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Cheese Curds 1/15: Now the real work begins for the Packers

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Could the defense really be better than the offense? Mike McCarthy hopes so

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Jim Matthews-USA TODAY Sports

While the Minnesota Vikings continue their push for their first Super Bowl title, the Green Bay Packers are reloading for their run next season.

With a new general manager and new defensive coordinator in place, there are a lot of fresh pieces in place for the Packers. That leads to some unknowns as Green Bay tries to return to title contention next season.

It’s not all a total mystery however, as both new GM Brian Gutekunst and new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine both have strong foundations to build on as they work to remake the roster and more specifically the defense.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has said the Packers’ defense needs to “be better than the offense” which is a lofty and borderline insane goal when you have an all-world quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on your roster. Now it’s up to Pettine to make it happen.

Until then, there’s not much the Packers can do at this time than sit back and reminisce about past playoff success while their hated rival is one win away from a Super Bowl berth in their own stadium.

Here are today’s cheese curds.

Gutekunst must build on Thompson’s solid foundation—PackersNews.com

While there are opportunities aplenty on the Packers’ roster, Ted Thompson also left his successor a solid final draft class. Many rookies showed promise, and the team may just require a little push to make it to the Super Bowl. The above article makes a comparison to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they fired Tony Dungy to hire John Gruden. Dungy built the team, but it took Gruden to push it to a title after years of falling just short.

Defense’s aim? Be better than the offense—La Crosse Tribune

It’s crazy to believe that a defense that has consistently ranked in the bottom third of the league can suddenly outperform one of the league’s most consistently potent offenses, but that’s the challenge McCarthy has given the entire franchise.

From the front office down to the players, the head coach says the focus has to be on overhauling the defense. With quarterback Aaron Rodgers entering his mid-thirties, this has to be music to the two-time MVP’s ears.

Packers QBs Bart Starr and Aaron Rodgers are NFL passer-rating standouts in postseason—PackersNews.com

Bart Starr still ranks number one overall, and the current Packers quarterback comes in at number five all-time. This just goes to show how much Starr’s performance has stood the test of time especially with Tom Brady wreaking havoc on playoff records on a yearly basis.

Emanuel Byrd out teaching on the backburner for renewed shot at the NFL—Packers.com

Byrd was about to become a physical education teacher when the Packers brought him back to their practice squad in November. Now he wants to make the roster in 2018.

Saints’ incredible bounce-back season ends with stunning heartbreak—ESPN

The Packers and their fans can definitely sympathize with what the Saints and their fans are going through today, less than 24 hours after a soul shattering playoff defeat.