packages. I heard him referred to as the best run defender in the league last week, and while that might be a stretch, he's certainly a sound tackler and those skills have rubbed off on the rest of the secondary.

On offense, Clifton is playing much better. He does get beaten at times and he's no great run blocker, but QB Aaron Rodgers and the coaches trust him in pass protection. He's often left alone to take on the opponent's top pass rusher without any help from a tight end or running back. Rodgers has been sacked 17 times over the first 9 games, which is good but not great, however it's nearly one-third of the sacks they allowed through the first 9 games in 2009. Clifton missed four games due to injury early last season, and his string of 19 straight starts (playoff game included) has been a big reason why the pass protection has improved.