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Cheese Curds, 6/10: Packers defense needs big & small names alike to improve performance

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James Crawford won’t play as big a role as Rashan Gary, but both could help the Packers’ defense raise its level of play.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

As the Green Bay Packers get ready to begin their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, The eyes of much of the NFL world will be on the team’s offense. However, it’s a good bet that Packers fans will be focused more significantly on the defense, as the team has failed to field a truly great defense in about a decade.

To be sure, the Packers’ front office gave defensive coordinator Mike Pettine lots of exciting new players to work with. What Pettine does with players like Rashan Gary, the Smiths, and a pair of new starting safeties will be critical to the team’s success. However, finding room and the occasional handful of snaps for role players — guys like James Crawford, Raven Greene, and the like — will be an important facet of the the team’s success as well.

In today’s curds, we find examinations of a player from each group, and a look at how the defense needs to improve as a whole.

Inside knowledge helping James Crawford | Packers.com
Crawford was one of the critical players for the Packers' special teams last year, but his position on defense was in flux. Now, with a full offseason of work as an inside linebacker, he's looking to expand his role, and showed off some of his abilities on an interception during last week's open OTA practice.

3 ways the Packers can scheme Rashan Gary to early success | Packers Wire
Mike Pettine is known for working his defense to his players' strengths, and moving Gary around as a rookie would be one great way to put the former Michigan standout's skills to good use.

Packers should expect more after defensive overhaul | Packersnews.com
The last time the Packers finished in the top ten in either points allowed or yards allowed, they won the Super Bowl. That type of finish should be one of the goals for this year’s defense, particularly given the personnel investment that Brian Gutekunst made this offseason.

Mandatory NFL minicamps preview -- 23 more things to watch this week | ESPN
The national media, which doesn't follow individual teams closely during OTAs, will have all eyes on the Packers' offense to see if Rodgers and LaFleur are looking to be in sync.

Packers legend Bart Starr remembered in Alabama - NFL.com
Public and private events honoring Starr took place recently, with the public event taking place at Samford University on Sunday.

What‘s next for Houston Texans after firing GM Brian Gaine? | SI.com
Two years ago, Brian Gutekunst interviewed for this opening, but ended up flying home to Wisconsin to take the Packers' GM job. Maybe it's a good thing that he did.

Who did your favorite NFL team sadly never get revenge on? - SBNation.com
This article says that the 49ers never got revenge on Brett Favre and the Packers. Apparently the writer wasn't around for the 1998 Wild Card game (Jerry Rice fumbled).

Residents see purple water after pump malfunction | abc30.com
If you live in a town called Coal Grove, seeing weird things in your water would probably be a legitimate reason for concern. Apparently, everything is fine (except maybe your laundry), so just run the water for a while until the color goes away. Apparently the chemical that caused the color is used as an additive for taste, odor control, and...keeping zebra mussel populations in check.