New York Giants: Julian Love Completes Degree At Notre Dame

New York Giants, Julian Love

The offseason isn’t going as planned for many members of the New York Giants, and it seems that many players have more time on their hands with the disruption of the usual offseason training due to the current coronavirus pandemic. Some have focused their time on training at home in anticipation for when the team is able to meet up once again – one Giants player, however, stands out in using that time for something useful off the field.

Julian Love broke out as a member of the Giants last season when he entered the lineup in the secondary during the second half of the year, helping to give the Giants some hope at the safety position, but more recently, Love reached an accomplishment that doesn’t have to do with football.

That, of course, is graduating from Notre Dame. Love left school early to enter the NFL Draft, where he was selected in the mid rounds by the Giants, but returned following last season to finish getting his degree. That goal of his was completed in recent days.

When Love does get back to the Giants, he’ll find himself in a position battle with rookie Xavier McKinney – but as a versatile player in the secondary, there’s multiple spots where Love could line up. Even if McKinney ends up as the safety next to Jabrill Peppers, the layout of the rest of the secondary has been thrown into question by DeAndre Baker’s legal trouble and the possibility that he might not take up his previous number two cornerback spot once again, next to new addition James Bradberry.

Regardless of where Love plays, the Giants know that they’re getting a committed player with him – it takes commitment, after all, to bother with finishing college not long after entering the NFL rather than waiting years.

New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin nominated for ‘NHL Fan Choice Award’

New York Rangers, Artemi Panarin

The National Hockey League announced it’s nominees for the “Fan Choice Awards” and New York Rangers superstar Artemi Panarin was nominated for Best Celly.

Artemi Panarin had to expect to hear his name mentioned for some NHL hardware after he signed with the New York Rangers last summer. I am not sure the Best Celly Fan Award was what he had in mind but it is something to talk about during hockey’s downtime.

The NHL has created 20 different categories for fans to choose from. There is a large range of different topics, from best team dog, the goal of the year, best dressed, funniest player, save of the year, and my favorite best pregame ritual.

Fans can head over to www.nhl.com/fans/nhl-fan-choice-awards and pick who they would like to see win with voting ending on June 1.

Panarin has some good company in his category. Buffalo Sabers jack Eichel, the Carolina Hurricanes, and Panarin’s former team the Columbus Blue Jackets.

These are all good choices but none are as comparable as the Breadman’s leg kick which has been measured as high as 5.9 feet.

Panarin has been in the Hart Trophy conversation recently. The trophy is awarded to the league’s most valuable player, an accolade that he deserves based on what he has accomplished this season for the Blueshirts. This season Rangers fans have seen plenty of cellies with the Breadman finding the back of the net 32 times along with 95 points.

New York Giants: What To Expect From Lorenzo Carter In 2020?

New York Giants, Lorenzo Carter

The New York Giants have a youthful defense that will need to improve in 2020. The team has spent third-round picks in each of the last two NFL Drafts on edge rushers. In 2018, New York drafted Lorenzo Carter, then Oshane Ximines in 2019. The Giants’ 2020 defense will likely feature a pass-rush by committee. But for Lorenzo Carter, specifically, what should we expect to see?

Lorenzo’s 2019 Regression

Lorenzo Carter was a decent player on the Giants’ defense in 2018. As a rookie, Carter showed some great flashes of potential. Lorenzo totaled 4 sacks, 10 QB hits, 19 pressures, 43 combined tackles, and 0 missed tackles. Carter did this on 40% of the Giants’ defensive snaps (441 snaps in total). That statistic is key to understanding why Carter’s 2019 performance was so disappointing.

In 2019, Carter played a much larger role in the defense. He saw his total number of snaps jump all the way to 723, which accounted for 65% of defensive snaps. With such an increase in playing time, one would reasonably expect an increase in production. Carter did not deliver. He gained only an extra 0.5 sack (4.5 total) compared to his 2018 total. He gained only 4 more pressures (23 total), only 2 more combined tackles (45 total), and saw his missed tackle rate skyrocket. Carter missed 8 tackles in 2019, a 15.1% missed tackle rate. This statistic is concerning and shocking considering just how reliable Lorenzo was as a tackler in his rookie season.

Carter’s Role in 2020

After failing to take that step forward as a sophomore, Lorenzo Carter is likely to see his role decrease in 2020. He played 65% of snaps in 2019 and that total percentage will likely decrease in 2020. The Giants added Kyler Fackrell in free agency and have high expectations for Oshane Ximines in his sophomore season. Not to mention Markus Golden is likely to return. These reasons will probably lead to Carter settling into a backup/rotational role.

If Lorenzo Carter can have a season similar to his 2018 campaign, that should be considered a success. Fewer snaps, but more efficient production, plus the additional pass-rushers on the roster could spell success for the Giants’ defense.

An 8-year-old girl is serving as inspiration for the entire New York Mets’ coaching staff

New York Mets

A little girl is serving as inspiration for an entire big-league coaching staff. New York Mets‘ assistant pitching coach Jeremy Accardo has an eight year-old, named Leighton, who is fighting Stage 4 malignant germ cell tumors since May 2019. And after Accardo takes responsibility of his duties as a father, most notably home-schooling his children, he goes out for a daily run.

It is not a regular run, however. He is training to run the New York City Marathon on November 1, and he will do it with his daughter on his mind.

Little Leighton has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since last May, and according to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, she has traveled to New York on occasion to undergo surgeries.

So, while she keeps fighting her condition, Accardo will do the same, fighting to run that extra mile and be in shape when the marathon comes. He will run it under the “Leighton Strong” banner.

Leighton’s story has inspired not only her father, but the rest of the New York Mets’ coaching staff.

Even Mets’ manager Luis Rojas is showing his support

Mets’ manager Luis Rojas, third base coach Gary DiSarcina and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, among others, are also getting up early for a morning run. They even have a group chat in which they share their progress to let Leighton know she is not alone.

“She’s fighting her ass off,” DiSarcina told Yahoo! Sports. “And I’m feeling humbled and honored to put myself through the training for such an incredible little girl.”

The Mets are staying united and together for this particular fight in support for their assistant pitching coach. Leighton, per SNY, has touched lives in other locations in her battle. She even signed a one-day contract with the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL in 2019, spending a day skating and talking to members of the organization.

New York Mets: Steven Matz dismisses notion that short season will affect deGrom’s three-peat chances

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Steven Matz is a key cog in the New York Mets‘ rotation, a unit that will have to endure the loss of Noah Syndergaard for the next year, at least. Thor was supposed to slot right behind ace Jacob deGrom and in front of Marcus Stroman. Now, Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello will complete the group.

Matz, who is a homegrown Mets’ player like deGrom, believes that a shortened season (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) will not change anything regarding the ace’s chances of winning a third straight Cy Young award in the National League.

While deGrom is notorious for being locked in at all times when he pitches, fewer games would mean that the margin of error dimished. But Matz strongly disagrees with that notion: “No, not really. Everyone will be in the same boat,” Matz said, via the Mets, about deGrom winning another piece of hardware. “He’s still going to go out and dominate. Everyone is playing by the same set of guidelines. It doesn’t matter if the season is short or long, he’s just going to be himself and that will be pretty good.”

How do the Mets can replace Thor’s production?

Jacob deGrom may not feel added pressure because of the amount of games that will be played in 2020 or the possibility of earning another Cy. What he might feel, though, is extra responsibility of carrying the New York Mets’ rotation after Thor’s injury.

But Matz says that any of the current rotation members should think about having to replace Syndergaard, and instead they need to focus on showing their best version on the mound.

“Everyone has to continue to be who they are,” Matz said. “Nobody needs to step up, everyone just has do what they are capable of. Sure, losing Syndergaard is tough, because he’s a great pitcher, but we have guys who have done this before. Everyone on the staff has the feeling that when they go out to the mound they want to dominate.”

The Mets’ southpaw is getting ready for the hypothetical start of the season from his Nashville home.

The New York Yankees boast enviable outfield depth

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees received some great news on Tuesday: Aaron Hicks, the team’s starting center fielder, is ramping up his training at home and can be seen performing several exercises in an Instagram post.

The slick-fielding switch hitter can be seen taking batting practice, sprinting on a treadmill, and throwing around a large medicine ball at his Florida home.

Hicks, currently 30 years old, is one of the Yankees’ best and most important players when healthy. He remains a two-way contributor thanks to his fielding prowess in center field and his powerful bat from both sides of the plate. Having him back when (or should we say if?) the season restarts is crucial for the Bombers.

The Yankees have an outfield of stars

However, the New York Yankees can brag about having one of the best and deepest outfield corps in the majors.
And, to the surprise of some, the Yankees’ outfield is not only excellent with the bat, but it is also filled with more than capable defenders. Aaron Judge has a case for being the best right fielder in the game (with a 7.6 defensive rating in Fangraphs and a league-leading 20 DRS), while Hicks, Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman are also usual contributors with the glove and with the wood.

And if that isn’t enough, the Yankees also have Giancarlo Stanton’s underrated glove capable of playing in left field. He is, however, best known for his bat, and rightfully so. The presence of Clint Frazier and the possibility of Miguel Andujar playing some reps in left field really complicates matters when it comes to finding playing time for everyone involved, but manager Aaron Boone knows that, with that kind of depth, his club can cope with an injury or two.

As you can see, the Yankees could field two outfields capable of starting at any level. That speaks volumes about the organization’s player development and scouting staff. Let’s just hope there is a season to play.

If the New York Jets missed on their offensive line rebuild they’re in big trouble

New York Jets, Sam Darnold

The New York Jets must do everything in their power to protect Sam Darnold to give him a chance at reaching his overall potential. Over two years in the NFL, Darnold has played in 26 games, completing 59.9% of his passes on average. He hasn’t reached 20 touchdown passes in a single year, capping out at 19. He has also thrown 28 overall interceptions, with 13 coming in 2019.

One statistic that is a bit troublesome as his sack totals. Last season he was taken down 33 times, attesting to his poor offensive line and why general manager Joe Douglas invested so much capital in the unit this off-season. He took to free agency to ensure that Darnold would have more time in the pocket, signing guard Greg Van Roten, tackle George Fant, and center Connor McGovern. Douglas didn’t stop there, though, as he drafted Mekhi Becton to fill the left tackle decision with the 11th overall pick in the draft.

The New York Jets had an O-line mission:

In one off-season, Douglas essentially turned over the entire line, leaving just Brian Winters to fend at guard. This was an absolute necessity given the struggles Darnold saw in the pocket and being forced to move around the field to find open receivers. However, he also gained a pass catcher in Denzel Mims out of Baylor. After losing Robby Anderson in free agency, Mims will replace the speedy pass catcher and hopefully develop into Darnold’s number one target.

Ultimately, the success of the offense boils down to their protection scheme, and that goes for any team. A strong offensive line gives Darnold more time in the pocket and Le’Veon Bell more running lanes to burst through. This leads to more separation for wide receivers with defense’s playing closer to the line of scrimmage if the running game is playing well. Everything leads back to the trenches on offense and defense, which attest to its importance and why Douglas finally absolved the issues remaining.

With that being said, I don’t believe the rebuild of the line is fully complete. If some of these players don’t play to expectations, Darnold will once again be under pressure and fail to have a successful season. That breeds much more than just a degradation for Sam, but it also hurts Le’Veon Bell and the wide receivers, ultimately keeping the defense on the field longer and increasing the probability of fatigue and injuries.

New York Mets: Former Met Francisco Rodriguez Looks For MLB Job

Francisco Rodriguez sits fourth on the all-time saves leaderboard with 437 but is on a quest to add a few more to that number. The 38-year old former New York Met wants one last shot in the show, while it might not be as a closer, he still wants to pitch.

The rumblings years ago talked about K-Rod’s possible Mets return, but the numbers did not add up. During an interview on Instagram live, he was confident that he could return to the big leagues again. The odds are against him due to his age and that he has not pitched successfully in the big leagues in four years.

What’s Left in the Tank

When he last pitched in 2017, he had a 7.82 ERA over 28 games with the Detroit Tigers. He ended up pitching with the Nationals but never made it to the big leagues with them. Rodriguez moved on to independent ball with the Long Island Ducks. He had a 2.76 ERA with 27 saves during the 2018 season. During 2019 he only pitched 8.1 innings in the Mexican League and allowed four runs.

Rodriguez had to make a transition from his electric stuff to adding another dominant pitch when his velocity dropped. During the shift towards the end of his career, it will be in his ability to move from closing to middle relief. In the 13 seasons, after he became a full time closer, he only had three where he saved less than 20 games. He had a 30 save season with four different teams, which shows how he has evolved over his career.

The only question now is which team is going to take a risk on him. Much like Bartolo Colon, it is a high risk to bring back an older pitcher who has been out of the big leagues for at least a year and a half.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones shows us why he’s our franchise quarterback in latest interview

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has the work ethic and everything in between to be great:

When the New York Giants initially drafted Daniel Jones with the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft, the response was negative. People were unsure of a quarterback coming out of Duke, having played against lesser talent and the bad memories of Dave Brown still festering in the back of their minds. However, Jones is far different in every way, and he showed that his rookie season with his anticipation and leadership qualities. Nonetheless, there were some bad moments, and week five against the Minnesota Vikings was one of them.

Jones finished the game with 182 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He posted a 65.9 quarterback rating, which was the third-lowest of his career, and he failed to make an impact against one of the league’s better defenses. It was a fantastic test for the young quarterback, and while he was battered and bruised, he learned a thing or two moving forward.

Former Giants wide receiver Bennie Fowler hosted Daniel Jones on his podcast, asking him a personal question following the tough game against the Minnesota Vikings last year.

Q: After the Minnesota game you had missed some throws, some throw that you wanted to get back, and you hit me up, you came and picked me up, and you wanted to go through those plays that you had messed up. Where did that come from?

A: I think, just being very focused on it, it’s about how important it is to you, and football is certainly very important to me. I wanted to feel like I had made progress toward the things I had messed up on, that I didn’t do well, and I had an opportunity to correct them before I went to sleep that day.”

Jones embodies everything you want in a leader — He’s calm in high-pressure situations, he cares about his teammates, and most importantly, he loves the game of football. That intangible trait will allow him to proceed in a positive way, as his football career isn’t revolving around money, but rather how great he can be following in the footsteps of Eli Manning. While he did struggle a bit in his rookie campaign, he showed us that he can be the future and that we should instill our faith in him as the Giants’ franchise quarterback.

Full interview here:

Ranking the top 5 head coaching candidates for the New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are in their yearly tradition of looking for a new head coach after cutting ties with David Fizdale back in December. That feels like an eternity ago, as it was a simpler time when the Knicks were still the biggest problem in New York and the world hadn’t totally fallen apart. There are a lot of names that have been linked to the vacancy, per usual, so with that being said let’s dive into the top five candidates who new president Leon Rose could hire as the 1,678,735th head coach of the New York Knickerbockers.

5. Jeff Van Gundy

The Knicks want to rekindle their old magic from the 1990s, which was the last time they were good for a substantial period of time. What better way to do that than to bring back their head coach during that era in Jeff Van Gundy?

This isn’t the first time Van Gundy has been rumored as a possibility to return to the Knicks bench, as he’s been linked to the job multiple times over the last few years. His seven-year tenure with the Knicks was fantastic, going 248-172 and making the Knicks one of the NBA’s elite during that time. He even helped the Knicks become the first 8th seed to make the Finals in 1999.

Even though Van Gundy hasn’t been in the league since he was fired by the Rockets in 2007, he’s been around the game constantly as an NBA broadcaster for ESPN and ABC. He also was the head coach of the USA team in the 2017 FIBA AmeriCup tournament, leading them to a gold medal and qualifying them for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Assuming there is no bad blood left between Van Gundy and the Knicks for the way things abruptly ended, the Knicks could consider their former head coach to try and lead them back to relevance once again.

4. Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson has also been linked to the Knicks coaching job for years now, and for good reason. The former Knicks point guard had a very successful and somewhat underrated run as head coach of the Warriors for three seasons before he was replaced by Steve Kerr. Jackson transformed the Warriors from a rebuilding team to a playoff team, amassing a 121-109 record over that span. He’s also widely credited with building and developing the foundations of the Warriors dynasty in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Since he was let go in 2014, Jackson has also continued to be around the game a great deal as an analyst alongside Van Gundy, so he’s been able to keep himself sharp as well. Jackson has had the opportunity to assess and stay on top of how the game has changed and grown since he last was a coach, so he shouldn’t have too many problems adjusting if he were to get the job.

Jackson also is a no-nonsense coach who players respect, which is a quality that should attract the Knicks. While he isn’t perfect and did have his flaws with the Warriors, which ultimately led to his firing, Jackson’s record and positive qualities should definitely earn him some serious consideration from the Knicks.

3. Tom Thibodeau

The former Bulls and Timberwolves coach has been one of the names most frequently linked to the Knicks job since Leon Rose was officially hired back in early March due to their close relationship.

Tom Thibodeau has been a very successful head coach, posting a 352-246 record over seven and a half seasons. He was especially successful during his tenure in Chicago, making the playoffs each of the 5 seasons he was there. They were even considered title favorites in 2011 before Derrick Rose, who was league MVP that year, tore his ACL. Thibodeau was Coach of the Year that season as well. In Minnesota, Thibodeau lasted only two and a half seasons but did manage to lead them to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years in 2017.

While Thibodeau is known for being a stout defensive mind, and his record speaks for itself, he also has a reputation for overworking his players and pushing them too hard at times. That’s part of the reason he’s currently unemployed, but Thibodeau, who is also a former Knicks assistant coach under Van Gundy, certainly has the qualifications to end up back in New York as the head coach, especially when you factor in the Leon Rose connection.

2. Mike Miller

The Knicks’ current interim head coach has a real chance to have the interim label removed and stay on as the man in charge. Mike Miller has done a very good job since taking over after Fizdale was fired, and the troubles that the pandemic has created might help Miller’s chances of sticking around for next year at the very least.

The Knicks sat at a putrid 4-18 when Fizdale got the boot, and Miller quickly made his mark with the team once he took over. When the NBA season got shutdown indefinitely he had led the Knicks to a 17-27 record in 44 games with him at the helm. He has demonstrated a good job of being able to connect with the players, and his player development skills proved to be strong during his years of coaching in the G-League. Let’s not forget he was the G-League Coach of the Year in 2018.

Miller’s Knicks have noticeably improved in important areas like offensive rating, defensive rating, and assist-to-turnover ratio. The fact that Miller has been able to get the most out of this flawed Knicks roster should speak volumes to Leon Rose and has without a doubt catapulted him from an afterthought to a serious contender for keeping the job beyond this season.

1. Kenny Atkinson

Kenny Atkinson and the Brooklyn Nets mutually agreeing to part ways back in March was no doubt a surprise, but it also served as a huge break for a rebuilding team like the New York Knicks.

Atkinson, also a former Knicks assistant under Mike D’Antoni, had a strong tenure in Brooklyn where he took the Nets from being a laughing stock to a playoff team over his four years there. He helped turn D’Angelo Russell into an All-Star, and developed guys like Caris Levert, Joe Harris, and Spencer Dinwiddie, who were all late-first to early-second round picks, into important players. He also helped build the kind of positive culture that convinced superstars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to reject the Knicks and join their crosstown rivals instead.

Atkinson isn’t a flawless coach, but his dismissal from Brooklyn seemed to be more of Irving and Durant wanting to bring in their own guy rather than anything Atkinson himself did wrong. In my eyes, he’s the perfect coach for the Knicks right now, who are a team in desperate need of a cultural overhaul and are equipped with cap flexibility, future draft assets, and a lot of young players in need of development. Atkinson’s familiarity with both the Knicks franchise and the New York market in general also serves as a huge bonus.

Atkinson would be a welcomed addition amongst Knicks fans, as he is a proven culture-building coach who can turn this franchise around just like he did with the team located on the other side of the East River.