Eric Rowe Jersey

  • To get back to the playoffs Jamaal Williams Jersey , the Green Bay Packers‘ defense needs to improve against the pass.

     

    Adding three tall receivers to the offense for quarterback Aaron Rodgers can’t hurt either.

    The two-time NFL MVP got help in the passing game on the third day of the NFL draft after the Packers prioritized pass defense in the early rounds.

    They took Louisville’s Jaire Alexander in the first round and Iowa’s Josh Jackson, who led the nation with eight interceptions last year, in the second.

    ”Their ball skills are exceptional,” coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday. ”I think they’re a great fit to how we want to play defense.”

    Pass defense was a problem again for a team that finished 7-9 last season. The Packers didn’t make the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

    The setback set up an offseason of change. Longtime executive Brian Gutekunst was promoted to general manager to succeed the retired Ted Thompson in January. McCarthy overhauled the coaching staff, including the hiring of Mike Pettine to replace Dom Capers as defensive coordinator.

    Cornerback was the top priority. Besides drafting Alexander and Jackson, the Packers brought Tramon Williams back as a free agent to add another presence in the secondary.

    ”With the competition in the cornerback room, and the defensive back room, it’s vastly improved,” McCarthy said.

    The focus shifted to offense for the late rounds on Saturday. The passing attack slipped to 25th in the league last season after Rodgers was limited to seven games because of a broken collarbone.

    Gutekunst drafted three wideouts, starting with Missouri’s J’Mon Moore in the fourth round. The 6-foot-3 senior had team highs of 65 catches and 1,082 yards last season.

    Opportunities abound in the receiving group behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb after veteran Jordy Nelson was cut in the offseason.

    Other highlights from the Packers’ draft class:

    CATCHING ON: Besides Moore, the Packers also took two 6-5 receivers in South Florida’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the fifth round and Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown in the sixth round. Valdes-Scantling offers an intriguing blend of size and speed after he ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine at 4.37 seconds. Brown played with Packers backup quarterback DeShone Kizer for two seasons at Notre Dame.

    CREATING COMPETION: By taking three receivers, the Packers stockpiled prospects to fill depth at a skill position for a second straight year. The strategy worked at running back in 2017, when fourth-round pick Jamaal Williams and fifth-rounder Aaron Jones emerged as solid contributors.

    ”You hope the guys embrace it and are pros about it and try to get better Jerick McKinnon Jersey ,” scout Matt Malaspina said. ”The whole group gets better as each guy gets better.”

    THAT’S SPECIAL: There might be competition at punter, too, after the Packers drafted JK Scott from Alabama. Scott had just five punts returned as a senior, crediting the success to a renewed focus on hang time. Last year’s punter, Justin Vogel, was seventh in the NFL in net punting average at 41.6 yards.

    Green Bay also took a long snapper with the second of their three seventh-round picks in Mississippi State’s Hunter Bradley.

    LATE PICKS: The selection of offensive lineman Cole Madison from Washington State in the fifth round addressed another position of need. The 6-5 Madison played tackle in college. But the Packers like his versatility and plan to use him at guard. Green Bay has questions on the right side of the line.

    Green Bay returned to defense with its two other seventh-round picks, selecting end James Looney from California and edge rusher Kendall Donnerson from Southeast Missouri State.

    STILL NEED: Unless Looney or Donnerson prove to be late steals, the Packers will still need help in the pass rush. Clay Matthews turns 32 this year, while Nick Perry was limited to 12 games last season because of injuries. They could use more production out of third-year backup Kyler Fackrell. Vince Biegel should start the season healthy after missing the first seven games of his rookie season with a foot injury.

    ”The biggest gains that we’ve always made have been our returning players,” McCarthy said.

    The Anaheim Ducks will have plenty of reasons to be proud of their yearlong resilience and late-season determination to make the playoffs after an incredible stretch of early-season injury woes.

    They’ll also have plenty of time to reflect on those achievements during an extra-long summer for a team that couldn’t put it together in the postseason.

    The Ducks began the process of breaking up for the offseason this weekend after the San Jose Sharks completed a four-game sweep of their first-round series.

    ”There’s a numbness that’s kind of subsiding now,” coach Randy Carlyle said. ”After the run and the season-long trials and tribulations that you go through, you get to the playoffs and win out and get second place in the division, and four games later, a week later Jordan Phillips Jersey , you’re out of it, which is really numbing.”

    Anaheim had made the Western Conference finals in two of the previous three seasons, and its six consecutive playoff berths constitute the second-longest active streak in the NHL. The Ducks finished with their fifth consecutive 100-point season – the league’s longest active streak – and went 10-1-1 with five straight victories to close the regular season, even surging into second place in the Pacific Division.

    But the Ducks’ streak of five straight Pacific titles ended, and then their season ended in embarrassing fashion.

    The Ducks made the playoffs for the 11th time in 13 seasons, but perhaps they simply ran out of steam. Their mad dash to reach the postseason was necessitated by the slow start caused by the club’s numerous injury problems during the first half. Their top two centers – Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf – missed huge chunks of early play, while goal-scoring forward Patrick Eaves never suited up all year because of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

    ”The adversity that we faced this year was unlike anything I’ve ever seen, especially at the start of the year,” said top defenseman Cam Fowler, who missed the playoffs with a shoulder injury. ”We grinded it out, and to get to the 100-point mark was fantastic. But at the end of the day, you have to make a name for yourself come playoff time, and unfortunately we didn’t do that this year.”

    Once the Ducks get over the hurt, they’ll evaluate the core of talent that remains in Anaheim after years of contention. General manager Bob Murray will have to decide whether that core is championship-caliber when healthy or whether it’s time to break up one of the NHL’s most consistent winners.

    Here are more things to know as the Ducks head into a long offseason:

    MORE SPEED

    Murray is among the observers who think the Ducks simply don’t play fast enough to compete optimally in the modern NHL. The Ducks’ heavy Chris Jones Jersey , punishing style of play under Carlyle has won plenty of games over the past two years, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in a series with the Sharks, who aren’t even the fastest team around. Carlyle will be back next season to make the necessary changes, Murray confirmed. How much of the Ducks’ core returns will be up to Murray, who has built and rebuilt the franchise around Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who will both turn 33 next month.

    BEAUCH BYE

    Defenseman Francois Beauchemin says he is retiring after spending the past 13 seasons in the NHL, including three separate stints with Anaheim. His departure removes another link to the Ducks’ championship season, although Getzlaf, Perry and Carlyle are still around.

    BIEKSA NOT BACK

    Veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa also indicated he is unlikely to return after three seasons. He was disappointed with his lack of playoff action after returning from hand surgery. The Ducks’ once-incredible depth on defense has been taxed in the past year with the expansion draft-related departures of Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner and the trade of Sami Vatanen to New Jersey for Adam Henrique. Murray will need to reload the Ducks’ blue line, with prospects Jacob Larsson, Marcus Pettersson and Andy Welinski likely getting shots at a full-time job.

    EAVES RETURN

    The season-long loss of Eaves was a huge setback, but the Ducks are optimistic their heavily bearded forward will return in the fall. Eaves also had recent shoulder surgery and will turn 34 next month, but he has been the type of consistent goal scorer the Ducks lacked. He would also provide veteran leadership after the possible departures of Beauchemin, Bieksa Eric Rowe Jersey , Antoine Vermette, Jason Chimera and others.

    OFFSEASON LISTS

    Most of the Ducks’ core is locked up through next season or beyond, including Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, leading scorer Rickard Rakell, Andrew Cogliano, Fowler and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. Anaheim has several key restricted free agents: Nick Ritchie, 20-goal scorer Ondrej Kase and defensemen Brandon Montour and Welinski.

     J.J. Watt Jersey