Milwaukee kept it rolling Thursday night, finishing off a sweep of Pittsburgh with a 12-0 win.
It was a tight game until the sixth inning when the Brewers exploded for five runs and took a 6-0 lead. Rowdy Tellez got it going with an RBI double, and that was followed by a Tyrone Taylor double that scored a run. Manny Pina blew the game open later in the inning with a three-run homer. Tellez would add a solo home run in the seventh, while Pina drilled another home run in the eighth inning, this time a two-run shot. It gave Pina, who came in batting just .135 this season, a career-high five RBI in the game.
That offense was more than enough for Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta. The All-Star went six innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five. It was his 12th start of allowing two or fewer hits in a game and it moved him to 8-3 on the year.
Making his first appearance since coming off the 10-day injured list, reliever Devin Williams pitched a perfect eighth inning.
Milwaukee outscored Pittsburgh 28-3 in the three-game series and the sweep was its second of the Pirates this season.
The Brewers moved to a season-best 19 games above .500 and maintained their 7-game lead on Cincinnati in the NL Central. They will now head to Atlanta to face the Braves in a weekend series starting Friday.
by Zach Heilprin
The Packers were in the field for the second practice of training camp Thursday and there were a couple big plays in the passing game that stood out during team drills.
On the first pass of the session, quarterback Aaron Rodgers floated one up to wide receiver Juwann Winfree, who had gotten behind the secondary. The ball seemed to stay in the air forever before it landed in Winfree's hands for what would have been a long touchdown. A sixth-round pick by Denver in 2019, Winfree had some really good days during OTAs and has continued it the first two days of training camp.
Later, it was Rodgers and Adams hooking up on a deep ball down the left sideline. It appeared for a second that safety Darnell Savage was going to get over and make a diving interception, but somehow the ball found its way into Adams' hands for a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch. He took off for what would have also been a long gain or a score.
Rodgers took 23 reps over the course of the practice in team drills, going 9-for-15. His only real miss came on a miscommunication with Adams, while the only ball that came close to getting intercepted was on an out to tight end Jace Sternberger. Cornerback Jaire Alexander got his fingertips on it but it was too high for him to pull in.
Backup Jordan Love got 19 snaps working with the second- and third-team units. He went 5-for-9, with his best throw probably being his first of the day when he tossed a dart over the middle to Devin Funchess for a nice gain. Love did throw the first interception of camp, sailing a pass by his intended receiver into the hands of linebacker Ty Summers.
* Randall Cobb was wearing someone else's helmet and cleats, but he was on the field for his first practice since being traded to Green Bay from Houston. Cobb, who spent his first eight years in the NFL with the Packers, didn't see any time in team drills, but did do individual work. It's worth noting that Rodgers made sure to be the quarterback on each of Cobb's reps.
* David Bakhtiari is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, so it caught some folks off-guard when a tall guy with hair flowing out of his helmet took the field wearing the No. 69 jersey with Bakhtiari on the back. It became clear pretty quickly it wasn't the All-Pro left tackle but instead the newly signed Dennis Kelly.
Kelly and Bakhtiari do look like family, even if the former is several inches taller than the latter.
Bakhtiari finished off the joke but coming out to the field late in practice wearing Kelly's No. 79 jersey.
* Former Wisconsin offensive linemen Cole Van Lanen and Jon Dietzen got some work with the second- and third-team groups. Van Lanen was working at left tackle, the spot he played for the Badgers. Most think, if he's going to make the roster, it'll be at one of the guard spots. Dietzen, an undrafted free agent, saw time at right guard on Thursday.
Davante Adams wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL. He said as much Wednesday afternoon. Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst agrees that the 2020 All-Pro deserves to be that. So why hasn't a deal gotten done?
"It's how you interpret what the highest wide receiver in the National Football League is getting paid," Gutekunst said Thursday morning. "Certainly, I agree with him. He's definitely worth that and we believe that as well. I think there might be just a little difference in what we believe is the highest-paid wide receiver and what he might."
Adams' side will point to Deandre Hopkins as the highest-paid wide receiver in the game. When he got traded to Arizona before last season, the Cardinals gave him a contract extension that gave him two more years and $54 million of new money. His average salary is $27.25 million. That's more than $5 million more than the next highest-paid guy -- Julio Jones -- at $22 million.
"We value him. He's such a great player," Gutekunst said. "He's a warrior when he goes out there. Obviously we would like to figure something out. We'll continue to work on that as we go."
Adams has just one year left on his deal and was clearly bothered that they were unable to come to an agreement over the last few months. If the two sides can't come to a deal, the Packers could use the franchise tag on him, though their salary cap issues after this season may hinder their ability to do so.
Randall Cobb didn't mean it as a dig at his previous team. But after spending two years away from Green Bay, one in Dallas and another in Houston, the wide receiver was clearly glad the Texans traded him to the Packers for a reported sixth-round pick.
"I can breathe again. I've seen the other side. And I'm excited to be back here," Cobb said Thursday after his first training camp practice. "I'm smiling. It's funny, my teammates are saying, 'You act like you just got out of prison.' I said, 'well, you know.' I'm very, very, very excited to be here.
"And that's nothing against Houston. Whenever I talk about that I'm thinking of Green Bay is like a Fortune 500 company and the Texans are new franchise that's a startup, figuring out their way."
Cobb hit the field Thursday with Davante Adams' arm draped over his shoulder and a huge smile on his face. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a point of making sure he was the one throwing to Cobb during individual drills. He was wearing someone else's helmet and cleats because his hadn't arrived yet, but it all felt very familiar, as the Kentucky product returned to the place he played his first eight years in the NFL after being a second-round pick in 2011. He ranks seventh in franchise history with 470 catches, while his 5,524 yards is 12th all-time, as are his 41 receiving touchdowns.
The Packers let him walk in free agency after an injury plagued 2018 season and general manager Brian Gutekunst admitted that if not for Rodgers using what the quarterback hopes is a new found role in personnel conversations, it wouldn't have happened.
“I think that is a big part of it," Gutekunst said of making the move to make Rodgers happy. "Obviously without Aaron I don’t think we would probably be pursuing that. Randall is still a really good player. Seeing him last night just reminded me what an impact he’ll have in our locker room and for our football team. But this was a very important thing for Aaron and that’s why we did it."
For Cobb, that answer brought him back to the feelings around his departure in free agency, one in which he never got a call from the Packers to potentially bring him back at a reduced salary. Instead, he signed with the Cowboys.
"We're here, I'm back and that's in the past. It's about today, it's about moving forward. It's about being the best that we can be today for this team and try to find a way to win a championship," Cobb said. "None of this stuff matters. We can talk about it all we want. There can be stories on it, can say whatever you want, but I'm going to come here I'm going to do my job. I'm going to be the best teammate I can be. I'm going to continue to be the person that I am. And hopefully I can bring some positivity and some energy around and be who I am."
Cobb admitted he got emotional as he returned, even shedding a few tears when he got into town Wednesday night. It was a moment he wasn't sure would come, though he and Rodgers spoke a lot about potentially playing together again. Cobb added that the idea of Rodgers retiring this offseason was very real and that he thought about it as well. But the two very good friends talked each other through those feelings and determined they wanted to keep going.
"Just being able to hash it out together and have an understanding of what we want to accomplish," Cobb said. "As time went on, realizing how much love we still have for this game, and situations change and opportunities arise, and I'm just glad to be a part of this opportunity that we have before us this year."
The soon-to-be 31-year-old Cobb is returning to a team that looks a little bit different in the wide receiver room. Davante Adams has ascended to be the top player at his position in the NFL. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have both produced at a high level at times. There is a veteran in Devin Funchess and a rookie third-round pick in Amari Rodgers. Add in weapons like running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, along with a productive tight end like Robert Tonyan, and there may not be a ton of opportunities for Cobb.
"I'm a piece of this puzzle, I'm not the whole picture. I'm a very small piece," Cobb said. "I don't care about how many snaps I get, I don't care how many catches, I don't care how many yards or touchdowns. If you don't know that about me by now, I don't know what else to tell you. I'm here to win a championship for the football team. I don't care about Pro Bowls, I don't care about All-Pro, I don't care about any of those things. It's about finding a way to win a championship and doing my piece, whether it be on the field or mentoring or leadership or special teams, whatever is asked of me, I will be there and I'll do it."
After two years away, Randall Cobb is returning to Green Bay.
The news broke Tuesday about the Packers trading with Houston for the wide receiver. On Wednesday, Cobb and Packers confirmed he'd be coming home to the place he started his career in 2011 as a second-round pick.
According to Tom Pellisero of the NFL Network, the Packers are sending a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Texans, who will pay $3 million of his salary. That would leave Green Bay to pick up the remaining roughly $5 million, though ESPN's Rob Demovsky is reporting the salary cap hit will only be $3 million this year for the soon-to-be 31-year-old.
"Well I'm really excited Randall is coming back," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "He's obviously a dear friend and a guy I still believe in that can really play.
"To get Randall back is really special. It's something that that I talked about back in February [with team management], wanting to bring in a true slot receiver I thought would make our offense more dynamic. And I think Randall is a dynamic player. He has been when he's been healthy."
Cobb had been in Green Bay for three seasons when Davante Adams arrived in 2014, also as a second-round pick. The two, along with Jordy Nelson, formed one of the premier wide receiver units in the NFL.
"I'm ecstatic, man," Adams said with a huge smile. "I'm just waiting on Jordy now, and we will be complete. We'll have the whole 187 back."
Cobb struggled with injuries in his final year with the Packers, playing in just nine games and catching only 38 passes. He bounced back for the most part in Dallas and Houston the last two years, playing 25 of a possible 32 games. He caught 93 passes and had six touchdowns.
"He can add a lot to this room," Adams said. "He's got a lot left in the tank, back healthy from from last year."
Packers adding veteran tackle
Green Bay's offensive line will be getting a boost in the form of tackle Dennis Kelly, according to Pelissero.
A 16-game starter last season for Tennessee, Kelly will be a valuable addition, potentially in the same way Rick Wagner was a year ago. Kelly can play right tackle, which would allow Billy Turner to play left tackle until All-Pro David Bakhtiari is ready to return from a torn ACL suffered in December. Turner lined up at right tackle during practice Wednesday, with Elgton Jenkins at left tackle. Jenkins has played every spot on the line but seems his best spot would be left guard or center.
Bakhtiari started training camp on the physically unable to perform list and there has been no timetable set on when he'll be able to return.
Milwaukee is reportedly adding some pop to its lineup.
As first reported by ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Brewers traded for Arizona infielder Eduardo Escobar in advance of Friday's trade deadline.
The 32-year-old Escobar was a first-time All-Star this year for the Diamondbacks. He's batting .246 with 22 home runs and 65 RBI. The latter two stats would rank first on Milwaukee's roster.
“We are excited to add Eduardo to our team,” said David Stearns, Milwaukee's President of Baseball Operations. “His veteran presence, offensive ability and positional versatility will be a benefit as we continue our push for a playoff berth and postseason run.”
Escobar is a versatile defender, seeing a majority of his time at third base and second base, though he got one start at shortstop this season as well.
Milwaukee will send prospects Cooper Hummel and Alberto Ciprian back to Arizona in the trade.
Davante Adams played like the best wide receiver in the NFL in 2020. The Green Bay Packers veteran now wants to be paid like it.
Speaking for the first time since reports came out that contract negotiations between the team and its star had broken down, Adams made clear that he's not happy and the two sides are in a "tough spot."
"We had a lot of time to figure this thing out and we weren't really able to make a lot of progress, sadly," Adams said after the first practice of training camp Wednesday. "It's tough, man, because the way that this league goes is, if you if you perform well, you're supposed to get compensated properly for that."
Adams put together one of, if not the best season by a wide receiver in team history. He had 115 catches for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns while also missing 2 1/2 games due to injury. It lined up what should be a huge payday for the 28-year-old, one that would send him past the $27.3 million per year that Arizona wide receiver Deandre Hopkins is getting.
"No, that's not going to happen," Adams said when asked if he'd sign for less than Hopkins. "It's not about being a baby, but what other profession do you take less than what you have earned? That's not how it goes.
"I've earned the right to be paid the highest in the league."
For months the entire sports world was clamoring for Aaron Rodgers to say something -- anything -- about his issues with the Green Bay Packers. And for months, the future Hall of Fame quarterback stayed silent. That ended Wednesday afternoon as Rodgers went into detail what kept him away from the team for the offseason and led many to believe he would not play for the Packers again.
"Yeah, that's a loaded question," Rodgers said when asked about his reasons before diving into an 854-word answer.
The next 5 minutes and 42 seconds were full of information but it can largely be boiled down to four points.
First, Rodgers made it clear during conversations with the Packers right after their season ended with a loss to Tampa Bay in the NFC title game that he wanted a bigger voice in decisions that impact the way he does his job, even pointing back to the hiring of Matt LaFleur as coach in 2018, which he had no role in.
"It's decisions like that, that have happened over and over and over again, that make me realize that the organization looks at me and my job is just to play," Rodgers said following the first practice of training camp. "In my opinion, based on what I've accomplished in this league, the way I care about my teammates, the way I show up in the locker room, the way I lead, the way I conduct myself in the community, should entitle myself to a little bit more input. The rules are the same for most people, but every now and then there's some outliers. Guys who have been an organization for 17 years and won a few MVPs, where they can be in conversations at a different higher level. I'm not asking for anything that other other great quarterbacks across across the last few decades that have not gotten. The opportunity to just be in conversation."
Rodgers even pointed to last summer when one day he was praising wide receiver Jake Kumerow in an interview and the next day he was part of the cuts. Those types of moves irked Rodgers and it added to his dislike of how the organization has dealt with important veterans near or at the end of their careers. He listed out the likes of Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Clay Matthews, John Kuhn, Randall Cobb and others.
"I wanted to help the organization maybe learn from some of the mistakes in the past, in my opinion, about the way that some of the outgoing veterans were treated," Rodgers said. "And just the fact that we didn't retain a number of players that I felt like were core players to our foundation, our locker room, high character guys.
"Guys who were exceptional players for us, but great locker room guys, high character guys, many of them who weren't offered a contract at all, or we're extremely low balled, or were, maybe in my opinion, not given the respect on their way out that guys of their status and stature and high character deserved."
Rodgers also felt as though he should have a voice in helping recruit players in free agency, something that he said hasn't happened during his tenure.
"I think we can all understand Green Bay isn't a huge vacation destination. People are coming here to play with me and to play with our team, knowing that they can win a championship here," Rodgers said. "And the fact that I haven't been used in those discussions was what I wanted to change moving forward. And I felt like based on my years, the way I can still play, that that should be a natural part of conversation."
But perhaps the biggest reason Rodgers stayed away as long as he did was the lack of commitment to him as the quarterback after 2021. Rodgers said he expected, after posting an MVP season in 2020, to be offered a contract extension even though his deal ran through the 2023 season. That didn't come, at least not right away after the season. Rodgers said it wasn't until after the draft, and after the story broke publicly about him being unhappy, that the team tried to throw money at the problem. At that point, though, it wasn't about money. It was about trying to change the way the Packers have done business, quite successfully for that matter, for much of the last 30 years.
"As I've talked to some other older players around the league, I think this is how it goes, you get a little bit older, you see some of the disfunction in organizations, and you either move on or try and help foster some change," Rodgers said. "And that's all I wanted to do. Because I love this organization. And I love being a Packer and I've enjoyed my time here."
There is still plenty of uncertainty around Rodgers' future with the team. He was not ruling out anything in terms of whether he'll be around after this season and he dismissed reports that indicated he would be able to choose where the Packers trade him, if that's what they decided. He admitted that he had thoughts of retiring but the fire to play still burns inside of him, so, for now, he's back and ready to make a run, potentially his last in Green Bay, at another Super Bowl title.
"There were things I needed to do, conversations I needed to have, to put myself in the right headspace to be able to come back here and to be 100% in, which my teammates and the organization expects and I expected myself," Rodgers said. "I wouldn't be here if I wasn't 100% all-in."
It appears Randall Cobb is coming home.
According to multiple reports, the Packers are working on a trade with Houston that would bring the wide receiver back to Green Bay.
Cobb played his first eight years in the NFL with the Packers after they made him their second-round pick in 2011. He hit free agency following the 2018 season and ended up spending one year in Dallas and another in Houston. The Kentucky product has an extremely close relationship with Aaron Rodgers, and it's likely the quarterback played a role in getting Cobb back.
Injuries limited him at times during his career with Green Bay, including his final year when he played in just six games. But he was solid in playing 25 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, catching 93 passes for 1,269 yards and six touchdowns.
The 31-year-old will join a wide receiver room that boasts the best player at the position in Davante Adams, along with some proven weapons in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard. A true slot receiver, Cobb will serve as a very good mentor to third-round pick Amari Rodgers, who knows Cobb well because his father, Tee Martin, was his coach in college.
Green Bay is slated to hit the field for the first practice of training camp Wednesday morning.
Milwaukee extended its lead in the NL Central with a 9-0 win Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.
The Brewers jumped all over Pirates' starter Luis Oviedo in the first two innings. They scored twice in the first thanks to a 2-run homer from Omar Narvaez, his first since July 5. The Milwaukee catcher was just getting going, as he drove in two more runs in the second with a single.
Avisail Garcia followed that with a 2-run double and then it was Rowdy Tellez bringing in another pair of runners with a single. Tellez would add a home run in ninth inning, his seventh of the season.
While Milwaukee's offense was soaring, the Pittsburgh offense could get nothing going against Brett Anderson. He went six innings, allowing three hits and striking out three to earn his third win of the year.
In his first game since May 31 due to injury, centerfielder Lorenzo Cain had a couple hits, drove in a run and played the type of defense that earned him a Gold Glove in 2019.
With the win, Milwaukee moved to 7.5 games up on Cincinnati for first place in the division.
It'll be the same two teams Wednesday in Pittsburgh.