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It’s difficult to see two key members of the defense go down with injuries on just the fourth day of training camp.
Inside linebacker Jake Ryan, one of the team’s top run defenders, was carted off the field late in practice Monday with an apparent right leg injury. Kentrell Brice, a potential starter at safety, was carted off the field during a special teams drill, though the type of injury was unclear.
”Oh, man. That was bad, man. You hate to see that, especially as a player. That’s your brother Marcedes Lewis Jersey ,” safety Josh Jones said when asked about Brice.
Practice ended up being cut short early because of the threat of lightning. The injuries dampened the mood in the locker room.
Back inside Lambeau Field, Martinez gathered the rest of his position group together. Martinez (158) and Ryan (89) led the team in tackles last season.
After third-year pro Martinez and Ryan, who is in his fourth year, rookies fill the inside linebacker depth chart. Martinez called a position meeting to get everyone refocused.
”It just comes down to `What are we going to do now?”’ Martinez said in recounting his message. ”Or whatever your mindset is, what are you going to do to get better every day?”
Oren Burks, a third-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt, might play a bigger role if Ryan misses significant time. Burks played inside linebacker in college last season after taking on a hybrid linebacker/safety role as a junior. He played free safety as a sophomore.
The Packers are also making changes on defense after Mike Pettine replaced Dom Capers as coordinator. Martinez said that he’ll be checking on the rookies constantly to make sure they are up to speed.
”I know my goals for this season, our team goals for this season and I’m not going to let one injury kind of ruin that for us,” he said.
Brice appeared in line to take a starting job at safety following the offseason departure of veteran Morgan Burnett Phillip Gaines Jersey , who signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. Brice played six games with three starts last year before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury on Nov. 3. He played in all 16 games with one start as a rookie.
Coach Mike McCarthy likes Brice for his positional versatility, a trait that has become more important on defenses to help keep up with expanding passing attacks. The Packers are still deep at safety, where promising second-year player Jones might get more snaps if Brice misses a lot of time.
The defense must move on, as hard as that might be to do after a trying day.
”It’s kind of tough. You just do it because it’s part of your job. But in the back of your head, it’s always there though,” said cornerback Demetri Goodson, who came back from a serious knee injury earlier in his career.
Notes: Rookie CB Jaire Alexander picked off QB Aaron Rodgers over the middle during play action drills. The interception came two plays after Rodgers hit tight end Jimmy Graham in stride up the seam on a pretty pass for a big gain. … S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix intercepted Rodgers during a two-minute drill on a short pass over the middle that was tipped by Martinez. … RB Aaron Jones hopes to return to practice no later than Thursday. He said he tweaked his hamstring at practice on Saturday.
Sidney Crosby scored his fifth goal of the series and became the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ career postseason points leader in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.
The Penguins lead the first-round playoff series 3-1 as its shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 5.
Matt Murray stopped 26 shots for his second shutout of the series and the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins are a win away from playing in the second round for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
Crosby scored in the second period for a 4-0 lead and passed Pittsburgh owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux for most playoff points with 173. Crosby and the Penguins followed a 7-0 Game 1 win and a 5-1 Game 3 victory with another dominant outing.
Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang each scored to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead in the second and chase Flyers goalie Brian Elliott. Riley Sheahan made it 5-0 late in the third.
SHARKS 2, DUCKS 1
SAN JOSE Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , Calif. (AP) – Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal 9:09 into the third period, Martin Jones was spectacular in goal yet again, and San Jose Sharks completed a first-round sweep.
Hertl scored just 1:16 after the Ducks finally got a puck past Jones when he deflected a point shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic past John Gibson. San Jose then held on to advance to the second round against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Fourth-line winger Marcus Sorensen scored for the third straight game to open the scoring for San Jose and Jones did most of the rest of the work with 30 saves.
Andrew Cogliano scored the lone goal for the Ducks, who were outscored 16-4 in the series and swept for the first time since 1999 against Detroit. Gibson finished with 22 saves.
LIGHTNING 3, DEVILS 1
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Nikita Kucherov scored two goals, set up another and knocked New Jersey’s top defenseman out of the game with a big hit, and the Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of making the Devils‘ first trip to the playoffs in six years a short one.
J.T. Miller also scored and had two assists, and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped three breakaways in making 27 saves as the Lightning bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to tale a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Tampa Bay can wrap up the best-of-seven series in Game 5 at home on Saturday.
Kyle Palmieri scored on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Devils. Cory Schneider made 34 saves.
New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen was knocked out of the game on the hit by Kucherov late in the first. No penalty was called but Kucherov appeared to jump before hitting Vatanen in the shoulder and head area.
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DENVER (AP) – Filip Forsberg scored another creative goal, Pekka Rinne rebounded from a rocky performance with 31 saves, and Nashville withstood a furious rally by Colorado to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series.
Colton Sissons and Craig Smith also added goals for the Predators, who can close out the best-of-seven series Friday when it shifts back to Nashville for Game 5.
Rinne was solid early after being pulled from the last game. Cruising along and up 3-0, the Vezina Trophy finalist allowed Gabriel Landeskog’s 5-on-3 power-play goal in the third and another on Alexander Kerfoot’s tap-in off a rebound.
Colin Wilson nearly tied with about 2 minutes left when his shot appeared to hit the post. The Avalanche pulled backup goalie Andrew Hammond late, but couldn’t get the tying goal.
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