New York Giants: Pat Shurmur Talks Sam Beal Progress

New York Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur.

The cornerback situation for the New York Giants isn’t yet decided. One of the key players was set to be Sam Beal, who is still waiting to play in the NFL after an unfortunate injury in training camp last year took him out for the entirety of the season, but Beal is still one of the higher rated corners on the Giants roster despite that setback.

Although, it seems that familiar problems might haunt Beal again, because while his season hasn’t been ended this time by an injury, he might miss the preseason finale and the season opener because of a more minor one than last season’s.

Head coach Pat Shurmur offered his thoughts on Sunday about Beal and his progress coming back from injury. “He was out there today for the first time. He’s closer. We’ll just have to see where he’s at as we move forward,” Shurmur stated.

“I’d like to see him get healthy and get on the field. That’s what I’d like to see,” Shurmur also said, and additionally, the head coach claimed that he’s not frustrated by the fact that Beal hasn’t gotten playing time in the past two years. “I’m not frustrated by it. Obviously, being able to compete through training camp… He’s a second-year player, but last year was like year zero. This is year one. The work that he would have gotten had he been healthy would have been very beneficial.”

Will Beal play in the last preseason game against New England, which will likely be important in deciding any position battles that aren’t yet done? The answer hasn’t been decided yet, according to Shurmur, and will depend on Beal’s health.

“I’d like to see them all play. We’ll just have to see where he’s at. It would be good for him to play if he’s healthy enough. But we don’t want to put him out there too soon.”

With corner being a position of interest for the Giants, or rather, a position of need for the past year or two, Beal making a comeback before the regular season would greatly benefit the team going into week one and give further competition to Deandre Baker, one of the team’s first round draft picks. Only time can tell, though, if that comeback will be possible or not – there’s still the better part of a week left to determine whether or not Beal is ready, after all.

New York Yankees Take Two Of Three From Dodgers

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 on Sunday night to take the rubber match of a three-game set. Get caught up on all of the weekend’s’ action here:

Friday:

The Yankees won on Friday in dominating fashion behind Didi Gregorius and a strong start by James Paxton. Gregorius had a grand-slam and a solo home run, while Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Gleyber Torres each had solo-shots. The Yankees got the win off of Dodgers ace Hyun Jin Ryu.

Paxton got the win going 6 and 2/3 innings, giving up two runs and punching out 11 as the Yankees won 10-2.

Saturday:

The Yankee bats went a bit quiet, and a poor call by the umpires in the ninth inning resulted in a 2-1 loss. CC Sabathia gave up two runs and punched out seven, but managed to go just 4+ innings.

The Yankees got their lone run off another solo-shot by Aaron Judge.

Sunday:

Dodgers other ace Clayton Kershaw gave up just four hits over seven innings, but three of those hits left the yard thanks to Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, and Mike Ford. Other then that, Kershaw was in control as he registered 12 of his 21 outs as strikeouts.

Mike Ford had a late game RBI double, and Gio Urshela had an RBI single.

Domingo German pitched six strong innings, giving up just five hits and a run while registering five K’s.

My Thoughts On The Weekend:

This weekend was a huge momentum boost for the Yankees. It gives the players confidence knowing they can beat the best team in the league, and on the road nonetheless.

But, the Yankees need to forget this series quick as they are back at it Monday night in Seattle. Only a sweep in Seattle would give the Yankees a winning road trip.

New York Giants: Should The Giants Get Involved In The Blockbuster Trade Talks?

The NFL is about to be set on fire. Multiple blockbuster trades are “imminent” and could go down within the next 24 to 48 hours. Luckily for the New York Giants, all players involved in these trade rumors are at some of the Giants’ positions of need.

The Giants have been a poor team for the past two seasons, finishing 3-13 then 5-11. New York has numerous holes on the roster, causing them to sink to the bottom of the league in recency. But now, with only two weeks until the 2019 regular season kicks off, the NFL is about to see a few star players traded. These players could fill some gaping holes on the Giants’ roster.

The Offensive Tackles:

Trent Williams:

Trent Williams, a stalwart left tackle from the division rival Washington Redskins is likely to be traded. Williams has been having a dispute with his team and has made it public that he has no intention of playing for Washington ever again.

This leaves the Redskins in a slippery situation where they need to trade one of their team’s best players. They were offered a first-round pick from the Patriots but declined this offer. The price for veteran Trent Williams is steep and the Giants already have a starting left tackle in Nate Solder. So this is a trade that the Giants likely would not be able to make.

Laremy Tunsil:

The Dolphins are in the middle of a total rebuild. Miami has 500-1 odds to win the Super Bowl in 2019 and is looking to collect more assets. This could mean a departure for the team’s young and impressive offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.

Teams have inquired on Laremy Tunsil and made trade offers, but the Dolphins have declined the trades. But maybe the Giants could send an enticing offer to Miami. Tunsil has the ability to play left tackle or right tackle. The Giants do not need a left tackle, but they could use an upgrade on the right side.

Laremy Tunsil is an excellent pass-blocker. In 2018, Tunsil allowed only 2 sacks on the year. This would be a massive upgrade at right tackle. Mike Remmers allowed 7 sacks last year and Chad Wheeler allowed 5. Tunsil is 25 years old and heading into a contract year. If the Giants acquire Laremy, they will have to pay him, but they will receive a building block for the future on their offensive line.

Tunsil will not come cheap. If the Redskins want more than one first-round pick for Williams at 31 years old, the Giants might be looking at a similar price tag for Laremy Tunsil. If somehow the Giants can get Laremy Tunsil without giving up a first-round pick, it would be an incredible acquisition.

Jadeveon Clowney:

The Giants’ pass-rush has been disappointing in the preseason. Lorenzo Carter has not mustered a sack and there have been times where opposing quarterbacks have been able to sit comfortably in the pocket for extended periods of time. The Giants could make a blockbuster trade to help resolve this issue.

Former first overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney is on the trade block. He is expected to be traded in the coming days. Clowney will come with an enormous price tag but would be a mega upgrade for the Giants’ defense. Jadeveon had 9 sacks in 2018 and will look to increase that number with a team where he is the main pass-rusher.

Clowney is considered an elite edge defender according to Pro Football Focus. They note that he is much better against the run but still an above-average pass-rusher. Either way, the impact would be felt tremendously for the Giants. His run-defense is elite and the Giants’ defense struggles in both facets of the game.

All three of these players will come with extremely high price tags, but Jadeveon Clowney’s would be the highest. A trade for Clowney would require at least one or two first-round picks and some high-caliber players, too. These trades will get made soon, and the Giants should definitely consider getting into the trade talks. But the price tags might prove to be a smidge too high for Dave Gettleman and co.

New York Giants: How Saquon Barkley helps the entire offense succeed

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The thought of Saquon Barkley taking the field during the regular season not only makes New York Giants fans excited but football fans in general. The quality he brings to the game and the physical traits he possesses makes him a must-watch plater.

The game-changing ability and magnificent plays he carries out every week lay the foundation of what he’s capable of on the offensive side of the ball. For the Giants, though, his influence comes in more ways than just handing the ball off to him.

His intangible traits are prolific — leadership, authority, control, discipline…

Barkley contains all of the attributes that form a world-class player, but it’s what he does without the ball in his hands that help the other play-makers.

Just having the dynamic back on the field is the difference between success and failure. Opposing defenses are forced to game-plan for Barkley and allocate defenders to track his every move, which ultimately gives the rest of the offense opportunities to succeed.

For example, against the Cincinnati Benglans on Thursday, the Giants utilized a fake running back screen and split tight end Evan Engram as a blocker on the opposite side – Eli Manning faked the throw to Wayne Gallman and dumped it off to Engram for the first down.

This play is far more successful and efficient with Barkley on the field drawing the middle linebacker from his position. The influence Barkley has on opening-up the middle of the field and exposing single-coverage is significant, and I fully expect head coach Pat Shurmur to scheme around him to keep the defense guessing.

What makes New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley so great?

As one of the league’s best tailbacks, Barkley has an exciting way about finding space in the defense to operate. Compared to runners like Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon is not quite as efficient or disciplined in sticking to run designs. What makes the Giants’ player so great is his ability to create space for himself and improvise.

A pair of massive thighs and low center of gravity allows him to change direction on a dime and shed tackles at an impressive rate. Having incredible east-west fluidity is essential to his play-style — he almost seems like a glorified scat-back, but his strength and power allow him to plow ahead for extra yardage.

A multi-tooled player, Barkley, helps the team in various facets, but his tangible traits are hard to ignore.

 

New York Giants: Lorenzo Carter Struggling As A Full-Time Edge Defender

When the New York Giants drafted Lorenzo Carter in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft they were hoping to get an impactful pass rusher at a bargain price.

Lorenzo Carter looked like a raw pass rusher in 2018 who could flash here and there with raw athleticism. That’s to be expected with rookie pass rushers, especially when they’re drafted outside of the top 2 rounds. Unfortunately, he might not be developing at the rate the team was hoping for.

Lorenzo Carter’s College career:

Lorenzo Carter was a Georgia Bulldog for 4 years. He moved around the formation quite often but primarily lined up as an edge rusher. He never became a consistent force on the edge as a Bulldog, he couldn’t collect more than 5 sacks in a single season during his college career. As a sophomore, he played in 10 games and didn’t even tally a single sack. His production as a pass rusher has always been up and down dating back to his college days.

Lorenzo Carter’s Draft Profile:

Lorenzo Carter was always considered a raw prospect who had a low floor but a high ceiling as well. He stands at 6’5” but only weighed in at 250 lbs. The most impressive attribute Carter possesses is his freakish speed for his size. He ran his 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds. For a point of reference, he ran his 40-yard dash .01 seconds behind the team’s top wide receiver, Sterling Shepard. He relied on this speed to get into the backfield since he didn’t develop a variety of pass-rushing techniques or counter moves during his college career.

Run defense was also a concern. There were too many plays where he couldn’t shed blocks or maintain his ground on the edge against the bigger offensive tackles he would line up against.

Carter’s status through 3 weeks:

The young pass rusher got off to a red-hot start, looking like a problem for the first-team offense. Then the pads came on and he looked more like his 2018 self. He hasn’t had a sack in the preseason although he’s only been on the field for a handful of plays in each of the 3 games.

While the sacks haven’t been there he hasn’t applied much pressure either. To make matters even worse he hasn’t fared any better on early downs, looking like a liability as an edge-setter in run defense.

Is a position change possible for Lorenzo Carter?

There’s been some speculation at times about whether Carter would be better suited as an off-ball linebacker. In James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense he would need to line up as an inside linebacker. While he’s on the slim side for an inside linebacker he has already shown the ability to cover well from that position.

In week 13 of the 2018 season, Lorenzo Carter fared well against Tarik Cohen in coverage. One of the plays was a wheel route that is difficult to handle without many coverage reps in practice but he executed perfectly.

Dropping back into coverage is one of the weaknesses of the inside linebackers who are currently on the roster. This could potentially lead to Carter having that type of role out of necessity at times. When the team faces receiving backs like James White and Kenyan Drake in 2019 James Bettcher could be tempted to consider this an option if Carter isn’t providing much impact on the edge.

It’s not too late for Lorenzo Carter to make a leap in production for the 2019 season. It also wouldn’t be surprising if his role is reduced to obvious passing downs, whether he’s rushing the passer or playing back in coverage at times.

The team would consider it a failsafe option and quite frankly unfortunate to pull him off the edge and use him as an off-ball linebacker but it might be what he’s best at. Since he had 4 years to develop his pass-rushing repertoire in college and never really crafted it the chances of him doing that now don’t look great.

For now, Dave Gettleman and The New York Giants can only hope they didn’t take the bait on a workout warrior who’s a much better athlete than a football player.

New York Knicks: An Outline of Who’s Fighting for Each Position

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

New York Knicks coach David Fizdale is looking for relentless competition for positions 1-3 on the Knicks. The 4th spot is solidified with an improved electrifying lefty powerhouse power forward Julius Randle. The 5th spot is solidified with shot-blocking, lob catching, and defensive terror Mitchell Robinson. High flying point guard Dennis Smith Jr., and small forward Kevin Knox will have a battle on their hands against others for their respective positions at point guard and small forward. The shooting guard position is up for grabs for the likes of RJ Barrett, Damyean Dotson, and Allonzo Trier. Marcus Morris will be in the mix battling for that small forward spot for sure.

Fizdale’s not granting nods to anybody other than Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Everybody else is going to have to fight for it in training camp. There’ll be no handouts. If a player gets a starting spot, it will basically mean that player earned it!

David Fizdale is trying his best not to contradict the culture. In this current New York Knick culture of defense and offensive attacking styles, everything is really about “You keep what you kill.” Fizdale wants the young Knicks to have an aggressive killer attitude on both ends of the court and go into training camp trying to kill everything and build a killer instinct past Knick teams wholeheartedly lacked.

When Fizdale got hired back in 2018, he possessed the same mindset heading into last offseason training camp after the impressive Summer League showings from Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, and Allonzo Trier. This season after some decent Summer League showings from RJ Barrett, Ignas Brazdeikis, and an infusion of veteran and star talent, the competition in training camp will be really fierce and mighty.

The starters for the New York Knicks will be battle-tested and ready for war in the open Eastern Conference this upcoming season starting Wednesday, October 23rd in a road game against a cut-throat San Antonio Spurs team looking for sweet revenge on their home floor after being embarrassed during the last meeting in Madison Square Garden back in February 24th, 2018. Will the New York Knicks turn potential into reality and get their first win on the road next season in San Antonio? It surely will be televised.

New York Yankees: Two Players Who Should Be Called up for the Postseason

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees are winding down their season and there’s been talk of who will be called up heading into the postseason. September 1st allows MLB teams to carry a 40-man roster which means the Yankees will be calling players up from triple-A to assist them heading into the playoffs.

Clint Frazier

One of the more obvious players on this list, Clint Frazier is believed that he should be on the active roster already. Already had spent 53 games in the major leagues this season, Frazier has batted .262 with 11 home runs and 34 runs batted in. His controversial demotion to triple-A took many fans by surprise.

With the already-solid Yankee outfield, Frazier could be utilized as a DH alongside teammate Edwin Encarnacion. Frazier promises a strong at-bat with power.

Deivi Gacia

The New York Yankees held onto Deivi Garcia this year during the trade deadline and rightfully so. The 20-year-old stud was promoted to triple-A this season after dominating in the double-A Trenton. He flashes a fastball up to the mid-90s with an arsenal of pitches. He started the MLB Futures game this year where he dominated there as well.

If Garcia is chosen to be brought up, I think he’ll be utilized as a reliever to the give the bullpen even more depth. With the struggling Yankee rotation, having a starter in the bullpen could help the Yankees eat up innings. The only concern with Garcia is he hasn’t stepped on a major league mound. He’ll need to be brought up soon to get some major league action before heading into the crazy postseason play.

 

New York Yankees Sign RHP Cory Gearrin, RHP Domingo Acevedo Released

Cory Gearrin? Domingo Acevedo? What are the New York Yankees up to? Who are these players and what exactly escalated behind the scenes on Friday?

Gearrin, the 33-year-old RHP from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was recently acquired off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. To make room on the 40-man roster, the New York Yankees made an abrupt decision to release Domingo Acevedo and added Gearrin to the active roster. In doing so, RHP Jonathan Loaisiga was optioned down to improve on his craft in Scranton.

Just as I did with Trevor Rosenthal in a previous article, I want to examine Gearrin’s career numbers and better educate those who are not familiar with him. Gearrin has pitched for a number of organizations, including the Atlanta Braves, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers. While this may seem especially alarming, let’s dive into his stats before conveying a final conclusion.

The small sample size argument is in full effect. To limit this and accurately display what Gearrin is capable of, let’s focus on when he pitched for the Giants from 2015-2018. In his career with the Bay Area, Gearrin posted a 3.24 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and a 1.260 WHIP in 150 innings pitched. Taking into account his career numbers as a whole, he has accumulated a 3.59 ERA, 3.76 FIP and a 1.31 WHIP in 288 innings pitched. His career 0.65 HR/9 and 9.4 HR/FB rate are both excellent stats for Yankee Stadium. However, his 3.91 BB/9 and lack of velocity are not fantastic by any means.

There is good news in the story. Gearrin is expected to acquire a 3.59 BB/9 this season, which is a step in the right direction. Although this is just speculation and nothing to take with a grain of salt, Gearrin has the potential of producing quality outings with the Yanks. If he can find his groove with the sinker. which he has utilized about 53% of the time throughout his career, he will prove to be very sufficient and useful.

As far as Domingo Acevedo is concerned, he is a 25-year-old RHP from Villa Los Almacigos, Dominican Republic. Acevedo has been a part of the Yankees farm system since 2013, posting a 3.02 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 7 seasons. Even though Acevedo has better numbers, he also has no experience in the majors. Will the deal work out in the end? Only the future will paint that picture. The signing itself can’t hurt the Yanks, especially since they’re in desperate need for pitchers who perform exceedingly well on a consistent basis.

New York Mets: Edwin Diaz Leaves With Injury

New York Mets, Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz has put together a season to forget with the Mets and has been so brutal to watch that fans now boo him whenever he enters the game. He left Saturday’s game with right trap tightness and was even boo’d when he walked off the field.

It was another typical night out of the pen for Diaz. Freddie Freeman tattooed a long home run to lead off the inning, then Diaz struck out Josh Donaldson. Diaz then walked Charlie Culberson, which drew Wilson Ramos to the mound to speak to him. Ramos quickly signaled for Callaway and Mets trainer Brian Chicklo to join the conference at the mound. Diaz was grabbing at his right shoulder, pleading to pitch through it, but Callaway pulled him for Chris Flexen.

Will Diaz Miss Time?

Diaz was optimistic about returning very quickly, but Callaway took a much more cautious approach. The Mets will take another look at him Sunday morning before making a decision on what their course of action will be. There are multiple years left on Diaz and it would not be the worst thing for the Mets to give him a stint on the IL.

Diaz was neck and neck with Chris Flexen for the worst pitcher in the Mets bullpen so any option in the minors is likely better than what Diaz is right now. He has been showing flashes of how great he can be, especially on Friday night, but has not been able to put it together. It is unfortunate to see Diaz struggle and go down with an injury, but an IL stint could be what Diaz needs to clear his mind and get ready to help the Mets down their stretch run.

New York Knicks: Will the FIBA Help Ntilikina the Same Way it Helped Porzingis?

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

The International Basketball Federation is where New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina is currently improving his game before the season starts. It’s an opportunity to fine tune the craft before the rugged 82 game NBA season. If a player plays his cards right during the offseason, which includes playing in a professional atmosphere similar to the NBA, improvements most likely will be noticeable once training camp comes around. Former Knick Kristaps Porzingis definitely benefited from FIBA. The sharp shooting power forward and center used FIBA to improve his leadership skills and it showed on the court the following season before it got cut short with that terrible ACL season ending injury. Will Frank Ntilikina come into training camp healthy and with a renewed confidence and swagger? Will Ntilikina’s jump shot improve so much that you can’t leave him open behind the arc?

It’s very possible we might see something we’ve never seen before which is the real unfiltered Frank Ntilikina. This is basically a Ntilikina without injuries, however, improved, more confident, and decisive on the offensive end. This would be an awesome example of hard work and game film studying paying off and exuding itself through the player’s style of play and aura on the basketball court. Ntilikina’s jump shot is definitely the key for the young man. His jumper needs to start falling so he can be part of the rotation. If Ntilikina’s shot begins to fall and he’s suddenly part of the rotation, the New York Knicks defense would level up instantly. Defense has always been Ntilikina’s strong point especially when healthy. The 6’6″ tall 7’0″ wingspan combo guard makes it extremely difficult for opposing point guards and even shooting guards due to his active hands in passing lanes and his impressively high basketball defensive IQ.

It’s clear Frank Ntilikina is a glue type player still finding his niche on this Knicks roster. This current roster needs glue guys and role players like Ntilikina, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton, Wayne Ellington, and Reggie Bullock. These kinds of players take the pressure off the star player in Julius Randle and provide necessary depth to compete at a high level.

David Fizdale has his work cut out in training camp and even in the preseason when it comes to figuring out how to use Frank Ntilikina. He might have to watch and gain ideas from the French FIBA basketball coach Vincent Collet. However, Frank Ntilikina can make it easy on Fizdale’s decision by hitting his shots, finishing strong at the rim, getting to the free-throw line, playing in attack mode, and being less tentative on offense.