The new Green Bay Packers' defense

A New Green Bay Defense Ushers In A New Era

Green Bay has missed the playoffs two years in a row, but their new defensive players can change that — a strong pass rush makes the defense competitive once again.


The new league year is underway in the NFL. The Packers' 2018 season did not meet expectations for both the fans and the organization. A third-place finish in the NFC North is not the norm in the Aaron Rodgers era. The Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy during the season. Recently hired head coach Matt Lafleur is now in command in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He and General Manager Brian Gutekunst are already making changes for the team, signing free agents this offseason to bolster their defense. The Packers are moving forward and 2019 is off to a good start. With the NFL Draft around the corner, the Packers are primed to build a contender.

The Packers signed Za'Darius Smith to a four-year $66 million deal. Last year, the 26-year-old led the Ravens in sacks with eight and a half sacks in 2018. A young pass rusher makes Green Bay look serious on defense. There is no shortage of talented quarterbacks in the NFC, from Drew Brees to Cam Newton. It has been years since the Packers had a formidable pass rush.

The Packers also signed Preston Smith from Washington. two young outside linebackers are just what the Packers needed. Gutekunst did what the previous regime refused to do. He addressed the team's defensive needs through free agency. The two Smiths can create a pass rush that has been all but absent in Green Bay.

The Packers have released Nick Perry after seven seasons with the team. Perry never lived up to his first-round draft pick status. Clay Matthews is also expected to leave town after 10 years in Green Bay. Matthews leads the franchise in all-time sacks. He may be missed, but it is time for the Packers to bring in some fresh blood. This free agency period feels different with the addition of two young outside linebackers. Matthews and Perry make way for Smith and Smith in 2019.

Former Chicago Bear, Adrian Amos has also signed a contract with the Packers. The Packers traded safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during 2018. The lack of safety hurt them throughout the rest of the season. The addition of Amos makes the secondary much stronger than it was when the offseason began. The signing also weakens the Bears defense, which was 3rd overall in the league in 2018. It never hurts to weaken a division rival, especially Chicago.

These free agent signings would not have happened under former GM Ted Thompson. Gutekunst and Lafleur just showed they are serious about winning in Green Bay. A new look defense is a great start for 2019. The Packers also have 10 draft picks this year. They are in a unique position to make headlines this offseason. Amos, Smith, and Smith are excellent signings and each of them strengthens a defense that has struggled for years. A strong pass rush and secondary are essential in a passing league. A strong draft class for the Packers in 2019 is next on the to-do list.

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Everything The Student Athlete Loses When They Move On From Sports

Enjoy it while it lasts.


We used to call it "flipping the switch." You would go through eight hours of school (somehow) and then your mentality would automatically change. The worries and stress from the school day would dwindle as you put on your cleats and begin to warm up. Anything that was going on in your life didn't matter when you hit the dirt. You create lifelong friendships with the girls you spent every day with for months at a time. Teammates who see you susceptible after a bad game and on cloud nine after one of your bests.

You develop a routine and superstitions. Hitting your bat on the inside of your cleat before you hit, chewing a certain type of gum on the volleyball court, how many times you spin the ball before you shoot a free throw, whatever your quirk was, you 100% believed it would make you play better. You practice in your free time with your dad, devote three to five months of your school year to a team, and play all summer long with your travel team as you live off hotel breakfast. Then one day, it's all over.

It is a feeling that nobody can prepare you for. They say enjoy it while it lasts but you never really understand what you'll be walking away from when you play your last game and hang it up for good. You lose a part of yourself when you're no longer an athlete. I forgot what it feels like to be competitive and be a part of something that is bigger than myself. It has been two years since I've played my last softball game and not a day goes by when I don't miss it. I didn't play because I wanted to go pro or even to the collegiate level, but I played because it was an escape and helped me become who I am.

You begin to forget what it felt like to hit the sweet spot on a bat, what it sounded like to have an audience cheer for you as you stand alone on second base and see your family in the stands, to hear the metal spikes of your cleats on concrete when walking in the dugout. It's simple things about the game you love that brought you pure joy and an escape from the world and the thoughts in your head. Batting practice was always mine. Focusing on nothing but the next pitch and how hard I could hit it.

When you have to watch the game from the other side of the fence, you realize how much pressure you put on yourself when you played. It's just a game. Make as many memories as you can and enjoy every inning because when you leave sports behind you have to find your inner athlete in other things. Create a workout routine, joining a club sport or intramurals, or even becoming a coach. As much as I miss the sport, I am thankful for everything it brought me. It taught me how to be a good friend, respect others around me, and to push myself to discover what I was capable of.

So, enjoy it while it lasts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo And Christian Yelich Have Put Milwaukee Back On The Map

Two small market teams making sure the world knows who they are


"MVP" is currently being chanted around the city of Milwaukee and the people of Milwaukee aren't just talking about one person. Giannis Antetokounmpo, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks and Christian Yelich, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. Giannis is on the path to winning this year's NBA MVP and Yelich, who happened to win the NL MVP last year, is showing no doubts on potentially becoming this year's MVP as well.

Both the Bucks and the Brewers have struggled in the past few years. The Bucks finished their 2013-2014 season with a record of 15-67. On top of that, they have been playing in the BMO Harris Bradley Center for the past couple of decades. The Bradley Center was intentionally built for hockey and not basketball so attending games for the Bucks sometimes had you in the nosebleeds barely seeing what was going on on the court. The Bucks struggled after their 2013-2014 season with records of 41-41 (2014-2015) and 33-49 (2015-2016). Now, the Bucks have recently finished their regular season and moved to the playoffs. From 15-67 just five years ago, to now 60-22 which gave them the best record in the NBA, the number one seed in the East and home-court advantage, Giannis has proved himself as potentially one of the greatest players the NBA and the Bucks franchise will ever see.

The Bucks now have a new arena that opened this season, Fiserv Forum, which is built specifically for the Bucks (and Marquette) instead of hockey. Looking back on the Bucks in their previous years compared to now, the Bucks have sold out every single game this season. Something Milwaukee never thought they would see from being a small market team. From my experience, while working for the Bucks, you can see the difference in the crowd and feel their enthusiasm and excitement radiating off of the fans. And this is all thanks to Mr. Antetokounmpo who is making his mark here in Milwaukee. Giannis has won Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November, December, February and March/April and even earned his spot as Eastern Conference captain for the All-Star game this year. Giannis may be considered in his prime right now, but he is only 24-years-old which means he has plenty of time to only make himself better.

The Brewers had won the NL Central Divison back in 2011 but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series. After that, they struggled a bit and haven't won the title since until last year in 2018. He brought the Brewers to the NLCS last season, but unfortunately, they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Yelich had 36 home runs last season and already has eight (as of 4/16/19) this season. He happens to be a great right fielder as well. In last night's (4/15/19) game against the Cardinals, Yelich alone scored three home runs.

Miller Park has been filling up more and more each game of Brewers fans. Being a small market team like their cross-city friends, the Bucks, bringing home an MVP title as well as a division title, it makes everyone aware of their greatness and dedication. The season may have just started back up again, but there is no doubt, if Yelich and his teammates keep playing like they are right now, they will have another shot of making it to the World Series.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich have brought and will continue to bring excitement and greatness to Milwaukee which is something the city hasn't seen in a while. This era of sports will surely be remembered for a long time by the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

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