How The Giants Likely Plan To Handle Their Quarterback Sitation

New York Giants, Kyle Lauletta

As we approach week nine after the BYE, the New York Giants are in a peculiar situation. They can either continue to start Eli Manning and hope for the best from the veteran signal caller, or they can give rookie QB Kyle Lauletta a chance to display his skill set.

This week I heard something interesting. We all know how great Patrick Mahomes has been so far in 2018, but according to his father, the passer wouldn’t be anywhere near his current self if he didn’t have last year to develop.

I can imagine that head coach Pat Shurmur is worried about Lauletta being rushed into things, especially considering he’s a fourth-round pick. Using this time to refine his weaknesses and allowing him to sit behind Manning to learn the intangibles of being a Super Bowl winning quarterback is essential.

Starting the rookie now would be a mistake, no matter how much we want to see Manning benched for eternity.

Who will start for the New York Giants next Monday?

Shurmur stated on Tuesday that Manning would remained the starter following the BYE. The two have had several discussions about the team and how the veteran needs to perform better moving forward. I would anticipate that the Giants will activate Lauletta by week 12 and look to play him at the end of the games if the score allows it.

EXTRA:

Shurmur ensured that the Lauletta would not be suspended by the team for his traffic violation last week. The youngster made a mistake and has clearly learned his lesson with a lot at stake. The consequences will be handled internally.

 

The Wait For Big Ten Basketball Season Is Finally Over

The wait is finally up. After an offseason that always feels long, college basketball is back and the Big Ten is joining the rest of the country in kicking things off today. Michigan, Purdue, and Indiana all begin their seasons on this day, but the game that everyone is looking forward to is the one pitting Michigan State against Kansas. The tenth ranked team in the country against the top ranked team.

Both teams have experienced tournament disappointments in recent years and are looking to turn it around. Both teams also have big expectations that would suffer a setback with a loss in the opening game. Only one team can walk away victorious, however, and that’s what makes these early season out of conference matchups as interesting as they are. No matter what happens, highly ranked teams will walk away with losses in the opening weeks of the season.

Of course, there’s also big name players to watch, even if their teams aren’t playing in huge games. Purdue, Indiana, and Michigan also play today. Purdue’s Carsen Edwards is projected to be the conference player of the year, and with a matchup against Fairfield, it wouldn’t be surprising if Edwards got the season off to a flying start.

Indiana’s Romeo Langford is one of the most highly anticipated freshman players from the state in a number of years, and he begins his Hoosiers career against Chicago State. Even if these games aren’t the biggest, and even if the final scores most likely won’t be the most exciting, it’s safe to say that there’s plenty of reasons why the first days of the season are worth watching anyway.

After all, it’s something we’ve all been waiting months for.

Big Ten Games On Tuesday (Eastern Time)

  • #1 Kansas vs #10 Michigan State, 7:00 PM on ESPN
  • Indiana vs Chicago State, 6:30 PM on BTN
  • #24 Purdue vs Fairfield, 7:00 PM on BTN+
  • #19 Michigan vs Norfolk State, 8:30 on BTN

New York Jets Hit Hard Rock Bottom In Miami

The Jets notched their 6th loss of the season on Sunday, all but eliminating them from playoff contention. To say Sam Darnold and the offense looked anemic would be an understatement. The Jets squandered a stellar defensive performance, losing their third game by seven points or less.

Darnold Goes From 3rd Overall Pick to Four Picks in a Game  

The Dolphins only touchdown came with just under 11 minutes to go in the game. Darnold was forced to field yet another bad shotgun snap by Spencer Long. This ultimately threw off Darnold’s timing and forced him to make the ill-advised throw that was brought back to the house by Jerome Baker.

The Jets defensive players said that they want to return to creating more turnovers, and you don’t win games by losing the turnover battle. The problem being that in this game there was no battle. Darnold and the offense served up the ball on a silver platter, never allowing the team to really have a chance.

Yes, the defense only gave up 6 points. With the Jets only putting up 6 points themselves, the Jets needed to do something special to give Darnold more opportunities to score. What they needed was a miracle.

Where is Jeremy Bates in all of this?

There is a lot of criticism being thrown at Todd Bowles, deservingly so. However, head coaches are the lightning-rod of the franchise, so Bowles might be getting more than his fair share. Bowles is a great defensive mind, and it showed in the defensive performance in Miami. Have we all forgotten who calls the plays for Darnold? Jeremy Bates is another great football mind, who was able to make Jay Cutler into a Pro Bowler

Bates displayed none of that knowledge on Sunday. The offense looked stale, redundant and wildly inefficient. Darnold only completed 53% of his passes while throwing the ball 39 times in a low-scoring affair. Bates only manufactured 13 carries for Isaiah Crowell, resulting in 49 yards. Simply put, the Jets need to run the ball more in order to be competitive.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

It’s nice to be able to say the Jets defense played well. The organization has poured more resources in to that side of the ball, and it’s beginning to show on a weekly basis. Jamal Adams was constantly around the ball, and Jordan Jenkins had 2 sacks and 2 tackles-for-loss. On offense, Elijah McGuire bounced back from injury well, with 30 yards on the ground and 37 through the air.

Isaiah Crowell continues to perplex the Jets. His talent can lead to a 200 yard, 2 score game. More likely, though, he has trouble staying in rhythm, or finding the yards in key situations. Crowell does not perform at his best when he only has 13 carries. The offensive script for this week was not conducive to victory.

Sam Darnold’s play was flat-out ugly. A 4-interception performance is never pretty. Spencer Long’s hand injury assured that shotgun snaps would be a problem. This was magnified when the coaching staff waited to replace Long. The center-quarterback exchange was the single most glaring concern throughout the game, and the coaching staff responded with too little, too late. The Jets have a lot to clean up before they host the Bills.

New York Giants: Second Half Individual Breakout Candidates

New York Giants, Evan Engram

Despite the New York Giants sitting at a lowly 1-7 record, there’s hope for some of the individual players in regard to gaining some experience and proving their worth. We should expect to see a ton of youth on the field and some hiccups along the way, but it’s important to begin evaluating the roster instead of competing for a mathematically impossible playoff run.

Three New York Giantsplayers that might break out in the second half of the season:

1.) TE Evan Engram

Several days ago I labeled tight end Evan Engram as a potential bust. Why? Because his purpose when drafted was to be a premier level pass catching option off the line of scrimmage. So far, his career has been plagued with dropped passes and an inability to block efficiently.

Does this mean Engram can’t succeed moving forward? Absolutely not, and god knows I’m rooting for him to be the best possible player he can be. Therefore, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Engram has a stellar second half to the season.

The Giants’ tight end has played in five of eight games this season, wracking up a soft 145 yards and two touchdowns. It’s obvious he’s not being used to his potential, but this can be a result of a porous offensive line. Moving forward, I hope to see HC Pat Shurmur utilize Engram up the seam and get him into open spaces.

2.) LT Nate Solder

It’s known that left tackle Nate Solder improves as the season goes on, but so far he’s been far from a stellar replacement for Ereck Flowers, let alone a decent one. Solder came over from the New England Patriots on a four-year, $62 million deal. He’s averaging about $15 million per-season, making him the highest paid tackle in the history of the game.

Despite his lackluster performance thus far, there’s a reason he’s been struggling so consistently. In the systematic Patriots offense, Tom Brady often drops back just six steps, targeting intermediate and short routes. The design of the offense is built to get the ball out of Brady’s hands as soon as possible, and with his deadly accuracy the approach works to perfection on most occasions.

Solder is built to handle interior rushes and pushing his assignment to the outside. Often time, he would allow his man to beat him on the outside and push him past Brady into the backfield, allowing the all-time great to step up into the pocket and deliver the pass. Eli Manning on the other hand is used to a 8-10 step drop back, which puts Solder in a tough position. It forces him to become a more well-rounded tackle, acquiring the ability to handle pass-rusher on the exterior and interior.

It will take time for Solder to build this foundation skill-set, but I feel as though he will show a much better effort in the second half of the season.

3.) DL B.J. Hill

The Giants’ fourth-round pick has proven to be a stellar interior defensive lineman, acting as a pass-rusher from the trenches and playing well against the run. Hill has been coined as the most NFL-ready player coming out of the 2018 NFL Draft, according to Shurmur.

Hill already has 24 combined tackles, two sacks, and two quarterback hits in his first eight games. If he continues to perform at this level, he will finish the year with 48 total tackles, four sacks, and four QB hits. To put this into perspective, Olivier Vernon had 6.5 sacks, 37 combined tackles, and 12 QB hits last year. Now, obviously Vernon and Hill play vastly different positions, but it’s important to recognize the role of a defensive tackle in a 3-4 defense. They’re expected to put pressure on the quarterback from the inside and allow the edge rushers to leave their mark in terms of sacks.

The North Carolina State product is in for an even bigger second-half of the season, especially with a bit of well-earned experience under his belt.

 

New York Knicks Suffer Devestating Loss In Double OT

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The New York Knicks lost back-to-back ugly ugly games against two of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference, at the Washington Wizards, 108-95, on Sunday then last night against the Chicago Bulls, 116-115.

Quickly we’ll mention the first ugly game when the Knicks visited the Washington Wizards.  The Wizards came into the game losing 5 straight with one of the NBA’s worst defenses.  In the Wizards first eight games of the season, they have given up 124 points per game.  Yikes.  Whenever a stat like that comes out against the Knicks, it’s always a bad omen and it was.

This was a game that the Knicks could easily win and they came out of the gates flat as ever.  John Wall was able to do, basically, whatever he wanted.  He was able to get to the rim with ease, as the Knicks interior D was nonexistent, per usual against teams with a below average big man.  Wall ended up scoring 26 point in this contest.

The Knicks just seemed flat and hungover in this game.  It was not enjoyable to watch.  Since the Giants had a bye and didn’t ruin our Sunday’s for once, I was thinking this could be an ‘OK’ Sunday and then the Knicks played.  They did not want to be there and it showed by their lackadaisical demeanor on both sides of the ball.  There was no fire on defense from the tip.  The Wizards wanted to be there and forced 20 Knicks turnovers in the easy win.  Also, frustration was finally seen on young Knick players like Robinson and Trier, as both received technicals for defensive plays against Dwight Howard and Wall.

Now onto the second ugly game of the Knicks’ back-to-back against the Bulls at the Garden.  The Bulls enter this game a hurt team, missing their best player Lauri Markkanen as well as Denzel Valentine, Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis.  The Knicks were without Tim Hardaway Jr., lower back.  But, Kevin Knox was available for the first time in 8 games.

This game was, again, ugly until it started to pick up it the second half.  The game was pretty much back and forth throughout with sloppy play by both sides.  The Knicks had to fight their way back in the 3rd quarter to push the game into overtime and then another overtime.

Kanter led the way for the Knicks with 23 points and 24 rebounds, but it was Emmanuel Mudiay’s coast-to-coast layup with 2.7 seconds remaining to second it into a second overtime.  However, in crunch time, Mudiay had a lot of questionable defensive and decisions.  Alonzo Trier still contributed with 21 points on 5-15 shooting despite being double-teamed for the entire game.

The Knicks defensive rebounding and poor decision mamking is what lost them the game.  The Bulls had multiple opportunities to put the game away in the 4th quarter and both overtime’s.  The shots just weren’t falling until Zach LaVine took over with him career-high 41 points.  LaVine hit some big 3’s down the stretch and ultimately the game-winning free throw with 0.2 seconds remaining.

Not having Hardaway Jr. really hurt the Knicks, as it showed.  There was a lack of scoring and big time shots when the Knicks needed it the most.  Also, the overall team decision making was questionable throughout.  Mario Hezonja taking to many untimely shots, Dotson rushing shots, lazy team fouls, it was a lackadaisical performance all around.  Hopefully Hardaway can return for their game on Wednesday as the Knicks take on another rebuilding team in the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 pm.