New York Giants: Eli Manning Gives Honest Answer About Beckham Jr.

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Is Odell Beckham Jr. still relevant for the New York Giants? The receiver departed the team this offseason after being dealt to the Cleveland Browns in the same trade that brought Jabrill Peppers to New York, but Beckham’s name hasn’t stopped coming up and with the first season in recent memory where the Giants will be without Beckham approaching rapidly, it feels like the situation between Beckham and the Giants will continue to be talked about until we can see just whether or not the Giants made the right move trading him.

This time, it’s the current starting quarterback of the Giants that was asked about the subject of Beckham. It’s no secret by now that the war of words between the Giants and Beckham ended up reaching Eli Manning, but this time, in an interview with Sal Paolantonio, Manning spoke more about the subject and gave a surprisingly honest answer.

“Obviously I have wonderful memories with Odell. I’ve known Odell a long time, since he was a junior in high school. That’s probably the first time I threw a pass to Odell. Both growing up in New Orleans, we went to the same high school. We had a number of great years and big plays and exciting plays here,” Manning said, when asked about his thoughts on Beckham moving on.

But Manning also acknowledged some of the harder truths of the NFL, the fact that the league is a business and that situations like the Beckham one are bound to happen.

“Unfortunately this business, teammates move on and go to different places, whether it’s trades or retirement or whatnot. You go through it, and sometimes it’s just not a happy ending. It rarely ends happily for anybody in this league, but obviously feelings get hurt and things happen. People say things. But I think we both want to move on…”

Manning wished Beckham success but claimed that the pair haven’t talked much since Beckham left for Cleveland – which seems natural enough, given the tension between the two camps ever since the deal went down. “I hope, eventually all of this gets put behind and we can just enjoy the places where we are right now and what’s going forward and just kind of laugh about this one day,” Manning admitted.

It’s a sentiment that most fans of the Giants will agree with – Odell Beckham Jr. was one of the most popular players in the league with the Giants and will likely have some Giants fans still cheering him on in Cleveland, after all. Most would wish for the breakup between Beckham and the team to be an amicable one, even if right now, it does seem like the split left both sides hurting in different ways.

Will the Giants and Beckham ever be on friendly terms again? It’s hard to say. This season, however, we know for sure that we’ll find out just how the Giants are looking on the field without the wide receiver that defined the position group for the Giants for the past five seasons.

New York Yankees: Edwin Encarnacion To The IL

New York Yankees acquire Edwin Encarnacion.

New York Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion will be heading to the IL, continuing the Yankees unfortunate luck in terms of injuries in 2019.

Encarnacion was hit in the 8th inning of the Yankees 9-2 win over the Boston Red Sox in the matinee game of a split doubleheader, and was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital for testing. There, it was revealed that he had a wrist fracture, the same injury that Aaron Judge had last season.

Aaron Boone said between the two games of the doubleheader that he would be going on the IL, but it won’t be official until Sunday. Mike Ford will be recalled from AAA to fill the roster spot.

The plan for the meantime is that the team will wait 7 to 10 days before re-evaluating Encarnacion. From there, the team will set a training and rehab plan if he is ready to resume baseball activities.

Encarnacion notched three hits and drove in two runs in the game, raising his season average to .240. He sits at 30 home runs and has driven in 76 runs in his 15th career season.

Hopefully, Encarnacion won’t miss much time and can start making an impact soon. With now two first basemen down, the team will lean on guys like Mike Ford and Breyvic Valera to fill the holes until either Voit or Encarnacion is healthy. It is so crucial that Encarnacion is healthy for the playoffs, and the team needs to make that their priority. If he misses the rest of the regular season, so be it. If the team can be healthy enough to win 11 games in October, that’s all that matters.

New York Mets: The Bullpen is Better, But Needs More Work

The New York Mets miraculous seven game winning streak came to an end on Friday after they suffered an 8-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets were only down one heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Tyler Bashlor allowed a three run home run to Starling Marte to put the game out of reach.

The Mets Need More Production From Their Bullpen

The Mets bullpen has undoubtedly been better since the All-Star break. Seth Lugo just won reliever of the month for July and Robert Gsellman has found his hard sinker/slider combo. Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia have been inconsistent with their control, but have pitched better of late.

The major X-Factor in the Mets success has been the production of lefties Justin Wilson and Luis Avilan. They both combined to only allow one run since the break and have pitched in key moments for the Mets. This has deepened the bullpen greatly, but they have not found success from the final guys who round out the bullpen.

The Revolving Door For A Seventh Bullpen Arm

Last nights loss was a perfect example of an issue the Mets still have not fixed yet. They do not have a seventh man in their bullpen who can come in and pitch an inning to keep the Mets in the game when they are behind. The Mets were down one so instead of wasting Lugo while losing, the Mets went to Bashlor who knocked the Mets out of the game.

The Mets have tried more than a fair share of guys in that role. They have gone through Wilmer Font, Drew Gagnon, Chris Flexen, Chris Mazza, Hector Santiago, Tim Peterson, Brooks Pounders, Paul Sewald, Stephen Nogosek, Daniel Zamora, Jacob Rhame, Ryan O’Rourke and Tyler Bashlor. The combined ERA of all of them in relief is 7.11 which is no where near useful.

If the Mets make the postseason, they can throw Steven Matz in the bullpen, but they need to get the postseason first. It may not hurt them if they cannot find someone to fill the role, but they cannot afford to send the same guys out there night after night. Someone has to bridge the gap when they are behind.

New York Giants: Ryan Connelly Is Earning First-Team Reps

The New York Giants’ defense was one of the league’s worst in 2018. The Giants were poor against both the run and the pass. Big Blue allowed 252.8 passing yards per game (23rd in the league) and 118.6 rushing yards per game (20th in the league).

Much of the blame for the Giants’ poor defensive blame has been placed upon the shoulders of the linebacker corps. The Giants have had a poor linebacker corps for years now. Fortunately, it appears that the Giants have found some solid, young talent at the linebacker position.

The Giants’ fifth-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft was linebacker Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin. Connelly was initially looked at as a questionable selection. However, Ryan has answered a  few questions this summer and is now looking like a potential starter.

Training Camp Highlights

Ryan Connelly began to see first-team reps this week during practice. Connelly received these reps while filling in for B.J. Goodson who was not practicing because he is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Connelly has racked up a couple of sacks and pass breakups during camp so far. He also nearly had an interception on Daniel Jones, but was unable to secure the catch. Ryan has had a solid camp in both run defense and pass defense so far.

His solid play with the second-team has earned him first-team reps and many Giants fans and the coaching staff are excited to see what he can do. Connelly himself is also very excited to be seeing first-team reps.

Ryan Connelly looks at these reps as a way to show that he belongs. Connelly stated “But at the end of the day, I’ve still got to go out there and execute, whether I’m with the 1s, the 2s or the 3s. Basically at this point, I think it’s all about execution, making sure I’m in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to earn that trust.”

Head coach Pat Shurmur has also seen good progress from Connelly and discussed it in a post-practice interview:

Collegiate Stats Highlights

Ryan Connelly was a quick linebacker with the ability to shoot the gap in run defense during his collegiate career. Connelly recorded a 1.54s 10-yard split at the 2019 NFL Combine which ranks third among participating off-ball linebackers that weighed in at 240-plus pounds since 2010. This demonstrates Ryan’s ability to get in the backfield and disrupt plays at a quick pace.

Ryan Connelly played linebacker at Wisconsin for four years, but he was extraordinary during his junior and senior seasons. As a junior in 2017, Connelly racked up 88 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. His 2018 senior season featured more of the same as Ryan totaled 89 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Connelly proved to be a reliable and consistent player during his collegiate career.

With the Giants linebacker corps being as weak as it is, Connelly could see reps as a starter in the regular season. His first-team reps in training camp could be a sign of things to come.

New York Giants sign Rockland native, Terrence Fede

New York Giants sign Terrence Fede.

The New York Giants have been battling issues at the wide receiver position this offseason, but adding to the defensive line seems to be the priority.

Big Blue has signed defensive end Terrence Fede, formerly of the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. He’s also, my neighbor!

Fede has played in a total of 51 NFL games since graduating from Marist. He has 50 combined tackles, three quarterback hits, and one sack in his four-year career.

The Giants have made it an offseason priority to build the defensive line through the draft, selecting Dexter Lawrence and Oshane Ximines in the 2019 NFL Draft. Both have pass-rushing ability, but Fede can offer a competitive spirit and experience.

During his time at Marist, Fede racked up 13 sacks in his senior year and 31 over the course of his college career. He was named the Pioneer League Defensive Player of the Year as a senior and was named an All-American by five organizations. He was a seventh-round pick by the Dolphins and was the first player to ever be drafted out of Marist.

New York Giants: Veteran duo can make secondary great again

New York Giants, Janoris Jenkins

After years of neglect towards the free safety position and no real consistency with the cornerbacks, the New York Giants are finally in a place to develop a young core of talent.

Drafting DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Corey Ballantine, and trading for Jabrill Peppers will immediately give the unit a boost in 2019. Last season, the Giants’ defense allowed 371.4 yards per game, good enough for the 24th best in the NFL. Their lack of effectiveness against opposing offenses passing attacks was a primary reason for their failure.

Collecting just five wins after a complete rebuild is justifiable, but general manager Dave Gettleman laid down the hammer in the secondary this offseason, allocating plenty of resources towards its hopeful transcendence into stardom.

Maybe stardom is too optimistic, but rather serviceability is the better descriptive word. Baker has looked solid during training camp so far, and Love has competed valiantly at the slot-corner spot alongside Grant Haley. The Giants may look to transition him to the free safety position where Antoine Bethea can develop his skill-set.

Both Bethea and Janoris Jenkins will both play an essential role in the success of the team this upcoming season. The veteran corner has taken on a leadership role despite never really emerging as a voice in the locker room.

Newly signed receiver Golden Tate recalled a moment where Jenkins displayed his care for the younger players, according to the New York Post:

“One of the receivers made a play, and before the receiver and the DB could even get up, Janoris was jogging over to the DB to give him a tip,’’ Tate said Friday. “I didn’t hear the tip, but Janoris was kind of in his ear very calmly and letting him know, ‘Hey, this is what you can do next time.’ ’’

The Giants have established a newfound culture that is centered around veteran leadership and the ability to come together when the going gets tough. The team must be capable of weathering the storm, especially with so many young pieces on the side.

The defense will rely heavily on Jenkins and Bethea to step up and take the lead, as the 2019 season can either be a success, or a travesty.

Is Ignas Brazdeikis the real deal for the New York Knicks?

New York Knicks, Ignas Brazdeikis

The New York Knicks drafted Ignas Brazdeikis with the 47th pick in the second round of the 2019 NBA draft. Understandably so, the million-dollar question is, will this 20-year-old Canadian raised and Lithuanian born scoring phenom become the real deal for the Mecca of basketball?

Knicks coaching staff, members of the media (if they’re allowed to enter) and other Knick players will find out a month from now in training camp. Since us Knick fans have nothing but time in early August, it won’t hurt to imagine and question why wouldn’t Iggy Braz be the real deal and the real steal of the second round like Mitchell Robinson turned out to be from the 2018 draft.

In Scott Perry we definitely trust.

The New York Knicks general manager has an eye for talent! Whenever has a Knick fan utter such words about an active GM for the franchise nearly every fan around the league enjoy taking shots at? It’s definitely been a while and it’s very refreshing watching a total rebuild with young talent including sharpshooting Brazdeikis. Give this kid a deadeye shooters badge 2K Sports!

The 6’7 215lbs of brute is right-handed with a smooth lefty three-point stroke. Ignas Brazdeikis learned toughness and perseverance from his father who was an MMA fighter. The former Michigan Wolverine leading scorer last season began playing the game at the age of 6 years old and never looked back. Brazdeikis, with determination and hard work throughout the years, turned himself into the ultimate fearless and natural scoring machine.

In college, Ignas Brazdeikis played the game with great passion and definitely fed off of the energetic crowd at the Crisler Center Arena in Michigan. Iggy Braz will definitely be looking forward to putting on a crazy show at Madison Square Garden in front of countless celebrities.

This potential second-round steal has a chance to endear himself to hungry Knick fan’s hearts. He showed flashes of dominance in summer league against the Phoenix Suns. Brazdeikis picking apart Phoenix was very encouraging to watch back in July. This type of performance got Knick fans drooling and thinking about endless possibilities and lineups Fizdale can insert this bucket getter in.

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It will be extremely difficult to keep this cold-blooded scorer off the floor especially if he shows he’s legit in training camp and in the preseason. Ignas Brazdeikis wants to obliterate his opponents then flex as he gets back on defense. This kid has the heart of a lion and he’ll catch many people by surprise once he is implemented into Fizdale’s system. Ignas Brazdeikis is the real deal in my opinion.

New York Yankees: Didi Gregorius Could Be Back on the IL

New York Yankees shortstop, Didi Gregorius.

The New York Yankees’ shortstop Didi Gregorius had missed a significant amount of the 2019 season when he had Tommy John Surgery following last season’s ALDS. Recent news could find the young star back on the injured list. Friday night against the Boston Red Sox, Gregorius was not in the lineup where he was dealing with a strain between his left ring finger and pinkie. This occurred while fielding a groundball in Wednesday’s matchup against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The primary concern was that the star shortstop had hurt his wrist, which could have set him a long time back. Good news that is not the situation. Manager Aaron Boone met with media where he said “He’s day-to-day. He’s pretty sore today. We’re hoping to avoid an IL situation, but we’ll just kind of see how that unfolds now over the next couple days.”

Ever since Gregorius’ return from his Tommy John Surgery, he’s batted .271 with 42 hits and 30 runs batted in (Baseball Reference). He was on fire during the Minnesota Twins series earlier this month where he 5-5 one game and had ten total runs batted in during that set. He was recently just named the American League Player of the Week between July 23rd-27th.

I personally believe Gregorius will not find himself on the injured list and just be day-to-day. I think he wants to play too much having missed the first two months of the season and does not want to find himself back on the IL. He knows that the team depends on him and is a team-first kind of guy.

New York Knicks: Who will emerge as the starting point guard?

New York Knicks, Dennis Smith Jr.

The New York Knicks have an exciting off-season ahead of them. Finding out who will be the starting point guard will take several months and the preseason. However, there’s a clear front runner in Dennis Smith Jr., who has been working tirelessly on his perimeter shot to help produce more for an inefficient offense.

The lack of a Jumper forced struggles upon him in 2018, yet he hit on. 413% of the shots from the field and averaged 14.7 points per game in 2018. His assist totals were solid as well, recording 5.4 per game, but his three-ball was very porous connecting on .322% from beyond the ark.

Smith Jr. will be competing against Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton for starting time. It is expected, however, that Dennis will be the starting option only due to the ineffectiveness of the French-born player and the former New Orleans Pelican.

The Knicks are putting a lot of faith into Dennis Smith Jr. in 2019–20. After losing out on Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in free agency they were unable to sign a superstar to fill the position and increase the production on the offense. They do believe, though, that Smith can be the future due to his elite athleticism which gives him an advantage over the two remaining options on the roster.

Additionally, his improved perimeter shot should give him the actual legs to improve his game and show his potential going into his third season as a professional basketball player.

At this point in time, Frank is likely not going to be the starting option — he was a potential trade piece prior to the deadline for the Knicks, but interested teams wanted a first-round pick for his talents. He will likely come off the bench and provide support on the defensive side of the ball considering his offensive struggles.

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Another low-key option is Kadeem Allen, who is going into his third season, second with the New York Knicks. He played in 19 games in 2018 averaging 21.9 minutes per game. He is also a more defensive player, only averaging 9.9 points per game, which is still higher than Frank’s. His field goal percentage, however, was .461% from the field. He has the potential to earn some starting minutes, but I anticipate him coming off the bench if he manages to make the roster at all.

New York Giants: How has the offensive line changed?

New York Giants, Ereck Flowers

Just two years ago the New York Giants had one of the worst offense of lines in the NFL. Composed of Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Bobby Hart at right tackle.

Some may say general manager Dave Gettleman hasn’t done a great job piecing together the new-age Giants team that has won just eight games in the last two seasons. However, last year the team took a major step forward, finally building through the NFL draft and not relying on expensive free agents to supplement the deficiencies on the team.

A short one year later after Gettleman was brought on to overhaul the team, the offensive line now has three potential Pro Bowl Players. Nate solder At left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, and Kevin Zeitler at right guard. Eli Manning, veteran passer for the Giants going into his 15th season, will benefit from the overhaul Gettleman induced on the team, especially the offensive line.

Manning recorded record numbers, statistically, with Pat Shurmur in the first year of installing his offensive playbook. With an additional year of experience utilizing Shurmur’s scheme, Manning theoretically should have an improved season in 2019. The offense of line coming together with Zeitler, a top-five guard in the NFL, will allow him to operate at an efficient level.

Additionally, Solder, who played alongside Tom Brady before signing a record deal with the Giants, was forced to adapt to a different style of offense and quarterback with Eli last year. Nate was accustomed to a shorter drop back by Brady, and when he joined the Giants he needed to adjust his technique to Manning, who has a deeper drop back.

At the beginning of the season, he was pushing his assignments into Manning because he was familiar with Brady’s drop back and his ability to step up into the pocket. However, he adapted to the new style of play that was required and finished the season on a high note. After having his ankle cleaned up this off-season with a small surgery, he is 100% healthy and ready to take his game to the next level in 2019.

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At the right tackle position, Mike Remmers was signed to solidify a spot that has been weak in recent years. He has familiarity with Shermer’s offense which gives him a leg up over Chad wheeler who started in 2018. With the improvements to the offensive front, the trenches should be solidified and Manning should have more time in the pocket to operate.

Manning has developed bad habits over the past few years due to the lack of time in the pocket, but we should see some of those stresses alleviate with the additions to the line. This unit will likely be far improved and we should see the efficiency of the offense increase exponentially.