New York Giants: Shurmur Talks About Baker, Daniel Jones, After First Minicamp Day

New York Giants cornerback, DeAndre Baker.

Training camp is coming up in July for the New York Giants – before that happens, however, the team will have mandatory minicamp following the finish of OTAs. The first day of that mandatory minicamp already happened, giving us a look at several of the season’s most anticipated players. Daniel Jones, DeAndre Baker, Jabrill Peppers, and others took to the field – and reports are coming out about what we can take away from the first day of minicamp.

Head coach Pat Shurmur had some things to say about a number of players following the day’s activities.

“He obviously moves around well. He is down there around the 4.6 mark,” Pat Shurmur said while talking about Daniel Jones, and how his running skills from college translate to the Giants. “I think he had 17 rushing touchdowns. He can move around and that is a huge part. If a quarterback can move around, not so much on just structured runs but the ability to be able to create a play within a passing play, I think he can do that.”

Eli Manning’s lack of mobility is something that has been criticized, especially last season, so it will be interesting to see the differences offered by Jones’ skillset, even if both players are primarily pocket passing quarterbacks.

Shurmur also talked about the secondary and particularly, Deandre Baker and new safety Jabrill Peppers. “I think he has made a play or two at each practice. Again, just learning how to compete at this level. Unfortunately, you can’t do a whole bunch of bump and run and press coverage, so the corners are at a little bit of a disadvantage. However, you need to learn to play off and for him to be able to make plays in those situations is good,” Shurmur said about Baker.

But it looks like Peppers is already off to a quicker start comparatively, as the more experienced player between the two. “It doesn’t really apply to Jabrill because his leadership was felt immediately…” Shurmur said when asked about Pepper’s development as a leader. “He picked up quickly what we were doing on defense well and he is extremely smart. He is very tough and very competitive.”

There largely hasn’t been negative press around the Giants since offseason activities began. While that may be a result of moving on from a number of players this offseason, time will tell whether dumping said players was a wise move for the team’s success on the field.

New York Giants: Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker duo could be elite

New York Giants cornerback, DeAndre Baker.

It was assumed that the New York Giants would feature first-round pick DeAndre Baker at the No. 2 corner spot opposite Janoris Jenkins in 2019, but Supplemental Draft pick Sam Beal might have thrown a wrench in that expected outcome.

Beal has looked fantastic so far during OTAs, but he has a long while to go before he can be considered an everyday starter. The reality is, Baker is far ahead of Beal, who’s coming off a shoulder surgery that ended his 2018 season before it even started.

The Georgia product is in a position to grab the starting job and hold on tight until he eventually takes the top role from Jenkins after his contract expires in 2020. DeAndre has already begun impression people around the Giants.

“No one seems to get very open on DeAndre Baker,” John Schmeelk of wrote. “The young outside cornerbacks are showing promise and ability, and their development will continue in training camp as they figure out how much contact they can get away with beyond five yards.”

The Miami native showed his efficiency in coverage last year, tallying two interceptions, a team-high 10 passes defended and a forced fumble for the Bulldogs. Opposing quarterbacks tended to shy away from the talented corner, as his physicality and speed make him a threat in the secondary.

At 5-11, 193-pounds, Baker is an aggressive player that will drive on the ball and stop receivers at the line of scrimmage. He’s deceivingly fast and can catch up in a hurry on deep passes. Look for him to experience a few growing pains early in the NFL career but progress quickly.

The Giants moved up into the first round to grab Baker, a player that will likely fit very well alongside Jenkins. The Giants’ veteran has taken on a leadership role thus far after a draft that saw Big Blue acquire three defensive backs.

Jenkins, a feisty corner that can stick with his man like glue will lock up the opposing team’s top receiver, while Baker will develop against the No. 2 pass-catcher. It’s the perfect process to catapult him into the No. 1 role after Janoris leaves the team.

The Giants will depend on these two talented corners to elevate a unit that ranked 23rd in pass yards per game (252.8( in 2018.

New York Giants: Is Jabrill Peppers An Upgrade Over Landon Collins?

The New York Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns that sent Jabrill Peppers to New York.

The New York Giants have made numerous controversial decisions in the 2019 NFL offseason. One decision that was met with a lot of criticism was the decision to let Landon Collins walk in free agency.

Landon Collins was a captain on the Giants’ defense in 2018. He was also voted to the Pro Bowl for the third year in a row. He was an ultimate fan favorite, but Giants general manager Dave Gettleman did not hesitate to let him walk away for nothing in return this March.

The departure of the Giants’ defensive captain left a giant hole on the back end of the defense. Gettleman quickly recognized this and made an acquisition to fix it. The Giants received the young, do-it-all safety Jabrill Peppers in a trade with the Browns.

The media has painted this out to be a disastrous move for Big Blue. But was it really? Is Landon Collins irreplaceable, or will Jabrill Peppers exceed expectations?

Why Jabrill Peppers Will Be An Upgrade:

Landon Collins was awarded 1st-Team All-Pro in 2016 with the New York Giants. Collins a strong Defensive Player of the Year candidate that season. His incredible development with the team won him over with the fans and leaves high expectations for his replacement.

Some fans have already written Jabrill Peppers off. However, despite his high expectations, there are reasons to believe he will exceed them and prove to be an upgrade.

An Improvement In Pass Defense:

Landon Collins was a great run-defending, in-the-box strong safety during his time in New York. However, he was pretty much limited to this role in the past two seasons. He struggled in pass defense the past two seasons, which fans point out while discussing why the Giants moved on from the safety. This is something that third-year safety Jabrill Peppers already does better than Collins.

Peppers is a versatile safety who excels in run defense but is also solid in pass defense, unlike Collins. According to Pro Football Focus, Landon Collins posted a coverage grade of only 68.2 in 2018, ranked 45th out of all safeties in the NFL. PFF even went so far to say Collins would be a better linebacker than safety for this reason.

Jabrill Peppers’s Pro Football Focus coverage grade was much better than Landon Collins’s. Peppers recorded a coverage grade of 77.3. This was a 15.6 point improvement over his rookie season’s coverage grade.

Collins has struggled to play deep safety throughout his career because of his angles and lack of top-end speed got exposed down the field. All six of his pass-breakups in 2018 came either underneath or guarding the slot. Peppers also struggled as a deep safety but has excelled when playing a variety of positions.

Jabrill Peppers is a truly versatile, swiss army knife on defense. In 2018, Peppers was leaps and bounds ahead of where he was in 2017. This is because of the unique way the Browns used him in their defense. Most of his snaps were played at safety (281 snaps), but he played a lot of snaps at linebacker (172 snaps), edge (133 snaps), and slot cornerback (108 snaps), too, according to Pro Football Focus.

This lead to a better statistical season from Jabrill Peppers. He played all 16 games and finished with 79 combined tackles, 1 interception, 5 passes defended, 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries.

Jabrill Peppers’s superior coverage skills will make him an upgrade over Landon Collins. Peppers has the ability to defend the run just as well as Collins. However, Collins’s inability to cover lead to his demise with Big Blue. Jabrill Peppers should not face similar issues.

Better Contractual Value:

Jabrill Peppers is also a better player in terms of value. Jabrill is entering his third season, meaning he is still on a rookie contract. His cap hit in 2019 is a measly $1,405,181 and $1,875,271 in 2020.

This is incredible value in comparison to Landon Collins’s $84 million contract with a yearly average cap hit of $14 million, especially when considering their similar playstyle and Peppers’s potential to be the better player.

He even looks better wearing number 21 as a New York Giant:

Jabrill Peppers is going to be the best player on the Giants’ new defense. Collins was arguably the best player on the Giants’ old defense. Peppers has big shoes to fill, but in James Bettcher’s hybrid defense, Peppers should thrive.

New York Knicks: 3 second-tier free agents that could be impactful

Could the New York Knicks pursue Terry Rozier in free agency?

The New York Knicks are in a position to go out and sign two mega-stars to max-contracts this upcoming offseason, however, I want to focus on lesser players that can still be impactful for the team.

The Knicks have followed a youth agenda in an attempt to rebuild their team without overspending on aging players – a frequent mistake that the Knicks have been trapped by in recent years.

Aside from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker and more, there are several players I want to review to see if they could potentially make sense for the Knicks, especially if they’re looking to build around a player like Durant.

Here are 3 players that could make sense for the New York Knicks:

1.) Terry Rozier

Rozier is a restricted free agent this offseason, and he will certainly be swamped with contract offers the Boston Celtics aren’t willing to match. At just 24 years old, he would immediately become the Knicks’ top point guard. Signing him would cost far less than Irving, which could be a good thing if they grab Durant and are looking to disperse their cash in different places.

If Irving leaves Boston, Rozier is more incentivized to stay, but if he goes, he could be a solid grab for the Knicks. The Celtic averaged just nine points last season in a reserve role, but he has the skill-set to be a starting player.

2.) Tobias Harris

Some might not like this idea, but Harris is a proven scorer that would benefit the Knicks in the points category. At 26 years old, Harris has plenty of gas left in the tank and averaging 18.2 points per game in 2018 surely proves he’s more than capable of elevated offensive production.

Tobias is still favored to return to the 76ers, but nothing is set in stone just yet. If he sees Durant or Irving going to New York, it could persuade him to rethink his plan.

The production Harris brought to the court, coupled with the style of play he possesses, his influence could be significant. He was an ideal fit in loaded Sixers’ lineup featuring Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid. If the Knicks can put together is solid starting five, he could fit the bill.

3.) Wayne Ellington

One of the league’s best shooters (lowkey), Ellington could be a perfect match for the Knicks as he brings a 3-and-D style. Earning a .373 three-point percentage, Ellington can provide the Knicks with the type of player that can bury a shot at the right time and act as a reserve option off the bench.

Ellington played on the Heat and Pistons last season, averaging 10.3 points-per-game. One of the more enticing aspects of Wayne is his tenacious defense. He managed to hold his own against premier small forwards with size advantages over him. He would be a cheaper signing that would bolster the team and allow the Knicks to add a solid player that plays a specific role on both sides of the ball.

New York Yankees: Does Clint Frazier’s offense compensate for lack of defense?

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

The New York Yankees have enjoyed the fruit-filled basket of Clint Frazier this season…offensively. Defensively, however, he has committed three errors, one of which allowed three runs against the Boston Red Sox in what would have completed an impressive three-game sweep.

Frazier single-handedly lost the game for the Yankees, and the question that needs to be asked is:

Does Frazier’s offensive outweigh his defense?

The Yankees’ young outfielder has taken on the role of Aaron Judge since he suffered an oblique injury. Frazier’s offense has been stellar for the most part, hitting .272 with 10 home runs and 28 RBIs. He’s been a key cog in the batting order as of late, but his defense has caused some issues.

Looking into his offense, Frazier has clearly seen the ball far better this season than in the past. He has enjoyed a near 3% boost in making contact with pitches inside the strike zone compared to 2018 (67.1 –> 71% Z-Swing). In a similar sample size (2017 &2019), Frazier has earned a much higher wRC – increasing a third of his 2019 total (23) when compared to 2017 (15).

Defensively, he saw a few key statistics take a turn for the worse – RngR (Range runs above average) jumped from -0.1 last year to -3.0. In addition, his fielding percentage is a putrid .930.

Losing Judge’s bat is significant, but losing his arm strength and defensive abilities make the right field spot irreplaceable. Clint has done his best so far, but struggling through a string of mishaps in the field has caused us to rethink the Yankees’ strategy. Is there room for him once Judge returns to the lineup, or does he fall back into a reserve role?

At this point in the season, Frazier’s value comes from his hitting and there’s no question about it. He will have plenty of opportunities to prove his worth on defense, but the Yankees simply cannot live without his current hitting. Therefore, his offense ‘does’ compensate for his lack of defense.




New York Giants: Eli Manning is facing a very real consequence in 2019

New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

There’s a certain reality to the justification of Eli Manning remaining the starter for the New York Giants in 2019. After suffering through years of a sub-par offensive line, Manning is finally equipped with the talent needed to succeed, especially when it comes to his protection.

General manager Dave Gettleman has prioritized the rebuild of the offensive line, casting Ereck Flowers to a faraway land to torment a rival – the Washington Redskins. Bobby Hart has scammed his way into a starting position with the Cincinnati Bengals, go figure. The Giants have brought in Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler, Will Hernandez, and now Mike Remmers to solidify a unit that hasn’t been adequate in years.

There’s a simple fact in regards to Manning, though, his efficiency drops considerably when pass-rushers are able to infiltrate the pocket quickly. The two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback is strictly a pocket passer, with little mobility to compensate for a lack of time.

The added support in the trenches will allow him to move through his progression quicker and find himself in a better position to succeed. His performance is the determining factor on whether rookie passer Daniel Jones will take over next season and send Manning on his way towards retirement.

Luckily, Manning has been blessed by the graces of Saquon Barkley. The talented running back masked Eli’s deficiencies last season, taking four receptions for scores and averaging nearly eight yards-per-catch.

Would the New York Giants really exercise the Green Bay model?

My question is – would the Giants be willing to sit Jones for two consecutive seasons in favor of Manning at the helm? I don’t believe they will, as Jones, being the 6th overall pick, will likely be ready to take over after the impending season. He will have an offense stocked with talent and a defense built on youth.

One of the things I have enjoyed about this offseason is that Gettleman has taken a youth agenda and applied it towards the rebuild of the team, utilizing draft capital primarily. This will provide Jones with a fresh team to work around. Building chemistry is much easier when you have young, hungry players just entering the league. I expect the Giants to look for players that fit their positive atmospheric renovation.

The bottom line, Manning will have his final shot at redemption this year, as the offensive line excuse will be cut at the neck. If he cannot function at a high level with ample time in the pocket and with ample weaponry at his disposal, there’s no question it will be his final season with Big Blue.

Clint Frazier’s Defense Hurting The New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier

There hasn’t been a whole lot that has gone wrong for the New York Yankees this season, but Clint Frazier’s defense has been one of the things that has.

The 24 year old has just a .930 fielding percentage, and is 11 outs under replacement. This means that an average outfielder would get 11 more outs than Frazier has gotten so far this year.

What happened against Boston

Clint Frazier, well, struggled a bit against Boston on Sunday in right field. He had four misplays. Yes, four.

The first one was a simple base hit to him that skipped over his glove, letting a run score and putting a runner at third.

The second, just a few plays later, was what we like to call an “in betweener”. The ball was hit in the gap between him and DJ LeMahieu and Frazier backed off of it, forcing LeMahieu to make an over-the-shoulder diving catch. It was a great catch, but it was Frazier’s ball all day.

The third was a couple plays later. The ball was hit in front and right of Frazier and the ball was falling short and he really didn’t have a shot to catch it, but laid out anyway. He got just enough glove on it to keep it in front of him, sorta, and the runners advanced extra bases.

His final misplay was an inning later, misjudging a base hit and letting it turn into a triple.

Frazier needs to fix his defense, or he could be leaving the team. With players beginning to return from injury, it could be him going to AAA or even being traded. His defense does nothing but hurts the team.

New York Knicks: If RJ Barrett Goes to Memphis, What do the Knicks Do?

The New York Knicks could have a few options when it comes draft time.  Reports have surfaced that the Memphis Grizzlies has ‘mixed messages’ when it comes to point guard Ja Morant.

Morant went through a minor knee surgery and tweeted its success.

The Knicks have been linked heavily to RJ Barrett.  However, if the Grizzlies are, allegedly, rethinking Morant.  This opens up scenarios for the Knicks.

Barrett expressed his desire to play in New York.  He has also denied the Grizzlies a private workout.  It is clear that he wants to a Knick.  But with Morant’s knee giving the Grizzlies pause, they could end up selecting Barrett over Morant.

Saying the Grizzlies do select Barrett, who do the Knicks select?  The Knicks already have a young point guard in place with Dennis Smith Jr., who is under contract for next season.

Smith Jr. played well after coming to New York.  However, with the hype around Morant and his superstar like expectations, it only makes sense to take Morant.

Many have said that this is a ‘3-player draft’.  However, the draft is deeper then some may think.  Teams may believe more in Morant and give up a haul to get him.  Then, the possibility of the Knicks trading their pick comes back into play. But, that rumor is apparently untrue at the moment.

Regardless of who the Grizzlies selected with the second pick, the Knicks will have to select the best player available.  Whether that is Barrett or Morant, the Knicks will get a player that will be a franchise cornerstone for the next decade.

New York Giants: Top News 6/4 – Is Eli Manning on the chopping block?

New York Giants

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Featuring Eli Manning as the starter for the 2019 season is expected, but it’s likely his final shot at redemption after years of poor offensive line play. Providing him with an opportunity in front of a solid group in the trenches is fair, considering the lack of talent in recent years which forced Manning to run for his life.

Manning is a pure pocket passer with very limited mobility, making an efficient offensive front a necessity, not a luxury, an idea which Jerry Reese seemed to embody over the course of his tenure.

General manager Dave Gettleman has flipped the script on this idea and bolstered Manning’s protection with “hog mollies.” The reality is, however, if Eli can’t function behind this unit, he will have earned himself a one-way ticket to retirement. Daniel Jones will most certainly take over and be the heir to the throne.

Jones will spend the upcoming season learning and gathering every bit of information he can from the veteran quarterback, ones of the league’s best when it comes to handling negative media and game-day preparation.

I get the feeling, though, that Eli knows his days are numbered, and that 2019 could be the final chapter of his illustrious career. There’s every reason to believe he will bounce back from a Saquon Barkley plastered 2018, but he will face the ultimate test, time.


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