New York Guardians CB Dravon Askew-Henry headed to the Giants

New York Giants, Dravon Aksew-Henry

The defender is the first member of the New York Guardians to be picked up by an NFL squad after their season ended early.

Dravon Askew-Henry has found a new team, but the next step of his football journey will require little, if any, packing.

The cornerback became the first member of the XFL’s New York Guardians to get a call from the NFL. According to a report of Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Askew-Henry was picked up by the New York Giants, the Guardians’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants.

The Guardians partook in the abbreviated debut season of the rebooted XFL, which began in February. They finished in a three-way tie for first place in the XFL’s East Division with a 3-2 record. New York won both of their games in East Rutherford and was coached by former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.

Askew-Henry partook in four games with the Guardians, earning 12 tackles. The Guardians chose him in the fourth round of the defensive back portion of the 2020 XFL Draft. He mostly filled in as a slot cornerback and can also play in the nickel set.

The defender made a bit of infamous XFL history during the Guardians win over Los Angeles on February 29. After Askew-Henry was called for a penalty, he caught the flag thrown by the nearby official. In disbelief and frustration, he threw the flag back at him, earning an additional 15-yeard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

An alum of West Virginia, Askew-Henry earned six interceptions over four seasons in Morgantown. He notably earned two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, in a 2014 win over Oklahoma State in his freshman season. Askew-Henry appeared in 51 games for the Mountaineers, a program record.

This will mark Askew-Henry’s second endeavor in the NFL. He went undrafted in the 2019 selection proceedings, but partook in four preseason games with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He would tally eight tackles and one pass defense in that summer span.

In another New York football connection, Askew-Henry is the cousin of renowned former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.

The XFL suspended play on March 12 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and officially ended its season last week. Players have been allowed to sign with NFL and CFL squads since Monday morning and Askew-Henry is one of several notable names to be scooped up. The league’s top quarterback, PJ Walker of the undefeated Houston Roughnecks, was added by the Carolina Panthers. Fellow thrower Jordan Ta’amu of the St. Louis BattleHawks was signed by the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

The New York Mets were right not to trade Steven Matz

Back on March 2, reports surfaced that the New York Yankees, watching their starting pitching depth go down piece by piece, showed interest in New York Mets‘ lefty Steven Matz. After all, back then, the Queens squad had six qualified starters and five available slots in the rotation. They could listen. But they chose not to.

The Mets’ front office decided against the idea of trading Matz knowing that if they did it, the depth they had put together would vanish. Despite rumors saying that the Yankees were willing to part with prized young slugger Miguel Andujar, Matz ended up staying. And it was the right call.

Time and fate proved the Mets right. On Tuesday, the New York Mets announced that Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an injury that requires Tommy John surgery. The procedure will be performed on Thursday, and will knock Thor out for 2020 and the start of the 2021 campaign.

If the Mets would have traded Matz, they would now have a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, with unproven youngsters and other veterans vying for the fifth spot.

The Mets have five capable starters, but is that enough?

Losing Thor hurts a lot no matter what, but the Mets now have, at least, five starters with MLB experience and obvious talent.

Now, will they have enough firepower in their rotation to fend off the Washington Nationals, the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East? Before Thor’s injury, the New York Mets looked like a legit contender in the division, capable of knocking the World Champs and the up-and-coming Braves from the postseason. Now, the path just got a little murky. They just lost a 4.4 fWAR player, and 2019 wasn’t even his best season.

Only time will tell what will happen with the Mets this season. We don’t even know if there will be a season, to begin with. But the team made the right decision when they chose to keep Steven Matz.

Report: New York Jets land talented WR Breshad Perriman on prove it deal

New York Jets, Breshad Perriman

Just as New York Jets nation pondered where Joe Douglas and the front office would go next at wide receiver, Douglas made a move. The Jets have signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman had a phenomenal end to the season last year and now receives a one-year, $8 million dollar deal with $6 million guaranteed from Gang Green.

How Does Perriman Fit?

Quincy Enunwa is expected to be back next year, but with the injury question marks, he can’t be counted on right now. Jamison Crowder is a slot guy who had 833 yards and 6 TDs last season, but he’s not the outside deep threat. The Jets lost their number one receiver and key outside deep threat to the Panthers earlier today.

Now, that role will be filled by a former first-rounder in Perriman. Perriman was a first-rounder with the Ravens and was drafted while Douglas was there. At 26, he’s hitting his prime. He’s struggled in the past and ended up joining the Browns before finding a home in Tampa last year.

He had a really strong end to the season and now looks to build on that with the Jets. Perriman statistically produced similar numbers to Robby Anderson last season in 2 fewer games. Anderson had 52 receptions for 779 yards and five scores and played 91 percent of snaps. Perriman had 36 catches for 645 yards and six scores but played 56 percent of snaps. Perriman received a higher volume of targets than Anderson and still produced well.

What’s Next?

Well, Perriman must now be counted on to build off the strong finish he had to last season if he can then the Jets will have got a good player on a cheaper deal than Robby Anderson. Douglas said he wanted playmakers, and Perriman can fit that mold.

The Jets can now continue with their plan to target an offensive lineman with their first-rounder, but they need to grab one of the talented receivers in this class in the first three rounds. If the Jets can do that, then they will have a solid receiving corps.

As for other sides of the ball, the Jets finally have the answer to the Anderson question and can now try to add a complimentary piece or two to Jordan Jenkins on the edge. They can add some depth at other spots like corner and running back. They also should look to add a backup quarterback to ensure if Sam misses time they have a quality backup. Matt Moore could be a target.

Summer Ice Might Be Difficult to Maintain for the New York Rangers, MSG Staff

New York Rangers, Brad Skjei

Many scenarios that include the New York Rangers playing hockey this season would seem to indicate that some games could be played in June or July. While that sounds good, it presents a problem form many stadiums around the United States as stadium ice can be tricky to keep in proper shape during summer months. While this is very true for teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and other southern destinations, the same could be true for the Rangers and the crew at MSG. Most are quite aware that summers can be quite sultry in the NYC area.

The NHL has specific specifications for their rinks

The NHL recommendation is for ambient air to be between 60 and 64 degrees at 40 to 44 percent humidity. One of the biggest challenges happens when the doors open to allow spectators to enter the arena.  While many arenas have the equipment to help maintain these standards, but once the doors are open and all that hot, humid air starts coming in, there is no way to pull the humidity back out with the people in buildings.  Once you get thousands of people in the building for a game, you are adding to the humidity with people talking and yelling and screaming and the general body heat warming the air. This issue may be solved if fans are not permitted into games, especially the ones that are played earlier in the playoffs.

Year-round rinks sometimes struggle with summer ice

In conversing with an upstate New York rink manager about this issue, the manager stated that even for smaller rinks without many fans struggle with the quality of the ice. He states that in the summer, they do a couple of things to help eliminate the main culprit of ice issues, the humidity.

Players and fans entering the building, as stated earlier, create the most significant problem. This rink only opens its doors that are furthest away from the rink. He also mentioned that one of the challenges that rinks face in summer is the fogging of the rink glass.

“We have a big issue with the glass starting to fog over during many summer days,” but he acknowledged that larger arenas with good dehumidifying systems should not have to worry about that. Those systems help in the process of removing moisture from the air to control humidity, often in commercial buildings and industrial processes.

If teams play games in the summer,  they will have to be wary of this because of the uncertainty of what the weather’s going to do. But ii is definitely something that the Rangers and other teams are going to be forced to deal with if games are played this summer.

New York Mets: Thor’s injury will test the team’s pitching depth

The New York Mets received some bad news on Tuesday regarding Noah Syndergaard’s health. As it turns out, he has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, which means he will be undergoing Tommy John surgery on Thursday, March 26th.

The usual timetable for these injuries and surgeries is around 18 months. Some pitchers return a little earlier, but most of them do it around or after the year and a half mark. The Mets shouldn’t count on Syndergaard contributing until around the All-Star break of 2021.

That year, 2021, also happens to be the last of Syndergaard’s tenure with the Mets unless the two sides reach an agreement for an extension, which seems unlikely now.

The Mets are going to have to find a way to replace Syndergaard in the rotation. When it comes to names, they can easily slot new signings Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello (who was already expected to be a starter) to complement Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz.

Do the Mets have options to replace Thor? What about if another injury strikes?

But if we are talking numbers and performance, only deGrom carries a similar ceiling/floor than Thor. Stroman is a fine mid-rotation starter and Porcello, Matz and Wacha are good options to round out the group, but none of them carries the strikeout prowess and dominating potential of Noah Syndergaard. Only deGrom does. Of course, he is the National League’s best hurler. But there is no denying that Thor’s injury will hurt the Mets, this year and next.

The thing about Syndergaard’s Tommy John is that the team’s depth is now razor-thin. It’s amazing what an injury can do to a team’s plans: the Mets went from having six capable starters with experience to only five. What if another injury strikes?

Prospects David Peterson and Kevin Smith could be ready to contribute later this season if they prove they can master the Triple-A level first. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman both have experience starting games, but they are too valuable in the bullpen, especially the former.

Walter Lockett could develop into a backend starter, and Erasmo Ramirez was pitching very well in spring training before play was halted. Neither one represents a particularly enticing option, to be honest.

The New York Mets have some alternatives, but there is no sugarcoating it: losing Noah Syndergaard hurts the team’s playoff chances.

Why The New York Giants Should Not Draft Derrick Brown

New York Giants, Derrick Brown

The New York Giants are preparing for a crucial 2020 NFL Draft. With the draft set to take place in under a month, rumors and mock drafts are abundant. The Giants have reportedly been interested in a few big-name prospects: Tristan Wirfs and Isaiah Simmons being two prime examples. But one name has come up as a potential target for New York, causing some to raise an eyebrow. 

Dave Gettleman and the New York Giants are reportedly interested in using their first-round pick on interior defensive lineman Derrick Brown. The Auburn product totaled 11.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 54 total tackles in his junior season. He is the top defensive line prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft class.

Derrick Brown is an extraordinary talent. He will be a home-run selection for one of the league’s thirty-two teams next month. But that team should not be the New York Giants.

Continual Investment

The Giants have invested a humungous amount of draft assets into their defensive line. In 2017, New York’s general manager at the time, Jerry Reese, spent a second-round pick on Dalvin Tomlinson. The following year, Dave Gettleman came to town.

Dave Gettleman has long been criticized for his positional prioritization. He puts a heavy emphasis on running the ball and stopping the run in what is a passing-league. When Gettleman came to town in 2018, he had a track record for stacking up an abundance of defensive lineman during his time as general manager of the Carolina Panthers. With the Panthers, Dave Gettleman spent four first and second-round picks on defensive linemen in five years.

So when Gettleman came to the Giants, they had Dalvin Tomlinson in place with potential for a talented young defensive line in the works. But it did need additional assets. Gettleman delivered, hitting on his third-round pick, BJ Hill, a defensive lineman that impressively racked up 5.5 sacks as a rookie. RJ McIntosh was also the Giants’ seventh-round selection that year. He did not see the field much, but when he did, his performance was also impressive.

Unfortunately for Hill and McIntosh, they have both been shoved to the bottom of the depth chart. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Giants selected Dexter Lawrence II with the seventeenth overall pick. Another exciting player added to the defensive line that now looked to be one of the best young defensive fronts in the NFL. Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and BJ Hill seemed to be a force for years to come, with McIntosh as a solid rotational piece.

The Arrival of Leonard Williams

That was until Hill’s replacement switched locker rooms. The Giants acquired Leonard Williams in a trade with the New York Jets. Williams is an excellent player, but the Giants had no chance of making the playoffs when the deal was made and gave up a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick to acquire the impending free-agent lineman.

This trade stunted BJ Hill’s development. But the Giants did gain a talented former first-round pick in Leonard Williams. Unfortunately, Williams became a free agent only months later. Leonard and the Giants have not been able to reach a long-term agreement, which is what led the Giants to place the costly franchise tag on their new defensive lineman.

List of Assets Invested:

With all this taken into account, here is what Dave Gettleman has invested into the Giants’ defensive line since 2018: 2018 third-round pick, 2018 seventh-round pick, 2019 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2021 fifth-round pick, $16.1 million franchise tag.

This is a positional group that has only three starters. With so much already invested into the New York Giants’ defensive line, would it really make sense for the Giants to spend their 2020 first-round pick on Derrick Brown? New York’s defensive line is already the strongest position group on the team. It is time to start investing in other positions of actual need.

New York Mets: Noah Syndergaard has a torn ligament in his elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery

The 2020 season hasn’t even started yet, and the New York Mets already received their first major injury blow of the year. Noah Syndergaard, who was expected to be the team’s second starter, will not pitch at all this year and will miss at least the first half of the 2021 campaign.

As it turns out, the Mets’ starter has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. The expectation, according to Jeff Passan, is that he goes under the knife with the Tommy John surgery.

Per the Mets’ official Twitter account, Syndergaard will undergo the surgery on Thursday, March 26. The team’s medical director David Altchek will perform it.

The New York Mets had six starters for five rotation spots prior to receiving the Thor news. Now, Michael Wacha and Steven Matz will likely make the rotation alongside new signing Rick Porcello, righty Marcus Stroman and ace and two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom.

The Mets’ playoff odds get a huge hit

The Mets’ odds of making the playoffs suffer a severe hit with this development. Thor was looking good in spring training before play was halted because of concerns surrounding public health due to the coronavirus outbreak. His slider was biting and he put up a lot of work during the offseason to get in shape.

For his career, Syndergaard has a 3.31 ERA in 716 innings pitched, with a much better 2.92 FIP. He has been dominant in the past but struggled a bit in 2019, at least for his standards: the overpowering Mets’ righty had a 4.28 ERA (3.60 FIP) in 197.2 frames, with a 9.20 K/9 and a 2.28 BB/9.

The New York Mets will have to replace the 4.4 fWAR Syndergaard accrued in 2019. While Wacha and Porcello are quality righties in one-year deals, they don’t have the sheer upside that a healthy and motivated Thor contributes to the rotation. Manager Luis Rojas will have to cope with the absence of one his most talented hurlers for the 2020 season, if it ever starts.

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson headed to Carolina (Report)

robby anderson running a touchdown against the carolina panthers

The New York Jets’ top receiver over the last four seasons will reunite with new Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Robby Anderson will depart the New York Jets for a two-year, $20 million payday with the Carolina Panthers.

Thus ends the Anderson era in New York, one that saw him earn 3,059 yards on 207 receptions, 20 of which went for touchdowns. Each of those marks is good for the best in Jets history since 2016, when Anderson joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. That yardage and reception tallies are good for 14th in overall franchise history.

Anderson’s best New York season came in 2017, when he earned 914 yards on 63 receptions with seven touchdowns. His best individual performance came ironically came that season in a loss to the Panthers. Anderson put up 146 yards on six grabs for two touchdowns in a 35-27 defeat.

Last season, Anderson hooked up with Sam Darnold for a 92-yard touchdown pass in the Jets’ October win over Dallas. It was the second-longest passing play in the NFL last season. Anderson wrapped up his Jets career with 779 yards and five scores on 52 catches.

Anderson, a native of Fair Lawn, NJ, quickly made a name for himself after joining the Jets as an undrafted signee in the spring of 2016. He would earn a roster spot over several veterans by leading the team in receiving during the ensuing preseason (264 yards on 13 receptions).

With his move to Carolina, Anderson reunites with two key names from his college football career. The Panthers hired former Owls boss Matt Rhule to be the head coach and the team recently signed his college quarterback PJ Walker from the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL. After going 2-10 in their 2013 freshman year in Philadelphia, the triumvirate guided the Owls to the American Athletic Conference East Division title two years later. Temple also won 10 games for the first time since 1979.

With Anderson’s departure, the Jets may be forced to take a wide receiver with the 11th overall pick of the upcoming NFL Draft. Current veteran receivers on the roster include Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, and newcomer Josh Doctson.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Five Interesting Facts About Zack Britton

New York Yankees, Zack BRitton

Zack Britton is entering his third season as a member of the New York Yankees after coming over in a trade from the Orioles in 2018. Here are five interesting facts about the 32-year-old lefty:

1. Near-Death Experience

In his freshman year of high school, Britton dove for a ball in baseball in practice and landed on concrete. He suffered brain damage and spent time in the ICU, but wound up being ok in the end.

2. Drafted Out Of High School

Britton was selected in the third round of the 2006 draft out of Weatherford High School in Texas. He was offered a scholarship to play for Texas A&M but turned it down to pursue professional ball.

3. A Baseball Family

Britton has a brother named Buck, who was also drafted by the Orioles but in 2008. He has managed the Delmarva Shorebirds and now manages the Bowie Baysox, both minor league affiliates of the Orioles.

4. Dominican Origin

Britton’s mother’s family is actually of Dominican descent. However, Britton does not speak any Spanish. His father’s family is German and Irish.

5. American League Staple

Ever since 2015, Britton has been a huge staple in the American League. He’s earned the reputation of being one of the best relievers in the game. He has the AL record for most converted saves in a row at 60 between 2015-2017 with the Orioles. He’s also a two-time all-star and was the 2016 reliever of the year. He was so dominant in 2016 that he even finished fourth in CY Young voting. Pretty impressive for a reliever.

The New York Yankees don’t need to supplement the 5th man in the rotation anymore

New York Yankees, James Paxton

This offseason has been one of the strangest in our collective lifetime, starting with the injury bug striking the New York Yankees before Grapefruit League play even began and ended with the MLB halting operations due to the coronavirus.

Players have been holes up in Tampa for the time being, recovering from injuries, and participating in socially distanced informal workouts. However, this time has been essential for some of the Yankees injured starters (this is not meant to degrade the situation going on around the world, we are aware and sending positivity to everyone affected), especially lefty pitcher, James Paxton.

When Luis Severino was initially ruled out for the entire 2020 season, Paxton followed close behind with a cyst in his lower back that required surgery. His expected return date was in early-May, and he seems to be on track to return to baseball form.

The loss of both starters for what seemed to be an extended period of time was projected to hurt the rotation, especially at the back end, with unproven players set to fill in in the meantime. However, options like Jonathan Loaisiga played well this spring, showing they could take over the spot with ease.

The Yankees will dodge a bullet with the extension of the regular season, as their starting rotation will likely be cemented with adequate talent.

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. James Paxton
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. JA Happ
  5. Jordan Montgomery

Happ remains the most significant question mark in 2020 after posting an abysmal 4.91 ERA with a career-high 34 homers allows last season. As one of the Yankees’ better arms in 2018, Happ backed his solid year up with a massive dud, being entirely ignored in the postseason and playing just a few innings as a relief option.

The Yanks desperately need him to return to his previous form, as he logged a 3.65 ERA in 2018, which would have been the best number on the team last season. Now, it’s fair to mention that he started just 11 games for New York while starting 20 with Toronto. It can often be problematic for pitchers to adapt to the Bronx on short notice.