New York Giants: Evan Engram Praises Team’s Quarterbacks

Right now, there’s not a large amount of teams around the league that have more scrutiny on their quarterbacks than the New York Giants. The Giants have been dealing with this in recent years due to the aging of Eli Manning and the need to find a future successor, but with the team taking Daniel Jones at number six overall, that scrutiny and pressure is higher than it’s been even during the past couple of seasons.

Both Eli Manning and the rookie Jones have big expectations on them for the 2019 season, but according to one of the more prominent targets for both quarterbacks, the two of them are responding well to it all.

“He’s picking up [the offense] really fast. They’ve been trying to throw some stuff at him and he’s handled it really well,” third year tight end Evan Engram said at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, before CC Sabathia’s celebrity softball game. The subject of his comment, of course, was Daniel Jones.

This season is expected to be a learning experience for Jones rather than one where he is expected to start, but that doesn’t mean his performances in early offseason activities haven’t been followed and scrutinized heavily already. Most reports so far, however much they’re actually worth coming from inside the Giants organization, have been positive.

But Jones isn’t the only player receiving scrutiny. As the team’s starter, there’s a lot of pressure and expectations on Eli Manning to play well for the next season or two before it’s time to start thinking of Jones taking over.

“Eli looks really good. He’s moving around. He’s doing everything he’s asked. He’s making all the throws. He looks like Eli. He’s doing good,” Engram said about the current starter.

We’ll see just how that translates into play on the field, with both Manning’s own mistakes and subpar play from other positions leading to a lackluster year during the 2018 season. Engram himself will have big expectations to help out Manning after only starting eight games last season and registering three touchdowns, only half as many as those from his rookie year.

With the departure of Odell Beckham Jr., Engram might just see more targets and a big chance to capitalize on the thing that the Giants drafted him for: his skill as a pass catching tight end.

New York Giants: Colin Cowherd Gets the Last Laugh in OBJ Twitter Rant

While this might not be relevant to the New York Giants anymore, it’s quite fun to see Odell Beckham Jr. cause a ruckus on his new team, the Cleveland Browns.

On Thursday night, Beckham Jr. responded to Colin Cowherd’s talk-show after he broke down the 10 most memorable moments of his career. Surprisingly, nearly all of them were negative moments outside of “the catch.” Yes, that “surprisingly” was sarcastic.

OBJ went on a tirade viciously attacking Cowherd over Twitter, essentially calling him a liar and a fake. He also insisted that nobody watches his show, which clearly isn’t true given the response. If nobody watched his show, Beckham likely wouldn’t care what he had to say.

However, in my personal opinion, Cowherd got the last laugh, enjoying a second show where he broke down why OBJ is a circus. Clearly, his first show was bait for the star wideout, which he swallowed whole and held nothing back on social media.

Here are the tweets former New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. posted:

https://twitter.com/obj/status/1129139978007564288

https://twitter.com/obj/status/1129140460247703552

https://twitter.com/obj/status/1129141262106284032

Here’s the follow-up from Cowherd on Friday:

The biggest point here is the response from Beckham in which he clearly lacks the self-control to simply stay quiet. Another good point – Beckham appeared for the first day of OTA’s and then departed. Cowherd states that he should have stayed and continued to develop a relationship with quarterback Baker Mayfield. In just his second-season, OBJ didn’t feel the need to work with Mayfield and work on their timing ahead of the season.

While OTA’s are optional, it’s more centered around the development of a relationship. Cowherd mentioned Tom Brady and Julian Edelman, a duo that spends every offseason training and working together despite their near-perfect timing and chemistry. It’s what winners do to ensure they emerge triumphant once the regular season rolls around.

Now, it’s more than likely you don’t agree with me here, and I totally respect your opinion on the matter. In fact, I would love to hear and talk more! Please comment below and I would be more than happy to converse on the subject.

New York Giants: We Need to be Talking More About this Potential Star

New York Giants, BJ Hill

If there’s any one player on the New York Giants that isn’t talked about enough, it’s defensive lineman, B.J. Hill. Drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Hill wasn’t expected to make the impact he did for the Giants in his rookie season.

There’s hope that he can take a big developmental jump in his second season as a professional. The underlying fact is that Hill is dominant in the trenches – he secured three sacks against a solid Chicago Bears team last year. While he was inconsistent, he showed flashes of immense potential throughout his first campaign in the NFL.

If he can establish consistency and dominate on a weekly basis, there’s no question he could develop into an unsung hero for Big Blue on the defensive front.

The New York Giants are putting a lot of trust in their youth:

Currently, the team is rolling with questionable talent, especially in the pass-rush department. They’re betting heavily on their 2018 draft picks to make a major jump.

Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive linemen Hill and RJ McIntosh will be expected to produce in 2019. However, GM Dave Gettleman didn’t completely ignore the unit, drafting big interior lineman Dexter Lawrence to clog up the middle of the trench and allow Hill to expose the boundary in a pass-rush sense.

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Hill’s numbers are solid for a mid-round pick in his first season. He earned 32 solo tackles, 48 combined, 6 tackles for a loss, 8 QB hits, and 2 passes defended (Pro Football Reference). Let’s not forget his 5.5 sacks to go with it all.

With a year of development under his belt, B.J. has the tools to elevate his game and become a true force on the line.

I’m excited to see what he can do with additional resources around him. With the Giants featuring a 3-4 scheme, I imagine they take a rotation approach with the three down lineman. However, I think Hill has the ability to be a three-down player that can rush the passer and be a force in stopping the run.

Giants Tackle Nate Solder Undergoes Ankle Surgery

New York Giants, Nate Solder

Don’t be alarmed, the New York Giants aren’t losing their left tackle. A simple arthroscopic ankle surgery to clear out bone spurs will force starter Nate Solder out until training camp – he will skip spring training as he heals.

Solder had a rocky start to his career with the Giants, performing poorly for the first half of the season but elevating his game in the second. The reason is generally straight forward.

Why Nate Solder will improve in 2019 for the New York Giants:

On his former team, Solder had to operate with Tom Brady under center, a passer that’s much better at navigating the pocket than Eli Manning. Brady’s drop back was significantly shorter than Manning’s, which allowed Solder to push the pass-rusher behind Brady as he stepped up into the pocket.

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The left tackle had to adjust to Manning’s deeper drop back, as he caught himself pushing edge rusher directly into Manning early on in the season. Luckily, he was able to break this bad habit and adapt to Manning’s style of play. He ranked as the #21 tackle in the league after fixing the issue.

Getting Solder back to 100% health is a priority for the upcoming season. He’s primed to improve upon his first season with Big Blue.

New York Giants: What Will The Giants Do With All Of The Quarterbacks On Their Roster?

New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

The New York Giants currently have 5 quarterbacks on their roster. The team recently drafted quarterback Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He has not yet signed his rookie deal, but once he has, the Giants will have 6 quarterbacks on their roster.

The quarterback was a position of need for the Giants heading into this offseason. Because of this, the Giants made sure to improve their quarterback room. But now the Giants have too many quarterbacks on the roster. The question is, who will stay and who will go?

Who Will Definitely Be On The Roster?

The Giants will definitely hold at least two quarterbacks on their roster. The two quarterbacks locked into roster spots are Eli Manning and Daniel Jones.

The Giants have committed to Eli Manning as their starter for the 2019 season. Manning is a franchise legend heading into his 16th season. But in 2018, Eli posted a career-high completion percentage at 66%, showing that he still has the ability to start in the NFL.

Eli will also have an additional task in 2019. He will need to teach Daniel Jones what he can and help the rookie prepare for the day he becomes the next franchise quarterback. Daniel Jones is obviously a lock to make the roster in 2019.

Daniel Jones was the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants are committed to Daniel Jones being the team’s next franchise quarterback after Eli Manning retires or moves on from New York.

Daniel Jones threw for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdown passes, and only 9 interceptions in his final season at Duke. Jones is a quarterback the Giants need to develop, but they have the next 5 years on his rookie contract to turn him into a franchise quarterback.

Who Might Be On The Roster?

The Giants will definitely hold two quarterbacks on the roster in 2019, but it is possible they carry more than two. Alex Tanney recently signed a two-year contract extension with the New York Giants.

However, the contract is only worth $2,150,000, so the Giants do not necessarily need to commit to Tanney. They could end up cutting him this offseason.

The Giants typically do like to have a veteran backup quarterback so it would not be surprising if they kept Tanney. But the Giants do have younger options if they want to hold three or more quarterbacks on the roster.

Kyle Lauletta was drafted by the Giants in the round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The rookie received a lot of hype from Giants fans but underwhelmed when he got playing time in the regular season. Lauletta went 0 for 5 with 1 interception against the Redskins.

Despite this lackluster performance, the Giants could still see some potential in Lauletta based on his collegiate performance. But if the Giants are ready to move on from Lauletta, he could have a decent trade market.

The Giants also have a darkhorse player that could make the roster at quarterback. But this player could make the roster at another position, too. Eric Dungey is a versatile player who played quarterback in college but could play multiple positions in the NFL, similar to the Saints’ Taysom Hill.

If the Giants want to have a more progressive offense and try some innovative, multi-position players, Dungey would be the perfect option as the third quarterback on the roster.

Why the New York Giants Will be an Improved Team in 2019

The New York Giants are not supposed to be a good team in 2019. Vegas projects the team to win just six games this upcoming season. The losses of Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon, and Odell Beckham Jr. make it easy to see why people would believe this. But perhaps we are writing them off too quickly. Undergoing a complete overhaul the past two seasons, the new team is beginning to take shape. Despite all of the negative headlines in the media, here is why the Giants will be better in 2019.

Why the New York Giants Will be Improved in 2019:

The Easy Schedule

The Giants will benefit greatly from playing weaker teams this upcoming season. Their schedule features games against only four 10-win teams from a season ago, tied for the least in the NFL. Those teams are the Patriots, Bears (who the Giants beat last year), and the Cowboys twice. Going at least 1-3 or even 2-2 in those games isn’t really that unlikely.

Taking a step down to the middle class of difficulty, Minnesota, Green Bay, Washington twice, and Philadelphia twice highlight the schedule. Say the G-Men split the games with Washington and Philadelphia, and beat Minnesota. Through the 10 games mentioned, the Giants would be sitting at somewhere in the 4-6 or 5-5 range.

Looking at the easiest part of the schedule, the teams remaining are the Bills, Dolphins, Cardinals, Lions, Jets, and Buccaneers. As it is most likely impossible the team goes 6-0 against these teams, 5-1 or 4-2 is a much more likely projection.

Add up all of those games and you find a Giants team come January that could be in the 8-8 to 10-6 range. That is three to five more wins than they had in 2018. If they do their job in games this season, their schedule will get them enough winnable games to put them in playoff position.

The Defense Was the Issue in 2018

Believe it or not, the Giants defense was the biggest issue last season. While the media made it look as though Eli Manning was holding the team back, the defense was truly preventing the team from winning games. The team gave up 25.8 points per game last season – the tenth most of any team in the league.

The offense, on the other hand, was scoring 23.1 points per game – the 16th best in the league. The offense put the team in position to win eight or nine games last year. The defense is what made them finish with only five wins.

The Defense has Improved

The Giants Front Office noticed these issues and made it a priority to address them this offseason. To start, they acquired 23-year-old Safety Jabrill Peppers from Cleveland. They then signed 3x pro-bowler Safety Antoine Bethea in free agency. They also added Edge Rusher Markus Golden, who tallied 12.5 sacks in 2016.

When the draft came, the Giants continued to address the defensive side of the ball. At No. 17 overall, they selected DT Dexter Lawrence, someone who will move the pocket up front. Later that same night, they traded back into round one to select CB Deandre Baker, the recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award in 2018 (best cornerback in college football).

In the later rounds, they continued the trend by taking even more defensive players. In round three, they selected DE Oshane Ximines, who recorded 32.5 sacks during his time at Old Dominion. In round four, they selected CB Julian Love, a finalist for the same Jim Thorpe Award that first-round pick Baker won. Round five saw the addition of LB Ryan Connelly, who recorded 89 tackles in 2018.

The Offensive Additions Made This Offseason

The Giants made multiple moves this offseason that will allow the offense to burgeon. Most importantly, they addressed the offensive line. The additions of Guard Kevin Zeitler, Tackle Mike Remmers and the resigning of Jon Halapio will greatly improve the team.

Besides the revamped offensive line, the team also added a veteran receiver, Golden Tate. Tate, entering his ninth season, has been the definition of consistency in his entire career. He has eclipsed at least 795 receiving yards every year since 2013. While he won’t replace Odell Beckham Jr., he will certainly be a solid addition.

A Full Season of Building off of 2018

The Giants’ offense struggled mightily in the first half of last season. During those first eight games, the team averaged just 18.75 points per game. They had no rhythm and looked lost during most drives. They did not know how to utilize the players they had.

The second half of the season was a different story though. In their other eight games, they averaged 27.37 points per game. That is nearly nine more points than in the first half of the season. They discovered how the offense needed to be run, and most importantly, they learned that Saquon Barkley is now the face of the offense.

 

New York Giants Most Underrated 2019 NFL Draft Pick

The New York Giants‘ 2019 NFL Draft can be graded across the board. At some points, it was an “A” and others a “D”, but there’s one unit that was significantly upgraded changing the entire narrative.

Going into the draft the Giants’ cornerback group was considered the weakest unit on the team, consisting of just Janoris Jenkins, Grant Haley, and Sam Beal. After spending a ton of capital on the cornerback position, the team now features DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and one of the more underrated players of the crop, Corey Ballentine.

Ballentine signed his rookie contract with his new team on Wednesday, officially making him a part of a rejuvenated defense after being shot in the bottom several weeks ago. Doctors encouraged him that he would return fully after the traumatizing incident.

Why the New York Giants got a solid player in Corey Ballentine:

Aside from the chip on Corey’s shoulder, he was a projected fourth-round pick that fell all the way to the sixth round. He has NFL-level speed and short area burst, allowing him to match up well in coverage. He has impressively long arms that benefit in swatting balls away and tangling with receivers off the line of scrimmage.

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I believe he could be the most underrated player for the Giants. His downfall is man-coverage as he looks uncomfortable at times pressing receivers off the line. He seems more versed in off-ball-coverage where he can track receivers coming at him and break on their initial route. Despite that one deficiency, he’s not expected to be an immediate starter anyway, which should ultimately benefit his growth and development.

Learning from Jenkins how to play man-coverage more effectively should help him elevate his game. He will act as a reserve player in 2019 with the potential to earn some playing time due to injury or fatigue. There’s plenty of value to be extracted when it comes to his talents. I anticipate the Giants utilizing him on special teams as he adapts to the speed and physicality of the NFL.

 

 

Did the New York Jets Make a Mistake Signing Le’Veon Bell?

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

The first thought that ran through my head when the New York Jets elected to fire Mike Maccagnan was, “there must be going on between him and Adam Gase.”

Very rarely do you see a general manager get fired after spending $200M in free agency and working through an entire draft, but it seems as if management is siding with their new head coach. Reports quickly emerged stating that Maccagnan and Gase were rifting, or otherwise divided in their ideology for building the team.

Maccagnan was dead set on acquiring star running back Le’Veon Bell while Gase apparently wanted to use in open-cap in other ways to further bolster the depth and offensive line. However, the Jets went out and secured Bell for $52.5M over four years.

The question is:

Was signing Le’Veon Bell worth it for the New York Jets?

Right off the bat, we can say — Bell theoretically got Maccagnan fired which has put a huge thunder cloud over what seemed to be a fantastic offseason for the Jets. But what would a great offseason be without a lick of drama at the end?

Nonetheless, the Jets gained a stellar offensive playmaker that will aid second-year quarterback Sam Darnold in every facet of the game. Bell will be the best runner the Jets have had in years – a security blanket in the pass game, and a solid blocker in protection.  The money spent on Le’Veon wasn’t out of this world either. He’s only on the book for four-years with an out after two that would count just $4M in dead cap.

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His contract was formed perfectly to keep the Jets safe from bad-value and extract the most potential possible. If Bell performs well, he will remain in New York for years to come — if not, he will be released after just two seasons. Basically a trial run.

I can’t imagine Gase hated this move to the degree some are reporting. It doesn’t make physical or logical sense unless Gase hates elite playmakers on beautifully constructed contracts.

So, the bottom line, Bell was certainly not a bad acquisition for the Jets, and I’d be surprised if Gase was so opposed he managed to get Maccagnan fired.

 

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres Quietly Off To Spectacular Start

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Gleyber Torres has probably been one of the New York Yankees least talked about players this season, and deserves to be talked about more. He’s off to a great start in 2019, batting .290 in 155 at-bats.

Stepping up on both sides

With injuries, Torres has been batting higher in the lineup then usual, and has shifted back to his natural shortstop position.

At short, he has a .972 fielding percentage, which is around league average. Since he isn’t usually the everyday shortstop, that’s pretty solid, in my opinion.

On the offensive end, he’s been fantastic. Along with his .290 average, he has eight home runs and 20 RBIs, along with 10 doubles. So far, his OBP is down 15 points from last season, but his average is up 19 points. And, his slugging and percentage and OPS. has increased this year as well

The team affect

Torres’s contributions have greatly improved the team this season, and even more so than last.

This season, his dWAR is at 0.3, which is almost as good as last year already (0.5). That means that his defense improved over the winter.

His oWAR still has a way to go to catch last years (2.9), but at the rate he’s going, he should eventually surpass it. He sits at 1.1 right now.

His overall WAR is at 1.2, which is just shy of half of last years (2.9). He should also surpass that number.

This year, Torres will likely surpass all or most of the stats that he set last year. Remember, Torres was an all-star last season, and the way he’s playing, he could be on track for a second appearance in as many big-league years.