New York Giants: Pat Shurmur Claims Team Has A Starter With Eli

New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

Everyone might be eager to see what rookie quarterback and top ten draft pick Daniel Jones brings to the New York Giants, but don’t hold your breath on Jones getting playing time in 2019. Eli Manning was dubbed the team’s starter by most sources going into the season, for better or for worse, and that’s been reaffirmed by the head coach of the team, Pat Shurmur.

According to Shurmur, Manning is definitely the team’s starter going into the season and every other quarterback on the roster is one of the “guys behind him”.

It also looks like Daniel Jones will take on the most work as the team’s top backup quarterback, which is both surprising and not surprising at all. It’s partly surprising because Jones is a rookie and the team’s backups from last season, Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta, still remain on the roster. And yet, they’ve already been ruled out of the competition for top backup quarterback.

The decision is less surprising when considering the fact that Jones was picked number six overall and has high expectations. It would be a bad look on the team if a player that a top ten draft pick was spent on didn’t even make the top spot on the bench, and so to an extent, it makes sense that Jones is starting off with an early lead in the race for the number two spot.

Of course, decisions such as this have been reversed before. Sometimes, a player enters the season as a starter before falling out of favor and being replaced by a younger alternative after popular demand forces a change. Even Eli Manning himself didn’t begin his career as the team’s starter.

However, one shouldn’t necessarily expect Jones to make the jump to starter anytime soon. Out of the players that the Giants could have taken in the draft at the quarterback position, it looks like Jones might just have the longest way to go to become a star in the NFL. Having Jones on the bench early on serves to increase the chances that the team’s top draft pick this year will go on to be successful – and not the highly overdrafted bust that many still believe Jones will become.

New York Knicks Shopping Frank Ntilikina & He Wants Out

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The New York Knicks could be looking to trade guard Frank Ntilikina.  According to the New York Posts Marc Berman, the Knicks could want a first or second-round pick in return.

Recently, Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reports, Ntilikina wants to be moved after switching agents.  The frustration from Ntilikina has finally hit home.

Getting a first round pick could be difficult for Ntilikina.  He has been a underwhelming since coming to the NBA.  The Knicks have been playing with Ntilikina in numerous positions and rolls, so it is hard for him to get comfortable in one position.

The good news is that Ntilikina is still only 20-years-old and fans still have faith in him, if he hangs around.  He is younger than most of the guys in this upcoming draft.

However, if the Knicks are looking to move Ntilikina then this could mean that the Knicks feel very good about signing 2 max free agents this off-season.  Trading Ntilikina would free up another 5 million for this summer.

As much as fans do not want to give up on Ntilikina, trading him only makes sense if they are confident on landing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, or others.  But, the Knicks have enough cap space to sign 2 big FAs without trading Ntilikina.

When Ntilikina was drafted, fans were that he was going to be a ‘project’.  Why would the Knicks want to trade him when his value is so low?  He is so young and still has plenty of room for improvement and to learn.

Frank requesting a trade only makes sense since the Knicks have been trying to figure out what to do with him from the beginning.

New York Giants: Alec Ogletree Needs To Improve In 2019

The New York Giants‘ defense struggled all season in 2018. The unit ranked 24th in the league allowing  371.4 yards per game. The team had a serious lack of defensive talent, so defensive coordinator James Bettcher did not have much to work with.

The Giants were poor against both the run and the pass. Big Blue allowed 252.8 passing yards per game (23rd in the league) and 118.6 rushing yards per game (20th in the league).

Dave Gettleman made a trade last offseason for middle linebacker Alec Ogletree. This trade was supposed to bring solid play to one of the Giants’ weakest positions, but unfortunately, in 2018, it did not.

How Alec Ogletree Did Not Meet Expectations

Alec Ogletree needs to improve in 2019. According to Pro Football Focus, Despite five interceptions, Alec Ogletree still ended up with the eighth-worst coverage grade of any starter in the league.

Plays like this contribute to Ogletree’s poor coverage grade:

Ogletree struggled in pass defense, but he was not spectacular in run defense either. Pro Football Focus considers Alec Ogletree to be one of the least effective tacklers in the league. He missed 20 tackles in 2017, and a number similar to that in 2018 with the Giants.

Alec Ogletree also did not demonstrate the tenacity needed from the inside linebacker position. His most embarassing play of the 2018 season came against the Tennessee Titans. Ogletree was chasing down the running back when he was absolutely leveled by quarterback Marcus Mariota (yes, leveled by a quarterback):

How Alec Ogletree Did Meet Expectations

Despite his lackluster performance on the football field, Alec Ogletree earned himself a captain’s patch. Ogletree was a true leader for the Giants’ defense in 2018.

Ogletree also made a couple of highlight plays in his 2018 season. These great plays can sometimes blind fans from the poor plays, but they help make watching the Giants fun again.

Alec Ogletree finished the season with 5 interceptions, including 2 pick-sixes. These plays were exciting for Giants fans. Ogletree needs to improve his consistency covering running backs and tight ends in space and improve his gap choices in run defense. If Alec can achieve this and continue to make spectacular highlights, too, then he can solidify himself as a long-term starter on the Giants’ defense.

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Highlights from New York Giants First Day of OTAs

The New York Giants kicked off the OTA session on Monday with Daniel Jones, the Giants’ top first-round pick, starting out as the third quarterback on the depth chart.

The rookies had a rough day, especially the receivers who dropped multiple passes, one of which resulted in an interception. Auburn pass catcher Darius Slayton was hit in the hands by a hard Jones pass that bounced right into the arms of cornerback, Tony Lippett.

The rookie quarterback also didn’t have the sharpest practice, overthrowing his intended target several times. Nothing to worry about, though, as there’s plenty of time to refine his abilities and nerves are certainly playing a part in front of the coaching staff. Eli Manning also struggled, going 1-for-8 with two interceptions.

Daniel Jones was a bit behind on his released – the ball was coming out late to start OTAs, but that will be resolved with a few practices under his belt and more confidence. This is the first time he’s played with the entire roster rather than the rookie draft picks.

With Nate Solder out what are the New York Giants doing?

The Giants had Brian Mihalik playing left tackle in the absence of Solder, while Chad Wheeler featured at his usual right tackle spot. Big George was slotted in as the second right tackle behind Wheeler. This indicates that Mike Remmers, the Giants’ most recent signing to the offensive line, isn’t quite ready to begin physical training after undergoing back surgery this offseason.

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A surprise at cornerback:

Late first-round pick DeAndre Baker started out with the 2s for the first day of OTAs. Last season, the Giants selected Sam Beal in the Supplemental draft, giving up a third-round pick for the corner. He started with the 1s and had a solid day recording an interception and nearly securing another on a poor Manning pass.

His play opposite Janoris Jenkins provided plenty of optimism for the secodnary. There could be a legit position battle between Beal and Baker this offseason period.

New York Knicks Looking To Replace Mitchell Robinson?

New York Knicks, Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks could be looking into another big man in this year’s draft.  Last year, the Knicks got a steal in Mitchell Robinson.  Robinson turned out to be the Knicks best and most exciting rookie from last year’s draft class.

However, there are been reports that the Knicks will privately work out UCF’s Tacko Fall.  Fall impressed numerous scouts at the combine and could be making waves.  He was suppose to workout for the Knicks today, but will rescheduled due to travel issues, according to SNYs Ian Begley.

Despite being 7’7”, Fall bursted onto the college basketball scene with his play against Duke’s Zion Williamson in this year’s NCAA tournament.  He has also set records at the combine for his 8-foot-2 1/4 wingspan and 10-foot-2 1/2 standing reach.

Could the Knicks privately working out Fall could mean that Robinson could be on the move if the team includes him in the Anthony Davis trade?

Robinson became a fan favorite due to his play this past season.  He had excellent field goal percentage and became a blocking phenomenon.  Robinson still comes cheap for the Knicks, with even better upside.

The Knicks own the 3rd pick in the draft and 55th pick.  The team has also been tossing around the idea of trading Frank Ntilikina for another draft pick.  Maybe Fall?

Fall could be in play for the Knicks if they are able to obtain another pick or if he is there when they pick at 55.

New York Knicks Were Brass Playing Hide & Seek With Media After Lottery

The front office of the New York Knicks have been staying away from the media following last Tuesday’s lottery.  According to Howard Beck, a NBA ‘spy’ said Scott Perry and Steve Mills were scene slipping out of an alternate exit in their hotel.

The move by Perry and Mills was to avoid having to speak with the media.  Other reports surfaced of Knicks brass again avoiding the media after meeting with Duke forward RJ Barrett last Wednesday.

Something seems fishy.  But, I like it.

Could this mean that trading the 3rd overall pick is being tossed around in a trade package for Anthony Davis?  The Knicks appear to want to play this off-season close to the chest, despite all the Kevin Durant rumors.

Not much information has been leaked on the Knicks front regarding the Davis trade.  They always say that ‘no news is good news’.  In this case, maybe.

Perry and Mills could be plotting something big.  Recently, the Pelicans inquired more information on Kevin Knox, so the Knicks deal is not dead yet.  Mills and Perry were seen speaking to Pelicans GM David Griffin last Wednesday as well, eyes emoji.  So, there could be a lot more information that is cooking that fans do not know about.

The Knicks brass avoiding seems more good than bad.  They do not want to entertain reporters digging for any little piece of information to get a story and make waves.  The Knicks still sit in a good position to make those waves this summer.  Fans have to trust Perry and Mills.

Mills finally did address the media address one reporter expressing that they are excited with where their at and will continue to evaluate players.

New York Yankees: Important Roadtrip Awaits

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

After taking the series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays 13-5, the New York Yankees hit the road for seven extremely important games.

The Yankees head to Baltimore for a four game set with the Orioles, before heading to Kansas City for three games with the Royals. Those two teams are the worst two teams in the AL.

Since those two teams are so bad, it’s extremely important for the Yankees to win all of them. They need to build a lead over the Rays, and the Red Sox are playing well and approaching the top, so distance between those teams would be nice.

The Yankee road trip however has seemed to get off to a rough start. George A. King lll reported that there was a mechanical issue with the team plane, and the squad was forced to ride buses to Baltimore on Sunday night.

But, with the afternoon game on Sunday, the team should of gotten in at a reasonable time and fatigue shouldn’t be an issue.

JA Happ is expected to pitch game one on Monday, with Domingo German, and CC Sabathia following on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Masahiro Tanaka is expected to pitch on Thursday, pending that he doesn’t land on the IL.

We aren’t really sure who will pitch on Friday. It could be a bullpen game, or James Paxton could possibly rejoin the rotation. Then on Saturday, the ball goes back to JA Happ.

Anything but a 7-0 road trip should be considered a failure for the Yankees. With the games against poor teams, these are games the team absolutely needs to win.

New York Yankees: Aaron Hicks Already Making a Difference

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks hits a home-run against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The New York Yankees are getting back key players one-by-one from the injured list.

The New York Yankees signed center fielder Aaron Hicks to a four-year, $40 million extension this offseason in hopes of him being their leadoff hitter and consistent defenseman for years to come.

A stiff back plagued his pre-season and forced him out until this past weekend. Manager Aaron Boone had stated weeks ago that Hicks was ready to begin playing but they wanted to take extra precaution to ensure he was 100% ready to return to normal activities.

The New York Yankees finally gain reinforcements:

Missing the first 40 games of the season will surely limit his statistical output this season, but he has already smashed his first home-run, coming against the Tampa Bay Rays in a 13-5 route that reclaimed first place in the division.

Hicks started his first three games of the year 0-for-8 and currently has a .188 batting average. As he stated, “sometimes timing takes time.”

It will take a few weeks for Hicks to return to form after missing so much time, but his influence as not only the leadoff hitter but a familiar face on an injury-plagued team will be significant. He’s a leader, consistent player, and veteran that can help corral the team when the doors fly off the hinges.

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Luckily, the negative possibilities haven’t hit the Bombers yet as they sit at a 28-17 record, the fourth-best record in baseball on the backs of a team full of reserve players that have elevated their game.

Without Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, James Paxton, Miguel Andujar, and more, it’s astonishing as to how the team is still afloat. However, gaining Hicks back is a huge positive and will prove to be impactful right off the bat (pun intended).

Boone commented on Hick’s returning to form after the win on Sunday afternoon:

“He’s kind of finding his way a little bit,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Saw the walk today, which is such a big part of his game and obviously the power to go with it. We’re starting to see him settle in a little bit and hopefully today is the day that starts to get him going.”

After hitting 27 homers in 2018, he will be looking to harness his power once again and heighten the Yankees’ offensive efficiency.

 

New York Giants: 5 important things to watch during OTAs

New York Giants receiver, Sterling Shepard.

The New York Giants will open OTAs on Monday as they look to shake out the roster and provide their rookies with essential experience ahead of the 2019 season.

This will be an opportunity for the younger players to leave their mark, proving they’re worthy of a starting position or a reserve one. There will be plenty of position battles during this period, which will provide answers and excitement.

5 things to watch for during New York Giants OTAs:

1.) Where will Daniel Jones land on the depth chart?

As expected, Daniel Jones is the anticipated QB3 heading into training camp behind Eli Manning and Alex Tanney. While the 6th overall pick starting as a third-string option doesn’t promote the immediate impact narrative some people prefer from top draft picks, it’s better off he starts in a reserve role where he can learn and develop.

The upcoming season will be Jones’ growth season, and he will benefit significantly from it. Learning Manning’s tendencies and preparation procedure will aid him when he eventually takes over. In addition, refining his already solid technique and arm strength will be a part of his progression.

2.) How will the New York Giants use Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate?

Diving into the Giants’ receiver corps presents a ton of questions. It was always rather simple at this time of the year — Odell Beckham Jr. was the main pass-catcher and everybody else was an afterthought.

This year, things are different, and it will be interesting to see how the Giants utilize Shepard and Tate. Both have the ability to line up in the interior and exterior, which should create mismatches and unpredictable routes. Tate is the best receiver in the league in terms of yards-after-catch.

Look for head coach Pat Shurmur to find ways to get him open in the middle of the field so he can use his elevated play-making ability to pick up extra yards.

3.) Chad Wheeler vs Mike Remmers

It’s expected that former Vikings right tackle Mike Remmers will emerge as the starting player for the Giants after signing a contract recently. However, he’s coming off back surgery and there are plenty of questions that need to be answered, physically. There’s a chance Wheeler rightfully earns the starting job after flashing decency at times last year.

He’s by no means a great option, but the Giants did go out and secure a top 6 right guard in Kevin Zeitler this past offseason in the Olivier Vernon trade. If Remmers shows he has healed fully from the surgery he will be the starter hands down, but that’s not the case until we see him in training camp.

This is one of the better position battles of the offseason.

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4.) The cornerbacks unit

The cornerbacks will present a great position war this training camp period. Featuring several new players in DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine, there are plenty of positions open for the taking.

Most have Love penciled in as a slot-corner option alongside Grant Haley, but I imagine he will fight for a starting role on the outside. Baker, the top corner in the draft, theoretically has the second starting job opposite Janoris Jenkins locked up, but I wouldn’t rule out the feisty Love from earning reps. Nonetheless, it’s an uphill battle for him.

Ballentine has lengthy arms and NFL speed/agility — he’s an underrated talent that will compete hard but will likely be a reserve option. I anticipate 2019 being a developmental year for him. Don’t forget about Supplemental draft pick Sam Beal either – he missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. His talents have yet to be evaluated on the field, meaning he has as good a chance as anybody at securing starting reps.

5.) Eric Dungey could be a surprising sleeper

Syracuse quarterback, Eric Dungey, was signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason period. He’s an extremely athletic player that doesn’t have the most sound throwing abilities but could replicate Taysom Hill of New Orleans. He has a solid frame at 6’3″, 220-pounds.

Dungey threw for 2868 yards in 2018 with another 754 in rushing. He earned a total of 33 touchdowns over the course of the season, proving to be a capable playmaker. The Giants were intrigued by his athleticism and ability to get into the endzone. Look out for him to move around the field and play a bit of tight end and quarterback in a reserve role.

 

New York Giants: Why Daniel Jones is the Perfect Fit for HC Pat Shurmur

The New York Giants drafted

When the New York Giants hired Pat Shurmur to be their head coach, it was contingent on the fact that Eli Manning would be the starter for the foreseeable future.

Manning is a seasoned veteran with plenty of success under his belt, but he’s a bit different than the quarterback’s Shurmur has worked with in the past. He’s immobile, in the twilight of his career, and has been trained to crumble under pressure after years of inadequate offensive line play.

The fact of the matter is, Manning isn’t the ideal fit for Shurmur, a coach who prefers a passer that can escape pressure but favors throwing the ball over running. That’s why the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Daniel Jones, fits the bill perfectly for the Giants’ offensive scheme.

What makes Daniel Jones so attractive for the New York Giants:

Jones, a 6’5″, 221-pound quarterback, holds prototypical size for an NFL quarterback. He has the ability to move well in the pocket and can pick up yards with his legs if need be. In addition to those attributes, he has an accurate arm with plenty of strength to get the ball downfield quickly.

Former QB for the Giants, Phil Simms, seems to agree, stating:

“I think he really fits what Pat Shurmur wants,” Simms said, via MSG. “He’s a big guy, who can move around and has a good, solid NFL arm. He was taught really well down at Duke, and all of those things add up.”

So far, Jones has shown his ability to avoid the media and their negative tendencies. He has a similar approach to the media as Manning — stay out of their way and it can’t hurt you. As most younger passers are plastered on social media and fighting back against narratives, Jones chooses to stay away. A good idea, especially when playing in New York. We’ve seen what the Empire State can do to a player, just ask Odell Beckham Jr.

While the Giants’ first-round pick has looked good in rookie mini-camp, Monday will start training camp with the full roster — this is where we will really get a chance to view him in a competitive scenario.