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Cheese Curds, 6/28: Jake Ryan and John Crockett look for second-year jump

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Two players entering their second NFL season look to fulfill their coaches' expanded expectations for them in year two.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the cliches that Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy loves talking about is the "second-year jump": a significant increase in the level of play, physical condition, and intelligence of a player as he goes from being a rookie to a second-year player. In many cases, this could involve a player in question earning a bigger role on the team, while sometimes it is an individual who earned a starting role late the previous season elevating his level of play.

In today's curds, we find examples of one of each of the above scenarios, as linebacker Jake Ryan and running back John Crockett (a fourth-round pick and an undrafted free agent, respectively) work hard to make that leap forward that their coach loves to see.

While the young players look to continue expanding their roles, one player who knows exactly what his role entails is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose contract for around $20 million per season looks like chump change compared to other signal-callers in the NFL. It's an even better deal when examining the contracts of others and looking at the stats, something which has been done for us already in one of the links below.

Jake Ryan building on solid finish to rookie season | Packers.com
After ending his rookie year as a starter, Ryan is looking to keep a strong hold on that job and reshape his body into a leaner one.

John Crockett to play role in backfield, special teams | JSOnline.com
Crockett got a promotion to the active roster the day of the Hail Mary win in Detroit, and though he was a relevant part of that game, he was not very relevant the rest of the season. He's out to change that this season, in part with contributions in the kicking game.

Packers optimistic local revenues will keep growing - ESPN
The Titletown District will only continue to increase the amount of money that the Packers bring in locally, which is one of the three key components in the team staying relevant in the NFL.

5 Best NFL Quarterback Contracts | Pro Football Focus
Yesterday we looked at how Aaron Rodgers' contract is the best on his team; now we find him ranked third on the list of best deals among all players at his position, an impressive ranking but one that makes sense considering his cap hit is outside the top ten for quarterbacks in 2016.

Calvin Johnson update: Still retired - Pride Of Detroit
There's no new information here, just that Megatron is reaffirming both his decision to retire and the reasoning behind it - he "had enough" of the daily grind that he had to go through.