New York Giants: Eli Manning Helped Evan Engram Recover From Bad 2018

2018 wasn’t the best year for New York Giants tight end Evan Engram by any stretch of the imagination. A promising rookie season left a lot of people thinking Engram would break out further in his second year, but injuries helped prevent that and the tight end found himself getting less playing time than expected during the second half of the year after coming back from said injuries.

The Giants shared Engram’s snaps with others including Rhett Ellison and Scott Simonson, and Engram finished the 2018 season with less overall receptions and half as many touchdowns as his promising rookie year, which was highlighted by a total of 6 touchdowns. It’s safe to say the season was a step back, and according to Engram, the way the season went had an affect on him.

“To be honest, it was a really, really dark time around here, a dark time with me. I was coming off an injury and I had a couple bad games. In this business, when things aren’t going the right way, changes are made,” Engram said to NJ Advance Media.

There were trade rumors going around by the time the season was at its midway point, that the Giants weren’t confident in Engram’s performances and would have preferred a blocking tight end – and that Engram’s tendency for drops would result in the team moving on quickly.

But Engram also claims that Eli Manning helped him get through the situation in tact.

“I give a lot of credit to my teammates. Eli was one of the guys who picked me up,” Engram continued.

What did Manning himself have to say about the matter? According to Manning, it was a matter of helping to keep Engram’s confidence high. “You say, ‘This is how we are going to get you open.’ Or ‘We are going to get you set up on this linebacker and you’ll destroy this.'”

“You pump him up and let him know you have faith. They may lose some confidence in themselves at times, but you want to make sure they know the quarterback still has it, and we’re going to come to you and find ways to get you the ball,” Manning added further.

The chemistry between the two should be good for the Giants this year – the team is going to need all the receiving help it can get after the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. Engram will of course be a major target, as a pass catching tight end who can double as a receiver at certain times. Will Engram take a step forward once again after setbacks in 2018? We may just find out on Sunday, when Engram will be in the lineup as the Giants take on the Cowboys.

New York Mets: Should the Mets Bring in Jeremy Jeffress

New York Mets

The New York Mets bullpen has been fairly inconsistent and top heavy throughout the entire season. The Mets already took a risk on Brad Brach to fix their anemic bullpen, should Jeremy Jeffress get an opportunity in Queens?

After an All-Star season in 2018, Jeffress has been a major disappointment for the Brewers. He had a 5.02 ERA in 48 games before he was designated for assignment. He has also allowed a startling 29 home runs in the 52 innings he has pitched in this season. The Mets keep running out pitchers like Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia, it is time to give Jeffress a shot.

Can Jeffress Be in the Mets Future?

If the Mets sign Jeffress, he would not be available to pitch in the postseason due to him being added to the roster after September 1. Jeffress could possibly sign for the rest of the season and next season to give the Mets a chance to turn him around after his down 2019 year. Even if the Mets do not make the playoffs they can deepen their bullpen with a veteran instead of Triple-A quality relievers.

The Mets should take a risk on Jeffress since he is a cheap option. He has the pedigree to return to the All-Star form he had just a year ago. Heading into the season his career ERA was at 2.89 and he can become a valuable piece to the bullpen, even if he does not need to pitch key innings. At this point though, the Mets have to start making a plan for a legitimate bullpen if they want to take advantage of the talent they have now.

New York Knicks: It’s the brightest of times, not the ‘darkest’

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang has been very open about the New York Knicks.  He said that the current state of the Knicks is their ‘darkest times’.  However, if one was paying attention to what the team is doing, fans can see the future is bright.

Yang was a Knicks fans until the struggles became too much for him.  He jumped ship and is, allegedly, now a Brooklyn Nets fan.  Only die-hards know what fans have been through on this long journey as a Knicks fan.

Times have most certainly been darker.  It appears he was not paying close attention to the Isiah Thomas years.

Just because the Knicks missed out on all big name free agents this summer does not mean that they are in basketball purgatory.  At first glance, some fans might have overreacted and rightfully so.  But, when you break down the moves they have made, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When was the last time Knicks fans can say they have a promising young core?  Or, that they own 7 1st-round draft picks in next 5 years?  Never.  Even last year, when they had the league’s worst record, they had one of the youngest roster’s.  That does not mean much, but it is a good start.

The Knicks have also drafted well since Scott Perry has become the general manager.  They are finally trying to develop their players instead of giving up on them after a few seasons.  The Kings were also in a dark place until Perry took over, and they too are on the come-up.

The Knicks are set up to succeed in the future.  It may not be this season, but the ball is rolling.  The team has tried numerous ‘quick fixes’ and they almost always back fire.  Except for 2012-13, their last playoff appearance.

No one said that being a Knicks fan was easy.  It is the most frustrating thing in the world.  Fans have been begging for a winning product and this is how they get there.  Breaking it down, building from the bottom up.  For once, things are different.

Yes, some big name free agents would have helped, but the Knicks have a different feel to them for a change.  They have put a young core in place to succeed and grow as one.  Being a Knicks fan is difficult, but there is finally some light on the horizon.

New York Knicks: Is This the Opportunity Julius Randle Has Been Thirsting For?

New York Knicks sign Julius Randle.

The New York Knicks signed a 6’9″ powerhouse power forward by the name of Julius Randle to a 3-year $63 million contract during the 2019 NBA offseason free agency extravaganza. The former chiseled Kentucky Wildcat has been working extremely hard this offseason while posting video footage of himself either hooping with other NBA vets or in the weight room putting in massive work with the New York Knicks director of performance Mubarak Malik.

Julius Randle averaged a career-high 21.4-points and 8.7-rebounds per contest last season with the New Orleans Pelicans. He definitely treated last season as an audition for his new contract. It definitely paid off this offseason obviously. Julius Randle has a chance to put up gaudy numbers with the Knicks this season as the starting power forward for the hungry franchise. A spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team is undeniably within reach.

Similar to Carmelo Anthony, Julius Randle led his NCAA team to the championship. The only difference is Carmelo led Syracuse to an NCAA title, while Randle’s Kentucky Wildcats lost to Connecticut in the NCAA finals. The two have been working out in the Life Time Fitness gym recently. Footage of Randle and Anthony playing one-on-one is in the link below.

https://youtu.be/Hew5hFEWeBs

This opportunity to play for a big market team with a real youth movement is definitely what Julius Randle been thirsting for. You can see the motivation with how hard he’s been working this offseason. The man has a big chip on his shoulder and he’s taking no prisoners on the basketball court.

The Los Angeles Lakers impatiently got rid of Randle. Now he’ll continue to get his opportunity to let Laker Nation know what a huge mistake they made. Julius Randle’s skill and pit-bull attitude are tailor-made for David Fizdale’s aggressive attacking style on both ends. He will be extremely dangerous this year especially with the high levels of versatility his teammates possess.

New York Jets: Week One Prediction vs Buffalo Bills

New York Jets

Football is back and the New York Jets will open the 2019 regular season in MetLife Stadium against the division rival Buffalo Bills. The two franchises have been starved for success and they both believe that this will be their season in which they can dethrone the Patriots and reign supreme in the AFC East. Second-year quarterback’s Josh Allen and Sam Darnold will face-off, both are best friends off the field but on Sunday they will be mortal enemies. Both Squads have surrounded their young QB’s with talent over the offseason and are both ready to faceoff week 1. Who will come out victorious in this pivotal division matchup?

Buffalo Bills

The Bills are a team that is flying under the radar this season as they did not add any big names and have over the past 20 years been a laughingstock, but they are not to be taken lightly. According to Pro Football Reference, the Bills defense ranked top 5 in yards allowed, 1st downs, yards per play and passing yards allowed last season. Manned by stud cornerback Tre’Davious White the Buffalo Bills pass defense is a force to be reckoned with. The weak link of the Buffalo Bills is the offense, more specifically the passing game. According to Pro Football Reference, the Buffalo Bills finished top three in interceptions and bottom three in passing yards and passing touchdowns. However, Josh Allen did show promise as a dual-threat quarterback running for 631 yards and 8 touchdowns. If Josh Allen can become a more consistent passer the Buffalo Bills would be the favorite to win this game.

New York Jets

The New York Jets had a splash offseason throwing money at superstars at every position. With the additions of Le’Veon Bell, Kelechi Osemele and Ryan Khalil the Jets offense should take a significant leap this year. In 2018 the Jets had a middle of the pack defense followed by a bottom-five offense. This year the New York Jets will be relying heavily on the potential of their offseason acquisitions and the new offense being implemented by Adam Gase. There are a lot of unknowns with the Jets because we just haven’t seen enough of Adam Gase.

Prediction

This game is so evenly matched that it’s very hard to pick a winner. If the Buffalo Bills can air it out efficiently, they will be victorious. On the other hand, if the New York Jets can establish a run game and have most of the time of possession then they will win. This game will be a tight one, but the Bills will edge out just barely in a 24-17 win in east Rutherford. Bill will win mostly because the Jets secondary is a joke and they’ll be entering the second year of the Brian Daboll offense.

New York Knicks: Can Frank Ntilikina finally be the player the Knicks need him to be?

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

When the New York Knicks drafted French-born player Frank Ntilikina in the first round of the 2017 NBA draft, they expected him to be the future at the point guard position.

How has New York Knicks third-year player Frank Ntilikina looked so far in his professional career?

After two professional seasons, Ntilikina has averaged 5.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. In fact, he actually regressed from his rookie season. That is not what you want to see from a former first-round pick that has the future at the point guard position for the Knicks in his clutches. Due to his inadequacies, the Knicks elected to bring in Dennis Smith Jr. in a trade that also included the departure of Kristaps Porzingis.

However, Ntilikina has looked solid during the FIBA World Cup for France. Through two games, he has averaged 10 points, 2.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and two steals. He has helped France win both matches in the group stages, shooting 50% from the field and 66.7% from the three-point line. The statistics are extremely promising and could show progression for Frank moving forward.

https://twitter.com/MaxWildstein/status/1168145301527564291

Several players on the French national team have praised the 21-year-old for his success thus far:

“Against Germany he had a big task with Andrew [Albicy] of guarding [Oklahoma City point guard] Dennis Schroder and he did a great job on him. And (against Jordan) he controlled the rhythm for us. He’s been great for us. He had two big shots to start the game and put pressure on defense, ran the team, shared the ball. That’s what we asked of him and he did good.”

Despite the young point guards in efficiency in regards to scoring production, his defensive abilities are a lead and serve a purpose for the next in specific scenarios. The issue is, they cannot trust him to put points on the board which will limit his usage and playing time.

Hopefully, his performance against the state of Jordan will translate over into the NBA this upcoming season. He recorded 12 points, five assists, five rebounds, three steals, and a block while shooting 3-for-5 from the fields, and 2-for-4 from three-point land.

Reality could strike Ntilikina this season, though. If he does not show he can be productive on both ends of the court, the likeliness of the Knicks letting him go next season grow exponentially. Rumors of him being moved prior to the trade deadline were plastered all over the news, and it seems like he was on the move for a few days. The fact that they retained him showed that there is still optimism he can develop into a meaningful player, even if it is backing up Smith Jr.

 

Should The New York Yankees Switch To A Six Man Rotation Down The Stretch?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

As the season winds down, the New York Yankees have an interesting decision that they will have to make on the starting pitching front.

The team will have a surplus of starters, and they will need to find ways to use each of them effectively.

The team currently has four healthy starters, but will soon have six. Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino are in rehab with AA Trenton Thunder and have MLB returns in the near future.

Since the roster has expanded, it would obviously be a lot easier to go to a six man rotation. By making the switch for the final few weeks, you ease Monty and Sevy back in and space out the other four starters.

Masahiro Tanaka usually pitches better on more rest, and is more injury prone as well as James Paxton. An extra starter cuts down innings on the season, and you keep the pitchers fresher for October as well as increased health.

JA Happ has been very inconsistent this year, so maybe extra rest would be a bit beneficial. Domingo German often pitches later into starts so a sixth starter would help him a lot, too.

Sevy and Monty would likely get three or four starts max, but it could be like a tryout to see who could make postseason starts.

Tanaka, German, and Paxton are no doubt postseason starters. But the team needs one more starter in October, and it would be the better of Monty or Sevy.

Even if CC pitches again this year, you may see him come out of relief. He really hasn’t pitched well this year and is by no means good enough or healthy enough to start games in October.

I think that a six man rotation would really benefit the Yankees down the stretch.

 

 

The 3 keys to the New York Giants beating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

With Ezekiel Elliott securing a $90 million extension on Wednesday morning, the New York Giants will gear up to face one of the league’s premier running backs. He is a catalyst for the Dallas Cowboys offense and is one of the more difficult runners to bring down. Having a strong defensive front will be a priority for the Giants, and they will need to supplement the loss of Damon Harrison early last season when the two teams first collided.

Here are the three keys for the New York Giants to beat the Cowboys:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

With the Giants trading away “Snacks” last year, first-round draft pick Dexter Lawrence will be asked to fill a significant role in the defensive line this season.

He will be expected to draw double teams and put pressure on Dak Prescott during the Giants week one matchup against the Cowboys. He will be a catalyst in forcing bad decisions by Prescott and putting pressure on the pocket. Additionally, the Giants need him to be active in the run game and stop Ezekiel Elliott at the line of scrimmage. They will likely have issues dealing with him early on, but they will need to find a way to contain him and his brute style of running.

Aside from just Lawrence, the entire defensive line needs to perform well. Both Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill will be expected to elevate their game, but having previously played against the Cowboys and Elliot before.

2.) Saquon Barkley

The Giants star running back, one of three players at the position to record over 2,000 all-purpose yards in their rookie season, will once again be the focal point of the offense.

Ensuring they feed him early and often, Saquon can take over any game, and he will need to do it again against Dallas. With their defense being a strong point, head coach Pat Shurmur must rely on his star player to crank out yards and get into the end zone.

Last season, Shurmur tended to feed Barkley a lot in the first half of games and then taper off in the second half to not overwork him. In his sophomore season, the Giants cannot be cautious with his workload, as he will be the reason they win most games.

Ensuring he gets a healthy balanced of touches in both the first and second half will allow the Giants to operate at a high-level and compete against better teams in the league. They enter Sunday’s matchup as 7.0 underdog’s, which means they will need to feed Barkley as much as possible, especially with Golden Tate serving a four-game suspension to start the season.

3.) The offensive line

General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a priority to bolster the offense of line the past two seasons. Signing Nate Solder, drafting Will Hernandez, and trading for Kevin Zeitler this off-season makes them a remarkably improved unit. Also, they brought in right tackle Mike Remmers, who is an upgrade over Chad wheeler. They will also return Jon Halapio, their starting center who broke his leg last year early on in the 2018 campaign. This grouping of players will allow Eli Manning to stand tall in the pocket and operate at a more efficient level.

Manning has lacked time to throw the ball in recent seasons, and some of that pressure will likely be alleviated this year.

Cowboys have a daunting defense of line, which will not only put pressure on Manning but Barkley as well. I anticipate Hernandez and Remmers being their focus, as those seem to be the two weak links at this point. Hernandez had an up-and-down preseason, which the Cowboys shortly noticed. They will need strong performance is across the board to dominate the trenches and allow the offense to be productive.

Ntilikina Is The Future for France, But What About The New York Knicks?

New York Knicks, Frank Ntilikina

New York Knicks combo guard, Frank Ntilikina has been performing very well lately in FIBA. The 2017 New York Knick lottery pick has made 4-6 three-point field goals through two contests. French coach Vincent Collet trusted Ntilikina into the starting lineup after a teammate went down with an injury. Ntilikina is helping his French team tremendously on both ends of the court. Defensively he’s pressuring the ball and offensively he’s attacking more than usual. Ntilikina is also showing off his deep stroke. Confidence is pouring out of the Knicks second-year player. It’s beginning to look like all the hard work Frank been putting into his craft is finally showing on the big international stage. But will his confidence carry over to the other spotlight at MSG? Nicolas Batum has been giving praises towards Frank Ntilikina due to his recent signs of improvement. Batum states,

“He’s the future of the team. It’s great for him. Thomas Heurtel got hurt and now he has to put himself in a big spot to run this team. But he can do it. He has the talent and the personality to run this team and be great”.

The French teammates haven’t been facing the toughest competition as of late. However, Ntilikina will take any feel-good moment he can for his confidence. Building confidence comes with hard work and following through with the improved craft when it matters. The French Prince definitely has a future in FIBA French basketball. But, does he have a future with the New York Knicks? Yes, especially if the 21-year old continues showcasing his ability to knock down three-pointers and lockdown his opponent on the other end of the court. I’m pretty sure David Fizdale will be tuning in to these FIBA French matchups too see how French coach Vincent Collet uses Ntilikina on the basketball court.

New York Giants News, 9/6 – Is it too little, too late for Eli Manning?

New York Giants, Eli Manning

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

General manager Dave Gettleman has done his part in piecing together the Giants offense in a last-ditch attempt to salvage the back end of Eli Manning’s career. Bolstering the offensive line was the priority since his hiring in 2018 and then ridding the team of cancerous players that would harm the culture and quiet Manning’s voice.

Eli has never been the player to speak up and lead with a booming voice but rather by example. He tries to prove his worth and set the benchmark with his impeccable preparation, and the 2019 season will be no different. However, the question is — can Manning succeed with the Giants at this point in his career?

Pros: 

-A rebuilt offensive line

-Solid receivers

-Top running back

-Balanced head coach

Cons:

-Age

-Lack of chemistry

-PTSD from hits taken over the years

When it comes to Manning, the disadvantages are always primarily physical rather than mental. He’s one of the league’s best quarterbacks at the line of scrimmage in regards to identifying coverages and blitzes. His weakness has, unfortunately, come down to his inability to move in the pocket and avoid pressure. The rebuilding of the offensive line should alleviate some of his struggles and “happy feet.”

Gettleman has done an excellent job giving Manning the support and time he needs to operate at a high level. Also, Eli’s arm looks as strong as ever, and he has looked solid in practice. Whether or not that will translate over to the regular season is yet to be seen.

Nonetheless–

Your top Giants news:

Justin Terranova – Ex-Giant: Eli Manning finally has tools to show he’s not the problem

Chris Pflum – Thomas McGaughey on the Giants’ options at returner, Aldrick Rosas’ improvement
Dave Halprin – Cowboys vs. Giants injury report: Zack Martin still limited, rest of starters practicing

John Fennelly – Giants Coordinator Corner: Planning to attack the Cowboys

Anthony Rivardo – New York Giants: DeAndre Baker Healthy For Week One Matchup