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|The standards are high in a place nicknamed ”Titletown.” The first season with a losing record and without a playoff appearance since 2008 has led to an extensive shake-up this offseason for the Green Bay Packers.
Alex Van Pelt was the latest assistant to exit the staff after coach Mike McCarthy said his quarterbacks coach followed through on a contractual decision to pursue other opportunities.
Edgar Bennett is no longer offensive coordinator John Hayden Jersey , though he may stay with the team in another capacity. The offensive-minded McCarthy will still call plays.
”When you say you have a standard at the Green Bay Packers, it stops right there,” McCarthy said at his season-ending press conference Thursday at Lambeau Field. ”I mean, the standard of the Green Bay Packers is to win world championships. Now, are we doing enough to win a world championship? That question needs to be answered.”
Joe Philbin, the assistant head coach with the Indianapolis Colts, could be a candidate to return to Green Bay. He was the offensive coordinator when the Packers won the Super Bowl in the 2010 season. Ben McAdoo, who was fired last month as coach of the New York Giants, was also a former offensive assistant in Green Bay.
On defense, McCarthy said holdover assistants Winston Moss, Joe Whitt and Darren Perry are candidates for the defensive coordinator position after Dom Capers was fired this week.
The Packers (7-9) finished in third place in the NFC North in a season in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed nine games after surgery for a collarbone injury.
”The part that no one wants to talk about is the personal aspect of it. That’s what keeps me up at night is the personal changes that you make. I’ll never, ever be comfortable with that,” McCarthy said about the coaching changes.
”But this is my professional responsibility, it’s in my job description and I have to do what I feel gives the Green Bay Packers the best opportunity to win – to win it all in 2018.”
The organization is searching for a general manager while Ted Thompson transitions to a senior adviser role in the front office. Thompson drafted Rodgers in the first round in 2005 Authentic Jonathan Toews Jersey , and hired McCarthy as head coach the following year.
Under that trio, the Packers won the Super Bowl. The just-concluded streak of eight straight postseason appearances included five NFC North titles and three trips to the NFC title game.
”We had a hell of a partnership for 12 years,” McCarthy said about working with Thompson. The coach added he’s involved in the GM search led by team president Mark Murphy.
”The draft-and-develop still needs to be the core of who you are,” McCarthy said.
Roster turnover can lead to changes in locker room dynamics when older players leave. Injuries sapped depth the last two seasons at the cornerback position, forcing younger players who may not have been ready for bigger roles to step up. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix spoke about the toll that injuries took on defense, and the need for better accountability, as the Packers cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday.
McCarthy said better leadership was a ”pretty common theme” during exit interviews to cap a frustrating season. All aspects of football operations will be evaluated once the coaching staff is set.
”We didn’t continue our streak of playoff appearances, so we need to reboot, cleanse, however you want to word it,” McCarthy said. ”But we did not play to the standard of the Green Bay Packers and it’s my responsibility to make sure we get better and get back to that.”
With the two best games of his career coming on consecutive days, designated hitter Evan Gattis has quickly transformed into the Astros‘ hottest hitter – and their current good luck charm.
He’s got a franchise record to prove it, too.
Gattis hit two home runs, including the first of back-to-back shots with Marwin Gonzalez during a seven-run second inning Womens Marian Hossa Jersey , and the streaking Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 13-5 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.
One night after homering and setting a career high with five RBIs, Gattis drove in five again, becoming the first player in franchise history to drive in five in consecutive games.
”It was fun to watch our guys respond to his continued damage at-bats,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”They’re taking his helmet off and rubbing it all over themselves and they’re trying to get as close to him as they can. They want whatever he’s eating, whatever he’s doing during the games.”
Jake Marisnick also homered, Carlos Correa had a two-run triple and Yuli Gurriel had three hits and three RBIs to help Gerrit Cole (8-1) win his sixth straight decision.
Gattis had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, hit a three-run home run off A’s starter Paul Blackburn (1-1) in the second then went deep again with a solo blast off Emilio Pagan in the seventh. Gattis also walked in the eighth.
”He’s white hot,” Cole said. ”Just a great approach right now. He’s obviously put the team on his back a little bit.”
Gattis’ 10 RBIs in two games also ties an Astros record, but the big slugger wouldn’t say he’s necessarily locked in at the plate.
”It never feels like it,” Gattis said. ”You’re about to go hit a ball with a stick and you’re going to get out 70 percent of the time. You have to enjoy the good stuff if you’re going to get mad about the negatives in the game.”
Cole allowed a season-high four runs over six uneven innings, including two home runs, but benefited from the early cushion. The AL leader in strikeouts fanned six and yielded six hits with two walks.
That gives Houston three eight-game winners – Cole, Thursday’s starter Justin Verlander (8-2) and Tuesday’s winner Lance McCullers (8-3).
”Some undesirable results a couple times,” Cole said. ”Fastball command wasn’t poor but it wasn’t as sharp.”
The defending World Series champs moved a season-high 19 games over .500. This is Houston’s longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Aug. 31-Sept. 6 Patrick Kane Jersey , 2017.
Oakland outfielder Jake Smolinski became the first A’s position player to pitch in a game since utility player Tyler Ladendorf on June 3, 2016. Smolinski allowed a leadoff double to Max Stassi and a two-run home run to Marisnick in the ninth, then retired the next three batters.
”The one thing you really want is don’t get hurt and throw the ball over the middle of the plate, and he did exactly that,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”He was up for it. He’s up for just about anything.”
Khris Davis homered twice for Oakland, his 18th and 19th of the season. Stephen Piscotty also went deep.
The Astros flexed their defensive muscle in the eighth after Matt Olson reached on an error. Marisnick made a leaping catch in center to rob Matt Chapman of a home run, then threw to second baseman Tony Kemp, who relayed to first to double up Olson.
Blackburn retired only four batters and allowed eight runs before departing in the second.
Athletics: Chapman made another handful of stellar defensive plays at third base, one night after getting hit in the left hand by a 92.3 mph fastball from Astros reliever Collin McHugh.
Verlander (8-2, 2.58 ERA) makes his 15th start in the series finale for Houston on Thursday. Among qualifying pitchers, Verlander leads the majors in ERA and is second in innings pitched (93 1/3) and third in strikeouts (113). Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0, 1.25) goes for Oakland.
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