New York Giants: Sterling Shepard Fully Participating In Practice Again

One of the things that stands out the most for the New York Giants is their lack of luck in the injuries department – a number of players have went out this season for varying lengths of time with injuries, but one of the most key ones is Sterling Shepard, who hasn’t seen the field much in his first season after signing a large new contract to make him the top receiver on the team.

In the case of Shepard the problem has been concussions instead of more traditional and common injuries, and the receiver went into concussion protocol following the team’s week two game against the Bills before making a relatively quick return afterwards. However, that return may have been too quick, as Shepard was concussed again against the Vikings, back in week five.

Shepard hasn’t showed up again on the field since then, with his recovery obviously being taken slower this time – the last thing anyone wants is a third concussion in one season for Shepard.

Fortunately for Giants fans, we might see the receiver again soon, as Shepard was listed as a full participant in practice on Thursday’s injury report. The Giants won’t play their next game until Monday, against the Dallas Cowboys, which might make this an ideal game for Shepard to make a comeback. There is, after all, an extra day to recover since the team isn’t playing on Sunday.

“I think it’ll help us. Those are all really good players,” quarterback Daniel Jones said about the chance of having the team’s full offensive talent on the field at one time. “When you put them all together there’s a lot of different things that we can do, a lot of different ways to attack. I think the guys who stepped in have played well throughout the season. But yeah, getting Shep back this week will help.”

There’s still no word on whether or not Shepard will play on Monday, but it looks like all signs point that way – and the Giants could use all the help they can get with getting back into the win column in the first game of he second half of the season.

New York Mets: A Clearer Timeline

New York Mets, Jeff Wilpon

The New York Mets managerial search now has five names instead of the original four. The original crew of Derek Shelton, Tim Bogar, Eduardo Perez and Carlos Beltran are joined by Pat Murphy. The organization hopes to have a name selected by the time the GM meetings start on November 11.

With the Royals officially hiring Mike Matheny on Thursday, the Mets are one of three teams who still need a manager. With free agency quickly approaching, the Mets would be better served to select their candidate in time for the team to make some moves.

Owners in On the Manager

Putting Fred Wilpon in the interview process should be very telling of how the organization works. This third round of interviews will likely be surrounded around what Wilpon wants to ask. If everyone in the room likes a candidate, but the Wilpons do not, the candidate will not get the job.

Unfortunately, just like a big business, the top guy has the final say. In this case the everyone answers to the Wilpons and we know how power hungry they are. Judging by the lack of success over their time as owners, the Wilpons have been wrong way more than they have been right.

Since Davey Johnson was fired in 1990 the Mets have gone through 10 managers. Only two of them lasted at least four full seasons. The Mets roster is full of talent now and the man they select for the job has to be the one who finally guides this team to a championship.

New York Giants are 500-1 shot to win Super Bowl LIV

New York Giants, Pat Shurmur

No one is expecting the 2-6 New York Giants to go on an unconscious run and make something of this sorry season. The bookmakers are betting against that, too, as they are now 500-1 to win Super Bowl LIV in February as per betonline.ag.

That is down from 250/1 last week before they lost to the Detroit Lions, 31-26, on Sunday.

The odds on the Giants winning the NFC East and the NFC Championship are getting more distant as well.

The NFC East is still very much in play, but not for the Giants. The 4-3 Dallas Cowboys are the favorites at 2/3, follows by the 4-4 Philadelphia Eagles at 6/5. The Giants have fallen to 20/1 from 16/1 last week, and the 1-7 Washington Redskins are 500/1.

They are 250/1 to win the NFC Championship, tied for next to last with the Atlanta Falcons and ahead of only the Redskins, who are the long shots at 2500/1.

The New England Patriots (8-0) are the favorites (9/4) to repeat as Super Bowl champs, followed by the New Orleans Saints at 5/1 and the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers, who are both 8/1.

If the season ended today, the NFC seeds would be San Francisco, New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas, Seattle, and Minnesota.

In the AFC, New England would be the top seed followed by Indianapolis, Baltimore, Kansas City, Buffalo, and Houston.

New York Jets & Jamal Adams are in Tough Spot

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The New York Jets bonafide leader and a vital piece of this team’s minimal success over the past two seasons. Jamal Adams is electric, energetic, charismatic and an all-pro safely. However for the first time in his time with New York his allegiance to the squad has been question and drama for the first time surrounds him.

Owners and Gase To Blame

It’s often stated that organizations that can’t keep classified information are weak and unprofessional. The New York Jets succumbed to that level on trade deadline day. If any event was the greatest depiction of where this organization is currently at the negotiations and the drama that has followed it just shows how poorly run this team is.

Christopher Johnson, the main management core, and even the coaching staff should take this as a sign that they need to get their act together. Joe Douglas the man who is just doing his job by answering calls, fielding offers and looking for the best possible deals and opportunities shouldn’t have to answer for his actions because information was leaked. You don’t see Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft having to answer questions about their negotiations. Coaching needs to do a better job of supporting the players and keeping their heads in the game. Christopher Johnson and the powers that be need to get this organization back on track because it looks like a joke. Douglas looked like a consummate professional that didn’t belong to be affiliated with the green and white.

Jamal Adams Shouldn’t Have Opened Up

Robby Anderson and Le’Veon Bell received word that they would be staying in New York despite trade rumors, they jumped on social media and expressed their pleasure for staying in the green and white. Jamal Adams took to social media to voice his disscontempt for the handling of the trade deadline situation. The Jets and Jamal handles it poorly. The Jets should’ve been honest and upfront, Jamal shouldn’t have exposed conversations to social media. The fact is, the situation is now drama filled and a distraction for an already messy squad. There is no doubt that if struggles continue Jamal could be gone in the offseason. Ultimately, I believe the Jets dug themselves into a hole. Jamal Adams is special but he plays a position that is a premium for a rebuilding squad. It may make sense to trade Adams. Jamal needs to be a pro and understand that. His frustration is understandable and I still love him as a Jets fan and for any fans to call him a clown is rude. In the end I hope all works out but right now drama is prominent.

New York Giants: Who’s to Blame for the Poor Play?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants once again find themselves underperforming at the halfway mark of the season. They boast a 2-6 record, only ahead of the lowly Washington Redskins in the division. They have a minus 60 point differential, the sixth-worst in the NFL. They’ve turned the ball over 19 times through eight games, the most of any team in the NFL. Their defense has been atrocious, the offense hasn’t been able to break through yet, and even special teams has been a reason for concern. Coming off of a 5-11 season, no one was expecting the Giants to be a contender in 2019. But through eight games, it looks as though no strides have been made towards improvement. So, who is to blame for another lost season?

Who is to blame for the Giants’ poor play?

The play-calling of Head Coach Pat Shurmur

At first glance, you would think the Giants would have one of the best offenses in the NFL. They have a top-five tight end in Evan Engram, a strong receiving core in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton, as well as the best running back in the world, Saquon Barkley. Plus, they have a young, mobile QB in Daniel Jones.

Yet the Giants are posting just 19.8 points per game, the eleventh-lowest in the NFL. There are times when the Giants show flashes of how great their offense could be though. Take last Sunday’s game against Detroit for example. The Giants tallied four touchdowns and 370 total yards of offense, all of that occurring without WR Sterling Shepard. Why are they not playing that well every game? The play-calling of Pat Shurmur.

The biggest issue with the play-calling has been the inability to get the most out of every player. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram are two of the most dynamic players in the NFL, but Shurmur has been unable to show their maximum potential to this point of the season. How could he unleash their potential? Line up Barkley in the slot for example. Imagine a linebacker trying to cover the freak of nature that is Barkley. Give Engram more plays in space. He is the most athletic tight end in the game after all, so why not call plays that allow him to show off his athleticism? If Shurmur designed his plays to the strengths of each player, the offense would take off.

The struggling young defense

The Giants defense has struggled mightily through the first half of the season. They are in the bottom ten for both yards allowed per game (386.8) and points allowed per game (27.3). Part of the reason these struggles are occurring is due to more than half the defense having either only one or two years of NFL experience. They are still making the adjustment from college to the NFL.

To make matters worse for the young players, Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher’s defensive scheme is one of the most difficult to learn in the NFL. The players that have excelled on defense this year, and there are not many, were familiar with Bettcher’s system prior to this season. Markus Golden, who had 12.5 sacks under Bettcher in 2016, is one of those few that have excelled. It is very possible that the young players will make a major leap like Golden did, but there have been very few reasons to think that to this point of the season.

The inconsistent special teams play

Football is a game that is won by winning in all three phases of the game. Poor special teams play can greatly impact the outcome of a game. The Giants have had moments of greatness on special teams this season, but they also have shown moments of concern.

The best part of the Giants special teams this year has been the punt coverage team. They have been excellent at pinning opponents deep for multiple years now, thanks to the fantastic play of punter Riley Dixon. Just two weeks ago they blocked a punt against Arizona and scored a touchdown off of it. They’re averaging more than 10.0 yards per return on punts, one of just five teams to accomplish the feat.

On the other hand, one of their biggest struggles has been in the kick return game. When Corey Coleman, who averaged 26.0 yards per return last season, went down in training camp with a torn ACL, the job was opened. The Giants are yet to find a suitable replacement for Coleman through eight games. Rookie Corey Ballentine has shown flashes, but he has missed the last two weeks with a concussion. Darius Slayton has filled in for Ballentine the past two weeks, and he as well has done nothing that shows he is the answer. Starting a drive with great field position leads to points, something that has been scarce for Big Blue this year.

The Giants find themselves in the basement of the NFC East for the third straight season and are struggling in every phase of the game. There is not one person that can be pointed at and blamed for the failure of the team. Every coach, player, and organization member needs to step it up before the Giants can become competitive again.

New York Mets: The Manager Search in Perspective

New York Mets, Mets, Mickey Callaway

The search for the next New York Mets manager seems to be dragging along as each day without them playing goes by. As less and less news continues to come out about the next skipper, how does this search compares to the ones from the past?

When the Mets hired Mickey Callaway the search only lasted three weeks after the season ended. As Callaway proved throughout his time in Queens, the quick move did not pan out. The rest of the final candidates for the job were Kevin Long, Manny Acta and Joe McEwing. Neither have earned manager jobs elsewhere, so we never quite got to see what the Mets missed out on. It is hard to think they would have done worse than Callaway.

Good ol’ TC

The search for the new manager after the 2010 season was more extensive than the one we currently have now. It was an intense seven week hunt, where Wally Backman was actually the top candidate with Bob Melvin and Chip Hale in the background.

Boy, how nice would it be to have Backman manage the Mets…but that is a topic for another day.

The Mets surprised most when they went with Collins. It seemed like a short term move to prepare Backman for the job in a couple of years. Fans and the organization ended up loving Collins and he lasted seven seasons with the Mets, guiding them to the World Series. Bachman ended up growing tired managing in Triple-A/with management and ended up parting ways with the organization.

The Mets hiring of Willie Randolph took about a month, which is about the time it would be should the Mets hire a manager with the next few days. Randolph interviewed in 2002, but the Mets deemed him too inexperienced for the job. Turns out it only took two years to become experienced enough. Randolph was the second most successful manager in Mets history, but never earned another managerial gig after the Mets fired him.

 

 

New York Yankees: Is Dellin Betances on his way out? Or will he receive an extension?

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Dellin Betances

The New York Yankees weren’t able to utilize one of their best relief pitchers in Dellin Betances this past season, at the expense of a shoulder injury and torn Achilles upon his return.

Getting him back on track in 2020 is now the priority, but will he be the same player after a significant Achilles injury? That’s the question that must be answered. He pitched just 0.2 innings with two strikeouts this year before going down, which gives us a tiny sample size to work off of, but his past success speaks for itself.

Reviewing Dellin Betances’ injury history in 2019:

The relief pitcher went down with a shoulder impingement during the preseason for the Yankees to start his 2019 campaign. He then suffered a bone spur in his right shoulder, which kept him out for the entire regular season before his short return resulting in a torn Achilles. In what was a great showing of two strikeouts on September 15, his tenure with the Yankees possibly came to an end.

Having him during the postseason would have given the Bombers a huge boost, possibly helping them reach the World Series. Fatigue unfortunately set into pitchers like Chad Green, which ultimately cost the Yanks a chance at climbing back into the series against the Houston Astros down 1-3.

The New York Yankees need to make a logical decision with Betances:

In a contract year, Betances’ worst dreams came true. His value undoubtedly took a hit, and his next contract won’t be nearly as lucrative. However, he will likely earn a pretty penny on the open market, nonetheless. He is the only pitcher in MLB history to record five straight 100-strikeout seasons as a relief arm out of the bullpen. At 31-yeard-old, though, his velocity is becoming a concern and has taken a dip. That could play a significant part in the Yankees’ decision to part ways and let Betances walk in free agency.

Once we find out the extent of his injury and if it will affect his velocity, determining if he’s worth re-signing will be much easier. The Yankees and other teams will want to see him in live-action before making any determination, and general manager Brian Cashman might be better off saving the money and allocating it towards the starting pitching rotation, regardless.

Fizdale’s coaching decisions drop the New York Knicks to 1-4

New York Knicks, David Fizdale, Julius Randle

After an exciting first victory of the season, the New York Knicks took on the Magic down in Orlando.  This trip to Florida wasn’t so magical for the Knicks, as they fell to 95-83.

The Knicks came out in first half looking good.  They were in the game and all aspects of their play was solid, except for their 3-point shooting.  The Knicks were 7-31, 22.6%, for the entire game.  The highlight from beyond the arc was Frank Ntilikina half-court heave at the end of the first half.

And once again, as all Knicks fans know, the 3rd quarter happened.  The Knicks came out sluggish, careless and not boxing out.  The Magic were able to build a 12-point lead and take over the game.  The Knicks went on a run to get back into the game.

Then the head-scratching coaching decisions from David Fizdale continued.  It began in the first half where the Knicks were needed offense.  Allonzo Trier sat snug on the bench.  The guy who proven to give you offense, when needed, didn’t sniff the court.  Fizdale decided to go with Daymean Dotson instead, as Trier didn’t play all game.

It makes sense to get Dotson back into the rotation coming off his shoulder injury.  But, in a game when you need offense it’s not time to ease someone in.  However, it didn’t make sense to start Wayne Ellington over Ntilikina.  Ellington has been struggling shooting and the Knicks need more defense in the starting line-up.

The biggest coaching decision came late game when the Knicks and Kevin Knox got back into the game, only being down by a score.  Knox had the hot hand after a poor shooting performance to begin the game.  Fizdales decides to take Knox out for Marcus Morris, who had an awful outing.

The entire flow and control of the game for the New York Knicks changed once Morris checked in for Knox.  Morris was taking contested shots, like always, and ruining the momentum.  That swap of players killed the game for the Knicks, ultimately losing.  It might be time to start Knox over Morris, as Knox is part of the future not Morris.

This lose was all on Fizdale.  He continues to make unnecessary substitutions that ruin the flow of the game for the Knicks.  It is only a matter of time until the fans get restless and start to call for a new head coach.

New York Mets’ managerial search coming to a close

New York Mets, Mets, Mickey Callaway

The New York Mets are coming off an 86-76 campaign in 2019 and three games out of the Wild Card. They fired manager Mickey Callaway anyway, and are now in the throes of finding his replacement.

Joe Girardi seemed to be a natural fit, but Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen most likely was intimidated by the likes of an accomplished manager such as Girardi, Buck Showalter, Dusty Baker and others.

Met fans went into a Twitter frenzy after Girardi signed on with the rival Phillies, confirming their fears that BVW wants another first-time manager he can control.

The candidate list is still a good half-dozen and the names aren’t resonating with the fans one bit.

From Joel Sherman of the New York Post:

“Nationals bench coach Tim Bogar is the lone finalist who has not received a third interview, which mainly revolved around meeting with Fred Wilpon. Bogar’s Nationals were playing in Game 7 on Wednesday night and the expectation is that he would be in to see the Mets owner before the end of this week.

Former Mets OF Carlos Beltran, ESPN’s Eduardo Perez and Twins bench coach Derek Shelton already have had their face-to-face discussions with Wilpon, The Post has learned. Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy and Mets quality control coach Luis Rojas received second interviews and it was possible they also did sit-downs with Wilpon.”

Whoever gets the job will have a nucleus of productive players such as ace Jacob deGrom, rookie powerhouse Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Marcus Stroman and Michael Conforto.

There are still many issues to be addressed this offseason as Michael Baron outlines below.

The players might miss Callaway, a likable guy who is probably best off in the role as a pitching coach. He was not in his element. The Mets basically set Callaway – who spent his entire career in the American League – to fail. They can’t do the same to the next manager.

New York Yankees: Austin Romine has his options this offseason

The New York Yankees are fortunate enough to have one of the deepest farm systems in all of Major League Baseball – especially their catchers. Gary Sanchez has been the starting catcher for the Yankees for three consecutive seasons, and if he remains with the club for the 2020 season that won’t change.

Austin Romine has been in the Yankee organization his entire career and has been behind Sanchez for the starting spot, and it’s no question that Romine has some serious talent. It’s believed that if Romine chose to walk during free agency, he could land himself a starting role on pretty much any MLB team.

Being only 30 years old, Romine is young enough where he could land himself a nice contract. He slashed .239/.281/.366 on the year which doesn’t resemble how talented he actually is. Being the backup catcher doesn’t allow you to fully find a rhythm offensively since you’re only playing every few days.

The question is: is he infatuated with playing in pinstripes? Playing in the Bronx for the Yankees is a special thing, and if he loves it there’s a good chance he’ll stay put. I also think the New York Yankees like Romine as their backup catcher. If he wants to stay put they’ll most likely give him a good contract.

Teams that could be seeking a new catcher and potentially show an interest in Romine are the Astros and the Braves. Astros’ catcher Martin Maldonado is entering free agency and the Braves have made it no secret that they are in the need of a starting catcher.