Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns collide

Lesnar and Reigns will come face to face en route to WrestleMania. (Author: Gardener)

Brock LesnarWith WrestleMania 38 just over two weeks away, SmackDown is taking place tonight at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Universal Champion Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Brock Lesnar clash tonight as they come face to face. At WWE's house show at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, Reigns attacked Lesnar, leaving him in a bloody mess. Last week Lesnar was out for blood and challenged Reigns to get in the ring. Instead, Paul Heyman interrupted Lesnar and said Reigns wasn't there that night. An enraged Lesnar then chased Heyman backwards, but Heyman escaped in a car. Three games have also been announced for tonight's show. Sasha Banks & Naomi take on Rhea Ripley & Liv Morgan, Kofi Kingston meets RIdge Holland and Drew McIntyre takes on The Viking Raiders against Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss & Jinder Mahal. They aired an in memory graphic for Scott Hall. They summarized Roman Reigns attacking Brock Lesnar at the MSG house show and Lesnar chasing Paul Heyman last week. Michael Cole noted that Pat McAfee was not allowed to touch Austin Theory, and management suggested he apologize to Theory. Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman and The Usos slowly walked to the ring. Reigns demanded that fans acknowledge him and he received a mixed reaction. Reigns boasted about attacking Lesnar in MSG and looks forward to smashing Lesnar tonight. Heyman interrupted and informed Reigns that weather patterns caused Lesnar's flight to remain grounded. Heyman announced that Lesnar would not be at the show tonight. Reigns claimed he was disappointed that he couldn't smash Lesnar. Suddenly, Heyman interrupted Reigns with more news. Reigns noted that fans are here to hear him speak. Heyman told Reigns that Lesnar's flight has landed and he is on his way. Reigns freaked out, handed the mic to Heyman and told him to wrap things up. He jumped out of the ring and took off with the Usos and Heyman. Cole and McAfee have run through the line-up for tonight. In the back, Reigns and the Usos jumped into their car. Reigns jumped in the car and Lesnar hit the windows with the forklift. Reigns, Heyman and The Usos were trapped in their SUV. Lesnar laughed at them and they escaped on the other side. No longer showing up for a grounded flight, Lesnar had just arrived at the airport when he showed up at the arena with a forklift. Reigns and the Usos ran to a second vehicle conveniently parked nearby with the keys inside. Lesnar ran over as they were about to drive off and pulled open the door. Reigns and The Usos drove out of the arena. Lesnar took the chair and walked to the ring. Lesnar jumped into the ring with the car door and destroyed it. Lesnar noted that he was out for blood and vowed to beat Reigns at WrestleMania. They recaped Rick Boogs' win over Jey Uso last week to secure a title shot for Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura at WrestleMania 38 against The Usos. Nakamura backed Humberto into the corner and followed with a running knee. Humberto got a side headlock, but Nakamura fought back. Angel blind tagged and jumped on top of Nakamura to gain control. Los Lotharios isolated Nakamura on their side of the ring, cutting him off from Boogs. Humberto tagged in and hit Boogs off the apron. Boogs came on and ran wildly on his heels. Boogs did ten reps with Humberto in the press slam before dropping him on Angel. They summed up Happy Corbin, Madcap Moss, Jinder Mahal and Shanky attacking The Viking Raiders last week. The heels then attacked Drew McIntrye until he fought them off. In the background, Megan Morant interviewed Corbin, Mahal, Shanky and Moss. Corbin claimed his plan went exactly as he wanted last week. Cole and McAfee admitted the joke was awful, but it gets better. The story of the match was that Corbin avoided McIntyre and was substituted every time he entered the ring. Cole pointed out that this match was supposed to take place last week. Erik jumped Shanky at the bell for the early advantage. Shanky fought back and tagged in Mahal. The heels isolated Ivar and Corbin taunted McIntyre until he got in the ring. Back from the break, Mahal firmly took control with a chin smack into Ivar. Ivar fought back, but Corbin prevented the tag. Corbin knocked out Ivar but he broke free and tagged in McIntyre. Corbin quickly substituted and jumped out of the ring. McIntyre ran, knocking Mahal out of the ring and hitting Shanky with a Michinoku driver. They repeated Ricochet's win over Sami Zayn last week to retain the Intercontinental Championship. In the background, Zayn claimed he should be champion, but he's not because of Johnny Knoxville. He challenged Knoxville to an Anything Goes match at WrestleMania. Banks had the early advantage after running around the corner into an arm drag. Morgan rolled up Banks for a near miss. Banks and Morgan both bet on a dropkick. Banks teased, shaking Morgan's hand but cornering her instead. Naomi hit a split-legged leg drop for a two count. Ripley tagged in and rocked Naomi's head with a dropkick to take over. Ripley was firmly in control until Banks made a blind tag. Banks rocked Ripley with a knee to the head and followed with a headscissors. Ripley and Morgan sent Banks and Naomi to the floor. Ripley followed with a cannonball off the apron as they switched to commercial. Back from the break, Ripley attempted a vertical suplex but Naomi was able to break free. Naomi dodged Ripley and hit a springboard kick. Banks and Morgan came on at the same time. Banks hits the double knees in the corner and hits a Meteora for a close near fall. Ripley followed up with a huge rocket dropkick on Banks for a close near fall. Ripley went for the riptide, but Banks hit a backstabber instead. Naomi hit Ripley with the split-legged moonsault, but Morgan stopped the pin attempt. Banks and Naomi double suplexed Ripley while Morgan double powerbombed them. Natalya and Shayna Baszler ran into the ring and attacked everyone for disqualification. Carmella and Zelina stepped in to help Natalya and Baszler. The champions posed alongside Baszler and Natalya. Baszler and Natalya stared at the champions. Johnny Knoxville responded to Sami Zayn's challenge from earlier. Knoxville noted that he once fought Butterbean and was KO'd. Knoxville accepted Zayn's challenge and burst out laughing. Cole and McAfee were discussing Knoxville and Zayn when Cole got a message from the back. McAfee noted that they're on the air live, and Cole assumed it might not be good news.


Bama signer throws no-hitter as Hewitt-Trussville wins 2

Check out the highlights of spring sports in the Birmingham area. (Author: Gardener)

BamaThe Class 7A (11-1) Huskies beat Mortimer Jordan 1-0 and Springville 3-0 after two outstanding pitching efforts. Alabama signee Riley Quick -- who is the reining Class 7A Pitcher of the Year -- threw a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts against Mortimer Jordan, while Baker Green had a 2-hit shutout with 9 strikeouts against Springville. Brett Moseley led the offensive with 3 hits, including a triple, and scored 2 runs against Springville. Brooks McRae had 2 hits and 3 RBIs in the game. Hoover (11-3) won three games last week against Vestavia Hills 7-2, Helena 6-3 and Hazel Green 9-2. Cade Carr was 2-on-3 with a home run and 3 RBIs against Vestavia Hills, while Andrew Batson was 2-on-3 with a triple and 2 RBIs, Lucas Steele was 2-on-3 with a double, and Carter Milliron was 2-on -3 -for 4. Brewer Smith clinched the win with 4 strikeouts in 5-1/3 innings. RJ Hamilton and Conner Prothro were both 2-3 against Helena while Hess Fridley was 1-3 with a triple and 2 RBIs. Jack Campbell scored the win, batting 6 with 2 earned runs in 4 innings. Colin Rengering was 3-on-4 with a double and 3 RBIs against Hazel Green and Luke McNeill was 2-on-2 with a double and 2 RBIs. Tyler Wilson took the win on the mound, not allowing any earned runs in 5 innings. Oak Mountain (9-5) won four games last week, defeating Brookwood 7-3, Briarwood 6-0 and beating Stanhope Elmore 2-1 in both games. Davis Gillespie had 3 hits and 2 RBIs for the week with an HR and threw a full game shutout against Briarwood. Taylor Bush was 4-on-13 with 4 RBIs and Maddox Macrory was 4-on-12 on plate with 3 RBIs and also threw a full game at Stanhope Elmore with 12 strikeouts and a walk. Spain Park (11-3) was 2-1 last week with a 7-3 win over Thompson and 5-1 over Gulf Shores, losing 11-1 to Auburn. Michael Glick was 4-for-10 with 2 carries and one RBI for the week while James Battersby was 3-for-8 with 2 RBIs and Evan Smallwood was 4-for-11 with 3 carries and 3 RBIs. John Robert Thompson pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 hits, an unearned run and knocked out 7 while walking 2 and earning the win over Gulf Shores. Jake Majors allowed 5 hits, a earned run and hit out 3 in 4 innings for the Thompson win. Vestavia Hills (10-4) was 3-1 last week with a 6-1 win over Austin and a double-header sweep from Thompson 14-6 and 2-0. Pierce Hanna had 2 homers and 4 RBIs for the week, while Thomas Watson hit .583 with 5 runs and 4 RBIs, and Aiden Black conceded 3 hits and no runs while striking 6 and one win in 6 innings. Shades Valley (7-8) was 3-2, beating Bessemer City 23-2 and 25-0 and Jackson-Olin 15-1 and losing to Mountain Brook 15-4 and McAdory 10-0. Prichard threw 3 unsuccessful innings and knocked out 5 while Chris Bishop threw 4 innings and allowed one hit and no runs. Hoover (9-5) defeated Brookwood 14-2 and lost to Austin 3-2 while Gracie Hillman was 3-for-4 with 3 stolen bases against Brookwood. Thompson (14-2) won four games last week, beating Oak Mountain 13-2, Tuscaloosa-County 14-0, McAdory 5-0 and Glencoe 8-0. Eleanor Deblock threw 9 innings with 12 strikeouts, allowed 3 hits and no runs earned, 2 wins and 1 save during the week. Chalea Clemmons was 7-on-12 on the plate with 4 doubles, 2 homers and 8 RBIs, Laney Williams was 8-on-10 with 5 doubles and a triple, Olivia Tinder was 7-on-11 with 3 doubles, a home run and 3 steals, and Dailyn Motes was 9-for-14 with 8 runs and 3 steals. Vestavia Hills (15-4) defeated Curry 8-4 in his only game last week. Miah Simmons earned the win by allowing 2 hits and 2 earned runs while striking 7 no walks in 4-2/3 innings. Calera (8-6) beat Pelham 12-3 in the area game and had 12 clean runs with 15 hits. Keara Hall was 4-on-4 with 2 RBIs and 3 carries (.481 season average), while Jordan Douglas was 2-on-3 with 3 RBIs and one home run (.560 season average) and Issy Overton was 2-on-3. 4 with 5 RBIs. Helena (12-3-3) won a game and tied twice, beating Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 6-5 in the regular season and tying Hartselle in a seven-inning scoreless game while tackling Mortimer Jordan in three innings a 3-all tie played Jag Classic tournament from Spain Park. Camryn Bailey had the win with 15 strikeouts while conceding 1 hit and no runs in 15 innings for the week. Sara Ezekiel was 6-for-8 with 2 doubles, a home run, 2 runs and 2 RBIs for the week. Homewood (7-3) was 2-1 with a 10-9 win over Pleasant Grove 10-9 last week on a game-winning RBI single from Zoe Couch, then beat Beat Pike Road 11-1 and fell with to Spain Park 11-0 . Hueytown (12-5) was 3-1 last week, beating Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa 12-11, Shades Valley 10-1 and Randolph County 9-3, losing to McAdory 8-5. Carene Whitehead allowed 3 hits and a run in 4 innings for the win. Cassidy Burton, Faith Byram, Karis Wallace were all 2 for 4 against McAdory and Kemp allowed a deserved run with 11 strikeouts in 6 innings. Mortimer Jordan (9-4-1) won three games last week, beating Springville 7-5, Hayden 4-2 and Hartselle 3-0. Maia Townsend hits .553 with 13 stolen bases in the season while Ainsley Grimes hits .457 with 3 homers. Payton Cox hit .750 with 3 hits, an RBI and 3 runs, Ava Tolbert hit .500 with a home run, double, 2 RBIs and a run and Jada Sargent had a hit with 3 RBIs. Pleasant Grove (9-3) beat Minor 20-0 and lost to Homewood 10-9 last week. Lailah Player made base 4-of-5 plate appearances with 2 singles and two walks against Homewood, while Monica Rose also made 4-of-5 appearances with 2 doubles, 2 walks and 3 RBIs. Kyah Clay had a home run walk with 4 RBIs. Second-place Mountain Brook (14-2-2, 1-0 area) won four games last week, beating area opponents Briarwood 3-1, Southside-Gadsden 4-0, Wetumpka 9-0 and Oak Mountain 1-0. Joe Armstrong had a goal and two assists against Briarwood, while Cam Hemstreet and Vance Phillips had one goal each. Phillips scored 3 goals against Southside, Jack Heaps had one goal and Finn Calloway had 2 assists. Heaps scored 3 goals against Wetumpka, John Montgomery had a goal and an assist, Calloway, Austin Davis, Stephen Lilly, Hurley Smith and Turner Holmes had a goal each, Armstrong had two assists, Phillips, Jack Welsh and Harradine added an assist each . Cole Knight scored the only goal against Oak Mountain from a Phillips assist. The Spartans host the high-level Homewood Tuesday at 7 p.m. Luke Miller scored 2 goals against Stanhope Elmore while Brock Marlow and Alejandro Hernandez had assists and Jackson Wells scored the shutout. Fourth-placed Pelham (10-3-0) beat Leeds 8-2 as Cristian Campos scored 3 goals and Kevin Garcia scored twice and had an assist. Fifth-placed Briarwood Christian (4-3-2) lost 8-0 to second-placed Mountain Brook and played seventh-placed Class 7A Spain Park to a goalless draw. Goalkeeper Savannah Sato made 10 saves against Spain Park to earn the shutout while Piper Eighmy and Bradford Latta played well defensively in the game. No.10 Helena (6-6-2) fell 2-0 to Northridge and defeated Calera 5-1 in the area game. Bailee Washington had 4 goals this week, while RK Hulsey had 1 goal and 2 assists and Miah Rosener and Abby Blevins had 1 assist each. Mountain Brook (10-0) beat Oak Mountain last week as Luke Schwefler, Thomas Austin, Max Gayden and Trey Stiles are undefeated for the season. Hoover defeated Oak Mountain 9-0 as No. 1 singles Laci Pyron, No. 2 Chinonye Mbanugo, No. 3 Kristina Hwangpo, No. 4 Abby Gobbels, No. 5 Sowmya Suresh and No. 6 Rachel Yuan all won.


Deshaun Watson joined the Cleveland Browns

Deshaun Watson joined Cleveland Browns: what's the impact of fantasy football? (Author: Gardener)

Deshaun WatsonOn Wednesday, I wrote that the Browns were reorganizing their offensive table for... someone. On Friday afternoon, Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson confirmed that after several twists and turns, the "someone" will end up being Deshaun Watson. The Browns will trade a three-first-rounder multi-pick package to Texans' Watson after the quarterback waived his no-trade clause to go to Cleveland. Keep in mind that while this NFL offseason feels like a month every day, it was less than 36 hours ago that the Browns were told they would not end up in the race for Watson. Of the four teams in contention, Cleveland appeared to have finished fourth. Now he's their quarterback for the foreseeable future. [Batter up: Join or Start a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League for Free Today] When the Browns came back, Watson offered what no other team would do, a fully guaranteed contract, but he changed his mind . This contract was the reason he flipped the script and chose Cleveland. It's amazing that after everything that's happened to Watson over the past few years ar not only would he hold all the power in choosing his next target, but ultimately be able to back these teams up for a massive, record-breaking contract extension as to hold hostages. It hammers in the reality that NFL teams will charge into the unknown when what awaits them on the other side is an answer at the quarterback position. We NFL fans and those who cover the league have to live with that and acknowledge it when we talk about Watson. The Browns won't be able to avoid him either. Both Watson and his legal team have made it clear that they intend to fight for his innocence. There's also a strong possibility that Watson will face an NFL suspension despite avoiding criminal charges. We've seen players like Ben Roethlisberger and Ezekiel Elliott get banned for four to six games despite never being prosecuted. Watson could end up receiving a similar punishment from the league office. The Browns even went so far as to structure his contract to financially protect him in the event he is suspended. [Try Yahoo Fantasy Plus for free for top baseball draft tools and more] Everything that's followed Watson over the past year will continue to haunt the player for the foreseeable future. Neither Watson nor the Browns will be able to avoid it. From an on-field perspective, the Browns made such dramatic financial efforts to storm through the abyss not just because they needed an answer, but because the answer was Watson. Uniquely young and talented for any quarterback ever commercially available, someone like him never makes it to the open market. Cleveland had an opportunity not only to avoid quarterback purgatory with a Baker-Mayfield type, not just to just skip the step of quarterback wilderness entirely, but to take the leap into a class of quarterbacks this franchise has never known has - in one fell swoop. A quarterback like Watson changes the perspective of every team he plays for the moment he steps onto the field. Whatever your projection model would have thought the Browns had with Mayfield or a Jimmy Garoppolo/Matt Ryan-esque pivot, throw these out the window. Watson changed the outlook for a Texas team that was once stuck in the mud for years as a quarterback and recorded playoff births in both 2018 and 2019. Even as Houston performed embarrassing surgery around him in 2020, Watson ranked second in adjusted yards per attempt. Wide receiver Will Fuller was enjoying a career season that year, while running mate Brandin Cooks had one of his best with 81 catches for 1,150 yards. Watson is a talent lift — and now he's bringing those powers to Cleveland. A dynamic rushing attack will now enjoy the extra wrinkle of a quarterback who has rushed for 400 yards in three straight seasons, averaged 5.5 yards per carry and has 17 goals in his career. Nick Chubb is an electric talent who hardly needed the jolt to new status, but touchdown potential just went through the roof for a back who was RB11 last season. All running backs benefit from playing on an offense led by an elite quarterback. Chubb will be no exception, as will Kareem Hunt if he's still on the list, or D'Ernest Johnson if he takes his place in the event Hunt is postponed. Nick Chubb will receive his transfers from Deshaun Watson in 2022. The Browns already had one of the best rushing ecosystems in the NFL, and that's been a poor-to-solid quarterback game for the past two years. Watson will also take control of a redesigned passing attack, led by Amari Cooper at external receiver. Watson will operate behind the protection of one of the NFL's premier offensive lines. Cooper faced a possible fantasy downgrade after moving from Cleveland to Dallas. He is now set to inherit the dominant goal share of an offense from Deshaun Watson. Even though Cooper is a flawed and volatile player, he's a speed threat that will thrive in the deep areas. He needed that kind of quarterback move to really unlock him. Cooper won't be Cleveland's last wide receiver. Watson is clearly influential in this organization now and several players will be lining up to offer their services. This is a far better offensive ecosystem than what he left in Houston. All of this, of course, is subject to the massive caveat: 'if Watson plays'. Obviously the team is ready based on that contract. So all the rosy things we've said about these Browns players only apply when this transformative talent hits the turf. Until then, Chubb and the backfield can be projected as they would with a Mayfield or slightly worse talent in tow. Cooper will be a volatile receiver with a low weekly floor as you'll be betting on efficiency over volume with a lower passer and unlikely anyone else will be a starting option until Watson plays. Drafting a Browns player becomes difficult with Watson suspended. The Browns chose this trip. If you don't think it's worth the trouble for your fake football team, there isn't a soul in the world who would believe it's a necessity to talk you out of it. The AFC numbers will be a KO fight for the coming year and for most of the next decade. The level of talent, youth, or a mix of both at the quarterback position has sent multiple teams in an all-out race to compete. No team has taken a bigger, more unprecedented momentum than the Cleveland Browns. As of today, they inherit Watson and everything that comes with him.


Watson picks Browns for $230m

Texas quarterback Deshaun Watson has decided he wants to play for the Browns, who will give him a new five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. (Author: Gardener)

BrownsHouston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has decided he wants to play for the Cleveland Browns, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Browns and Texans are still finalizing trade compensation, but the Texans are expected to receive three first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick while sending a fifth-round pick back to Cleveland along with Watson, League sources told ESPN . The Browns will also hand Watson a new five-year, $230 million contract, sources told Schefter. The full $230 million is guaranteed, sources said, setting a record for the highest guarantee given to an NFL player. Watson has informed Texans that he is willing to waive his no-trade clause to treat Cleveland, sources said. The 26-year-old quarterback appeared to confirm the decision with an Instagram post that showed Watson in a Browns uniform. A Watson move to the Browns would also give Quarterback Baker Mayfield a chance to find a new team. Mayfield had requested a trade out of Cleveland, he told Schefter earlier this week, but a source previously told ESPN's Jake Trotter the Browns would not be honoring that request. The Browns -- as did the Carolina Panthers -- had believed they were out of the running for Watson, who had also considered joining the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Browns officials met with Watson in Houston on Tuesday. After missing out on Watson, the Saints are expected to consider re-signing free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston, sources said Schefter. Watson did not play last season after an off-season swap request was made and 22 lawsuits were filed against him alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. But a Texas grand jury last Friday declined to indict Watson on criminal charges, signaling the end of the Harris County criminal case against him. Watson was selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft after the Texans traded with the Browns to move up to the 12th pick. Watson is scheduled to return to Houston in the 2022 season when the Browns play with the Texans. Ahead of Tuesday's meeting with the Browns, Watson was answering questions about two of the 22 lawsuits filed against him while testimony is pending, plaintiffs' attorney Tony Buzbee told KHOU 11. Watson had invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, as he sat for him two negotiation sessions that began on Friday. "I'm just going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my image in the community," Watson said Friday after the grand jury's decision, speaking to reporters for the first time in over a year. While he will not be prosecuted, Watson could still be penalized by the NFL, and the 22 civil cases against him remain active. A league spokesman investigating Watson under his personal conduct policy said in a statement last Friday, "We have been closely monitoring all developments on the matter." Watson asked the Texans to trade him in January 2021, citing the process , with whom Houston hired new general manager Nick Caserio earlier this month. The first lawsuit against Watson was filed in March 2021, and he was a healthy scratch in all 17 games last season while earning his $10.54 million base salary. A Pro Bowler for three consecutive seasons prior to 2021, Watson would join a Browns offense that boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the league, led by Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb. Following the news that Watson had chosen Cleveland as his preferred destination, the Browns' odds of winning the Super Bowl increased from 40-1 to 20-1, while their odds of winning the AFC increased from 18-1 10:1 increased. He became only the third quarterback in NFL history to play with the same team for four head coaches in his first three seasons in the league. Mayfield bounced back and led Cleveland to their first playoff win in 26 years in the 2020 season.


Looking for a new dance partner for Aaron Rodgers

Davante Adams is now a Las Vegas Raider. What could his old team look like to replace his production in the passing game? (Author: Gardener)

Davante AdamsTurns out, the idea of ​​Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams having one last dance in Green Bay actually came true. Though Rodgers is returning to the Packers on a new contract, his favorite passing target now has a new home. After telling Green Bay he would not be playing under the franchise tag this season, Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for two first-round picks. The move reunites Adams with his college quarterback, Derek Carr, while also creating a large hole in the Packers offense. So the Green Bay Packers can try to replace Adams in the passing game. Adams was just one of a handful of Packers wide receivers to take on the free hand this offseason. Randall Cobb and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both entered the offseason as unrestricted free agents, while Allen Lazard is a restricted free agent. The Packers have already settled with Cobb and signed him to a new contract that included a pay cut to help Green Bay get below the salary cap. Green Bay also wrote out Lazard in the second round, likely ensuring he returns to green and gold for next season. Following the Adams trade, the Packers are reportedly keen on bringing back Valdes-Scantling for 2022: While Valdes-Scantling might be the obvious choice for a current Packers receiver to try to fill Adams' shoes on offense, don't do it sleep on an elevated role for Lazard. Lazard has seen his role on the Packers offense grow over time, and last season he posted career-best numbers in games started, goals, receptions, yards and touchdowns. Trust between Rodgers and his receivers. This is a big reason why the Rodgers-Adams connection was so impressive, as the two knew exactly what the other was thinking. You see flashes of that chemistry in games like this one from last season, with Lazard pulling a double and Rodgers throwing that throw to the back shoulder where only the receiver can make a play: Whether Valdes-scantling returns or not, she can make a bigger one Expect role for Lazard in Packers passing game. But that may not be the only solution to replacing the production lost by Adams, and the Packers may still need to look outside the building for additional help. While the spectacular signings get the most attention during the "legal manipulation period," teams often do their best work during the secondary or even tertiary phase of free decision-making. There are still viable options on the open market for teams that need to add a pass catcher or two. Julio Jones, recently released by the Tennessee Titans. Jamison Crowder, a reliable off-slot option, JuJu Smith-Schuster is another off-slot option, as is the recently released Cole Beasley. Having spent his last two seasons under Kevin Stefanski, there are many similarities between the offense he ran in Cleveland and what the Packers are doing under Matt LaFleur. Games like this, with Landry working on a game-action design across the field, are concepts he'll execute with the Packers on Day 1 in Green Bay: an opportunity to add a receiver and a head start on all-important chemistry gaining between WR and QB is finding someone with experience in the offensive system, which eases the learning curve. Given Landry's time on Stefanski's offense, his adjustment to life in LaFleur's system would be relatively easy, which would also make it easier for him to create much-needed chemistry with Rodgers. Of course, the same could be said of Beckham, who spent the past two seasons with Stefanski and then wrapped up his 2021 season in Los Angeles under Sean McVay. Both offenses bear similarities to what the Packers are running under LaFleur, and with Green Bay attempting to land Beckham last season after his departure from Cleveland, a Packers-Beckham pairing might also make sense. However, if Green Bay wants to add a Los Angeles-area receiver, they might want to call the Rams about another option. With the addition of Allen Robinson, the emergence of Cooper Kupp and a possible return of Beckham to the Rams, there could be an opportunity for the Packers to trade Woods. The receiver was a key component to the Rams' early success last season, and his experience on McVay's offense would also be a boost if he were to join the Packers and help with their passing game. Last season, the Packers used Adams at stretches like this, and you can see Woods take on that role right away with Green Bay: Then there's what Woods brings to the table for the running game. McVay has used Woods as a blocker on various running concepts by the Rams this past season, and his ability to start runs translates well to what the Packers want from their receivers. Take games like this where Woods inserts inside and takes a safety to get fit on the run: Now that the Packers have a pair of first-round picks, including a pick at 22 overall, it's easy to think the team will add a wide receiver with at least one of those picks. For years, analysts have speculated that the Packers would use an early-round pick on a wide receiver. Including the year Green Bay was traded in the first round to draft... quarterback Jordan Love. Given what the Packers are doing on offense, any desire to add a receiver early in the draft could see the Green Bay Brain Trust spending next Wednesday in beautiful Columbus, Ohio. This is Ohio State Pro Day, after all. The Buckeyes have two wide receivers in this year's draft, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. While others might prefer Drake London or Treylon Burks, Wilson and Olave could be the kind of playmakers the Packers are looking for to fit into their offense. Both players are explosive athletes with the ability to create big plays in the passing game. Perhaps the better pure route runner, Olave has the ability to follow football well on downfield throws. In that game against Michigan State, he runs out of the left slot, and after working through the jam attempt from the corner -- and showing good pace on his route -- he tracks the ball perfectly over his shoulder and turns on an incredible catch On the sidelines: Then there's Wilson, who had a great season for the Buckeyes last year with 12 touchdown receptions. While Olave could offer more as a route runner, Wilson is the explosive ball winner who could pair well with Rodgers while mimicking what Adams was able to do at catch point. That trait of Wilson showed up in games like this one against Michigan, when the receiver would hover over the defender to initiate the throw for a touchdown: Adams is a silky smooth receiver with impressive catch point skills, traits that served him well during his time in Green Bay with Rodgers. Both Olave and Wilson have a foundation of these traits and the potential to develop them as they begin their NFL careers. If the Packers address the receiver early in this draft, don't be surprised if a Buckeye finds its way to Lambeau Field. It's hard to replace a receiver like Adams in the passing game. But this NFL offseason presents the Packers with a number of options, both internally and externally and through the draft. If they were smart, the Packers would add a few different options, whether it be via trade, free agency and/or the draft, to try and find the best pairing for Rodgers in the passing game.


Capable but beatable Tide can shape the season's legacy

Alabama are favored to beat the Irish and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament, but an unpredictable season could end on Friday. (Author: Gardener)

TideSmiling basketball players and staff from Alabama gathered on center field after practice Thursday afternoon, gazing up at a photographer in the steep-pitched seating bowl of Viejas Arena. How the team captured in the photo will be remembered in the history of the program will be complicated, but Friday's game against Notre Dame will go a long way in defining its legacy. Notre Dame can't wait to play Alabama after double overtime and a play-in win over Rutgers. Will the 2021-22 version of the Tide be known as the team that unleashed its potential by beating three of the country's best opponents? only to lose his last four games and be upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament? Or will it be viewed as an inconsistent but capable group that pulled things together to win when it mattered most? This question will linger until 3:15 p.m. on another day. CT hints at Alabama's first-round game, but on Thursday, Alabama's players seemed content with where their season had taken them -- the school's first straight NCAA tournament appearances since 2005-06. "I don't think we have too much to prove," security guard Jaden Shackelford said. And we go out with a fresh attitude to do our best. I don't think we necessarily have to prove anything, but we have to go out there and prove to ourselves that we can play for 40 minutes, play hard and do our best.” But all of that is in the past and we have to come out and do it at March Madness tournament again.” Everyone knows what Alabama did when it beat Gonzaga, Houston and Baylor earlier this season. But losses to Texas A&M and LSU, then Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament, were added to even more enigmatic losses in Georgia and Missouri for the résumé of a "very beatable team," like Vandy Alabama's Scotty Pippen, Jr. ahead of his team named hit the higher seeded tide in last week's SEC tournament. After Notre Dame defeated Rutgers in the final two seconds of double overtime early Thursday morning, Ireland guard Cormac Ryan was asked for his "initial thoughts" on the Alabama encounter. Oats gave Ryan the benefit of the doubt by expressing more of his excitement at advancing in the tournament than his eagerness to score Alabama, but Oats conceded that Pippen's testimony was direct -- and his players ultimately failed to prove Pippen wrong . "If it's something where they wanted Alabama, our guys can use it for a little extra motivation, that's fine," Oats said Thursday. "But at the end of the day, Pippen's statements may have motivated our boys more. We still have to go out and play right and win the game. Our kids played hard, but we didn't play very smart. Various issues have plagued Alabama in its 13 losses this season, the second-highest in the NCAA tournament after Michigan's 14, angering Colorado State on Thursday to advance to the second round. But if Alabama brought a turnover-prone and streaky offense to San Diego — or a lax defense that has irritated Oats this season — then Alabama's season could end as the last No. 6 to be brought down by a No. 6. 11 seeds. Likely reflecting Alabama's inconsistency and recent struggles, there's little fuss that Tide is making a deep run in the NCAA tournament, even if it can get past Notre Dame on Friday. The average odds for Alabama of winning the national championship are +13125, or higher odds than West Coast Conference Saint Mary's or LSU, who enter the tournament without fired coach Will Wade, according to VegasInsider. But Alabama is still a four-point favorite to beat Notre Dame and was picked to win on 71.1 percent of ESPN fan brackets, many of which were likely filled before Alabama's opponents between the Irish and Rutgers was decided. "There's a really good team," Oats said of Notre Dame. “Beating Rutgers last night, Rutgers is tough. If you look at all the wins that Rutgers had mid-season and late-season, it shows you how tough they are when they beat Rutgers in a game like this. "They don't turn the ball over. Anyway, we weren't a team that moves people a lot. “But we must try to make them a little uncomfortable. We don't want to give them open shots. They also don't miss too many open shots. But they're a really talented attacking group with a high IQ. “Defensively, they don't foul a lot. you are so smart They're one of the better teams in the country when it comes to forcing you into long twos. We're one of the better teams in the country when it comes to not taking too many shots from mid-range. Can we subtract 3 seconds against the way they play? Notre Dame's play-in game in Dayton, Ohio, did not end until after midnight on Thursday. After five hours of flying, the Irish train in San Diego on Thursday evening before the game on Friday afternoon. "They're not quite as deep as we are and they're getting away with having to play Wednesday and then Friday," Oats said. But they also control the tempo pretty well and don't play particularly fast. Mike Rodak is an Alabama beat reporter for the Alabama Media Group.


7 albums to stream this week

Drain Gang's Bladee and ecco2k share a joint release, Charli XCX releases her highly anticipated album and Rosalía flexes her vocal range on Motomami (Author: Gardener)

this week"Here comes the feeling that you should never let it go," Bladee sings on the opening track of Crest, the rapper's collaborative album with fellow Drain gang ecco2k. Released at the height of the Swedish collective's world tour, the album is the sound of the disillusioned and incurable online youth everywhere. Across nine intricate tracks, Bladee and ecco2k capture the elusive group's youthful nihilism with existentially light lyrics and trance-like synth lines. Dedicated to their late friend and producer Vattenrum, Bladee and ecco2k fuse religious iconography with playful nihilism. Later tracks like "Desire Is a Trap" and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" are melodic dance-pop bangers with a hint of dreaminess. With a highly dedicated fanbase, endless meme accounts, and their own clothing line, Drain Gang already has a cult following. But Crest signals an LVL surge on the group's path to global dominance. Elsewhere, Charli XCX is releasing her much-anticipated album, Rosalía is showing off her vocal range on Motomami and Midwxst is releasing a frenetic EP.


Mild Friday before rain and more sun at the weekend

Ahead of warm temperatures expected to hit the low 70s on Friday, The National... (Author: Gardener)

FridayWith temperatures expected to hit the 70s in some parts of the state on Friday, March could feel more like May ahead of the weekend. The National Weather Service warns that some parts of the state could see areas of fog in the morning hours before about 10 a.m. A heavy fog alert was issued for Litchfield County in the state's northwest, and the agency warned in a bulletin that motorists "should exercise caution and be prepared for rapidly changing visibility." After the fog clears, the should clearing sky in the afternoon. Temperatures should rise into the low 70s in the eastern regions of the state, with slightly cooler temperatures in the west and along the coast. The sun and mild temperatures will be short-lived, however, and more rain is on the horizon for Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Thunderstorms are possible in the afternoon, with a high in the mid 50's. The rain is expected to clear up on Saturday night, giving way to more sun and slightly cooler temperatures on Sunday. Mid Sunday is expected to reach into the high 50s with breezy winds of 5 to 15 mph. Police arrest a Stamford man on gun crime charges and are investigating him for 'possible' links to recent shootings. The Best Stamford-Area Restaurants for 2022, According to Connecticut Magazine Sign up for our free seven-day newsletter course on legal cannabis in Connecticut. Sunday night temperatures should drop into the upper 30s but hover just above freezing with partly cloudy skies. Monday will see more sun with a high in the low 50s. Stamford is planning a new course to help freshmen adjust to high school


If you feel rejected by the church, Jesus knows your pain

A Reflection for the Friday of the Second Week of Lent, by Keara Hanlon. (Author: Gardener)

FridayIf you had told me when I was 14 that I was going to work for a Catholic magazine and write a reflection for Lent, I would have said you were crazy. At that age I felt like I had so much faith and couldn't take it anywhere. I loved God, but I hated spending time with his people because I kept feeling rejected. At church, the sermons were more like rants. During "Respect Life Month," the sermon descended into a sidebar where families seeking fertility assistance disregard the will of God because, like Nazis, they want to pick and choose a child's facial features so they have blonde hair and blue eyes. Aside from presenting a fantastic misunderstanding of how fertility support actually works, the sermon was really hurtful to my parents who had needed medical help to get my sister and I. I went to confirmation class because my parents said I could stop attending youth group after I finished the sacrament. I hated the youth group. During the two hours we were allowed to ask questions, I was frequently scolded for being genuinely curious by people who believed my questions to be a sign of a disturbing lack of faith rather than a genuine desire to learn more about a god, who i loved . “Were you raised Catholic at all?” someone asked me. Readings like today's remind me why I stayed when it would have been easier to leave the church. The first reading is an important reminder that one of the most painful forms of rejection we face comes from our own brothers (and sisters) in Christ. In the spaces where we should feel safe, loved, and supported, rejection is most upsetting and damaging. Betrayal hurts worst when it comes from our own community, like Joseph's own brothers selling him for 20 pieces of silver. Luckily, if there's anyone who understands rejection, it's Jesus. Like Joseph in the first reading and the landowner's son in the gospel parable, Jesus faced jealousy, hatred, and rejection from his own people. It was not strangers who crucified Jesus, but those who once loved and welcomed him. In the moments when I struggle most deeply with my relationship with the Church, I find comfort in Jesus' love for me, which I have always known was there. As the priest raged from the pulpit, Jesus looked upon my family with mercy and understanding of what it is like to be expelled from one's community. When I was being punished for my questions in youth group, Jesus was there too and reminded me of Matthew 18:3: "...become like little children." What are children if not innocently curious? For Catholics like me who struggle with feeling rejected by their church, I feel your pain. For Catholics like me who struggle with feeling rejected by their church, I feel your pain. The good news is, so does Jesus. The good news is, so does Jesus. What do you give up during Lent? However, conversations with other staff this Lent have encouraged me to focus on the joy of the resurrection rather than the suffering that seems to permeate the season, so I'm not giving up anything this year. The anniversary of a friend's suicide coincides with Lent every year, and that can make it all too easy to focus on the sadness of the season. This year I make a special effort to focus on the promise of eternal life that comes from Jesus' sacrifice and God's mercy. The gospel song "God So Loved the World" gives me goosebumps. His lyrics strike a beautiful balance between acknowledging the sacrifice and suffering present in Christ's death while truly celebrating the resurrection that is sometimes overlooked.


Feel good Friday

A grandmother's love... put on paper (Author: Gardener)

FridayJanis Kay says she struggled for years to find a way to help her 15-year-old granddaughter Jillian Szenderski, who was born deaf in both ears. “U of M diagnosed an additional syndrome called Usher Syndrome. And it's the leading cause of deafness/blindness worldwide," Kay explained. Jillian underwent a series of surgeries as a toddler and was fitted with hearing aids at the tender age of two. Despite this, she often tries to explain something that so few understand. "If I trip over things when I don't hear anything at school, they say, 'What's up?' I tell them and they just ask me, 'You don't look like you're deaf,'" she said softly. Then Grandma Janis had a dream in which she told her to put all her thoughts and feelings in a book – something the former English major had never done. She submitted her draft of "Jilly's Journey" to a number of publishers and was shocked to learn that one of them accepted her project. "And then when I was looking for an illustrator, I thought of my other famous granddaughter," she said, laughing. That would be St. Ursula Academy freshman Gabi Sterling. Something a lot bigger than me," Sterling explained. Janis says the book aims to raise awareness and inspire understanding and kindness for those fighting private battles. Jilly's Journey is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Janis says she plans to donate every penny she earns from sales to Usher Syndrome research. If you have an idea for Feel Good Friday with Sashem Brey, submit it by clicking here. Please include the title when you click here to report it.