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Cheese Curds, 7/11: Packers trend towards bigger linebackers, Backman hopes for breakout

Green Bay has tended to go with bigger players on the front seven recently, with linemen converts all over the depth chart.

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past several years, the Green Bay Packers have taken several players who played defensive end in a 4-3 system and converted them to outside linebackers. Nick Perry and Julius Peppers are just a few of the bigger names who have made that transition, but it is one that is fairly common for NFL teams that run a 3-4 defense.

What is more unusual is the Packers' propensity of late to take 3-4 ends and convert them to a stand-up linebacker role, as they did with Mike Neal a few years ago and are doing again with Datone Jones now. All of these moves combine to illustrate a trend that seems to be prevalent on this team - the outside linebackers are getting bigger and bigger, and it looks to be by design.

That trend is examined in today's Cheese Curds, which also finds examinations of the NFC North's free agency additions and a second-year Packer looking for a bigger role this year. As a bonus, we find a group of Packers listed on another ranking of top football performances - though it's not for doing something that's directly football-related.

Hybrid linebackers part of Packers' defensive plan |
At this point, it appears that the Packers prefer the really big bodies at one outside linebacker position - Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, and Kyler Fackrell are all at least 6'4", while Peppers, Jones, and Nick Perry all tip the scales at at least 265 pounds.

Backman looks to make good on potential in Year 2 |
Last year's sixth-round pick is aiming for bigger things in his second year, and he hopes that the the learning curve he worked through as a rookie will yield to more playing time in 2016.

NFC North Q&A: Who is the division's best newcomer? |
Three of four writers listed Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan as the best arrival to the division this offseason.

The definitive all-time ranking of musical performances by NFL teams & players -
The Packers' a capella performance in Pitch Perfect 2 earns a top-five ranking in this list. It's probably no surprise, however, that the "Super Bowl Shuffle" gets top billing.

Alshon Jeffery, Bears far apart on long-term deal -
Speaking of the Bears, they have until Friday to lock up their top receiver to a long-term deal. If they can't, he will play this season on the Franchise tender and would be likely to leave in free agency next spring.