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|Aaron Rodgers' eventful offseason included a trip to India to see the spiritual leader Aaron Burbridge Jersey , 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 Will Lutz Jersey , and we built up a really good relationship over these last four years," said Adams, 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 John Matuszak Jersey , 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," 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 Jeremy Kerley Jersey , 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."
SALT LAKE CITY — It turns out the Utah Jazz can be just as tough to stop when Donovan Mitchell is running the offense instead of simply creating it.
Mitchell’s ability to facilitate provided a key spark in Utah’s 116-108 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. The victory evened their Western Conference semifinals series at 1-1 and put the Rockets in a much tougher spot than expected heading into Game 3 on Friday.
Filling in for injured Ricky Rubio at point guard, Mitchell dished out a career-high 11 assists against Houston. He had seven assists in the first half alone. The Jazz clicked all over the court with the rookie at the controls, shooting 52 percent from the field overall — including 15 of 32 from 3-point range.
“Just being poised and staying under control was the biggest thing,” Mitchell said. “It allows me to be able to make those passes and make those reads. The second half, I got away from it, but started to get back to it.”
Mitchell’s teammates did the most with those reads. Joe Ingles went a career-best 7 of 9 from 3-point range en route to a career-high 27 points. Alec Burks and Jae Crowder combined for 32 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.
Making the right reads offensively also paid off on the other end of the court. The Jazz were able to be more aggressive defensively and keep the Rockets on their heels during the first half and then late in the second half.
Utah stayed poised even after Houston rallied from a 19-point deficit and took a five point lead late in the third quarter.
“You’re going to have breakdowns against these guys because they’re so good,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “They put so much pressure on you. But I thought defensively we had a really good collective effort. We were a little tougher minded on defense, more disciplined with what we were trying to do.”
For Houston, the loss feels like an unexpected turn after it swept all four regular-season meetings with the Jazz. The Rockets put themselves in an early hole with a tepid start. They lacked energy in the first half and it showed.
Utah pushed the pace before halftime and generated tons of open 3-pointers or open layups and dunks. Houston seemed to be on cruise control early. Even after James Harden woke the team up late in the second quarter, scoring 12 points in four minutes to spark a rally Desmond Trufant Jersey , the Rockets never quite fully got back on track.
“We just lost our way in the first half,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I thought we played better (after halftime). Series is on. We have to get it going now.”
Harden finished with 32 points, Chris Paul added 23 and Clint Capela chipped in 21 points. But Paul and Harden both struggled with their outside shot, going a combined 4 of 15 from 3-point range.
As a team, Houston shot just 10 of 37 (27 percent) from the perimeter. It offered a stark contrast from Game 1, where the Rockets went 17 of 32 from outside en route to a 110-96 win.
“They came out,” Paul said. “They made shots. They were aggressive. We didn’t. We got to stay more aggressive throughout the game on both ends.”
Houston hasn’t lost in Salt Lake City since falling to 120-101 to the Jazz on November 29, 2016. The Rockets won both regular-season games by 11 points — most recently 96-85 on Feb. 26 behind 26 points and 11 rebounds from James Harden.
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