New York Giants: What Massive DT Dexter Lawrence Brings to the Defense

The New York Giants pick Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Measuring in at 6’4″, 342-pounds was New York Giants first-round pick Dexter Lawrance at the NFL Combine. Imagine a bigger Vince Wilfork with similar strength and mobility.

Lawrence is a monster interior defender, working from the inside to attack the quarterback and plug up holes against the run. The Giants drafted him with the 17th overall pick in the draft, one of three first-rounders they used to bolster the team as a whole.

The Clemson product will fit seamlessly into the defensive front. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher features a 3-4 scheme that requires three down lineman and two outside linebackers to rush the passer. It’s very reliant on the defensive lineman to draw multiple blockers and win in the trenches. Lawrence does exactly that as he’s well versed in success coming from a Nation Title winning Clemson, team.

However, many were perplexed at the drafting of Lawrance with Montez Sweat and several premium offensive tackles on the board.

New York Giants’ Dexter Lawrence wants to prove everyone wrong:

“I’m definitely underrated,” he said. “It’s kind of on me to prove myself, right? I’ve always been able to collapse the pocket, now I’m focused on escaping blocks or finishing the plays and things like that.”

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With only 1.5 sacks in 2018, Dexter is still developing his pass-rush. He believes, though, that there’s a ton of potential in that category as he’s fast off the line of scrimmage and can bulldoze through the opposing offensive line.

“The first thing that jumps out about Dexter is he’s a pretty big man,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a guy that can play the run and rush the passer. When you pick a guy from Clemson, and he’s played on the biggest stage there is in college football… this isn’t going to be too big for him. We’re looking forward to getting him going.”

There’s no question that Bettcher will use the big defensive tackle to the best of his abilities, but staying healthy will be his biggest challenge. The physicality of the NFL and the injuries he picked up while at Clemson might pose a concern, but managing his body and engaging in the proper methods of rejuvenation should aid in his maintainance.

 

New York Knicks Fans Held Their Breath Big Time Wednesday Night

New York Knicks, Kevin Durant

New York Knicks fans saw this off-season slowly slip out of our hands Wednesday evening.  Golden State Warriors forward, and Knicks target, Kevin Durant exited Game 5…hurt.  Deep breath.

Durant left the fourth quarter after coming down somewhat awkwardly on his right leg.  NBA fans everywhere, not just Knicks fans, were concerned his injury could be something big.  No one really knew.

However, Durant only has a mild strain on his right calf.  Nothing major.  Big sigh of relief.  All Knicks fans can now exhale.

Durant is expected to be re-evaluated next week.  This means that he is most likely out for the rest of the Western Conference semifinals.

It is good that this is not a major injury for Durant.  However, Knicks fans need the Warriors and Durant to win the MVP and championship again.  This will put a seal on his time in Golden State and then it will be time for him to move onto his next chapter, New York.

What Happens If the New York Knicks Fall In the NBA Deaft Lottery?

The New York Knicks could draft Zion Williamson if they win out in the NBA lottery.

With the draft lottery looming, the New York Knicks finished the season with the worst record in the NBA, but have a greater chance at getting pick 4 or 5, then picks 1 through 3. If the likely outcome happens, and the Knicks miss out on Zion, Ja, and RJ, what are there options?

Should the New York Knicks stay put?

There is still some quality players in the draft outside the top three. Next on the Knicks list would likely be Cam Reddish or Jarrett Culver. Both players still have potential to be good players in the NBA, and there are already rumors that Knicks scouts like Cam Reddish. Reddish was very inconsistent at Duke, which is understandable playing third wheel behind Zion and RJ. While the Knicks could look outside of Reddish and Culver, if the Knicks fall to picks 4 or 5, those are the two players the Knicks would likely target.

Trade the pick?

This is what I prefer the Knicks to do if they end up with the 4th or 5th pick in the draft. I think that it makes more sense with what the Knicks plans are for the offseason to trade this pick for an established NBA player.

Trading this pick would also save the Knicks approximately 8 million dollars, which can be crucial to there offseason. If the Knicks packaged this pick, along with Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina, and maybe a future first rounder and Dennis Smith Jr. then the Knicks could potentially end up with Anthony Davis. Saving this money could mean that Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Anthony Davis team up in New York City.

Missing out on one of the top three players may be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks if that means landing Cam Reddish, or saving money to potentially get three stars calling Madison Square Garden Home next season.

New York Giants: How Does The New Offense Compare To The Rest Of The Division

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants have come in dead last in their division in each of the last two seasons. They have become the least threatening team in the NFC East and have not won the division since 2011.

The rest of the teams in the NFC East have been accumulating young talent for years. The Cowboys have made the playoffs and won the division in two of the last three seasons. Their young core of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot make them an annual playoff contender.

The Eagles have also been far more successful than the Giants recently. It is painful to say or think about this, but the Eagles won the Super Bowl in 2017 and made the playoffs again in 2018.

The Redskins have placed 3rd in the division for three straight years. But even they have won the division more recently than in 2011. They have won it twice since then (2012 and 2015).

Our beloved New York Giants have fallen behind in recent years and it is time for them to get back on track. The Giants made moves to improve their offense in 2019. Let’s see how their new offense compares to the rest of the division:

Offensive Lines:

The Giants’ offensive line has been bad for years. The Giants finally got rid of Ereck Flowers in 2018, but the unit still struggled as a whole, despite bringing in veteran left tackle Nate Solder.

The other three teams in the division all have above-average or excellent offensive lines (when completely healthy). The Dallas Cowboys had two Pro Bowlers on their offensive line in 2018 with left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin. Left tackle Trent Williams of the Washington Redskins also made the Pro Bowl in 2018. The Eagles also had a Pro Bowler in right guard Brandon Brooks. The Giants are the only team in the division to not have a Pro Bowler on their offensive line.

The Giants are trying to buck that trend. In 2018, they drafted left guard Will Hernandez in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hernandez showed lots of promise in his rookie year and looks like he can be a Pro Bowl-caliber player in the future.

In the 2019 offseason, the Giants acquired a talented offensive guard via trade with the Cleveland Browns. Kevin Zeitler is one of the NFL’s best pass-blocking guards, allowing only 11 total pressures in 2018.

The Giants’ offensive line is the worst in the division. However, it has the potential to improve mightily in 2019 with the addition of Zeitler, Hernandez progressing in his second year, and center Jon Halapio returning from injury.

Running Backs:

Fortunately, the Giants still have the best running back in the division, though it is a close race. Saquon Barkley racked up more total yards from scrimmage in 2018 (2,028 yards) than any other running back. But Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot was not far behind with 2,001 yards and he also lead the NFL in rushing yards with 1,434 yards.

The Eagles also have a solid group in the backfield. They traded for former Bears running back Jordan Howard this offseason and also drafted Miles Sanders out of Penn State. Howard has racked up 3,370 rushing yards and 24 rushing touchdowns over the past 3 seasons. In 2018, Sanders ran for 1,274 yards and 9 touchdowns at Penn State.

Technically, the Washington Redskins have the “best” running back on their roster, but that is if you are going off of total careers. Barkley, Elliot, and Howard are all young, promising players. But Washington Redskskins running back Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs of all time.

Peterson is 33 years old now and is well past his prime. However, he was still solid for the Redskins in 2018 with 1,042 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns. The Redskins also have a young, unproven back named Derrius Guice. Guice was electric in college at LSU with 2,638 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons. Guice tore his ACL in the 2018 preseason but will look to prove himself as a quality NFL running back in 2019.

The Giants have the best running back in the division and even in the NFL. Saquon Barkley will only get better in 2019. However, the team would be wise to add some more talent behind Saquon to keep him from wearing and tearing.

Receivers And Tight Ends:

The Giants easily had the best receiver in the division over the last 5 years. That changed in the 2019 offseason when the Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr.

Now the Giants are left with pass-catchers like Sterling Shepard, the newly acquired Golden Tate, and Evan Engram. Still a solid group despite losing their best player.

No one on the Giants’ roster was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2018. Shepard, Tate, and Engram all have the potential to be 1,000-yard receivers in 2019, but there is also a good chance none of them eclipse 1,000 yards, too.

The Eagles have one of the best tight ends in the NFL with Zach Ertz. Ertz had the third most receiving yards out of all tight ends last season with 1,113. He is their best skill player on offense and will remain a consistent player for Philadelphia in 2019.

The Dallas Cowboys struggled to find a receiving threat, post-Dez Bryant until they traded for former Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper in 2019. In only 9 games with the Cowboys, Cooper totaled 725 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. The Cowboys could use some help at tight end, but Cooper is the best receiver in the division now that Odell is in the AFC North.

The Washington Redskins seriously lack playmakers on the outside. Their leading receiver in 2018 was tight end Jordan Reed with only 558 receiving yards. The Redskins did draft a couple of receivers in 2019 with Kelvin Harmon and Terry McLaurin, but it is hard to imagine these two players will make such a vast improvement to the Redskins’ receiving corps in 2019.

The Giants might not have the best receiver or tight end in the division, but they could have arguably the best group of these positions in the division. If Engram, Shepard, and Tate all reach their full potential in 2019, the Giants’ offense could be electric.

Quarterbacks:

Every team in the division has a young, franchise of future franchise quarterback on the roster. The Giants and Redskins were the last teams to acquire theirs but finally did so in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The Cowboys and Eagles have their franchise quarterback starting and winning games for them, but the Redskins and Giants have not seen their young signal-callers in action yet. It is too soon to tell who has the best young quarterback in the division, but right now Carson Wentz is the best quarterback in the division.

Carson Wentz had an MVP-caliber season prior to injuring his knee in 2017. In the 13 games he played in 2017, Wentz threw for 3,296 and 33 touchdowns. This lead the Eagles to an 11-2 record. Carson made the Pro Bowl in 2017 but suffered another injury in 2018. If he can stay healthy, he is the best quarterback in the division.

The other young quarterback in action is the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott. Prescott has lead Dallas to the playoffs twice in three years and has thrown for 3,000 yards and 22 or 23 touchdown passes in all three of his seasons in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl twice and is set to receive a big contract extension from Dallas soon.

The Redskins had a problem at the quarterback position but found their answer in the Draft. Their quarterback, Alex Smith, suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2018 that will probably keep him sidelined for all of 2019. So the Redskins drafted Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins in 2019. Haskins threw 4,831 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes in 2018 at Ohio State. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain a high production level in the NFL.

While the rest of the division will all be starting quarterbacks age 27 or younger in 2019, the Giants will be kicking off the season with 38-year-old Eli Manning at the helm. Manning has been underperforming for the past two seasons, failing to top 21 touchdown passes. Regardless, the Giants are committed to him as their starter in 2019. However, if Eli struggles, it could mean the Giants will move on from him as soon as possible.

The Redskins were not the only team to address the quarterback position in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants made the controversial decision to draft Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in the draft. It can be debated whether or not Jones was worthy of that high selection, never topping 22 touchdown passes in 3 years as a collegiate starter. The Giants will be hoping that Jones proves any doubters wrong when he gets his chance.

The Giants’ quarterback position is probably the worst in the division. Their young soon-to-be franchise guy is far from a can’t-miss-prospect, and their current starter is a legend well past his prime. Giants fans need to hope and pray that Daniel Jones shocks the world and proves all his doubters wrong in the future.

New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks Should Be Ready This Weekend

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees believe that centerfielder Aaron Hicks should be ready to be activated this weekend.

Hicks, 29, hasn’t played at all this season. He was placed on the IL during spring training due to back issues.

Last season, Hicks hit .248 with 27 home runs and 79 RBIs. In 2017, Hicks bat .266.

In three games with the Tampa Tarpons, Hicks is 0-for-11, but nobody is really concerned. Most times, players struggle in their rehab assignments just because they are rusty and are used to faster pitching with pitches that have even more break.

Who will depart?

We believe that it will most likely be Mike Tauchman who departs, going to AAA on the next “Scranton Shuttle”.

Tauchman was acquired from the Rockies in the final week of Spring Training. He has a .203 average with 11 RBIs and four home runs in his time as a Yankee, starting a good portion of games thus far. Most of his time was spent in left-field. If he does indeed go down, Brett Gardner can shift back to left to make room for Hicks in center.

It’s unlikely that it would be Cameron Maybin to go, his average sits at .321 and is a seasoned outfielder, in the big-leagues since 2007.

It’s great news that players are beginning to get healthy again, and the Yankee lineup is finally not looking like a Railriders lineup. Giancarlo Stanton should be the next Yankee to return, hopefully in a few weeks.

New York Knicks: David Fizdale Admits Zion Williamson is their Pick

The New York Knicks are very open about drafting Duke superstar, Zion Williamson.

There’s no hiding the fact that polarizing Duke player Zion Williamson is the pick for whichever team wins the NBA Draft lottery. The New York Knicks have already admitted to that reality.

His immense scoring abilities and unique style of play take him to the top of the draft with ease, and at such a young age, 18, Zion is prepared to make the leap to the professional level.

Averaging 22.6 points per game for the Blue Devils, Williamson was dominant and fierce in his only collegiate season. To put into perspective just how big he is, let’s compare him to massive tight end, Rob Gronkowski.

Gronk stands tall at 6’6″, 265-pounds, while Zion is 6’7″, 285-pounds with room to grow. It’s not only exciting that he still has a few years of growth in store, but he also has the mental part of the game down. Learning his role in the NBA will be flawless, simply because the team that drafts him will build their offense around his talent.

New York Knicks HC David Fizdale knows who he’s picking with the first pick:

“If we win the lottery do we know who we’re taking? Yes,” Fizdale said Wednesday on the Dan Patrick Show.

Patrick further brought up Williamson as the potential choice, in which Fiz responded, “that was straight to the beach with flip flops.”

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It seems as if coach Fizdale is either the worst poker player alive, or he really doesn’t care that other teams know the Knicks are head over heels in love with Zion. But, to be fair, what team isn’t? He has the potential to be the next superstar if he isn’t already.

At such a young age, there’s plenty for him to learn, which is the scariest part of his entire game.

 

New York Giants: What if Eli Manning Struggles During the 2019 Season?

While many think the cure to Eli Manning’s struggles is an upgraded offensive line, there’s no guarantee it will do the trick. The New York Giants have allocated plenty of resources towards the line and creating a comfortable pocket for Manning to operate in, but it’s certainly possible that father-time has caught up to the 15-year veteran.

This brings up an important question.

What should the New York Giants do if Eli Manning struggles in 2019?

One thing is for sure, the Giants didn’t draft a quarterback with the 6th overall pick for him to watch the offense throw up duds every weekend. I expect that head coach Pat Shurmur and Co. wouldn’t hesitate to throw Daniel Jones into the mix if absolutely necessary.

After all, offensive coordinator Mike Shula believes that he could be the day 1 starter if needed.

“I think he’d be ready to go” when asked if Jones could be a Day 1 starter. “He has that capability,” Shula said.

Jones is entering the NFL a refined passer with the ability to make the right choices when under pressure. The talent around him at Duke certainly limited his potential, but with Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, and the ever-exciting Saquon Barkley by his side, there’s hope the Giants’ offense could function at a decent level.

However, replacing Manning isn’t the ideal scenario. Allowing Jones to learn from Manning and sit for an entire season would do wonders for his development — physically and mentally. Taking over mid-season for the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback isn’t a situation the Giants or Jones needs to be in, as it has controversy written all over it.

That’s the type of circumstance that the New York media gobbles up in one sitting. Now, we know that the Giants’ first-round pick isn’t expecting to earn any meaningful playing time until 2020, or maybe even beyond, but he must be prepared for the worst case scenario.

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What will Jones be working on in his rookie season?

Preparation — that’s the process Jones will be developing and soaking in from Manning. Learning how to win isn’t as easy as stepping on the field and slinging the ball around, it requires plenty of film-work, studying opposing coverages, maintaining your body, etc.

These are all factors Jones must perfect before taking the field once Manning either retires or sees his contract expire without an extension in place. Luckily, he’s learning from the best preparation-oriented quarterback out there.

 

New York Yankees: Giancarlo Stanton Preparing to Ramp Up Rehab

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

While the New York Yankees traveled the west coast last week, slugger Giancarlo Stanton spent his time in California rehabbing from a shoulder issue that accompanied a bicep injury.

Stanton was forced out on April 1st initially, and he has been unable to swing a bat ever since. Over a month later, he’s just now preparing to ramp up his baseball activity – he was scheduled to hit off a tee on Tuesday.

Late Monday night Stanton said the plan was to “ramp it up and see how it goes.’’

It will likely take some time for the outfielder to get back to a comfortable level at the plate, as he relies heavily on his arm strength for power.

The New York Yankees have survived without him:

Despite Stanton’s absence, the Yanks have been on a tear as of late. Most recently, the team came back from a 4-2 deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4 in a three-run 9th inning rally. The return of Clint Frazier wasn’t as electric as most hoped considering his two costly mistakes in the outfield and 1-4 hitting performance. However, Gio Urshela saved the day with a game-tying 2-run homer in the 9th inning.

The one unit on the team that has struggled has been the outfield. Luckily, reserve options Cameron Maybin and Frazier have picked up the slack offensively. Maybin scored from second on a DJ LeMahieu single to win the game on Tuesday night after a short rain delay.

While the Bombers have scraped by, there’s no official timetable for Stanton to return. I anticipate it will be at least three weeks before we have an estimated return.


In other injury news — Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Judge are all taking baby-steps in their individual rehab plans.

Betances has started a throwing program and expects to work his way up into pitching form slowly. It will likely take until after the All-Star break for the relief pitcher to make a return.

 

 

Hypothetical: The New York Knicks Dream Scenario

New York Knicks to pursue Kawhi Leonard.

We all know that the New York Knicks have the cap space to make some noise this off-season.  74 million is a nice problem to have.  However, we do not know what player/players may want to call New York home.

In a time where rumors, speculation and hypotheticals get the blood pumping, this one sounds the sweetest.

The Knicks will have a top 5 pick.  With that top pick, they are going to get a very good player, whoever that may be.  Pairing that pick with some key free agent signings will turn around the New York Knicks for the next decade.

New York Knicks ‘Dream Team’

Hypothetically speaking, the Knicks are able to land Kevin Durant.  Boom, done.  New York is happy.  Knicks still have some dough to toss at someone.  Fans seem to want Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker.

Next, we forget that Kawhi Leonard has a player option for next season.  He can opt out and sign a max deal somewhere.  Maybe with the Los Angeles Clippers, to go home, or stay in Toronto.  Maybe the Knicks, if the situation is right?

The Knicks could be more appealing to attract a player like Leonard if the team drafted Ja Morant to be the point guard going forward.  Also, the team would still have youth and the talent to compete for the East.  Maybe a title?

The Knicks ‘Dream Team’ lineup could look something like this:

PG – Ja Morant

SG – Frank Ntilikina/Daymean Dotson

SF – Kawhi Leonard

PF – Kevin Durant

C – Mitchell Robinson

In fact, this seems a lot more appealing than an injury prone, sometime absent, Irving.  It is a relatively young defensive mindful lineup with the scoring power that can compete with any team.  We can discuss lineups all day, but this one is not half bad.