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Thursday Cheese Curds: Can the Packers’ defense carry the load?

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The offense likely will experience some growing pains early in the season, so it will be up to Mike Pettine’s defense to shoulder the burden.

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

The 2019 NFL preseason comes to a merciful close tonight for fans, but for coaches and general managers it’s one final chance to get a look at players on the roster bubble.

Yet with the regular season opener one week away, it’s time to look forward to what lies ahead for the Green Bay Packers this year. While a lion’s share of the attention will be paid to new head coach Matt LaFleur and how well the new offense comes together, it’s likely Mike Pettine’s defense that will hold the key to how far the Packers go.

With three big free agent signings plus yet another influx of talent from the draft, the defense is expected to make a big jump in Pettine’s second year in Green Bay. In fact, many hope or even expect the defense to carry the load in the early stages of the regular season while the new offense finds its footing.

Such a prospect would have been terrifying to contemplate under former coordinator Dom Capers but now a modern scheme and an aggressive acquisition of experienced players, confidence in the defense is suddenly as high as it has been in the past few years.

Taking the ball away and improved tackling are two of Pettine’s biggest areas of focus. While tackling has been subpar in preseason (which is to be expected due to the collective bargaining agreement’s restriction on contact in practices), there have been turnovers which is a good sign for a defense that struggled to generate them last season (Green Bay finished 29th in takeaways).

If the Packers can generate turnovers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will make opponents pay more often than not and that will lead to instant success.

There’s more on the defense plus Rodgers swaps his jersey for scrubs in today’s cheese curds.

Pettine pushing for progress—Packers.com

The defense definitely took its lumps last season as it adjusted to Pettine’s scheme. Now with the offense going through a similar transition under LaFleur, the defense will be the hallmark of the team at least in the first few games.

Packers’ Aaron Jones ranks as one of NFL’s toughest RBs to tackle—Packers Wire

The elusive Aaron Jones will be a key figure in LaFleur’s offense and with his ability to evade tacklers already well developed, a renewed emphasis on running the ball could mean big things for the UTEP product this season.

Green Bay Packers’ TopGolf restaurant, The Turn, opens—PackersNews.com

If you’re venturing to Green Bay at all this season, this will certainly be a place to check out. Finally you can golf in Green Bay in January!

Aaron Rodgers and Packers QBs spot-on with ‘Happy Gilmore’ costumes—MLive.com

The Welcome Back Luncheon has seen Rodgers and company in some crazy outfits and this year was no disappointment.

Amazon Echo link could be turning UK parents off the name Alexa—Reuters

I definitely see where this and even Siri could be a problem. I am just glad no one has decided to name their kid “Hey Google” yet.