2020 New York Giants Get Little Credit In CBS Power Rankings

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

It’s hard to say how good or not the New York Giants will be during the 2020 season – the past two or three years have had optimistic expectations during the offseason, but the general trend is for the stated improvements and the coach speak to not matter that much when the season really gets going… Over the past couple of seasons, the Giants have quickly been out the playoff race early in the year, with only the most optimistic of fans holding enthusiasm until the point later in the year when the team is officially out of the running.

That track record over the past few years of optimism and failing to produce results once the regular season rolls around may be a large part of the reason why CBS Sports isn’t high on the Giants in their 2020 power rankings following the Super Bowl. However, they’ve put the Giants even lower than other outlets, opting to rank the team 30th in the league. It only puts them above the Lions and Bengals, both of which are teams that select before the Giants in the draft as things stand.

Based on what CBS said about the Giants, it looks like some of the skepticism comes from the team’s new head coach, Joe Judge, who enters the league without experience in a similar role and takes over a team in one of the most demanding markets.

They have a new coach in Joe Judge, who inherits a team with a lot of young talent. Can Daniel Jones take the next step?

As the rankings state, however, Judge does come in with some young talent including Daniel Jones, as well as Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton. It seems like the worst years should be behind the Giants, whether there’s an immediate turnaround or not, and that should at least be enough to put the Giants above some of the other bottom dwellers on the list such as the Redskins, Browns, and Jaguars.

Are the Giants going to make it into the playoffs in their next rebuilding year? Probably not. 30th in the league, however, seems like a needlessly bleak projection based simply on having an inexperienced head coach – one who, despite that inexperience, has learned under the top minds in the game.

The Giants do however have a notable track record in recent years of disappointing based on preseason expectations, and if they want that to change, they’ll have to go out there and do better than the rankings predict in 2020.

New York Giants: Chris Harris Jr A Player To Target in Free Agency

The 2020 offseason will see a multitude of elite players hit the open market. A long list of talented quarterbacks will be available: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Ryan Tannehill to name a few. This year’s group of free-agent pass-rushers is also strong as 2019’s sack leader Shaquil Barrett is about to hit the open market. The New York Giants will definitely dip their toes in that water, whether they pursue Barrett, Clowney, or Ngakoue. But the Giants should distribute their money in the secondary, too.

Currently, the New York Giants have $69 million in cap space. After they make their roster cuts, they should have upwards of $80 million. This gives New York the ability to spend whatever they want on whoever they want. They will need to pursue the younger talent in order to acquire some building blocks to keep around long-term. But there are talented veteran options for the Giants to consider as well. Chris Harris Jr. is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. Despite him being 30-years old with nine years of experience, Harris Jr. should be near the top of the Giants’ list of free-agent targets.

Chris Harris Jr. Stats and Highlights

Chris Harris Jr. has been one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL over the years. He has spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos and has only missed 5 games in his career. Chris Harris has been to four Pro Bowls and was a First-Team All-Pro in 2016.

The reason Chris Harris Jr. is such a great fit for the Giants is that he is a slot cornerback. The Giants’ slot cornerbacks over the past few seasons have struggled intensely. Grant Haley was benched in 2019 for Corey Ballentine who did not look impressive either. Signing Chris Harris Jr. would take that position of weakness and instantly turn it into one of the team’s strongest positions with Harris, one of the position’s most talented players.

Chris Harris Jr. did seem to take a step back in 2019. He was not the same elite player he always has been. But this was his first season playing primarily as an outside cornerback. Harris is good enough outside, but he is exceptional in the slot. He has the coverage ability to plays both man and zone coverage from the slot. He is a truly versatile player that can transform a defense and take an opponent’s receiver out of the game.

When lined up inside, he has allowed a 61.5% completion rate, 6.2 yards per target and a passer rating of 71.6 on over 300 targets. – Pro Football Focus

Former Yankees outfielder, Cameron Maybin, hints that he warned of Astros sign-stealing

New York Yankees, Cameron Maybin

When the New York Yankees entered the 2019 ALCS against the Houston Astros, few were aware of their sign-stealing techniques and the illegal activities they were embarking on. However, there was one player on the Yankees that hinted towards their demoralizing ways.

Having signed with the Detroit Tigers this offseason, outfielder Cameron Maybin stated that he had a conversation with his teammates over the Astros’ sign-stealing ways, stating:

“I’m very loyal to who I’m playing for,” he said. “Going into a tough series, you know, these are my brothers. A conversation happened, that I’ll keep between those guys.

“We had a conversation. I’ll keep that conversation between them, but — heads-up.”

The Bombers fell four games to two in the series, and reports have emerged stating that Houston has been cheating throughout the postseason and even in the World Series. As time goes on and players begin to voice their opinion and perspective on the matter, it’s becoming clear that a ton of influential people were aware or suspicious of their actions leading to the unveiling of the truth.

What makes Maybin so credible?

Cameron spent a few weeks with Houston in 2017, when they were at the peak of their scandal.

“I was never really pressured about it,” he said. “I just kind of kept my head down and approached the game how I always approached it.”

New York Jets: Le’Veon Bell’s presence was vital, whether he stays or not

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

The New York Jets gave all-pro running back Le’Veon Bell a lot of money last offseason. To be exact, a four-year deal worth $52.5 million with $35 million guaranteed. That’s a good deal of cash for most players, especially one that was coming off an entire year without playing a down in the NFL.

Wanting to make a splash, the front office definitely did so. Bell was one of, if not the biggest, names in free agency. However, the first year with Gang Green did not go as planned. This has led to speculation around the league that the team may part ways with Bell and has also created a connection between the Jets and David Johnson if Arizona releases him. Whether or not Bell’s on the team come next season, his presence allowed for growth for years to come.

Bell’s Presence on the New York Jets

Bell was relatively healthy in his return to the field, playing in 15 games. However, in those 15 games, he only amassed 789 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He added 461 receiving yards and another score as well. These show that he was, by far, the most talented offensive piece on the team. Yes, these numbers are far below his career averages and made people curious if the Jets made the wrong decision on him. No, they didn’t.

While it may not have shown entirely, Bell provided a great resource to Sam Darnold in year two. Having another capable receiver coming out of the backfield, even as just a check-down option on occasion, allows Darnold to be more comfortable under pressure. Knowing there’s a backup plan enables the quarterback to cut down on potentially forcing throws. This can be great for Darnold, but that isn’t why Bell was signed. He was signed because it was considered one of the best running backs in the entire league. His numbers last season didn’t support that, but he is not to blame.

The Bottom Line

There’s no way to get around it: the Jets offensive line was horrendous. The offensive line was ranked 29th in the league at the end of the season. They gave up the fourth-most sacks in the league, 52, and 106 quarterback hits, which contributed to Trevor Siemian having his season cut short. Aside from that, the contributed wholeheartedly to allowing Jets running backs to total just 1,257 yards, second-lowest in the league.

Le’Veon Bell is a patient runner; he waits for holes to open behind the line before bursting through. However, as it showed, the current line in front of him cannot give him the time he needs. Upgrades need to be made for Bell to let his talent show fully.

There are a few free agents that could be targeted, such as veterans Bryan Bulaga, Jack Conklin, and Joe Thuney, but the draft is full of linemen as well. If the team elects to pick a lineman at number 11, a sensible choice could be Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. A sleeper pick could also be Matt Peart out of UConn. Peart was the highest-graded offensive player for the North Team in this year’s Senior Bowl, according to Pro Football Focus. Regardless, he is expected to fall into the second or even third round of the draft, where he could be picked up.

Whatever direction the team decides to go, the offensive line needs to be addressed in order for Le’Veon Bell or any other running back to be successful.

 

New York Giants: How Jason Garrett will help Saquon Barkley in 2020

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

When the New York Giants hired Jason Garrett to fill the void at the offensive coordinator position, they had two things in mind: Head coaching experience to help Joe Judge and a focus on the running back position.

Having utilized Ezekiel Elliott well in recent years, Garrett understands how to maximize the value of running backs in both the run and pass game. Dallas, his former team, featured one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and the Giants will attempt to replicate their success with draft and salary allocations.

I anticipate GM Dave Gettleman spending money on a right tackle. One option is Jack Conklin, formerly of the Tennessee Titans. While his price-tag will be significant, he will present a big upgrade over Mike Remmers in 2020. However, the Giants still have Nate Solder at left tackle, who will count $19.5 million against the cap. A resolve in his personal life and the addition of Joe Judge should help him return to form, so we hope.

How will New York Giants running back Saqoon Barkley benefit?

Having a great offensive line is directly correlated to running back success. Even without one, Barkley has managed two consecutive seasons with over 1,000 yards rushing. I expect Garrett to tailor his offense around the Giants’ best playmaker, incorporating him into the passing game more frequently and using a power/gap style to make the most out of left guard, Will Hernandez. Barkley struggled running between the tackles in 2019, as his ability to run east-west is more indicative of his style of play. Using him to his strengths is something Pat Shurmur was unable to do in year two with Big Blue, then again, it could have been a mix of play calling and lack of recognition from Daniel Jones in his rookie campaign.

Barkley did have three of his four 100-yard rushing games with Eli Manning under center, and while two of them came before his high ankle sprain, there’s no question that the veteran passer had more command at the line of scrimmage. I believe that Jones and Barkley will see an improvement in 2020 with experience under their belt.

One final thought, the Giants have finally established a chain of command in the play calling, allowing the coordinators to take full responsibility instead of giving the head coach too much control. This should open up a more fluid line of communication that would enable each coach to focus on their duties.

Ex-Yankee Pitcher Weighs in on Astros

Current New York Yankee players have plenty to be ticked off about, as they were victims of the Astros in 2 separate seasons. But that doesn’t stop former Yankees from feeling equally cheated.

David Robertson Chimes In

In 2017, Robertson was traded back to his original team from the Chicago White Sox, along with Todd Frazier. Robertson was brilliant in his return to the Bronx, giving up 4 runs in 30 games down the stretch for the Yanks. He was as good that October, giving up 2 over 11 innings of relief.

But then came Game 6 of the 2017 ALCS. I’ll let him sum it up, in this excerpt from Mollie Walker of the NY Post:

“I got roughed up in Game 6,” Robertson said. “And I felt like in that game, I threw as well as I’ve ever thrown in my entire life. I had some pitches that got hit that I was a little shocked by and some pitches that didn’t get swung at that I was a little shocked by. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about what we know now. But it all comes together now and, you know, I’m upset about it, that’s for sure.”

Robertson could not retire any of the 4 men he faced that night.

Asked for his thoughts on the mastermind behind the operation, Carlos Beltran, Robertson has this to say about his former teammate:

“I always respected him as a player, especially being a veteran player on our team when I got a chance to play with him in New York,” Robertson said. “I enjoyed the way he played and the way he went about his business. He’s got to live with it.”

David Robertson is currently in year 2 of a 3 year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Reunited with former manager, Joe Girardi, Robertson hopes to come back strong in 2020, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones Was The Best Road QB in 2019

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Throughout a rookie season of ups & downs, New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones still had a decent amount of success. He led all rookies in touchdown passes (24), threw for 3,027 yards, and set multiple franchise records along the way. But what was most impressive is something that has barely been mentioned this offseason – his absurd road game success. And not just success for a rookie, but numbers that no other signal-caller put up this past season.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones Was The Best Road QB in 2019

Jones’ Video-Game Like Numbers

Jones started 12 games during his rookie campaign; six at home, and six on the road. During his six home games, Jones was extremely underwhelming. He threw just six touchdowns and nine of his 12 interceptions were thrown in front of the home crowd. He was a completely different player when he hit the road though.

On the road, Jones was almost unstoppable. He tossed 18 TDs to go along with just three interceptions, good enough for an absurd 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio. He was also a threat with his legs, as he ran for 113 yards and tallied two scores. What’s even more impressive though, is if you remove his worst game (at New England), his numbers improve to 17 passing TDs and zero interceptions. Not to mention he did all of this in just six games. If you expanded his numbers to eight games, his stats would include a monster 24 TD’s and only four interceptions.

The Rest of the League’s Numbers

Only one player threw more touchdowns on the road in 2019 than Daniel Jones – MVP winner Lamar Jackson. But Jackson’s 20 occurred over the course of eight games, two more than Jones. MVP runner-up Russell Wilson failed to keep up with Jones’ pace as well, as he threw only 12 TDs while playing on the road. No player was able to match Jones’ 6:1 ratio though, a number that is one of the best in recent memory.

How Jones Matches Up With Historical Seasons

Statistically, the greatest seasons by a quarterback belong to Tom Brady in 2007, Peyton Manning in 2013, and Patrick Mahomes in 2018. All of them are the only three players to ever throw 50 or more touchdowns in a single season. While each of them threw more touchdowns on the road than Jones, only one of them had a better TD: INT ratio. Besides Brady, posted an absurd 7.25:1.0 ratio during his MVP-winning season, both Manning and Mahomes fell short of Jones’ mark.

What Jones’ Success Indicates

What does the early success on the road mean for the future of Daniel Jones? It means the Giants have a player who has no issue going into an unfamiliar place and putting the team on his back – similar to the recently retired 2x Super Bowl champion, Eli Manning. Should the struggles at home cause concern? Possibly in the future, but considering half of his home games were played in either snow/rain, it’s quite possible Jones will be able to bring his road success to Metlife a few years down the road.

How the New York Yankees will use Chad Green in 2020

New York Yankees, Chad Green

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone had one phrase to describe bullpen arm Chad Green, and that was, “swiss army knife.”

Green featured in a bevy of roles last season, acting as an opener, a relief pitcher, and even a closer on a few occasions. His talents stretch beyond that of a standard back-end relief arm, and that’s how they plan to utilize him in 2020.

Green opened in 15 games in 2019, closed in 10, and earned two saves. His 3.16 ERA over the span of the year was impressive, considering the different hats he put on.

“Obviously we’ve used him in the opener scenarios, we’ve even toyed with the starting thing at different times,'” Boone explained. “But he can be one of our main high-leverage set-up men as well. I feel like his versatility really gives us an edge to our blend down there with all the things he can provide.”

Keeping Green healthy will be the priority moving forward, as fatigue undoubtedly settled in during the postseason last year.

“As need comes up we’ll use [him as the opener] but hopefully we’re talking about a scenario where we’ve largely stayed healthy in our rotation,” Boone further commented. “And now we can plug Greeny into a lot more different roles in the ‘pen.”

The New York Yankees are confident in their bullpen:

The current Yankees bullpen contains plenty of talent: Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman, and plenty more.

The addition of Gerrit Cole to the starting rotation gives the Yanks plenty of firepower to work through multiple innings without having to dip into the bullpen too early. One of the realities that forced the Bombers into a fatigue-ridden situation last postseason was the starters’ inability to survive for multiple innings before getting pulled.

A three-man rotation of Cole, James Paxton, and Luis Severino in the postseason will provide ample talent and innings to remains rested. Not to mention they have Masahiro Tanaka, who’s an experienced playoff pitcher, available if need be.

New York Yankees: 300 Saves for the Cuban Missile

New York Yankees, Aroldis Chapman

The New York Yankees already have the greatest closer of all time in their history books. Mariano Rivera, the only unanimous hall of famer in baseball history, revolutionized the closer position. Rivera earned an astonishing 652 saves and had an incredible 2.21 ERA during his regular season career. Not too mention the incredible history he had in the postseason. The Yankees have been very fortunate when it comes to guys who have manned the closer position. Once Mariano retired, the Yankees transitioned to David Robertson. After David Robertson, the Yankees had Andrew Miller. Then the Yankees went out and acquired the flame thrower of all flame throwers to man the closing position. Aroldis Chapman came to the Yankees in 2016, and he’s been pretty dominant since he’s been here. Yes, there was a detour for a few months which led to the Yankees acquiring Gleyber Torres, but for the most part, Chapman is entering his fifth season for the Yankees and he’s actually getting better with age. He’s also coming up on a prestigious honor for any closer.

Chapman as a Yankee

The Cuban Missile showed some signs of the engine sputtering during his 2017 season. Chapman lost his closers position, and his confidence seemed to be at an all-time low. His ERA was approaching four, and he really couldn’t get anyone out. He couldn’t control his fastball, and when he did, he couldn’t get it by guys. Of course, Chapman was able to put it together by the end of the season and got his ERA down to 3.22. Entering 2018, Chapman started pitching with a new style. Yes, he could still flash 100 on the radar gun, but he started really going to his slider more. In 2017, Chapman threw his slider 172 times. In 2018, that slider usage went up to 234 times, and in 2019 Chapman threw his slider 307 times. Chapman’s increased slider usage has increased his performance across the board. Chapman lowered his ERA in 2018 to 2.45 and that number fell to 2.21 in 2019. Chapman’s slider now makes his fastball even more dynamic. If a player is sitting on a slider, Chapman can blow the fastball by them. If they are sitting fastball, he can buckle them with his slider. Chapman is becoming more of a pitcher rather than a pure flame thrower.

The 300 club awaits

Chapman enters the 2020 season as one of the best relief pitchers in the game. I expect his ERA to stay in the low twos this year, and I expect Aroldis Chapman to pick up his 300th save this season. As for a prediction, Chapman will join the 300 save club and he will have a career high 39 saves this season. Chapman is going to continue to dominate baseball and show why he’s been one of the best closers over the last nine years. Chapman is putting together a hall of fame career for a closer, now he just needs to go out and assist the Yankees with bringing home #28.

New York Yankees 2020 Season Preview: Tommy Kahnle

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

Tommy Kahnle was one of the New York Yankees‘ most reliable relievers in 2019. He bounced back nicely after a disappointing 2018 and would like to continue his success in 2020.

The 30-year-old only appeared in 24 games in 2018, battling injuries and struggles. He didn’t pitch well enough to maintain a major league spot, so he spent a lot of the season in AAA.

2019 was a lot better for the Latham, New York native. He had a 3-2 record with a 3.67 ERA. He punched out 88 in 61.1 innings and a 1.060 WHIP to go with it.

Kahnle got better and better as the 2019 season progressed. He began the year in low leverage situations and had a lot of success. He quickly became a high-leverage reliever and continued to pitch well.  The Yankees could always count on Kahnle to get the job done.

2020 Expectations:

The Yankees need a lot out of Kahnle in 2020.

He’s such an essential piece to the bullpen and is one of the two guys the team will go to when they need big outs in the middle innings. The other is Chad Green. Green bounced back from a poor start to 2019 and pieced together a good year.

Kahnle throws hard, and the team needs him to bring the heat. He does have good stuff but isn’t the same without an upper-90s fastball. When he struggled in 2018, his velocity was way down.

Another great thing that Kahnle can do is occasionally pitch two innings. Not many relievers these days can do that, so it’s important that the Yankees can turn to him for that when needed.

Tommy Kahnle is a vital piece to the Yankee bullpen that the team needs firing on all cylinders in 2020.