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Cheese Curds, 1/24: Packers' free agents all hope to return for 2017, but defense needs boost

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Of course, not all will be back. Ted Thompson has plenty of work to do, though it's possible that he could start negotiations with a couple of agents early.

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As the Green Bay Packers begin their offseason plans, particularly in the personnel department, they have plenty of big decisions to make. A pass rush that spent much of the season vacillating between effective and invisible sees three of the top four outside linebackers hitting free agency. Several critical offensive weapons also will hit the open market.

Odds are good that Ted Thompson will work on re-signing several of the departing former Packers but that he will largely ignore unrestricted free agency. That's simply his track record speaking for itself; though if there were ever a time to dip into the free agent waters, this might be the year, as there are a number of talented cornerbacks and pass-rushers who should be available.

This year's NFL Draft class is also strong at those positions, however, and today marks the beginning of Senior Bowl practices. Keep an eye out for reports from Mobile throughout the week here at APC.

Upcoming free agents hope to be back in Green Bay |
The common refrain on Monday from several of the Packers' free agents-to-be was "I'd love to be back." Micah Hyde said it; JC Tretter said it. Jared Cook didn't use those words, but he said "I'm just happy to be where I am."

Packers' T.J. Lang on free agency: 'I want to be back' -
And then there's Lang, whose comments we mentioned yesterday at APC. He has broken his left foot twice this year, and also will have surgery for a hip injury this week. That will probably affect whether or not the team will bring him back, as will the team's evaluation of Jason Spriggs.

Packers need to solve secondary woes in offseason | PFF
Here's the brutal truth in the secondary: in their rookie years, Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins, and LaDarius Gunter each allowed passer ratings under 90 into their coverage, with Rollins at just 58.1. This year, the rating given up by each of them was over 110.

Lack of pressure dooms Packers' defense |
Here's the other problem that didn't help the young corners - the pass rush was too inconsistent all season, and was virtually nonexistent against Atlanta.

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers unhappy about first facemask penalty - ESPN
Rodgers was ticked off about getting flagged, in part because the referees "reviewed" a penalty when the quarterback slid earlier in the game (by looking at the JumboTron) and decided not to enforce an unnecessary roughness call.

2017 Senior Bowl: Top prospects to know in Mobile -
Here are some of the big names to watch, and look for some daily practice and weigh-in recaps from APC's Owen Riese, who is down in Mobile for the week.