Aaron Rodgers‘ eventful offseason included a trip to India to see the spiritual leader Marquis Haynes Jersey Panthers , the Dalai Lama, and a pit stop to watch his girlfriend, race car driver Danica Patrick, at Daytona.
He also purchased a minority stake in the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
This week, it’s back to the practice field for the two-time NFL MVP.
On-field offseason workouts have started for the Green Bay Packers. They are especially important for a team that has had a lot of change since the end of a 7-9 season.
New general manager Brian Gutekunst cut longtime receiver Jordy Nelson; signed veteran tight end Jimmy Graham; and drafted three receivers all 6-foot-3 or taller. Former Packers assistant Joe Philbin is back as offensive coordinator. The playbook got a thorough review.
”Change can be really good … any time you’re in a situation where you’ve had the same type of things going on for a number of years, it’s nice to change it up in some positions, yeah,” Rodgers said at Lambeau Field after practice.
Not to say that the loss of Nelson, a salary cap casualty, didn’t hurt. Nelson was a team leader. He was especially close to Rodgers, and fellow receivers Randall Cobb and Davante Adams.
”Honestly, it has nothing to do with this football team. He’s a good dude, and we built up a really good relationship over these last four years,” said Adams Cheap Customized Miami Dolphins Jerseys , who has assumed the role of the Packers’ No. 1 receiver.
As for the playbook, Adams calls the changes more a fine-tuning of what’s worked in the past.
”It’s kind of more of a mentality of how we’re attacking people. I love it,” Adams said. ”As long as we keep to it, keep working at things and clean everything up, it’s going to be more dangerous (than) it’s been in the past.”
At the very least, the Packers hope they are in much better shape than 2017, when the offense struggled with Rodgers sidelined much of the season by a broken collarbone. After several weeks of classroom work, they were eager to take what they’ve learned out on the field.
”There’s a little bit of an `It’s-about-time feel to it,”’ Packers coach Mike McCarthy said before practice.
In Philbin, McCarthy brought a reassuring presence back to the coaching staff.
Philbin was offensive coordinator from 2007-11 before leaving to take the Miami Dolphins head coaching job. He was the coordinator when Rodgers took over the starting job in 2008, and when the Packers won the Super Bowl two seasons later.
Rodgers calls Philbin a ”fantastic teacher” who commands a room. Philbin said Rodgers is processing the game in his mind even faster now compared to when he last coached him in 2011.
Rodgers also remains a master at preparation. There is no better role model for backups Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer.
”From a preparation standpoint, he’s been excellent, both in the quarterback room and the unit room. He’s obviously got an outstanding command of what we’re doing, what we want to do Authentic Sam Hubbard Jersey ,” Philbin said.
Off the field, he’ll get back to cheering on his girlfriend this weekend. Patrick is driving her final race at the Indy 500 on Sunday.
Rodgers said he watched from pit road for a while when Patrick was at Daytona in February. He’s hoping that Patrick can take the checkered flag at the Brickyard.
”She’s had a lot of success at Indy over the years,” Rodgers said. ”I think several top 10s, hoping she goes out with a bang.”
NOTES: Asked about the possibility of the Packers adding receiver Dez Bryant, who was cut by the Cowboys, Rodgers said, ”Well, we like young receivers. So I’m assuming that’s the way they’re going to keep going. I don’t know why you’d cut Jordy and bring in Dez, but he’s a talented player.” Besides taking three receivers in the draft, the Packers also have returnees Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis competing for more targets. ”He’s going to end up somewhere” Rodgers said about Bryant. ”If he ends up here, we’d obviously welcome him with open arms and get him up to speed as quick as possible.”
HOUSTON — So much of what the Houston Rockets have become under coach Mike D’Antoni focuses on the volume of 3-pointers taken and the influence their perimeter proficiency has offensively.
And even with a preponderance of evidence undergirding their dramatic improvement defensively, the Rockets’ reputation remains cleaved to 3s and offensive efficiency, so much so that following the defensive clinic they orchestrated in Game 4 on Sunday in Salt Lake City, some Rockets were first greeted with queries on how many 3s they missed in their 100-87 win.
While at some point the narrative will change Jalyn Holmes Jersey Elite , the Rockets aren’t at all misguided. They stand one victory shy of clinching their Western Conference semifinal series with the Utah Jazz, and if they defend in Game 5 on Tuesday night at Toyota Center like they did in Games 3 and 4, the Rockets will likely advance to the Western Conference finals for the second time in four years.
“That’s how we’re going to win — period. Defense is going to win championships,” Rockets forward P.J. Tucker said. “At this point, everybody who is still in the playoffs is a great team. Everybody can score, everybody can do everything. So it’s going to be the team that prevails on defense, (the team that) gets stops that’s going to win.”
After allowing the Jazz to shoot 50.9 percent overall and 40.7 percent on 3-pointers while picking up a split of the first two games of the series, Houston limited Utah to 40.1 percent shooting in Games 3 and 4, including 31 percent from behind the arc.
The Jazz built momentum in Game 2 behind strong showings from rookie guard Donovan Mitchell and veterans Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder, with Mitchell posting a double-double and Ingles and Crowder torched the Rockets from the perimeter.
Their collective success withered in Utah.
Mitchell and Ingles shot 30 percent and 34.8 percent at Vivint Smart Home Arena, respectively, with both missing 10 of 14 3-pointers. Crowder finished 8 of 13 on 3s at Toyota Center but was just 2 of 10 at home from deep and missed 15 of 17 shots overall.
The Rockets, with their switching defense and individual defenders, harassed the Jazz on the perimeter knowing full well that center Clint Capela would protect the rim if dribble penetration was surrendered.
Capela has enjoyed a dynamic postseason Trevor Bauer Jersey , averaging 15.4 points, 13 rebounds, and an NBA-high 2.6 blocks. He had six blocks in Game 4 and was everything Houston could hope for.
“He’s put himself in this position to go out here and play at a high level and just do things that we ask for him to do,” Rockets guard James Harden said of Capela. “Every single night he has our back, and it feels good to have somebody have our back like he does.
“He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it, he doesn’t ask for a lot, he just goes out there and does his job every single night. As a result, six blocks and 20 altered shots. That’s what he does.”
What remains for Utah is an uphill battle against a defense ranked second in efficiency this postseason. The Jazz flirted with the possible return of guard Ricky Rubio from a left hamstring injury only to lose guard Dante Exum to the same malady. Forward Derrick Favors (ankle) was slowed by injury in Game 4 yet played, leaving Utah facing elimination with a hobbled roster.
Perhaps being forced to dig deep into the bench led to Utah missing 22 shots at the rim in Game 4, or maybe it was the influence of the Houston defense. Whatever the case, the Jazz need hasty improvements.
“You can’t take anything away from them and the way that they play,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “But in order to beat them you have to be able to convert those opportunities, and we just didn’t.”