Did The New York Giants Dodge Drama With Beckham Trade?

Everyone knows by now that character concerns are one of the reasons why the New York Giants traded star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, whether or not the team itself admits that and whether or not those concerns are actually justified. How Beckham performs in Cleveland both on or off the field will be one of the deciding factors in the ongoing debate over whether or not the trade is justified.

Now that offseason training is heating up and OTAs are underway, there’s some reports coming out on that very subject.

With one OTA left for the Browns, Cleveland head coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t seem like the most satisfied person in the world with Beckham – who skipped optional minicamp and only attended one day of OTAs.

“I just want to see him,” Kitchens said of Beckham when asked by Cleveland.com what he expected of the player during mandatory minicamp. He continued and claimed that Beckham missed “a lot,” and “the offense.”

Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield, however, defended Beckham’s decision. “You let a guy like that be him. Everybody has their routine. Stick to what is working, and for him, obviously, it’s been working for a while. He’s going to do what he’s going to do. You have to trust that he is going to be there when it matters, and we know who he is.”

Of course, mandatory practices haven’t begun yet, and so Beckham technically isn’t in the wrong for not attending. However, it’s also hard to make an argument for a star player being in the right to skip optional practices when joining a new team. After stepping into an unfamiliar organization and offense, most players would benefit from getting as much practice time in as possible before the season. Additionally, Beckham hasn’t yet built up enough trust with Cleveland to skip the majority of OTAs and not have it mentioned with a suspicious eye.

The New York Giants have largely avoided problems during their own OTAs this year. The questions about the team’s quarterback situation have mostly been settled by now and there hasn’t been drama over a star player not showing up, which might not be the case if Beckham was still with the team. And with the media focusing intently on issues like this, such drama could have been a major distraction.

However, despite providing some distractions, Beckham is still one of the best receivers to ever play for the team. It looks like the Giants did duck some drama by trading him away, but if they want that trade to be worth it, they’ll still have to find production out of a group of players that’s still largely unproven playing without Beckham. Will they be successful? We’ll find that out during this season.

The New York Giants’ Most Underrated Player Is Nate Solder

New York Giants, Nate Solder

The New York Giants have made it a major point of emphasis to improve the offensive line over these past two years. General manager Dave Gettleman has made multiple significant moves in order to rebuild the offensive line.

Last offseason, Gettleman’s biggest move was the signing of former Patriots offensive tackle Nate Solder. Solder was signed to a record-breaking contract. He received a 4-year, $62 million deal with the Giants that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

This acquisition was met with a lot of praise, but also a lot of criticism. Many fans feel Solder was not worthy of this contract and that he would not meet expectations.

How Nate Solder Met Those Expectations

Nate Solder proved the naysayers wrong in 2018, despite popular belief. Most of the fans who think Solder disappointed in 2018 are basing their opinion on only the first half of the season.

In the first half of the 2018 season, Nate Solder was met with two extreme challenges. Firstly, Solder dealt with a bulging disc in his neck that greatly affected his performance. Nate was not able to play at 100% until midway through the season.

Secondly, Nate Solder had spent the first 7 years of his career protecting Tom Brady in New England. Switching teams was a big adjustment for him as he tried to get acclimated to the Giants’ offense. The reason this change was so difficult is due to the change in quarterbacks.

Tom Brady’s drop back was significantly shorter than Eli Manning’s, which allowed Solder to push the pass-rusher behind Brady as he stepped up into the pocket. The left tackle had to adjust to Eli’s deeper drop back, as he caught himself pushing edge rusher directly into Manning early on in the season.

Once Nate Solder fixed this, he was the solid, franchise left tackle that he was in New England. Solder was the 5th highest-graded player on the Giants in 2018 by Pro Football Focus. According to PFF, Solder even had the highest single-game grade out of any offensive lineman in 2018.

In his first season outside of New England, Solder managed an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 74.1 which ranked 16th out of 35 qualifying left tackles. This level of play from the left tackle position is something the Giants have been missing for years (thanks to the ultimate bust, Ereck Flowers).

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Solder’s first half of the 2018 season left a lot to be desired for. But once he adjusted to Manning’s longer drop back and once his injury healed, Solder performed at a much higher level.

Nate Solder allowed six sacks and 20 total pressures through the first eight games. However, he rebounded in a big way over the second half of the year, allowing only one sack and 13 total pressures.

Unfortunately, Nate Solder has suffered another injury and will miss the 2019 OTAs. Solder will be ready to go for training camp and should have no problem being at 100% for the start of the 2019 season. A fully healthy season will be key for Nate Solder as he attempts to live up to his humungous contract. But now that he is acclimated to the Giants’ offense, all Nate has to do is stay healthy and he will prove that he was worth every penny.

New York Knicks Rumors: Kevin Durant 100% Confirmed?

New York Knicks, Kevin Durant

The New York Knicks rumors can’t stop, won’t stop.  The hottest new rumor is of potential future Knick, Kevin Durant, selling his Bay Area home and purchasing a place in New York.  This comes from Ric Bucher while appearing on The Herd.

Everyone, especially Knicks fans, know that rumors is what keeps fans intrigued.  A lot of fans love to buy into whatever they hear.  I know I have been guilty of this several times in the past.

However, it is simply just a rumor and nothing more.  Passionate fans love to get excited when they hear news similar to this and some do not.  Take it how you will.

Knicks fans need to take this so-called ‘rumor’ with a grain of salt.  The coverage linking Durant to the Knicks has been overwhelming.  To be honest, if Durant decided not to come, it would not shock me after all this.

Until the team makes it official that Durant has put the pen to paper and signed his New York Knicks contract, it is just a rumor.  Knicks fans will believe it when we see it.

Should the New York Knicks keep Emmanuel Mudiay?

New York Knicks point guard, Emmanuel Mudiay.

The New York Knicks have a few tough decisions to make this upcoming offseason as the 2019 NBA Draft looms and the player of choice is clearly Duke’s, RJ Barrett. However, finding a serviceable point guard in free agency will be a priority, as Dennis Smith Jr. is good but not great.

A player in flux is Emmanuel Mudiay, who had a solid 2018 season averaging 14.8 PPG, shooting 44.6% and 32.9% from downtown. These were all career-highs for the former first-round pick in 2015.

He ultimately was the most consistent starter on a bad Knicks team, given the lack of veteran leadership and the abundance of youth. He was their best player at times, but that’s just a testament the Knicks’ 17-65 record. There’s no question the organization needs to bring in several high-profile players to turn the tables on a struggling team.

The New York Knicks might be better off letting Mudiay walk:

I don’t know if the fan-base can take much more of this misery. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Mudiay’s price-tag will elevate in his fifth season. The $4.2 million he earned last year will not get the job done again, so New York has to make the decision to either let him walk or bring him back as a reserve option. I can’t imagine they will bring him back as a starter with players like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker available in the free agency.

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The 2019 offseason will be about maintaining as much cap space as possible in hopes of landing a max-contract player like Kevin Durant. A young team featuring Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier, Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, and Damyeon Dotson, will draw interest to veterans looking to lead their own team into the abyss.

The talent on the roster is a bit underdeveloped, but a long and grueling 2018 season has surely given them the grit needed to win in the future. The hope is that bigger and better players feel the same way.

How The New York Yankees Could Keep Thairo Estrada Long Term

New York Yankees, Thairo Estrada

Thairo Estrada has been one of those guys that have came out of nowhere to help the New York Yankees. Many people assume that he will head to AAA once Didi Gregorius is healthy, but that may not necessarily be the case.

Team versatility

So many guys in the Yankee infield can play different positions, and that is super beneficial to the team.

Because DJ LeMahieu can also play first, I think that the Yankees should get rid of Kendrys Morales and keep Estrada as the utility man.

If you do that, the starting infield would look like this: Gio Urshela at third, Didi Gregorius at shortstop, Gleyber Torres at second, and Luke Voit at first.

However, the Yankees could instead make DJ LeMahieu the everyday first baseman and move Voit to the DH spot. LeMahieu is definitely quicker and more defensively sound compared to Voit.

Estrada is primarily a middle infielder, so he could play the field if Didi or Gleyber need rest or DH. If Urshela needs a break, you could move DJ to third and bring Voit back to first.

Estrada would likely play once or twice a week in that scenario, or he could play a bit more if he comes off the bench to pinch run.

In my opinion, there is really no need to keep Morales. He isn’t producing, batting just .188. He only has two home runs, and isn’t getting consistent solid contact. His fielding is also poor, as he is very slow and immobile.

Keeping Estrada would be the best option for the team for a better bat and more versatility.

 

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley puts elite speed on display (Video)

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley puts his speed on display during OTAs.

After an electrifying rookie performance by New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley in 2018, the upcoming season only presents more optimism for the dual-threat player.

Barkley is not only devastating from out of the backfield, but he’s also a stellar receiver and blocker. His abilities have a wide range and his impact is obvious when on the field. He showed his elite speed once again on a short pass over the middle during OTA practices on Wednesday.

Check out the clip below:

Watch as Barkley completely smokes the mid-level defenders and puts Jabrill Peppers in overdrive trying to catch up to him. Remember, Peppers is one of the fastest defenders on the team and most athletic – he’s nearly left in Barkley’s dust but thankfully the sideline saves him.

Last season, Saquon averaged 7.9 yards per reception and 5.7 catches per game. In comparison, Ezekiel Elliott averaged 7.4 yards per reception. I imagine Barkley’s statistics will increase even more with the rebuilding of the offensive line.

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General manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority to build out the offensive front with the signing of Nate Solder, drafting of Will Hernandez, trading for Kevin Zeitler, and signing of Mike Remmers. I left Jon Halapio out as Spencer Pulley could win the job over the former practice squad member.

There’s no doubt the line look more put together on paper at this point, and adding top talent will surely help the overall efficiency of the unit. Barkley will be a clear benefactor of the trenches being solidified. If you recall, the claiming of Jamon Brown influenced the offense significantly – he played far better than Patrick Omameh and it showed in Eli Manning and Barkley’s performances.

 

 

New York Giants: What Kevin Zeitler can do for the offensive line

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

On paper, the New York Giants offensive line looks fantastic, but we haven’t seen them perform on the field yet with quality defensive lineman scheming their way into the backfield. Can they handle stunts and delayed blitzes? Will their chemistry be up to par early on in the season?

There are plenty of questions that require answers, but there’s one thing we can conclude – the Giants’ line is far better today than it was one year ago.

On this day last year, the Giants still had Ereck Flowers on the offensive line. While he was featuring at right tackle this time around, he proved to be useless there as well. Not to mention the signing of Patrick Omameh, who was cut after week five. General manager Dave Gettleman made a few bone-headed mistakes, but he was quick to fix them and add a different player to find the right combination.

The left side of the line ended up performing quite well after Nate Solder adapted to his new role protecting Eli Manning. Will Hernandez flashed Pro Bowl potential, and he’s preparing to take a massive jump in 2019. Center Jon Halapio will return from a broken leg suffered early on in 2018, but the biggest acquisition this offseason has been right guard, Kevin Zeitler.

The New York Giants brought in a huge upgrade:

The former Cleveland Brown was acquired in the Olivier Vernon trade, and he will make an immediate impact for the Giants. If you recall, Gettleman claimed Jamon Brown off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. Brown improved the efficiency and continuity of the line significantly, and he only ranked as the #62 guard in the league.

Zeitler was the #6 overall guard last season, which only indicates the improvement he will bring. The 6-4, 315-pound chiseled lineman looks like a miniature version of the hulk, and he sure plays like it. While we can’t assume he will transform a perennially bad offensive front for the Giants,  we can hope his No. 1 pass-protection grade will help Manning exponentially.

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The 29-year-old didn’t expect to be traded from the Browns, but he’s “excited” to be in Blue now, stating:

“A big surprise,” Zeitler said, according to the New York Daily News. “I didn’t see that coming. I’m glad to be here. I know the Giants are a big historical organization with a lot of success with Super Bowls. No matter what anyone says, we have to put the work in once the season rolls around.”

He further commented on Saquon Barkley and his role in helping him succeed at an even higher level in 2019:

“There is no limit to what we can do,” Zeitler said. “We have a long way to go and a lot to do. We’ll see what happens once the actual season rolls around … You see (Barkley’s) highlights from the year before. I think anytime he has a chance to touch the ball, there is a chance he can break it. So it’s on us to get it done so we can do that more often.”

The offense clearly starts up front for the Giants, as Manning’s inability to escape from the pocket forced the line to be more than adequate. Hopefully, they can reach that potentially become a force in the NFL, something the Giants haven’t had in quite some time.

New York Knicks: Jarrett Culver over RJ Barrett?

Texas Tech shooting guard, Jarrett Culver, could be on the New York Knicks radar.  Culver impressed NBA scouts and executives with his shooting at his Pro Day in Phoenix.

Possible rumors from Sporting News Sean Deveney suggest that the Knicks could consider Culver over RJ Barrett.

Culver measures in at 6’7” with a 6-foot-9 wingspan.  Similar to Barrett, who measured in with the same height and having an inch longer wingspan.

This season, Culver averaged 18.5 points while shooting 46 percent shooting from the floor.  However, his shooting from beyond the arc has been inconsistent throughout his college career.

He is similar to RJ Barrett in a few categories, but he excels over Barrett in defense.  Culver also showed that be can be an above-average defender, both on and off the ball.  Some have compared Culver to Jimmy Butler and Andre Iguodala.  Not too shabby, both offensively and defensively.

Culver is projected to be a top-10 pick in this year’s draft.  But now, the Knicks Culver could potentially be drafted with the 3rd pick.

Barrett does appear to be the most logical pick for the Knicks at 3.  He was number one overall player out of high school and projected to the be number one pick in this year’s draft, before Zion Williamson took over.

However, if the Knicks believe that Culver is their guy and fits what they are building for the future then fans must trust Scott Perry.  Either way they Knicks are going to get a good building block for the future.

New York Giants: Is the offensive line finally good? (PODCAST)

New York Giants

The New York Giants have gone through hell and back to rebuild an offensive line that couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. General manager Dave Gettleman prioritized the rebuild to ensure veteran quarterback Eli Manning has plenty of time to get rid of the ball and move through his progressions.

Manning had a solid 2018 on the back of rookie sensation, Saquon Barkley. Check downs and short routes in the flat to Barkley piled on the statistics for Saquon, a player that will only progress in his second season in the NFL. In the podcast below we talk about his abilities and how reliant the offense on his production.

We have a quality dialogue on why he was the right pick for the Giants last season and what his impact will be in the future. His influence on Daniel Jones when he takes over and how he will help make Manning’s supposed final season in blue a memorable one.

Additionally, we run through the secondary and the new safeties on the roster. The free safety position could be a liability with only Antoine Bethea featured. However, the Peppers and Bethea duo could be extremely impactful. So far, they’ve been on the same page and have solid positioning throughout OTAs. I imagine it will only get better moving forward.

You can listen to analysis and a breakdown of the Giants’ OTAs and essential debates from Empire Sports Media Giants beat reporters Alexander Wilson, Anthony Rivardo, and Christian Morell below, in the latest episode of Keeping Up With The Gmen!

 

New York Giants: Top News 5/30 – Saquon Barkley has lightning speed

New York Giants running back, Saquon Barkley.

Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Want to know what’s faster than a cheetah? Saquon Barkley. Want to know what’s faster than Saquon Barkley? Light. The first human to break the sound barrier individually and murder tacklers in the process. Seriously, Barkley is a demi-god that we are lucky to have on a team that just ridded themselves of Odell Beckham Jr.

Just one year ago, the Giants had two generational talents, now they’re down to one. The difference? The one remaining is a gem in the media and presents a positive image for the organization. In 2018, Barkley, the player of notice, joined an elite group of running backs to break 2,000 all-purpose yards in their rookie season.

With an upgraded offensive line, Barkley has the potential to be even more effective and efficient. He will enjoy better blocking up front and a betting version of Eli Manning, which will make the play-action more dangerous and keep defenders on their toes.

Let’s get this straight, the Giants’ offense has the ability to be fantastic, it all depends on Manning and if he can utilize the receivers he has on the field. Adding Golden Tate and extending Sterling Shepard should provide him with ample weaponry. Shep has had a fantastic OTA period so far, catching everything that comes his way. I’m extremely excited to see what this offense can do in the coming months.

Nonetheless–

Giants top articles of the day:

John Schmeelk (Giants.com) – Sideline Notes: Giants OTA No. 5

Dan Schneier (247Sports) – Predicting playing time for each New York Giants rookie in 2019

John Fennelly (Giants Wire) – Giants enjoying no-nonsense OTAs for first time in years

Dan Benton (Giants Wire) – Oshane Ximines named Giants’ most dangerous new weapon

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: Daniel Jones has one goal in his rookie season

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