New York Giants: Kyle Lauletta’s Career Could Come Undone Already

It seems like the New York Giants have been a cursed team for the last couple of years. Just when everyone started thinking that Kyle Lauletta might get a shot to play, and maybe even compete to be the next quarterback of the team going forward, bad luck struck the Giants again and something just had to happen to get in the way of it.

Well, to call it bad luck would be disingenuous. This isn’t a case of a freak injury but of an intentional decision. A stupid decision that amounts to Lauletta shooting himself in the foot, yes, but a decision nonetheless.

This, of course, was the decision to evade the police and get arrested recently. This isn’t some misunderstanding either, but a genuine case of a crime being committed by the Giants backup quarterback. Reports say that Lauletta drove recklessly, nearly ran over a police officer, and refused to show identification.

If just one of those things happened, it would have looked bad. All of those things at once? Even if this doesn’t result in a major punishment legally, it could easily derail whatever chance Lauletta had at taking over and making an impact on the field this season.

It’s not a particularly good look for an organization when its quarterback was recently seen being arrested after almost running over cops, and just for PR reasons alone, Lauletta’s chances to get on the field have probably been minimized and delayed by now.

Even putting PR aside, it’s hard to imagine that head coach Pat Shurmur isn’t going to take this seriously. If Lauletta went on to start or get significant playing time without some kind of punishment, it wouldn’t set a very good precedent for anyone else on the team.

Now, Lauletta isn’t the only quarterback to get in trouble this year, with Jameis Winston serving a suspension for some off the field trouble earlier this season. But there’s some big differences. First, said off the field trouble happened before the season began, meaning it wasn’t fresh in everyone’s heads by the time Winston was actually playing. Second, Winston isn’t a rookie fifth round draft pick who would be starting against the odds even if he did have a perfect off the field record.

Lauletta just doesn’t have the credentials to bounce back from this right away, and if he still has a shot with the team, it will likely be next year rather than this year. Which means that most likely, Lauletta will have to compete with a younger draft pick who is expected to be the immediate starter, rather than an aging Eli Manning who has fans clamoring for his exit.

It’s not a good position for a young quarterback to be in. But that’s just the kind of effect that bad choices can have on a new career.

The New York Giants Are A Mess Beyond Repair – Can It Be Fixed?

Trying to gauge the potential future success of the New York Giants is like picking a needle out of a hay stack. One moment they look like they’re on an upward trend and the next muddling in the dirt.

On Tuesday morning, rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta was arrested for a traffic violation. A police officer instructed him to pull over and he disobeyed, nearly striking the officer with his car. The Giants are aware of the situation and prematurely closed an often open-media practice.

Head coach Pat Shurmur stated that they were aware of the situation and were extremely disappointed. The former Division II quarterback has quietly sat behind Eli Manning, waiting for his opportunity to display his skill-set.

To be quite honest, Lauletta couldn’t have chosen a worse moment to display his immaturity and lack of common sense. Anybody that has every worked a job has been stuck in traffic trying to get there on time, and yes, a few middle fingers have been tossed out and a few semi-dangerous maneuvers to get around annoying drivers have been necessary. But, there comes a point when you make the decision to remain behind the line and not cross it. Maybe it was Lauletta’s instinctual ability to avoid pressure and find his way out of trouble, but c’mon man, keep it on the field where it belongs!

The rookie passer is surely in the dog house now, especially after reports arose that saw him starting after the Giants’ BYE week. It’s certainly now up in the air, and once again, Manning might have found himself yet another chance to right his wrongs.

Moving forward, Big Blue must begin to evaluate their youth, and provide experience to the players that need it. The trade deadline was Tuesday and no moves were made, despite reports of Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, and Landon Collins all being on the block.

It’s fair to say that GM Dave Gettleman has chosen the few that can still contribute to the success of the team. Vernon is on the back end of his deal and will count $8 million against the cap if he’s cut, which is far less than the $20 million he will be owed if he remains with the team. The Giants are better off releasing him and using that money to sure up the offensive line or secondary.

Jenkins on the other hand will count $7 million against the cap if cut and $14.75 million if he is kept on the roster. Realistically, every team needs a stand-up corner than can man-mark the opposing teams top receiver, and Jenkins has proved he’s capable of doing that. There’s no reason to let him walk now with two years left on his deal, unless the Giants were going to receive a second-rounder from him, and that clearly didn’t happen. I can imagine other teams came calling but only offered a third-fourth round pick. Not enough for a guy that, when at the top of his game, is one of the premier corners in the league.

Nonetheless, the Giants are a dumpster of a team with no balance or continuity at the moment, and it is to be seen if they can return in 2019 resembling anything but a disaster.

What The New York Giants Should Do With Olivier Vernon In 2019

New York Giants, Olivier Vernon

While the New York Giants lost game after game, pass-rusher Olivier Vernon remained sidelined for the first five matchups of the season, watching idly by as his teammates floundered in disappointment.

The desperation of a pass rush, an offensive line, a quarterback, and an efficient front-office, has haunted the Giants for years. General manager Dave Gettleman put his best effort forth in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his free agent signings have been lackluster at best. Three of his draft picks are currently starting and have immense potential, while another was arrested for resisting arrest after a traffic violation on Tuesday morning.

The team has its strengths and weaknesses to say the least, but one player that will be a tough cut in 2019 is Vernon.

Why the New York Giants should cut Olivier Vernon in 2019:

Vernon will account for $19.5 million of the cap next season, which would earn him about as much as most starting quarterbacks. He’s a valuable asset, but is he worth that kind of cash?

The Giants’ top pass-rusher has recorded just 7.5 sacks in two seasons. To put that into perspective, Jason Pierre-Paul, who’s currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has recorded seven this season alone. Once again, the Giants missed big time on the utilization of their talent.

Now, despite Vernon’s shallow sack totals, he’s superb at hurrying the quarterback and forcing them to make mistakes. He’s also a great tackler and run-stopper. His primary issue is staying healthy. Vernon has missed seven games in 1 1/2 years. In the games that he did play, he powered through a broken hand and a high ankle sprain. This year he’s dealing with another ankle issue.

It’s fair to say that the transitioned outside linebacker is far from his former self, and coughing up $19.5 million just doesn’t seem economically efficient. Alternatively, the Giants should consider eating $8 million in dead cap and use that money to try and lure in a player like Lions’ Ezekiel Ansah.

Coming off a stellar year where Ansah recorded 12 sacks and 44 combined tackles, his price tag shot up to $17 million. So far this year, he’s only played in a single game. It’s likely that his price will drop due to him having a bum campaign. He will require another contract season to earn the big-bucks. Best case scenario he proves to pull his weight and is re-signed for the long-run.

Of course, these are all hypotheticals, but a massive cap-hit would piggy-back on Vernon’s return and would ultimately be a questionable move probability-wise.

 

Ntilikina Leads Knicks to Second Win of the Season

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

It was a rough start to round two of the Battle of the Boroughs as the Knicks hosted the Nets last night in the Mecca.  The Knicks were looking to end their 5 game losing streak after they kicked off the season with an offensive explosion on opening night.

The beginning of the game as ugly as it was bascially a 3-point shoot-out.  The Nets got off to a quick start, hitting their first 4-6 from beyond the arc.  The Knicks struggled the find the bottom of the rim in the early stages, needing to scratch and crawl their way back to tie the game after the first quarter.

Frank Ntilikina came out strong hitting his first two 3-pointers to get the Knicks back into the game.  The rest of the Knicks followed Frank’s lead to get back into the game.  Timmy was himself, stroking it, Vonleh had a posterizing dunk on Jarrett Allen after he himself got dunked on.  Kanter came off the bench in a leading role and quickly had himself a double-double within 5 minutes it seemed.

The Knicks then turned up the defense after the first quarter and shut down the Nets. It also helped that after the Nets, who started 4-6 from 3 range, cooled off and were 1-16 from 3.  The defense fed off the offense and the Knicks took over the game.

There were many bright spots for the Knicks last night.  Frankie Smokes had by far his best game of the season with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  He was also great on the defensive side of the ball, with active hands and being disruptive.  Damyean Dotson was also playing lockdown defense as even Clyde mentioned Dot was having a very impressive defensive game.

Mitchell Robinson had his best game of the season as well.  He came out hot in the second half after only playing 6 minutes in the first half.  In the first few minutes of the second half Robinson had a steal which led to a monster dunk that had the bench erupt.  Robinson was 5-5 from the floor, but still needs to work on his defensive skills as it showed when he had a few bad break downs.  Before the game, Robinson got help from former Knick and good friend of coach David Fizdale, Rasheed Wallace.  Wallace mentioned he was intrigued by Robinson and willing to help him improve.

Last night was a very good team win.  Timmy led the team with 25 points, as he was one of seven Knicks in double figures.  The New York Knicks beat their cross-town rivals 115-96.  The Knicks will need to bring that defensive intensity and grit from the second half on Wednesday as they will host the rival Pacers at the Garden.

Breaking Down The New York Jets’ Loss To The Chicago Bears

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets are now halfway through Sam Darnold’s rookie season. With their record at 3-5, the Jets can be somewhat pleased with themselves, despite coming off of a tough loss to the Chicago Bears. In their wins against the Lions, Broncos, and Colts, the offense used their whole playbook and flashed serious potential. In their five losses however, the offense has struggled on third down and in the red zone, and we are reminded that Sam Darnold is still a rookie.

So Why did the Jets Lose to the Bears?

The Bears have been playing well this year, with Mitchell Trubisky making strides as the leader of their franchise and the defense coming up in a big way. However, the Bears were coming off of a last-second loss to the Patriots, and were missing strip-sack king Khalil Mack. Still, the Bears have a strong position group at Linebacker, and talent across the defensive side of the ball.

It was the Bears defense that ultimately won the day, holding the Jets to a meager 207 total yards on offense. The Jets scored a single touchdown in the contest early in the fourth quarter, converting their only Red Zone opportunity on a pass to Tight End Chris Herndon. Herndon is developing into a promising target, now scoring a touchdown in three straight contests.

The Bears Defense Versus the Jets Offense

The Bears defense did exactly what you need to do to stop a team with a rookie quarterback. Chicago took away the Jets rushing attack in convincing fashion. Isaiah Crowell was held to just 10 rushing attempts totaling 20 yards. The Jets coaching staff should have structured the game plan to get Crowell more involved. The second leading rusher was Darnold with 9 yards on three carries. Rookie Trenton Cannon, replacing the injured Bilal Powell, was only able to find 8 yards through five carries. Although the Bears have a stout defensive unit, as Rex Ryan would say, you have to take pressure off of a young quarterback by running the ball.

No Answer for the Injury Bug

With no rushing attack to speak of, ideally Sam Darnold would be equipped with all of his weapons. Unfortunately, the Jets wide receiver corps has been depleted by injuries. Robby Anderson, the Jets only deep threat, was inactive. Quincy Enunwa, Darnold’s favorite target and best third-down option, was also inactive.

Even Jermaine Kearse, the only veteran receiver available, seemed to take some shots during the game and get shaken up. Darnold threw to Kearse 8 times throughout the game, but Kearse was only able to manage 3 catches for 30 yards.

Former practice squad player and USC Trojan Deontay Burnett had a good day, reeling in all four of his targets. Burnett figures to remain a part of the offense as the Jets continue to try and get healthy.

Third-and-It Doesn’t Matter

Third down continues to be an area where the Jets desperately need to improve. The Jets were 3 of 14 on third downs on Sunday. To highlight the Jets offensive woes, they had 5 drives of 6 yards or less, and 8 drives of 20 yards or less. Forget trying to score, it’s tough to even play the field-position game with those kinds of numbers. Despite all of this, the Jets kept it to a one-possession game midway through the 4th quarter, which is a testament to the Jets defense.

Sam Darnold: A New Hope

Despite a relatively meager performance on Sunday, there are still reasons for Jets fans to hang on to hope. No, not hope for the playoffs this year. Hope for the franchise. Sam Darnold, although looking like a rookie at times, is continuing to progress and look like a pro. He went without an interception on Sunday, which is always a good sign. He can clearly throw short routes and hit check-downs, making him an excellent fit for a West-Coast scheme. As Tony Romo pointed out on the broadcast, there are a myriad of things that Sam Darnold simply does not know yet, nor should he. Things like assigning pass protections will improve with experience. Romo also pointed out that the roster still has a lot of room to grow, so over the next few years the Jets can develop into a thriving franchise.

What Kyle Lauletta Offers To A Dull New York Giants Offense

New York Giants, Kyle Lauletta

It’s possible New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning might have played his final minutes of meaningful football last Sunday in the loss to the Washington Redskins. If it turns out to be that Manning is benched after the BYE week, rookie passer Kyle Lauletta will likely receive the first crack at being the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback’s heir.

The helm of the Giants’ offense has been filled for 15 years, and what a spell it has been – fourth quarterback comebacks, miracles, jaw dropping moments, but also negative plays and failures. Those moments will live on forever, but nothing is permanent, and the torch is being prepped to be handed off.

Manning realizes that his career is coming to an end, as losing games and taking physical beatings isn’t sustainable for a 37 year-old man. Especially one with a terrible offensive line.

My question is: What will be so different about Kyle Lauletta?

The former division II quarterback will likely make his NFL debut in a few weeks, and for a fan base eager to for change, his skill-set might offer some salvation to what has been a demoralizing season. With weapons like Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard, most would think the Giants would have one of the league’s most dynamic offenses. On paper, they do, but on the field, it’s a whole different ball game.

Lauletta’s ability to extend plays with his legs will offer a different approach to head coach Pat Shurmur’s system. Shurmur likes to play the intermediate game – what does this mean?

The offensive play caller’s scheme revolves around timing, and with an offensive line that cannot provide Manning with enough time to allow his receivers to get open, a majority of the play-book is consequently scratched. Manning has to utilize a sliver of what Shurmur’s playbook really is, but with Lauletta, more of it might see the light.

Being able to extend plays with your legs is a necessity when your men aren’t winning in the trenches, and Manning simply isn’t that type of player. It’s wrong for us to blame him for that reality, because to be quite frank, GM Dave Gettleman was tasked with resolving the issues on the line. His free agents expenditures resulted in two below average players, one that is currently not on the starting team (Patrick Omameh). The other, Nate Solder, is playing at a level that represents a shell of his former self with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The man has won a Super Bowl…let that sink in for a second.

Sometimes, it simply comes down to the deficiencies of the signal caller. Manning has obviously struggled with his mental processing and awareness this season . Lauletta might offer a fresh approach to the offense and open up the intermediate passing game. Anywhere from 10-20 yards is the rookie’s sweet spot, and you better believe Shurmur will take full advantage of that.

Justin Herbert Watch: Giants QB Target Has Worst Game In Arizona

Justin Herbert might be the future of the New York Giants, but the quarterback had his worst game of the year on Saturday when the Oregon Ducks faced the Arizona Wildcats. The game was the second straight loss for an Oregon team that has fallen out of contention for the PAC-12 after starting off in the mix, and there’s one question that NFL fans will want to ask after the result: how much of the blame here is on Herbert?

First and foremost, the blame will be on the Oregon defense. They allowed 44 points and even with a good game from the quarterback, getting a win under those circumstances is a tall task. On the other hand, it’s important to note that Oregon only scored 15, and that just doesn’t cut it. Especially for a team that prides itself in offense and has a potential number one overall NFL draft pick at quarterback.

Herbert threw 48 passes, which is the most he’s thrown this season and surpasses the 44 that he threw against Washington State. You may notice a trend here, of Oregon throwing the ball more and losing games. It might be a bit concerning to next level scouts, but the larger problem is a decline in completion percentage over the past games.

Against Stanford and California, Herbert completed 78% and 72% of his passes respectively, but this stayed at 56% for the next two games and then fell to an even 50% against Arizona. It’s also worth noting that Herbert threw his first interception since the Stanford game, when he rolled out of the pocket while standing at his own end zone and firing the ball deep down the field where it was intercepted when the pass was short of the receiver.

Overall, Herbert had 186 yards through the air, which is less than he’s had in any previous game this season. He did throw two touchdowns, to his credit, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is undoubtedly the worst game of the year for the quarterback that might just go number one overall during next year’s NFL Draft.

Herbert is almost certainly on the draft board of the New York Giants, but it might not be wise to just assume that they’ll draft him. After all, there’s still some games left to be played, and while every quarterback has bad games from time to time, there’s some worrying trends showing up for Herbert right now and the last games of the season could be make or break for him.

How The New York Giants Should Manage The Eli Manning Situation

With the New York Giants falling to a 1-7 record on a loss to the Washington Redskins by a score of 20-13, quarterback Eli Manning’s career might be in jeopardy.

Manning has struggled immensely in 2018, as his mental processing seems to be distant and his lack of mobility has affected the offense consistently. Despite the offensive line’s issues, the Giants’ quarterback is working himself into a hole that he simply cannot climb out of.

Here’s a play from the loss to Washington – Manning drops back into the pocket like any old day at the office, but his protection quickly collapses from the corners. With about two seconds to get rid of the ball, the pressure is just too strong, leaving Manning in a heap on the turf. His eyes drop as soon as he feels the pressure closing in, but there’s an observation to be made on his skill-set.

Look at the outside of the pocket. The edge rushers close in and Manning remains as still as a statue. Any semi-mobile quarterback would feel this pressure and quickly role out to escape and extend the play. The modern day NFL is built for the mobile quarterback. Some might ask, why? The simple answer is evolution. Quality offensive lines have become a luxury, something that’s only possible with superb drafting over five years.

Defensive lineman are plentiful, increasing the efficiency of the pass-rush for every team. This simple fact justifies the want and need of a passer than can utilize his legs to extend plays.

In the case of Eli, this characteristic doesn’t exist, and it’s hurting his team.

What should the Giants do moving forward with Eli Manning?

Before we detail the exit of Manning, we must take a look at his current contract. He has one year left on his deal, counting $23.2 million against the salary cap. If the Giants were to cut him, they would save $17 million. That money could be allocated toward finding a right tackle and safety, or any combination of starting quality players.

Currently, the Giants are heading into the BYE week, which will give head coach Pat Shurmur time to re-evaluate the team and build a plan for the remainder of the season. In regard to Manning, I would bench him in the most respectful way possible. In other words, pull the rookie experience card. Shurmur should claim that he wants to give the younger players a shot at playing time to prepare for the seasons ahead. But, he should allow Manning to finish his career as a Giants in week 17.

This plan is about as respectful as you can get with the two time Super Bowl winning quarterback. Anything less and we could see another Ben McAdoo scenario.

Northwestern Is In Control Of The West For The First Time In Forever

The best football team in Chicago isn’t the Bears. No, it’s the Northwestern Wildcats, who have sometimes been an alright team and have sometimes been an afterthought, but haven’t often been a contender. Northwestern is an academics school, they say. Not one of the Big Ten’s football schools, where sports are just as important as classes and where big time recruits end up every summer.

Somehow, though, this academics school is in the first place in the Big Ten West, and thanks to the results from this latest Saturday of action, they have fewer losses than anyone. Only one loss, while Wisconsin and Iowa both have two. They could have held the position with Iowa right at their heels, or lost it depending on how things went, but Penn State helped the Wildcats out big time by holding on and avoiding another fourth quarter collapse.

Their win over Iowa dealt the Hawkeyes their second loss of the season and gave Northwestern some room to breathe. The Wildcats, though, had their own game to worry about. One against a nationally ranked team, Wisconsin, while Northwestern entered without a rank.

At the beginning of the season, Clayton Thorson was projected to be one of the make or break players for Northwestern. Maybe even the make or break player that would decide whether they were mediocre or whether they made noise on the national scene. Thorson was quietly one of the best quarterbacks in the conference last season but didn’t get attention because he didn’t play for one of the more successful teams. Now, however, Thorson took the spotlight.

Northwestern went down with the first score of the game but it was Thorson who used his legs to give them the lead with two touchdowns on the ground. The first came after three straight quarterback sneaks finally moved the ball into the end zone, and the second one was a longer scramble where Thorson carefully juked around a Wisconsin defender before running the rest of the way and getting across the goal line.

Pretty impressive for a quarterback that entered the season after an ACL tear brought his starting status into question. His legs weren’t the only thing that helped Northwestern win the game, however. Thorson connected with his receiver in the end zone for a deep pass in the third quarter that extended the lead from the four points it was at when the pass happened. The deep pass was nearly ruled as out-of-bounds and had a very low margin for error, but Thorson was able to place the ball well enough to keep it just inside the lines.

The Northwestern defense held Wisconsin to 17 points, linebacker Blake Gallagher having the biggest day with seven tackles and three assists. Wisconsin was, admittedly, missing quarterback Alex Hornibrook. But Wisconsin has never relied entirely on their quarterback and their best player on offense this year is running back Jonathan Taylor, who Northwestern impressively held to 46 yards on 11 carries. That’s a big deal for a player that was one of the Heisman favorites in addition to being one centerpiece of the opponent’s offense.

Northwestern is in a position to play for the Big Ten title if they win out, but their next challenge isn’t against a conference opponent. They face Notre Dame next, the number three team in the country. Winning or losing here doesn’t put them out of the hunt for the Big Ten, but it is a major test against a highly ranked team that will help to prepare them for the stretch. Other than Notre Dame next Saturday, they still have to face Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois.

Win out, and they shock everyone and get a shot at the East winner. Lose a conference game, and things get dicey. If that happens, the division is back to a four team race.

The Big Ten West might not be the best division in college football, but it sure is one of the most interesting this year. And somehow, despite being unheralded coming into the season, Northwestern is the team that’s jumped out in front of everyone with four games left to play.

Davis Webb Struggles To Find Words To Describe State Of The Giants

When the New York Giants sat former quarterback Davis Webb in the final game of the pre-season to provide rookie Kyle Lauletta with more playing time, he knew his fate was sealed. Nobody saw this result coming, and several months later it might seem as if cutting Webb was the best possible outcome for the young passer and the worst for the Giants.

Big Blue currently sits at 1-6 on the season and has one of the most embarrassing offenses in the NFL, while Webb enjoys the 3-3 Jets on the upswing of a two year rebuild.

When asked about his thought on the mess that’s the New York Giants, Webb stated:

“I think this could have been the best thing that happened to me,” Webb told The Post.

He followed it up with an unsure, “I know uh … I think uh …” Trying to piece together his words carefully as he subtly tears apart his former team. But, we know Webb isn’t that type of player or man, so he took the high-road after being abruptly released after having a promising pre-season.

“I’ve watched their games,” Webb said. “I think they’re really close to having a really, really good game coming up. I know it hasn’t gone the way they’ve wanted to, but I root for them every single Sunday.”

The new management for the Giants miscalculated entirely in their attempt to piece together the Giants’ roster. Clearly, their attempt failed miserably, which in the end put Webb in a bad position and forced him to hit the restart button with a  team that has already drafted their future signal caller.

In response to him being cut, Webb stated:

“You just don’t expect it,” he said. “You ask anyone over there and no one saw it coming. But it did. It took me a day or two to accept it and then once I did I was ready to rock and roll.”

“I don’t think he’s played bad at all. I think whoever is writing about it and in the media, you have to understand what the whole game plan is. We don’t know that.”

It’s a fair explanation for Manning’s porous red-zone play lack of mobility, and in the end, it comes down to the offensive line’s inability to provide the receivers with the proper amount of time to run their routes and for Manning to feel secure waiting for the openings.

While a majority of fans are getting tired with Manning’s mishaps, some might be wishing Webb was around to provide some consolation to a season that’s clearly headed south-bound.