New York Giants: Ximines Signing Leaves Daniel Jones As Last One Unsigned

New York Giants rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones.

Signing players following the NFL Draft tends to be something rather routine, as most of the time the process happens without any major incident. Players are drafted, they sign with their teams, and then training camp begins… Or that’s how the process usually goes, anyway. There’s still a small amount of players that haven’t agreed to deals with their new teams and the New York Giants up until recently had two of those players.

But outside linebacker prospect and third round draft pick Oshane Ximines signed with the team very soon after our article about how the Giants should get the deal done and avoid future offseason drama, which leaves one player as the last unsigned rookie going into the final days before training camp.

That player, though, happens to be one of the more speculated upon members of the team this offseason. After being taken with the number six overall pick, Daniel Jones is still the odd man out in terms of agreeing to a deal.

It hasn’t turned into a real contract holdout just yet but it’s something to keep an eye on considering the start of training camp is this Friday and the negotiations are dragging out longer than they have for other draft picks both for the Giants and for the league in general.

It’s also easy to assume that nothing is going to come of this and that Jones is just going to sign as expected, albeit a bit later than other players. While there is a decent chance of that happening, just as Ximines agreed to a deal recently, it can’t be automatically assumed that this will be the outcome. The neighboring New York Jets, for example, are going through some troubles with their top draft pick Quinnen Williams, who didn’t report for camp with the rest of the team’s rookies.

Sam Darnold, taken by the Jets in the draft last year, also missed three training camp practices due to problems getting a contract sorted out in time.

The hope for the Giants, of course, is that this won’t happen and that Jones’ contract is simply taking longer than usual to get signed. But all of the possibilities can’t be discounted immediately, and if this stretches on, we might just end up with the first ‘drama’ of training camp.

Wilcy Moore, the First Great New York Yankees Closer

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

July 21 will be a special day for New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera as he takes in the rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Acknowledged as the greatest closer the game has ever known, Rivera was naturally the strongest link in the chain of great closers that helped the Yankees win 40 pennants and 27 World Series. A chain that began with a man named Wilcy Moore.

Moore was a right hander who toiled in the minors for many years before finally getting his chance at the age of 30-with the “Murderers’ Row” Yankees in 1927. He appeared in 50 games that year. Thanks to his sidearm sinkerball, he notched a league-leading 13 saves as well as 13 wins in relief; he also started 12 games.

Throwing 213 innings, Moore went 19-7 with a 2.28 e.r.a. Despite having the lowest e.r.a., Moore did not win the e.r.a. title. Why? Baseball had a rule then that said that pitchers had to have at least 10 complete games with the required number of innings pitched to qualify for the e.r.a. title; Moore only had six. That rule was changed after the season.

Moore capped off his season by getting the save in Game One of the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, then starting and winning Game Four as the Yankees swept the Bucs on the only World Series ending wild pitch.

Perhaps all those innings had an effect on Moore, as he was not the same pitcher after that. Still, when Mariano Rivera thanks all the people who helped him get to Cooperstown, maybe he should thank the man who originated the role he perfected. Maybe, just maybe, he should say thank you to Wilcy Moore.

 

 

 

Brooklyn Nets: Free Agency Fun Part 2- Pau Gasol

Brooklyn Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Pau Gasol

Part two of Brooklyn Nets free agency fun!

Well, it’s the off-season. The Finals are a thing of the increasingly distant past, the NBA Draft is right on its heels, and every major player has pretty much left the free agency boards.

Things are more or less set in stone with just a few loose ends needing to tied. So with this series, I’m going to just throw out some names that remain out there in the Free Agency Pool. I don’t truly believe that Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets brass are looking at these players, but these are players I wouldn’t mind the organization taking a chance on.

Now I know the roster is more or less set and these are the guys we’re probably going into the season with. With that being said and understood, I would have loved if the Brooklyn Nets brought Pau Gasol in for a look. He checks many different boxes for the Nets.

For starters, Gasol is a professional’s professional. He has a long career with no problems. On the court and as far as we can tell off the court, he’s been a model citizen. These are the kind of high character guys Sean Marks and the Brooklyn Nets have brought in over the years to help create, establish, and solidify their culture.

The same culture that former Net Luis Scola said would grab the attention of star free agents down the line. The same culture that ended up doing just that and bringing in Kyrie Irving, as well as Kevin Durant. To help maintain this culture, you must continue to fill the roster with a player such as a Pau Gasol.

Secondly, Gasol fits a position of need. Last season, there were many games that the Brooklyn Nets got crushed on the boards and dominated on the paint. Overall, we had a small team. Our tallest guy was only 6’11” who was at the center position.

The power forward position was in great need of size, muscle, and experience while the center position was in need of depth. We saw this when Ed Davis went down right before the playoffs and the struggling that ensued because of it. Pau brings a player who can solve both these dilemmas. A player who’s spent a lengthy part of his career at the four and then played more of the five as he aged, Pau brings depth and experience to both positions. Although at this age it’s probably best for him to spend most of his time at the five, he could occasionally bring quality minutes to the power forward position.

Gasol brings a player who can shoot the three ball at a good enough clip and draw bigs away from the basket. For his career, he shots it at about a 37% clip. Ever since his departure from the Los Angles Lakers, Gasol has added the three ball with more regularity and consistency.

Mentorship is one of the final things that Gasol brings to the Brooklyn Nets. As a team with multiple champions and championship aspirations, Gasol brings another proven winner who knows what it takes to get to the big stage and win there multiple times.

He can be a leader for the team and help show them how to carry themselves towards the promised land. He also can tutor the younger players, specifically Jarrett Allen and Nic Claxton. He’d probably be the most skilled big on the roster, so teaching them how to maneuver and giving them a handful of post moves to master would be great. Not to mention helping them get a better feel and understanding of the game. Pau Gasol had the ability to do wonders for the Brooklyn Nets if we had signed him.

New York Mets: Simeon Woods-Richardson Rising Fast

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets 2018 second-round pick Simeon Woods-Richardson has already made it to Single-A. What makes his promotion incredible is that he is still 18-years old. All he needed was one season in rookie ball and earned the promotion to the Columbia Fireflies this season.

Through 73.1 innings in Columbia, he has a 4.54 ERA with 90 strikeouts. Those numbers are not dominant by any means but has been a lot better as of late. During his last eight starts, he has not allowed more than two runs. During the season he has only allowed 17 walks and five home runs.

When Will He Be a Met?

Woods-Richardson still has a ton of work to do before getting to the big leagues, but he has high potential. His biggest obstacles are his ability to get deep into games and consistency with his pitches. He will finish the year close to 100 innings though and is very much ahead of most pitchers at his age.

In terms of his pitches, Woods-Richardson features a strong arsenal. His fastball is in the high-90s, a sharp 11-5 curve, along with a slider and change-up. He definitely projects as a starting pitcher, but it is the development of his other two off-speed pitches that will take him over the top.

There were questions on what exactly Woods-Richardson’s velocity was when he was drafted, but he quieted that the second he made his professional debut. His projection to the big leagues is as early as 2022 and could be in double-A as soon as next year. The Mets will have to be patient with their young prospect, but as the #12 prospect in the Mets system, they have to pleased with his early growth.

 

 

 

 

First New York Knicks Memory: What’s yours?

New York Knicks

Being a guest on a New York Knicks podcast, The Knick-Ish podcast, a question was presented, “How did you become a Knicks fan?”

On Twitter, a lot of NBA fans are asking that same question to their fans. How did you become a fan?

With that being said, here is my first memory of being a New York Knicks fan.

It was my first Holy Communion. A pretty big deal within the family. My parents held a giant party at my house. The Knicks were in the playoffs as the 8th seed, playing the 1st seed Miami Heat.

Game 5 at Miami–

I was sitting as close to the TV as possible. The family has also gathered around.

Knicks down 76-77 with less than 10 seconds left in the 4th quarter. The clock is ticking down below 10 seconds now. Latrell Sprewell was supposed to take the final shot. He almost turned the ball over, but the Knicks retained possession.

It’s now less than 5 seconds left. Charlie Ward to inbound and passes it to Allan Houston right at the top of the key.  Houston drives in between defenders and throws up a floater. It takes one bounce at the front of the rim, bounces up towards the backboard, bounces down towards the front of the rim and falls in.

Houston runs up the court with his teammates chasing after him and gives an aggressive fist pump.  Knicks win 78-77.  The Knicks became the 2nd #8 seed to upset the #1 seed in NBA history.

My entire house and I erupted! It secured my fate as the Knicks being my team.  That floater from Houston will always be my first, favorite and most memorable memory as Knicks fans.

Share with us your first memory of your Knicks fandom!

New York Jets: Which AFC East QB Will Take Over When Brady is Done?

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

Over the past 20 years Tom Brady and the New England Patriots have ruled the AFC East only giving up the division title twice, but how long can he go? Entering the 2019 season at age 42, Tom Brady will most likely not be able to sustain his success for the next 2 years. This begs the question, which young AFC east QB will take over when Brady finally decides to hang up the cleats? We’ll be examining the three second-year QB’s from the Dolphins, New York Jets, and Bills to find out who will take over once the captain of the evil empire is gone.

Josh Allen

The signal-caller for the Buffalo Bills had a surprisingly good season manning an offense that had little to no talent. Allen had some help by having arguably the best defense in the league last year, but he still showed flashes of being a top QB in the league.

Allen put up 2,074 yards, 10 TD’s, 12 interceptions and a 52.8 percent completion percentage last season through the air. On the ground, Allen was a beast racking up 631 yards and 8 touchdowns. Allen’s ability as a dual-threat QB is frightening when you consider he has a 6’5, 240-pound frame and a cannon for an arm, sometimes launching balls over 70 yards downfield.

Allen showed a lot of progressions last year especially after coming back from an elbow injury he suffered Week 6 against the Texans. Allen became a more efficient QB after the injury throwing for an average of 207 yards, 1.33 TD’s and 1.17 interceptions from weeks 12-17 compared to 168 yards, .5 TD’s and 1.25 interceptions weeks 2-5. Josh Allen also played on a team with the ninth highest percentage of dropped passes at 8 percent according to PFF. Josh Allen has a lot of raw talent and can be the next QB up in the AFC East, but he must overcome his accuracy issues and make better decisions.

Josh Rosen

The 10th overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft had a very rough rookie season playing for the Cardinals finishing with the worst record in the league. Although the Cardinals finished with the worst record in the league Josh Rosen showed flashes of being a good starter.

Rosen finished the season with 2278 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and a 55.2 completion percentage according to pro football reference. Rosen came out of college as very fundamentally sound QB with great footwork and flawless mechanics.

Many people look at the Cardinals season last year and assume that Rosen was awful because of their record, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rosen was surrounded by absolutely no talent and it doesn’t help that the Cardinals were tied for fifth in the league for sacks allowed (52).

Unfortunately for Rosen, he might not be able to become the next QB up in the AFC East because he’s once again on the least talented roster in the league in Miami. The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode and are not committed to Rosen being their franchise QB. Rosen may find himself getting traded around draft time next season again.

The Dolphins are rumored to be in love with star Alabama QB Tua Tagovailola, they will be able to get him as their a favorite to land a top 5 pick this year. For Rosen to replace Brady as the face of the AFC east he must take a massive leap in his second year and become the franchise QB the Dolphins have lacked since Dan Marino.

Sam Darnold

The New York Jets franchise QB had an up and down rookie year passing for 2,865 yards, 17 TD’s, 15 interceptions and a 57.7 completion percentage. Coming out of the draft last year Sam Darnold was seen as the QB with the best chance to succeed in NFL.

The first half of the season for Darnold was very bumpy, he showed that at times he could be great, and other times that he wasn’t ready to play in the NFL. Darnold suffered a foot injury against the Dolphins week 9. After missing 4 weeks because of the injury Darnold came back and finished the season with his best stretch of football.

Darnold had the highest grade over the final month of the season according to PFF, giving Jets fans hope for the future. Darnold’s best traits are his accuracy and his ability to extend plays, which is the reason why so many people were in love with him in college. If Darnold wants to be the next man up he needs to work on his decision making, Darnold was tied for the third-most interceptions in the league this year. Darnold has all the attributes you look for in a QB he just needs to be quicker when making decisions for him to avoid turnovers.

Conclusion

After analyzing these QB’s I’ve concluded that Sam Darnold will most likely be the face of the AFC east when Tom Brady’s reign of dominance is over. Darnold has all the talent in the world and isn’t nearly as raw as Josh Allen is. Darnold spot on the roster for the next couple of years is secure unlike Rosen whose future with Miami after the season is murky. Darnold is the most likely to succeed out of all these QB’s and has a great supporting cast around him to help achieve that. I believe each one of these QB’s will take big strides into becoming better players this year but with all things considered Darnold is the favorite to take over.

Josh Allen 2019 Stats Prediction: 2,978 yards, 19 TD’s and 14 interceptions

 

Josh Rosen 2019 Stats Prediction:  2,567 yards, 16 TD’s and 14 interceptions

 

Sam Darnold 2019 Stats Prediction: 3,345 yards, 22 TD’s and 16 interceptions

New York Giants: Phil Simms Reassures Giants Fans

The New York Giants have had one wild 2019 offseason. They moved on from several star players, such as Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Landon Collins. They then went on to make the most controversial selection in the entire 2019 NFL Draft.

With the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected quarterback Daniel Jones. This pick was highly controversial because many believed that Daniel Jones was not worth a top ten pick and that the Giants took him too early.

Since then, many conflicting reports have come out about Daniel Jones’s draft stock. Some reports claim he would not have lasted until the Giants’ second first-round pick at seventeenth overall. Other reports claim that Jones easily would have fallen to seventeen.

There is no way to know for sure. However, on Saturday, a former New York Giants legend gave his take on the matter.

Phil Simms “Knows For A Fact”

Phil Simms conducted an interview on Saturday with Rob “Lep” Lepelstat of STAT Sports in which he discussed the Giants’ controversial first-round draft pick. Simms gave Jones high praise and described him as a “perfect fit” for the New York Giants’ offense, team, and culture. But then Phil also went on to give “the scoop” on Daniel’s draft stock. Here is what Phil Simms had to say:

“I know for a fact [Daniel Jones] would not have been there on the seventeenth pick that the Giants had… Trust me. Not one, multiple teams were gonna draft Daniel Jones before pick seventeen… I just gave you a scoop. Nobody talks about it, but I do know.” –Phil Simms on STAT Sports with Rob Lep Lepelstat

This quote might sound a bit familiar to Giants fans. Dave Gettleman said nearly the exact same thing in his post-draft press conference:

“I know for a fact there were two teams that would’ve taken Daniel Jones in front of 17,” Gettleman said. “I know that for a fact.”

Phil Simms’s and Dave Gettleman’s insider scoop was also supported by Giants beat reporter Paul Dottino of WFAN. Dottino said there were “at least two teams ready to pounce before seventeen.” He also added that Phill “may know of more” teams that were interested in drafting Daniel Jones.

Daniel Jones is now set to be the New York Giants’ next franchise quarterback. Whether there truly were other teams ready to take Jones or not, it does not change the fact that the rookie about to participate in his first NFL training camp with the New York Giants next week.

Still, it is interesting to see so many conflicting reports and hear NFL insiders continue to contradict each other this late in the summer. Could the former Giants quarterback be telling the truth? Or is he just trying to make his former team look better?

New York Yankees: The Man Behind A Lot Of The Bullpen Success

New York Yankees, Chad Green

The New York Yankees have had a dominant bullpen this year, and a lot of the success is attributed to a man that we barely know. Meet Tommy Phelps, the pitching coach for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.

Phelps has had an enormous impact on the Yankees bullpen this year. He has worked with Nestor Cortes Jr., David Hale, and Steven Tarpley and all three have pitched great in the majors.

Cortes Jr. has pitched 37 and 1/3 innings for the Yankees this year, and has a 4.34 ERA and a 3-0 record. He has often seen several innings of work in bullpen games to transition from the starter (Chad Green) to high leverage guys.

Speaking of Green, Phelps also fixed Chad Green after an awful start to the season. After an ERA of over 16.00 at the end of April, Green has bounced back and has only given up two runs since the end of May.

David Hale has had a breakout season in 2019, and has even seen some high leverage situations. He is also 3-0, and his ERA is just 2.23 over 32 and 1/3 innings.

Stephen Tarpley has an ERA over 7.00, but has emerged as a cheat code to lefties. Lefties have just a .059 average against Tarpley, while righties bat almost .400 against him. Pitching to righties needs to improve, but Tarpley dominates against lefty-heavy lineups.

Jonathan Holder also got off to an awful start to 2019, and is currently in AAA to get fixed like did. He has pitched well of late for the Railriders, and we may see Holder back in the Yankee bullpen soon.

Tommy Phelps has done a fantastic job with pitchers in AAA this season, and his impact has been significantly felt on the Yankees this year.

New York Yankees: Legend Mariano Rivera to be inducted into Hall of Fame

New York Yankees legend, Mariano Rivera, will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. “Mo” had an unbelievable career with the Yankees, and is credited to a lot of the club’s past success. Unsurprisingly, he was voted first ballot with an astounding 425 votes. Congratulations Mo!

River’s career is nothing short of special. A 13 time All-Star and a nine-time MVP candidate (Baseball Reference), Rivera goes down as the best closer in Major League Baseball history.  He holds the all-time record of 652 games saved and 952 games finished.

“Mo” isn’t known for the high-heat. His nasty cut fastball devastated hitters. According to Fan Graphs, Rivera threw his cutter 60.8% during his career. He threw it 80%+ from 2008 to 2013, where it was thrown 92.9% of the time in 2009. Take a look at this chart, some of his statistics are jaw-dropping.

Dominance in the postseason

As phenomenal as he was in the regular season, he is mostly remembered for his dominance in the playoffs. His unbelievable postseason 0.70 ERA among 16 years is nothing short of legendary. The most dominance Mo displayed was in the 1999 postseason and World Series. In three appearances in the World Series, he went 1-0 with two saves while only allowing four baserunners. Because of his dominance, Rivera earned the MVP award for that World Series.

Among all the monumental records and statistics Rivera posted, the most impressive one: more people have walked the moon (12) than men who have scored against Mariano Rivera in the postseason (11). That ridiculous stat sums up Rivera’s postseason career in one sentence.

Another Yankee legend and soon-to-be Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, had this to say about his teammate in a blog post on his website, The Player’ Tribune: “The thing I respect most about Mo is that what you see is what you get. A lot of people I’ve met over the years, they’ve asked me what Mariano Rivera is like off the field. And I’ll tell you what I tell them – which is that he’s pretty much the same person you watched for all those years on the mound.”

New York Jets: Quinnen Williams will face challenges in his rookie season

New York Jets, Quinnen Williams

From first glance, New York Jets first-round pick Quinnen Williams looks like a big baby with braces, but on the football field, he was one of the most dynamic and devastating interior defenders at the collegiate level.

His immense force and footwork only hit on two of his strengths, and he’s expected to dominate at the next level give the success he enjoyed in 2018. Totalling 48 solo tackles, 19.5 for a loss and 8.0 sacks, Williams isn’t only primed to be a killer with the Jets, he’s expected to be one.

At this point in time, though, Williams is holding out, waiting to sign his rookie contract and get the best deal possible from his new club. The Jets originally planned to bring him and finalize the contract, which would guarantee his presence for training camp, but he didn’t get on the flight.

Certainly, not the best way to start your career as a rookie, but all will come around and pass over.

While NFL.com graded Williams has a potential Pro-Bowl player in their pre-draft analysis, there will be hurdles he has to face before reaching his potential.

Some of the issues include keeping his weight up, his physical attributes don’t stand out, not as effective against down-hill runners, and ultimately undersized. His speed and quickness masked those deficiencies well with Alabama, but they will stand out at the professional level.

I don’t imagine them hindering his abilities, considering the dynamic defensive scheme Gregg Williams enjoys, but working around his lack of size will be difficult at times. When he’s expected to burst through double teams and wreak havoc in the trenches, he will disappear in his rookie season. The experience from his first season will help him refine his game and develop into the player he’s capable of being, but in the meantime, joining his teammates and signing his rookie-deal should be the priority.