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Cheese Curds, 11/16: Packers’ offensive and defensive lines have stepped up

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Thanks in part to good health, the big uglies have done a good job up front for Green Bay.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Training Camp Jim Matthews-USA TODAY NETWORK

Over the past couple of weeks, the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line has finally started to find a little bit of cohesion. The first half of the season was spent with the team shuffling players in and out of the lineup, seemingly with different starting fives in each game. Now the team has four of its preferred starters healthy, with a breakout player in Justin McCray contributing in a big way for the one player who is missing.

That group had an excellent day overall against the Bears on Sunday, but overall the line has actually been terrific in the run game all season long. The Packers rank third in the NFL in adjusted line yards in the run game (by Football Outsiders), and are second in the league in fewest run stuffs allowed.

Pass blocking has been a different story on the season, for perhaps the same reason as the run-blocking has been so good: the team is starting guards at the tackle spots. The team’s adjusted sack rate is 25th in the league, certainly not good, but has shown signs of improvement since David Bakhtiari returned.

On the flip side, the Packers’ defensive line ranks eighth in adjusted line yards in the run game, and is a top-ten unit in both power success against and run stuffs. A key component of that success has been second-year nose tackle Kenny Clark, who is doing a terrific job while playing 34 of the team’s snaps.

In today’s curds, we look at both lines and much more.

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In his first training camp a year ago, Clark’s back injury forced him to focus on his core strength. Then he altered his diet in the offseason to adjust his weight. Now he is a quiet star for the Packers, as our Peter Bukowski discussed earlier this week.

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In a roundup of injury news across the league, we have a discussion of Rodgers’ activities at practice yesterday — specifically the fact that he worked with one of the team’s athletic trainers to take some snaps.

Ezekiel Elliott drops his appeal, will serve full 6-game suspension - SBNation.com
Did you see this coming? It seems that everyone was prepared for a continued, lengthy battle about Elliott's status, but now he'll miss the next five games, a critical stretch for a team on the playoff bubble.