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Cheese Curds, 7/11: Will the Packers’ defense take the expected step forward?

Aaron Rodgers is looking forward to going up against a tougher defense in training camp. It’s time for Joe Barry to put up or shut up.

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NFC Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers’ front office devoted no shortage of time, resources, money, and draft capital to the defense this offseason. With big contracts for Rasul Douglas, De’Vondre Campbell, and Jaire Alexander, general manager Brian Gutekunst showed that he wasn’t afraid to invest heavily on that side of the ball from a financial standpoint. By using two first-round picks on defenders Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt, he showed a commitment to developing through the draft as well.

Now, as training camp looms a little over two weeks away, it’s almost time for the defense to start demonstrating the promise that it holds for 2022. The early portion of training camp will be fascinating as the offense, without two of its leading receivers from the past several years, can figure out ways to succeed against coordinator Joe Barry’s group. Then, once the preseason starts, the new top-end talent and depth will need to demonstrate that they can be trusted to make plays and get stops.

Not since 2010 have the Packers fielded a defense that ranked above 9th in either points or yards allowed. That year, the unit was second in points and 5th in yards, and we all know what happened at the end of that season: the Lombardi Trophy came home to Green Bay. If this year’s team can reach anything close to that rarified air, it might be the franchise’s best shot at bringing another championship home to titletown, regardless of who’s catching the ball from Aaron Rodgers.

Let’s take a look at the defense a bit more closely in today’s curds, but first we have an announcement about some events going on around the state this week.

Packers Road Trip to visit fans around Wisconsin July 13-17 |
Dates and locations of the road trip are yet to be announced, but you could see Tramon Williams, James Starks, and other Packers alumni coming to your town!

Aaron Rodgers ready for ‘long training camp’ facing Packers ‘really good’ defense | Packers Wire
Rodgers is excited about that possibility, something that is surely related to the fact that he hasn't played with a top-five defense since 2010.

The NFL’s top 11 edge defenders | Touchdown Wire
One reason for the optimism around the Packers' defense is Rashan Gary, who is finally starting to get recognition from national media outlets. Mark Schofield ranks him here as the 8th-best edge player in the league entering 2022.

Packers DL preview: Kenny Clark highlights a unit that has more depth in 2022 - The Athletic ($)
Meanwhile, Devonte Wyatt and Jarran Reed will bring added depth and explosiveness to a defensive line that has been looking for Kenny Clark's running mate for some time now.

Quay Walker keeping undrafted mentality | ($)
It’s easy to say that, but the first-round signing bonus might be a distractor. Still, Walker seems to be saying all the right things in his first summer as a professional, and the hope is that he becomes part of an elite tandem with De’Vondre Campbell.

Stranger Things subtitle guy talks about "tentacles undulating moistly" | AV Club
The guy in charge of writing the closed captions for the hit Netflix show likes to have a little fun with his job. Frankly, what he does is vastly more tame than what the APC crew would probably come up with.