New York Giants: Anonymous Rival Buys Into NYG’s Hype This Season

New York Giants, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants always have big expectations as one of the premier sports teams in the ruthless New York City market, but whether or not the team deserves the confidence of the fans and analysts this year is something that’s still under debate.

More optimistic predictions tend to believe that the team could make a quick turnaround behind their young talent, of which they now have plenty, while more cynical or realist voices might claim that the team took steps back by getting rid of stars such as Damon Harrison and Odell Beckham Jr., leaving them either worse or in the same spot as they were at the end of last year.

However, there’s at least one NFL rival who spoke anonymously with Street & Smith’s in their NFL preview for this year, and praised the Giants despite their offseason losses and the terrible last season that the team stumbled through to reach their current point.

“The one thing I know about Dave: He works really hard – always very conscientious, thorough. Pat Shurmur is a blueblood football guy. To me, that’s important. You see the good, the bad and the ugly over all those years of coaching in the NFL. So, now you have to try to eliminate the bad stuff and go to town,” the anonymous source said about Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur, the GM and head coach of the Giants respectively.

“They’ve got to get right tackle squared away. You bring in Kevin Zeitler, which helps, Will Hernandez had a good rookie year. Nate Solder was great in New England, but Tom Brady got the ball out so fast. Maybe the Giants need to speed things up a little bit and Eli Manning has got to get the ball out quicker,” the source said on the subject of whether or not the Giants are a better team than they were last year.

“You got Saquon Barkley there. There’s been a lot of positive things there. I would say the Giants have taken a step forward. They’ve got to get another good draft next year and another good draft after that, then I think you’re on the upswing,” the anonymous rival concluded.

However, the Giants also had a number of new players, including on the offensive line, last year. Only some of them panned out, and while the team definitely has more talent than they had at the start of 2018 in terms of balance and raw potential, we’ll just have to wait and see if those players can actually live up to their potential. By now, Giants fans are no stranger to players such as Ereck Flowers and Patrick Omameh not living up to what’s expected of them, and will be hoping it doesn’t happen again this season with a different cast.

New York Yankees: Tanaka Solid Again, This Time Against Astros

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

For the second straight start, New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was solid, leading the team to their eighth straight win.

A start removed from a two hit shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tanaka went six innings and gave up just two runs. He threw 88 pitches and gave up eight hits, but registered just one strikeout.

Tanaka’s stuff wasn’t lights out like against Tampa Bay, but he instead did a great job in hitting his spots to get weak contact. Austin Romine caught today while Gary Sanchez was the DH, and Romine called a fantastic game.

Tanaka picked up his third win in as many starts, and lowered his ERA to 3.21. To begin the year, he wasn’t getting much run support, but that has changed as the season has progressed.

The Yankees eight straight wins have extended their AL East lead to 5.5 games after being tied just days ago with the Tampa Bay Rays. Not just that, the Yankees have taken their first three with the Astros. Remember, earlier in the season, the Astros swept a three game set with the Yankees.

The team is avenging their early season losses and gaining ground on Houston in the playoff seeding hunt.

 

New York Knicks Summer League

The New York Knicks open up their NBA Summer League with a bang.  The newest New York Knick, RJ Barrett, will face off against his former teammate/roommate Zion Williamson, now a New Orleans Pelican.

The first game, against the Pelicans, is on ESPN on Friday July 5th at 9:30 p.m. EST.  The Knicks have three games following the first matchup of RJ & Zion. Sunday, July 7th against the Phoenix Suns.  Tuesday, July 9th against the defending champion Toronto Raptors.  Then their finale against the Los Angeles Lakers.  All games are at 9:30 p.m. EST.

The faithful Knick fans will see the draft pick that pretty much everyone cheered for. Barrett is ready for New York and so are the fans.  He may even be as loved as Zion is, well at least with New York fans.

Barrett does have a lot of pressure on him, but he is embracing that.  Kevin Knox had the same last year when he was selected 9th overall.  Knox had a very strong summer league, but a sub-par season.

Barrett will be a different story.  He was the number one player out of high school and in college, until Zion happened.  Barrett will be able to come to New York, be a plug-in, starter and produce.  He wants to be in New York and ready for whatever.  The Knicks organization and fans expect big things from RJ.

New York Knicks: What does Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis bring to the team?

New York Knicks, Michigan Wolverines, Ignas Brazdeikis

The New York Knicks were keen on bringing in swingman style players this year during the draft, selecting Duke’s RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis from Michigan.

The Knicks traded up from 55 to 47, swapping with Sacramento for cash considerations. The lefty, who spent just one season with Michigan, started all 37 games for the Wolverines, shooting 39.2 percent from behind the arc and averaged a team-high 14.8 points.

The New York Knicks gained a true competitor:

The Lithuanian impressed in his only college season, proving he’s a capable and athletic scorer. He will add a different dimension to the Knicks – imagine a more athletic Steve Novak.

“He’s a hard-nosed, tough guy who drives fearlessly, can make a jumper but a little undersized for a 4,’’ NBA consultant to basketball operations Chris Ekstrand said, according to the New York Post. “He’ll be combo forward, and it will depend on matchups.”

Getting a high-percentage three-point shooter involved in the offense will help the overall scoring production of the team, he’s a bit small for a forward but will be utilized to expose key matchups.

The 6-foot-8 winger has the physicality to compete in the paint at the NBA level, however, he will need to refine his abilities and adapt to the strength of professional players. A high basketball IQ accompanies the 20-year-old. His craftiness around the hoop will allow him to assist his teammates and provide a safety net.

Brazdeikis is mostly a strict scorer, averaging just 0.8 assists. He’s a 77% free throw shooter as well, above the average in the NBA. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks utilize him in their scheme and what role he will play in his rookie season.

New York Giants: Evan Engram Can Be One Of The Best Tight Ends In The NFL If He Stays Healthy

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants are set to have one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses in 2019. Saquon Barkley is entering his second season. Barkley won AP Offensive Rookie of the Year and already looks like the best running back in the NFL. But Saquon is not the Giants’ only playmaker.

The Giants have a talented receiving corps to go along with their solid ground game. Golden Tate is known as the YAC King and looks to be a dependable receiver for Eli Manning. New York also extended Sterling Shepard this offseason. This receiving duo could be one of the league’s best.

Often lost in the discussion is the Giants’ tight end position. It is easy to discuss Saquon and his 2,028 scrimmage yards as a rookie, but it is also easy to forget that the Giants had a rookie haul in 64 passes for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns just two years ago.

Why Evan Engram Will Improve In 2019:

Evan Engram showed improvement in 2018, despite posting less impressive statistics. Evan missed time due to injury, but in the games he played, Engram caught 70.3% of the passes thrown his way. This is a major improvement over his poor 2017 catch rate of 55.7%. Engram dropped 11 passes as a rookie.

An even more positive note is Engram’s production towards the end of the season. In the final four games of the 2018 season, the Giants were without their star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. During this four-game stretch, Evan Engram improved tremendously.

Engram averaged only 36.7 yards per game prior to Beckham’s injury. After Odell went down, Evan’s average jumped all the way to 80 yards per game.

What Makes Evan Engram A Special Player?

Evan Engram is as versatile as can be. He is a receiver playing in a tight end’s body. Engram stands tall at 6 feet 3 inches and fills out his frame nicely, weighing in at 234 pounds. But this tight end body does not move at tight end speed. Evan Engram ran a blazing fast 4.42 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Former NFL analyst and current Oakland Raiders GM Mike Mayock described Evan Engram as a “matchup nightmare.” He also added that Engram “runs routes like a wide receiver” and has a skill set “closer to Mike Evans.”

This level of versatility has been on display throughout the first two years of Evan Engram’s career. The Giants have used Engram in a variety of ways in the passing and rushing game. Check out Engram taking a handoff and using his elite speed to gain a first down:

This end-around was in week 15 of the 2018 season. Evan was spectacular that game, catching all 6 of his targets for 87 yards and rushing for 26 yards on only 2 carries. He followed up this performance with an impressive outing in week 16 versus the Cowboys.

Engram’s athletic ability was on display again in this game. He caught 5 passes for 81 yards and also scored a touchdown on this incredible play where Engram fully extended and lunged across the goal line:

This solid performance capped off a rocky season by Evan Engram. He saw a decrease in every receiving statistic. After an excellent rookie season, Evan played in only 11 games (started 8) his sophomore year and posted only 45 receptions, 577 yards, and 3 touchdowns.

What Evan Engram Needs To Improve On:

The main area of concern with Evan Engram is health. Evan has missed 6 games in his first 2 seasons. He was only able to start in 8 games in 2018 due to a string of injuries. In order to take his game to the next level in 2019, Evan Engram needs to remain healthy.

Evan Engram also leaves a little to be desired as a run-blocker. He improved a bit in his sophomore year, but he was one of the worst run-blocking tight ends in the NFL in 2017. He posted the fifth-worst Pro Football Focus run-blocking grade of all tight ends in 2017 at 48.7.

Evan Engram is an athletic specimen. If Evan Engram can stay healthy and improve his blocking in 2019, he could turn himself into one of the best tight ends in the NFL. His athletic ability and versatility makes Evan Engram a lethal weapon for the Giants’ offense.

New York Knicks: Will RJ Barrett lure big free agents to Big Apple?

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

As expected, the New York Knicks selected Duke star RJ Barrett with the 3rd overall pick. After fending off the Atlanta Hawks for the Knicks’ first-round pick, it was nearly a guarantee they’ be selecting the 6-foot-7 swingman.

Barrett will bring a tenacious mentality towards success and production in New York, despite shooting just 31% from behind the arc and 67% from the free-throw line last season. Those two deficiencies will be ironed out in his rookie campaign, but his potential remains sky-high.

What does RJ Barrett bring to the New York Knicks?

An elite scorer around the rim and solid defender, RJ has the ability to take the Knicks to another level during his career. His influence alone should be a catalyst in luring max-contract players to the Mecca.

The hardest part in recruiting superstars will be convincing them to have faith in the youth agenda the Knicks are following. A majority of their players are under 20-years-old, which puts the team in a good position. If they aren’t able to bring in a player like Kevin Durant, they can simply continue forward with their young players and continue developing them.

However, signing Durant and a high-profile point guard would go a long way in the growth of the young players and allowing them to see success early on in their careers. A devastatingly poor season in 2018 surely didn’t help them in their overall confidence, but it was essential for them to earn playing time and understand the talent they must compete against.

Barrett, though, is versed in competition, and would likely have been the consensus No. 1 pick if Zion Williamson hadn’t taken college basketball by storm. Moving forward, we should expect to see the Knicks aggressively pursue Durant and Kawhi Leonard in free agency.

With rumors of Kyrie Irving taking his talents to the Brooklyn Nets, D’Angelo Russell has emerged as a legitimate option for the Knicks beyond Irving and Kemba Walker.

New York Giants most underrated offseason acquisition

New York Giants, Kevin Zeitler

Often times skill-position players grab the headlines and attention from the media while other positions go under the radar. For the New York Giants, most will identify the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon but hit on the acquisition of Golden Tate and Oshane Ximines/Markus Golden.

However, the most influential add of the offseason was undoubtedly right guard, Kevin Zeitler. Brought over in the Cleveland Browns trade that sent Vernon packing, Zeitler will be impactful in all facets of the offense.

The New York Giants brought in the perfect player at right tackle:

A top 6 guard in 2018, according to PFF, the “hog molly” brings exactly what GM Dave Gettleman intended to the Giants. His physicality and ability to move defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage will not only benefit Eli Manning in pass-protection, but it will open up the gates of heaven for Saquon Barkley.

Barkley, who racked up over 2,000 all-purpose yards in his rookie campaign behind a lackluster offensive line, will reap the benefits of a rebuilt offensive front, especially on the right side with Zieler and Mike Remmers.

Coined the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL last year, Manning now has a quality of protection he hasn’t enjoyed in years. The days of Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart are over and a new era has just begun.

In addition to the former Brown, the Giants added Nate Solder at left tackle and Will Hernandez at left guard, two players capable of a Pro Bowl quality seasons. The biggest factor on the line, though, is health. They have to maintain their bodies to ensure they can compete at a high level for the entire season, giving Manning the ability to work with his entire offense and not plug-and-play lineman.

I anticipate Zeitler will have a very apparent influence on the season ahead, considering the impact of Jamon Brown in 2018. Considering Brown ranked as the 62nd overall guard (PFF), we can only imagine the benefits Zeitler will bring to the team.

New York Yankees: Brian Cashman doesn’t need to acquire star pitcher

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

It’s hard to ignore the starting pitching issues the New York Yankees are currently facing, however, it’s completely unnecessary to go out and trade a ton of assets for a superstar pitcher.

Whether it be privilege or ignorance, the Yankees currently sit at 47-27 on the year, an impressive record for a team that seemingly has no pitching if you ask the fanbase. Trading away Clint Frazier and a slew of talented minor league prospects doesn’t guarantee a World Series, in fact, waiting until they gain back their starters from injury is likely the move GM Brian Cashman is dialing up.

The New York Yankees can keep their assets:

While it’s enticing to utilize Frazier’s current value to bring in a talented pitcher, it’s unnecessary. The Yankees’ run-production over the past few games has been fantastic – 28 runs in the past three games.  They’re on a six-game winning streak, four of which have come against two of the best teams in baseball — the Tampa Bay Rays and Houston Astros.

Masahiro Tanaka has begun to elevate his efficiency and Nestor Cortes produced a stellar game as well. Domingo German is on the 10-day injured list and will miss an undetermined amount of time. He will likely work his way back in the next week or two. Luis Severino will remain out until early August – if the Yanks can continue winning a majority of games and survive until the return of Severino, they will be in good shape moving forward.

Adding first-baseman Edwin Encarnacion helps in the run-production department, which has helped the Bombers compensate for a lack of pitching quality. They would be smart to continue relying on their hitters instead of using ample assets to bring in a big-time pitcher, as they will have to overpay most likely.

Unless they can strike a fair deal for Frazier and minimal add-ons, they should stay the current path and continue winning anyway.

 

New York Giants News, 6/22 – Odell Beckham Jr. just can’t let go

New York Giants, Odell Beckham Jr.

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Imagine this, Odell Beckham Jr. is STILL talking about his time with the Giants and how he’s in a much better place mentality, physically, and spiritually to reach his potential.

As if he didn’t set numerous offensive records with the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning, Beckham felt as though his former team was holding him back. Now, I hate to revert back to the tired storyline, but the reality is, the Giants might be in a better position post-Beckham.

When’s the last time the Giants have had to deal with any antics, legal issues, or overall madness? It seems he took all of those issues with him. Let’s get one thing straight, though, I’m by no means a hater of OBJ, in fact, watching him every Sunday made the Giants even slightly enjoyable.

His presence on the field and ability was next to none, but the New York media ripped him apart at every chance they got. He’s better off in a smaller market where he can be himself and not receive the extra attention that big-media companies feed off of. Imagine the advertising dollars he earned those companies over the course of his career in the Big Apple.

Nonetheless–

Your Giants top news of the day!

Dan Pizzuta (Big Blue View) – Ranking how NFC East teams are set up for future at wide receiver and tight end

Matt Lombardo (NJ.com) – Browns’ Odell Beckham: Giants stunted my physical, mental, spiritual growth

Dan Schneier (247sports) – PFF: Giants have one of the five best guard tandems in the NFL

Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) – What should the Giants expect from Eli Manning in 2019?

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: 3 rookies that could earn playing time on starting team

Check out the best news from yesterday!

New York Giants News, 6/21 – Daniel Jones’ intelligence on full display