New York Giants: Could Lorenzo Carter Play Inside Linebacker?

The New York Giants‘ defense was one of the worst in the NFL in 2018. The unit ranked 24th in the league allowing  371.4 yards per game. The Giants’ linebacker corps was one of the team’s biggest weak spots.

Alec Ogletree managed to put together a strong statistical season, but advanced stats and film reveal that he was less than impressive in 2018. He will need to improve in 2019 in order for the Giants’ defense to be better.

One main problem with the Giants’ linebackers is their poor play in pass coverage. Often times, the Giants get ripped apart by tight ends and running backs matched up against linebackers.

The Giants have a darkhorse candidate on their roster to fix that problem in their linebacker corps. Edge rusher Lorenzo Carter’s underrated coverage skills could make him a solid linebacker in the Giants’ struggling defense.

How Other Edge Defenders Have Transitioned:

Edge defenders are not typically known to have advanced coverage skills. Most edge rushers are given the role of strictly rushing the passer. This has been Lorenzo Carter’s role on the majority of his defensive snaps.

However, occasionally, edge defenders are asked to drop back into coverage, similar to an inside linebacker. This usually results in a mismatch in the offense’s favor as edge defenders typically have poor coverage skills.

But some edge defenders do not have poor coverage skills. Some are actually quite skilled in coverage. Anthony Barr is a prime example of a talented collegiate pass-rusher who transitioned to linebacker in the NFL thanks to his coverage skills.

Coming out of college, Barr was considered a top-ten talent for his pass-rushing abilities. His NFL.com draft profile by Nolan Nawrocki described Barr as “a highly disruptive, athletic specimen with the pass-rush potential to effortlessly emerge as a double-digit sack producer.”

We are five seasons into Anthony Barr’s career and he has only totaled 13.5 sacks with a season-high of 4. This has not hurt Anthony’s career at all though, because of his transition to linebacker. Barr is now one of the highest-paid linebackers in the NFL since transitioning to an off-ball position and proving himself to be a solid coverage linebacker.

Lorenzo Carter’s Underrated Coverage Skills:

Lorenzo Carter is very similar to Anthony Barr. Carter is a skilled young pass-rusher with tons of raw potential. Lorenzo totaled 4 sacks and 10 quarterback hits in his 2018 rookie campaign. He also recorded 43 combined tackles and 7 tackles for loss.

But Carter’s coverage abilities make him an extra special talent. Lorenzo started to prove himself to be a solid coverage guy in the 2018 preseason. According to Pro Football Focus, Carter had the top coverage grade (89.4) among edge defenders in the preseason with a minimum of 5 coverage snaps.

Lorenzo then continued to flash his great coverage abilities in the regular season. Pro Football Focus states that Carter finished the season with a coverage grade over 80.0. He was one of two rookie edge defenders to reach this threshold.

Carter’s most impressive game in coverage came against the San Fransico 49ers in week 10 of the 2018 season. Lorenzo Carter had himself a day against the 49ers. His 88.5 coverage grade on Monday Night was the highest coverage grade of any ED targeted at least twice in Week 10 (Pro Football Focus).

Lorenzo Carter has the size, length, and speed to match up against tight ends in coverage. He has been doing it since college:

Lorenzo Carter has tons of potential as a pass-rusher off the edge, so he should continue to play that position. However, the Giants’ linebacker corps struggles in pass-coverage. The Giants should start using Lorenzo Carter in coverage more often, moving him to inside linebacker occasionally to take advantage of his excellent coverage skills.

This future Hall of Famer thinks New York Knicks Smith Jr. is ‘special, special’

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

New York Knicks point guard, Dennis Smith Jr., has been putting in work this off-season.  Smith Jr. been working to improve his shot with the help from future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul.

According to The Athletics’s Mike Vorkunov, Paul believes that Smith Jr. is “special, special.”  Paul continued with, “I think being here with Fiz, getting an opportunity to play, getting up and down.  I was happy for him when he got traded to the Knicks last year because he got that New York grind in him.”

As a lot of NBA fan know, Paul is an efficient shooter, mainly a sniper with the mid-range.  Smith Jr. not so much.

Last season, Smith Jr. shot 42.8 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from beyond the arc and 63.5 percent from the free-throw line.

While at first glance, his shooting percentage from the field is not terrible, but his free-throws need to greatly improve.  Smith Jr. is showing great determination this off-season to improve his shot.

The New York Knicks need a point guard like Paul, just not Paul himself.  Thankfully, he was not on the Knicks radar, before being traded to Oklahoma City.

As much as fans dislike Paul , due to his on-court tactics and complaining, he is still an elite point guard.  Paul’s ability to control the game and hit clutch shots is something Smith Jr. needs in his arsenal.

Smith Jr. can learn a lot of Paul.  Knicks fans, be happy for Smith Jr. seeking help on how improve his game from this future Hall of Famer.

New York Yankees: Luis Severino Timetable and Update

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees have not had their ace all season, Luis Severino, who has suffered with shoulder problems all season. His recovery has been up and down and Yankee fans are beginning to wonder – will they see Severino take the mound at all this year?

Many reports have said that Severino should be returning late August, however, Severino’s rehab has been inconsistent all year. He’s been cleared to throw, then shut down. Cleared to throw, then shut down again. According to CBS Sports, Severino will need to complete a full spring training before the Yankees can consider activating from the 60-day injured list.

The Yankees’ righty is expected to begin throwing on flat-ground before heading into bullpen sessions. Severino’s pitch count will be highly monitored as he enters into throwing to avoid any other setbacks, per CBS Sports. This throwing program is expected to begin Monday.

A few days ago, Severino met with media where he said he wouldn’t mind taking on a bullpen role, per Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. “I just want to pitch. It doesn’t matter where or when, in the bullpen or as a starter. I just want to pitch” Luis said.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz9KOrCF341/

Last season Severino posted a 3.39 ERA with a 19-8 record. In 191.1 innings pitched, he fanned 220 while only allowing 19 home runs. Severino averaged an astounding 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings pitched (Baseball reference).

Sevy’s return?

Severino’s return could be huge for the club. As they try to tack on their 28th World Series championship this year, having their ace available would be big. That being said, I personally don’t believe we will see Severino back on the mound for this season. His injury and rehab has been so inconsistent that I think it would be hard to put him back in a major league role after being sidelined all season. As much as I want to see “Sevy” take the mound again, I just don’t think it’ll happen.

New York Knicks: 3 players primed for a breakout season in 2019

New York Kicks, Allonzo Trier

After what might have been the most exciting and unfortunate free agency period for the New York Knicks, the roster is nearly complete if not already. Bringing in Marcus Morris and Julius Randle inserts two quality starters into the lineup, but there are remaining question marks and issues that must be addressed.

The youth on the team is still inexperienced and will require time to reach their potential. RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, etc. All of these players are on their way up but still need plenty of minutes to continue developing their games.

Who says the Knicks can’t win in the meantime? They have the talent to do so, it’s just a matter of building chemistry and a successful atmosphere.

Here are 3 New York Knicks players that could dominate in 2019:

3.) Allonzo Trier

While some might coin Kevin Knox as a potential beakout player, the Knicks have stacked the competition against him. He will have to fight for playing time, and not that Trier won’t, but I see him playing an extremely important 6th-man type of role that can come in and make buckets.

Averaging 10.9 points per game last season, Trier made an impact on the offensive side of the ball, however, his defense is below average. He’s the perfect options to come on and score some quick points, JR Smith style.

Nate Robinson begged the Knicks to give Trier a starting spot in an interview with SNY.TV reporter Ian Begley:

“Hey, New York Knicks, just do me a favor: can you please start my man? Seriously. He’s earned, coach he’s earned it. He’s played great basketball for you coming off the bench, but he can do so much more. I’ve been watching this kid since he was a young guy, 7-8 years old, playing in Seattle, him growing up in high school in a different, going to Arizona and now playing in the NBA. It’s pretty cool man….. I wish the best for him. He plays hard and he’s going to be a treat for the New York fans.”

At this point, it’s impossible to know where the season will take the Knicks, but Trier has the potential to make a serious impact. His influence is more clear due to his proficiency in shooting, something Knox struggles with at times. Knox prefers to work in the paint closer to the basket, which has posed issues due to the difference in NBA level defenders.

Trier has the advantage of being a better shooter, earning a .448 field goal percentage last season. If he can maintain numbers like that, he can be an impact player for the Knicks this upcoming season.

2.) Mitchell Robinson

This one might not be too difficult to predict. Mitchell Robinson was the silver lining from a season that saw the Knicks finish with a 17-65 record. He set rookie records for the Knicks in the blocks category, swatting away nine shots in just 12 games. He averaged 2.4 blocks per game, which ranked him higher than Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid, two of the NBA’s top players.

To sweeten the pie, Robinson tied Hassan Whiteside for the most blocks in a single game with nine in just 22 minutes. It’s seeming as if Robinson might be the best draft pick from 2018, and he hadn’t played in quite some time prior to being selected. He’s an extremely exciting player with a ton of potential, there’s no question he’s preparing for a dominant season.

[instagram-feed]

1.) Dennis Smith Jr.

Going into his third year in the NBA, the point guard has all of the tools to elevate his game and establish himself as the starter for the foreseeable future.

The Knicks failed to bring in superstars like Kemba Walker or Kyrie Irving, but at the same time, it almost felt as though they weren’t trying to. They’re confident that Smith Jr. can rise to the occasion next season, and spending all offseason working on his perimeter shot will certainly help.

Adding a consistent shot to his elite athleticism will make him virtually unguardable at times. The potential he offers is simply too enticing to give up on at this time.

 

 

New York Giants could cut either Corey Coleman or Cody Latimer

New York Giants wide receiver, Cody Latimer.

The New York Giants are heading in training camp with a surplus of talent behind the top wide receivers on the team, the question ultimately boils down to — who will earn the starting job?

It seems as if the No. 3 WR spot will be allocated to either Corey Coleman or Cody Latimer, but I don’t see both staying on the roster after the position battle comes to a close. With more than enough pass-catchers after drafting Darius Slayton, one of the two will likely be cut.

Coleman, a talented former first-round pick was confident he can take his game to the next level with the Giants in 2019, the issue is he must compete with Latimer for the starting role. The former Bronco has the advantage given his production before succumbing to injury in 2018 and the plays he’s made to back up his case.

Coleman only secured five targets for 71 yards last season, so he’s far from a proven pass-catcher with Eli Manning at the helm. The general worry when it comes to Corey is his catch-rate, securing 45.2 percent in his rookie season, his best to date. With only five receptions last year, it’s not worth factoring that number into his statistics.

He must elevate his game to stick around in 2019, but the odds are unfortunately stacked against him. The Giants, however, seem to be confident that he can be a playmaker. The value he offers was cut by a fraction when the Giants brought in Jabrill Peppers in the trade that sent Odell Beeckham Jr. to Cleveland.

Peppers will likely be the primary return man, forcing Coleman to really come into himself as a receiver. Latimer, though, faces a challenge as well. He will need to prove he’s 100% healthy after going down with a foot ailment in 2018. So far, he’s looked good in limited reps, connecting with Daniel Jones multiple times in the end zone.

At this point, I see Latimer holding on to the starting gig, and while it’s not a guarantee the Giants cut Coleman, it makes logical sense to do so.

New York Yankees pitching trade target getting mad about speculation

Could the New York Yankees pursue MAdison Bumgarner?

Could the New York Yankees still be interested in prying Madison Bumgarner away from the San Francisco Giants?

While the rumor mill is still in full effect, the New York Yankees are still prowling the streets for a starting pitcher, and general manager Brian Cashman knows his team may need support at some point.

The question is – what’s he willing to spend to bring in a bonafide starter? Clint Frazier, prospects, cash considerations…there are plenty of routes he can take, but his team currently has the best record in baseball and isn’t dying for more support.

However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring in another option given injuries kick in again (knock on wood). One player that has been included in the rumors has been starer for the San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner, a quality option that would immensely help the rotation.

[instagram-feed]

Recently against the Mets, Bumgarner allowed just one run, five hits, and a walk over nine innings to secure a 3-2 win over New York. Does this type of performance give the Yanks all they need to make a run at him? He clearly wants nothing to do with the speculation, stating:

“I don’t give a s—,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m here to win games for this team, and that’s what we’re doing.”

“I’m trying to win games for the Giants,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re trying to make it to the postseason. We’re making a push, we’re coming.”

With what might have been his final home game with the Giants, Bumgarner dominated in classic fashion. His worth would likely require Frazier’s talent to pry him away from San Fran.

The 29-year-old would help the Yanks in their pennant chase, and he might even be the catalyst in really separating themselves in the AL East. Over 125 innings this season, Madison had logged a 3.65 ERA with 127 strikeouts and a 5-7 record. With the Yankees run-support, he could theoretically emerge as their ace by the end of the season.

It’s certainly worth knocking on the Giants’ door to show interest in the pitcher.