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PříspěvekNapsal: 27 zář 2018, 07:21 
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Patrick Mahomes II dropped back to pass during a recent Chiefs practice Authentic Aaron Rodgers Jersey , and before the new quarterback even had time to set up, fearsome pass rusher Justin Houston was staring him in the eyes.

Without Mahomes turning his back, either.

The four-time Pro Bowl linebacker has primarily played on the right side during his career, which means he's been chasing quarterbacks down from their blind side. But his new position coach, Mike Smith, intends to line Houston up opposite the weakest player on an opponent's offensive line, and often that will mean facing the right tackle rather than the left.

"It doesn't matter what side. I want to be everywhere," Houston said this week. "The weakest link is where I want to be. Every team is different. Everybody has a different weak link. So whoever has the weakest link, wherever it is, that's where I want to be."

Just so long as it's on the field.

Houston spent a lot of time on the sideline the last few years as a career that once seemed destined for the Hall of Fame was slowed by injuries. He piled up 22 sacks in 2014, a half-sack shy of the single-season NFL record, and was rewarded with a $101 million, six-year contract that made him one of the highest-paid defensive players in the league.

But after playing well the first 11 games the following season, Houston hyperextended his knee in Week 12, and what seemed like a relatively benign injury had lasting ramifications.

He tried to return in the playoffs but was ineffective in a win over Houston and a divisional loss to New England. And that hyperextended knee turned out to reveal a "non-functioning" ligament, causing Houston to undergo serious knee surgery in February 2016.

He wound up missing the first nine games that season, and after appearing in a handful midway through the year Matthew Stafford Jersey White , was shut down until the playoffs. The Chiefs had hoped Houston would be able to help them when it mattered, but he was again ineffective in a playoff loss to Pittsburgh.

Even last season, when Houston continually professed himself healthy, he never appeared to be going full speed. He was listed as questionable on the injury report twice because of his knee, and he finished the season with 9陆 sacks in 15 regular-season games.

It wasn't until training camp, a few weeks back, that he acknowledged "playing on one leg."

"When you have surgery, and the surgery I had on my knee, it takes time," Houston said. "As much as you want to be ready, it still takes time to get your pop back and get where you want to be. I think I'm there. I think I'm beyond there right now and it feels great to be back in that feeling."

His fellow linebackers have noticed, too.

"Justin, he's starting to really go back to that 22-sack guy, so we have an opportunity to be one of the best (pass-rushing groups) in the league," Dee Ford said. "People don't understand how bad his injury was and how he also tried to play, and he tried to come back too fast, and he's not an excuse guy and you got to really respect that."

One could argue that nobody is more crucial to the Chiefs' defense than Houston Youth Justin Tucker Jersey , given the way the defense has been overhauled. Longtime pass rusher Tamba Hali is gone, and Ford has dealt with his share of injuries, resulting in a precipitous drop in sacks the past couple of years.

Throw in the departure of playmaking cornerback Marcus Peters, who was traded to the Rams in a move designed to improve club morale, and the pressure is on Houston to, well, create some pressure.

"Would you love to have a million sacks? Yeah, I would love that. But the biggest thing is always affecting the quarterback," Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said. "Obviously you can affect his timing. You don't have to sack him. But as long as you are moving him, and making him get off that spot a little bit, then you can affect him."

Houston should be able to help now that's moving around more.

Both on his knee and all over the field.

NOTES: OLs Cam Erving (knee) and Eric Fisher (shoulder) left Thursday's practice with "tweaks," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. Mitchell Schwartz moved from RT to LT, Andrew Wylie took over at RT and Bryan Witzmann took over at LG. ... The Chiefs are off Friday before resuming camp on Saturday.

When Braden Holtby took some time off in February, playing in only nine of the Washington Capitals‘ 14 games, he finally had a chance to reflect on aspects of his game.

It might seem easy to say being benched in favor of Philipp Grubauer for the first two games of the postseason ignited Holtby’s standout playoff run. But he credits his midseason reprieve for a revival that pushed him and Washington into the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. Game 1 in Monday night.

”It was great to just have a break in February where I could really analyze myself in a game, go to work, kind of get back to those roots and just working as hard as I possibly can to figure out different things of myself and the game Womens Jameis Winston Jersey ,” Holtby said. ”This year I think is one of those years where I’ve learned more and soaked in more knowledge than previous years.”

The 28-year-old veteran enters the Final with a 12-6 playoff mark, a 2.04 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. The Capitals haven’t allowed a goal in 159 minutes, 27 seconds, since Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Tampa Bay – including 157:13 with Holtby on the ice.

Several key members of the Golden Knights are no strangers to Holtby, including general manager George McPhee, goalie coach Dave Prior and defenseman Nate Schmidt, a trio that have been a part of the Capitals organization during their careers. It was Prior who recommended McPhee and company draft Holtby in 2008, when the Capitals made him the second pick of the fourth round (and the 10th goalie taken in the draft).

Holtby said Prior, who has helped Vegas goalie and three-time Stanley Cup champion Marc-Andre Fleury improve aspects of his game this season, taught him ways to analyze his game he would have never thought of.

”He’s obviously one of the best, he helped me a ton,” Holtby said. ”He taught me how to practice correctly, how to really analyze my game honestly and grow in different ways. Before, as a young kid, I just thought if you could just work as hard as you can, that’s how you get better. But there’s strategic ways and he was awesome, very calm Authentic Derrick Henry Jersey , very unbiased watching games.”

Schmidt said a common comparison between Holtby and Fleury is easy to see.

”Both guys are very athletic,” Schmidt said. ”That’s something I knew about Fleury a little bit, and it’s caused a lot of heartache to me over the years. You see that kind of thing with guys who are never out of a save. That’s what makes both of them special players.”

Holtby’s regular-season numbers (2.99 GAA, .907 save percentage) are a career worst. He said taking time to focus on things he never was able to do during a regular season has helped ease his mind and relieve certain pressures he was putting on himself during games.

”Obviously throughout my career of hockey playing, you know that putting too much pressure on yourself and doing too much is never that good,” Holtby said. ”And I got caught up trying to do too much, and it never works too well, and it ended up snowballing.”

Snowballing to the tune of him allowing four or more goals in eight of the 16 games he played during January and February. But over his last eight regular-season appearances in March, he finished 6-2 and never allowed more than three goals. He’s allowed three or fewer goals in 17 of the 18 playoff games he’s played in.

”I’ve learned a lot of valuable things about myself, about the way hockey is now, it’s changed,” Holtby said. ”You have to play a little different than in the past with the speed and the way the game is mostly all about offense now. It’s different that way and I think that was one thing I had to learn.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: Kostas Antetokounmpo Jersey


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Obsahová správa JUDr. Jiří Kubík, MBA, ceskaastrologie@seznam.cz, Tel. 607 646418