New York Giants Change Up Offensive Line Ahead Of Week 7

The New York Giants need a change after a troublesome start to their season, currently sitting at 1-5 on the year. Several close games and last second field goals have put Big Blue in a position to miss the playoffs and barely contend in the lowly NFC East.

The devastating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in week 6 saw a lack of effort, coaching, and much more. The offensive line was beaten badly, especially right guard Patrick Omameh, who faced off against one of the league’s best defensive lineman in Fletcher Cox.

How are the Giants changing up their offensive front against the Falcons?

Ahead of Monday night’s matchup against the Falcons, the Giants will be making some essential changes to the line. Omameh will likely be pulled out of the starting lineup and Spencer Pulley will be inserted.

This breakdown from Brian Baldinger only scrapes the surface of how poorly the Giants have performed on the offensive line this season, and a lot of the issues comes at the center and right guard position. I would prefer to see Pulley fill in at center, where he started in all 16 games for the Chargers last season, while Greco is moved to right guard.

A ton of the issues on the line have come from a lack of communication and missed assignments. Greco has chosen the wrong player to block on several occasions, for example, he decided to help Will Hernandez on a double team instead of Omameh against Cox, the Eagles’ best interior d-lineman.

The hopes will that Pulley, a natural center, will have a better understanding of his role and assignments throughout the game. The end goal is to give Eli Manning even a fraction of a second more time to allow his receivers to complete their routes. Head coach Pat Shurmur’s offense is very reliant on timing.

Michigan, Not Ohio State, Is In Driver’s Seat For Big Ten

Michigan and Ohio State are rivals on two completely different paths. It’s strange to hear, because of Michigan’s lack of success as a national contender in recent years, but the Wolverines are the ones that are in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten and the College Football Playoffs. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes let their earlier mistakes catch up to them, and were dealt their first conference loss. Michigan, on the other hand, has none.

At the beginning of the season, Michigan lost to Notre Dame and many wrote them off. It seemed understandable. Not a lot of people predicted Notre Dame to be this good at this point in the season, and Michigan is in one of the toughest division’s in the country. But since then, they haven’t lost a game, and their wins include every conference game that they’ve played so far.

Ohio State started off much stronger, but their out of conference schedule wasn’t anything special and they would have more adversity when they faced Penn State. The higher ranked Buckeyes team won but they played a sloppy game where their offense just didn’t execute consistently and their defense allowed big plays. They only did just enough to win, and absolutely nothing extra.

Some thought their problems in that game would be fixed, but yesterday, the Buckeyes lost to Purdue and allowed 49 points to give the Boilermakers their highest scoring game of the season. Ohio State was the second ranked team in the nation, while Purdue was unranked and only had a record of 3-3. In other words, the loss was the type that kills morale and, more importantly, looks bad to the Playoff committee.

Michigan’s fate on Saturday was the opposite. They played their local rivals from Michigan State, and didn’t falter despite a bad recent history against this team and despite an altercation before the start of the game raising the intensity level a bit. They only put up 21 points, but their defense proved their credentials by shutting down quarterback Brian Lewerke.

Michigan State had their worst offensive performance since 1947, with only 94 yards. It makes Michigan’s defensive performance contrast with Ohio State’s even more.

Going into The Game, everyone thought just a few weeks ago that OSU would be the favorite. Now, it’s impossible to see things that way. Their offense just doesn’t do enough against top teams, and the running game is showing that it isn’t as advertised despite better performances against weaker teams.

Ohio State had a number of times during the Purdue game where they weren’t far from the end zone but couldn’t come away with scores. That’s not going to do when they face Michigan at the end of their season. And after their first conference loss, they’ll need the Michigan win if they want to stay in contention for the playoffs.

It turns out Ohio State couldn’t make adjustments quickly enough after their poor showing against Penn State. And now, just like that, they’ve lost their position at the top that they spent all season building up. A strong Michigan team means that they have no cushion or room for a loss here… Because of this result, the road to Indianapolis is going to run through Ann Arbor, and Ohio State can’t blame anyone but themselves.

Yankees’ Miguel Andujar Earns Sporting News AL ROTY Award

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees third baseman, was named Sporting News America League Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season. Congratulations to Miguel, who emerged as the batting average leader for the Yankees, among things.

Andujar, who is a native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, was signed by the Yankees as an International free agent in June of 2011. He made his professional debut in 2012 with the Gulf Coast Yankees.

Andujar progressed quickly though the minor league system. In 2016 he played with AA Trenton and batted 312 with 7 home runs and 52 RBI’s, leading the league through 67 games.

Following a season-ending injury to Gleyber Torres in June, 2017,  he was promoted to the team’s AAA affiliate, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders.

After only 7 games with the Railriders, he was called up to the Yankees after Matt Holliday went on the disabled list. Miguel made a huge splash in his major league debut, going 3-4 with 4 RBI’s and a walk. He set a new record for his 4 RBI’s by a Yankee in their first game in Pinstripes.

Following that terrific showing, Andujar was returned to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to hone his craft at third base. He had an extremely productive year there, hitting 317 with 9 home runs and 30 RBI’s in 58 games.

On April 1, 2018, Andujar once again joined the big league team as Brandon Drury experienced migraine headaches. He was in the Bronx to stay for the season. And what an addition he would become!

At only age 23, Andujar led the Yankees in batting average, (. 297) hits, (170) and most notably was a double producing machine with 47, eclipsing the record for a Yankee rookie which held from 1936. (Joe DiMaggio)

He was second on the 2018 team in RBI’s, (92) OPS, (. 855) and slugging. (. 527) His oWAR for the season was an amazing 4.6.

The only downside to Andujar was his somewhat shaky defense on the hot corner. His dWAR was -2.2. He only committed 6 errors in his rookie campaign, but had a – 12 DRS, the worst among qualiying third basemen in the league.

Early in the season, Andujar received advice from former Yankee third baseman, Alex Rodriguez. He stated of Andujar, “I think he has the potential to be a very good big-league third baseman. All great infielders have great footwork. That’s what we focused on. I’m careful with young players not to overwhelm them, but we spoke about footwork and cadence.”

Also a believer in the young man’s potential to improve defensively is Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. He has stated repeatedly that Miguel has his place on the team at the hot corner.

Recently Cashman said,”We are huge Andujar fans and we have demonstrated that by not trading him despite how many offers we have had to do so. The dude is only 23 years old. Whatever that narrative is, it’s a false one. I am a big fan of this guy. Not just me. It is WE are big fans. ”

We have seen what Andujar can do with his bat. His glove can improve, and he has the confidence of A-Rod, Brian Cashman, and Sporting News plus untold numbers of fans. He has an unbelievable work ethic also and will put in the time to improve.

Congratulations to Miguel Andujar on an incredibly impressive rookie year and the Sporting News award. It was a great experience watching him throughout 2018. 2019 will be even better!

New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. Calm After Mara Comments

The ride never ends. There’s been a lot of drama around Odell Beckham Jr. during the last year, and most recently, it continued in the form of New York Giants co-owner John Mara making some statements to the press about the receive, saying that Beckham should do more on the field rather than make headlines off of it. The statement was most likely a response to Beckham’s infamous interview with ESPN, which has been a conversation point for weeks now.

However, Beckham himself has now responded to the criticism, and it seems that he’s keeping a cool head about it and taking the high road. “I respect and value his opinion… I’m ready to talk about the Atlanta Falcons and that’s really it. That’s the focus right now. We need to start winning games. I feel that. I want to win, too, just as bad as anybody else. That’s really it, I just wanna win.”

The Giants need those wins desperately, going into a primetime game that they in hindsight probably don’t deserve to be playing in. Of course, the answer here isn’t exactly surprising. Beckham isn’t in a position where it would be smart to hit back with comments against an owner of the team, as there’s already enough controversy around him and even politely disagreeing would generate much more.

Beckham did, however, say that he had talked to Mara. That represents some progress, as Mara claimed before that he hadn’t talked to Beckham about the interview, stating that enough people already had.

At this point in the season, Beckham has 506 yards. His yards per catch is slightly down from past years, however, and he had been criticized for only having one touchdown. That might need to change against the Atlanta Falcons, if the Giants are to take away a win against an Atlanta team that picked up their second victory of the year last Sunday.

Jim Harbaugh Quiet Going Into Michigan vs Michigan State

Michigan versus Michigan State is the biggest game of the week. Not just because it’s a rivalry and because it will decide bragging rights for the state of Michigan, but because of the implications this game has for the conference standings. The winner of the game will still be in the running to catch Ohio State, which is second in the division at the moment but higher in the national rankings. The loser, however, will have been dealt a crucial conference loss.

For Michigan, it would be their first of the year and would severely hurt their chances. For MSU, that second conference loss would kill their hopes. It’s a big game for a reason, but going into it, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh hasn’t given much away or provided any quotes that will be bulletin board material.

While the last press conference wasn’t exactly exciting, some interesting things were said.

“Again, better each week. He finds another thing to be really good at every single week. This past week, his running ability, his ball-handling was superb with the fakes, with the carrying out the fakes, with the decision-making, ball security,” Harbaugh said about his quarterback, Shea Patterson.

The Ole Miss transfer threw for only 124 yards and no touchdowns against Wisconsin, but had three touchdowns the game prior against Maryland. During the Wisconsin game, Patterson had no turnovers, and that’s another point that Harbaugh mentioned. “He does a great job of taking care of the football. He had one that he forced in this ball game last week, but that’s the first one I can remember in a while, in several games anyway. Does a great job making decisions. Team trusts him.”

Harbaugh also said a little bit about his team’s quietness coming into this important matchup. “I think we could all use a break from the clichés that have been plowed so thoroughly on both sides.”

However, fans will have to wait until the actual game to find out more specific details. Harbaugh stated that he wouldn’t talk about injuries or schemes, meaning we won’t know which of Michigan’s injured players could show up for this game. Rashan Gary is the most notable of those players, and the star defensive lineman is listed as questionable.

But even with the high stakes, and with Gary potentially being out, Harbaugh isn’t panicking. It remains to be seen how much of that calmness is real, and how much is coach-speak. “The way it always has been, the way it is, the way it always will be. Approach it the same as it always has. Big game.”

What Should We Expect From Giants Quarterback Kyle Lauletta

When the New York Giants selected fourth-round quarterback Kyle Lauletta, it was expected that he would be a project for HC Pat Shurmur to work on. Shurmur is known for his ability to mold quarterbacks and utilize them to their strengths, Unfortunately, Eli Manning has been a bit different in terms of molding. You simply can’t train an old dog new tricks.

The veteran passer has been abused over the years by porous offensive line play, which has clearly scarred him when standing in the pocket. He seems nervous and rushed at all times, which allows the opposing defense to play accordingly. His weakness are on full display at this stage in his career, which is why I’m inclined to believe the Giants might have a better shot at success with Lauletta starting.

But what does the rookie bring to the table, and when will the Giants decide to use him?

There’s evidence to prove that Shurmur and the Giants will not use Lauletta until they’re mathematically ruled out of the post-season. That would make the most sense, as the team would be development mode. The Richmond product would be expected to fill the shoes of a 14 year starter and icon in the NFL. This will be no east feat, but players and coaches have raved about Kyle’s calmness and ability to efficiently deal with pressure.

During the pre-season, Lauletta looked good at times, but showed questionable accuracy on deep balls. His ability to feel pressure in the pocket and extend plays was apparent, and his short to intermediate passing game was stellar. My biggest issue was his arm strength and accuracy down field. On several passes the ball was overthrown by a few yards, mainly due to Lauletta lofting the ball where it could hang in the air for far too long. He threw two interceptions in his lone start against the Patriots in the pre=season finale. Both were on poorly thrown deep balls.

Practice has told a different story for the rookie, thought, as he put zip and a perfect spiral on each ball. The rookie jitters must have gotten to him in his first professional action.

We can expect that he will work on those aspects of his game, but it’s essential that he receives some game-time this year so that the coaching staff can truly evaluate him.

Youthful Knicks Shoot The Lights Out On Opening Night

The New York Knicks opened their season with a lot of jitters, which was something to be expected from the NBA’s youngest team.  The fans were excited for it being opening night, Lance Thomas addressing the crowd and motivational videos from Coach Fizdale.  It was certainly an exciting start to this new regime.

However, the offense in the first quarter was very sloppy, but the defense kept them in the game.  Fizdale wanted the team to be tough on defense which in return would translate to fast breaks and easy buckets.  There was only tough defense in the first quarter, but no offense.  The only highlight on offense was Noah Vonleh playing tough one both sides of the court.  Everyone struggled and the Knicks were down by two, and then the second quarter happened.

The jitters went away and the offense exploded, literally, scoring 49 points in the second quarter, highest second quarter in franchise history.  What team is this?!?  The Warriors?  Wow.  Leading the way was Tim Hardaway Jr.  After starting 0-4 from the field, he caught fire by taking the ball to the basket to get him going then poured in 22 points first half points.  Timmy is fantastic at taking it to the basket and that’s how he needs to start every game.  The questionable factor for him is consistency.

Trey Burke had 12 of his 15 points in the 2nd and Allonzo Trier came off the bench to add 9 of his 15 points.  Kevin Knox struggled badly to find the bottom of the bucket, but he wasn’t afraid to take shots since Fizdale wanted him to be aggressive.

But, the defense is what led the Knicks to those 49 second quarter points.  They took any type of momentum the Hawks might have had in the first quarter and crushed it.  The defense was tough, gritty and in their faces.  Exactly was Fizdale wanted.  We had turnovers, hands every where, diving to the ball, I mean my god.  In return, all the rebounds and tip passes led to fast breaks and man did they like to push the ball and it got the Garden jumping.  Fizdale wanted his players to be conditioned to push the ball and they certainly looked in shape.

As for the second half, the Knicks came out in the third quarter a little sluggish and sloppy.  The Hawks went on a run cutting a 26 point lead to 13.  However, the Knicks quickly turned it around and regained their mojo on defense.  Timmy remained hot finishing 31 points, Trier had a monstrous dunk, igniting the crowd.  Clearly he was a crowd favorite this opening night.

Enes Kanter had a nice start to the season with a classic double-double, 16 and 11  Vonleh also has a double-double, 12-10, who had a impressive debut for the Knicks.  Frank overall played solid, was aggressive and had solid defense as always. Super Mario Hezonja took over the fourth quarter with 12 of his 15 points.  He was getting crafty driving the lane and had some impressive outside shooting.

Overall, that was fun.  The new look Knicks looked good and youthful, blowing out the Hawks 126-107.  Fans couldn’t have asked for more on this opening night.  The team did exactly what their new head coach wanted, they were aggressive on both sides of the ball, especially on defense.  The defense was intense, leading to fast breaks and a lot of points.  The Knicks made basketball fun again, at least for one night in New York.  Let’s see if it can continue Friday at Brooklyn.

New York Giants: Derek Carr Among Quarterback Options For 2019

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

After Derek Carr’s first three years in Oakland, few would have thought that there would be speculation about the quarterback being traded. That, however, seems to be the case right now. The New York Giants are one of the teams that may be in the running, and as the chances of the Giants making a move for a quarterback grow higher and higher, the more realistic a move for the Raiders starter seems.

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is one of the ones that believes a trade can happen. “Ultimately what’s the point of keeping Derek Carr? And if you have all this draft capital and you get a one plus something else for Derek Carr, which I think he can. I’ll call it right now, Derek Carr to the New York Giants, at the combine,” La Canfora said on the Pick Six Podcast.

A trade at the combine likely assumes that the Giants aren’t confident in getting Oregon’s Justin Herbert, who could easily be the top pick. It seems like they could be on pace for that, but there’s still many games left to be played, and getting three or four wins could throw off the team’s chances of landing this year’s consensus top quarterback.

But one advantage that Carr provides that Herbert doesn’t is experience. In 2019, Carr will enter the sixth year of his career. In each of the past four seasons, Carr has thrown for more than 20 touchdowns, but the Raiders aren’t doing so well this year and have the same record as the Giants at 1-5. With both teams rebuilding, big name players changing hands isn’t such a crazy idea.

“I think that’s what they do and they plug him right in there with Barkley, Odell and Shepard and [Evan Engram] and they try to keep that thing going,” La Canfora continued.

It still remains to be seen, however, what the Giants would have to give up in a trade for Derek Carr. It likely won’t be a first round pick, and Carr’s contract also complicates things and means that the move might come with some kind of other roster change. Will it happen? It’s too early to tell.

But options are always good, especially when it seems almost certain that, for better or worse, the team will make a change in 2019.

New York Giants Work Out Former 1st Round Wide Receiver

The New York Giants lost free agent signing, Cody Latimer, to an injury for the remainder of the season this week. His placement on injured reserve puts the Giants in a tricky situation, as Latimer was a stellar blocker in the run game and deep threat when QB Eli Manning decided to air it out.

Replacing him will be no easy feat, considering his primary role.

Big Blue brought in former Cleveland Browns first-round pick Corey Coleman to work out for the team:

The 24-year-old wideout has spent time on three teams this year, and it’s seaming that he will end up on a fourth.

Coleman spent two years in Cleveland after being selected with the 15th overall pick out of Baylor in 2016. The receiver has amassed 56 catches for 718 yards and five touchdowns in 19 career games. His numbers aren’t astounding, but Coleman has displayed serious potential at times.

Bringing on Coleman would surely be a move of desperation, but it’s possible the coaching staff could extract the best out of the young player.

The Giants signed Coleman to a contract on Thursday, waiving Khalif Raymond from the practice squad.

What to look forward:

The Giants will look to bounce back in week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football. The Falcons have one of the league’s worst defenses, which presents Manning and Co. with an opportunity to find their groove on offense. Stopping Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will present a whole different beast.

New York Yankees Flashback: Aaron, and Gary, and Didi, Oh My!

I used the word “stirring” to describe the New York Yankees victory in Game Three of the 2017 ALCS over Houston , but it really rightfully applies to the come-from-behind gem they pulled out of a hat on October 17 in Game Four. Fans may be surprised to read that Sonny Gray matched zeroes with Lance McCullers, Jr. through five, but a leadoff walk and catcher’s interference in the sixth were the first two of three runs to score on a Yuri Gurriel double off David Robertson.

Carlos Beltran doubled off Chad Green in the seventh to make it 4-0, but that’s when the fun began. An Aaron Judge home run started a two-run rally in the bottom half, then his double and one off the bat of Gary Sanchez propelled the four-run rally in the eighth that brought home the 6-4 victory. Didi Gregorius tripled and singled in the two rallies as well.

Brian Doyle collected another three hits as did Series MVP Bucky Dent, and the Yanks won the 1978 Classic on October 17 by taking their fourth straight game over the Dodgers, this one by a 7-2 score.

It looked like anything but a sweep, as the Yanks were down in the seventh inning of Game One at the Stadium vs. the San Diego Padres on October 17, 1998. But Chuck Knoblauch hit a three-run homer near the left-field foul pole to tie it, and Tino Martinez, after taking a close pitch from Mark Langston to go to 3-2, blasted a grand slam. The Yanks won the game, 9-6 behind David Wells. Yankee fans were happier with the work of the loser Kevin Brown that day than in most of the days he would wear the Pinstripes six years later.

Broadcaster Michael Kay invited Yankee fans to “take a ride on the subway” on October 17, 2000, as David Justice‘s three-run bomb to the upper deck in right was the crippling blow in a 9-7 ALCS-clinching win over the Seattle Mariners. It set up a Yankees vs. Mets confrontation in a Subway Series.

Lots of team managing news for the Yanks on October 17, and the 1964 moves were far from commonplace. The Yankees fired Manager Yogi Berra after the seven-game World Series loss to the Cardinals. Further, St. Louis skipper Johnny Keane resigned his position, and then he was hired by the Yankees. Also, on October 17, 1929, the Yankees named former hurler Bob Shawkey to manage the 1930 club following the sudden death of Miller Huggins just weeks before. In further October 17 Yankee Manager transactions, Lou Piniella was named to pilot the team on this day in 1985, and in 1988, Dallas Green replaced Lou on the very same day.