New York Giants Rated As Top Ten Backfield By Matt Miller

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

There’s not a ton of areas the New York Giants have excelled in the past years, but ever since drafting Saquon Barkley, the team has had an edge at running back – at least when Barkley is healthy, which wasn’t for the majority of last season. And it looks like this year, the Giants could be set for another strong season at the position if the addition of Dion Lewis as the number two works out and Barkley remains healthy throughout the year.

Their talent at the position this year has drawn some attention from the wider media, with Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller placing the Giants within the top ten backfields in the league.

This is largely thanks to Saquon Barkley, who should only be better in 2020 if the Giants can stay healthy up front and if second-year quarterback Daniel Jones becomes enough of a threat to keep defenses from loading the box. On pure talent, there is no better back than Barkley in the NFL, but he has to put it together in terms of production. A 2,000-total-yard season should be the expectation for him.

Barkley had 1003 yards last year, a drop of 300 or so from his production in his rookie season, and his touchdowns also fell from double digits down to six – but the problem had less to do with a legitimate slump and more to do with injury. The Giants brought Barkley back relatively quickly, and it showed in his play as in some games, he still appeared to be playing before he was ready.

The player that the Giants have brought in to back up Barkley, Dion Lewis, has had declining production. However, that may have more to do with playing behind Derrick Henry rather than skill. Lewis had 896 yards in his last season with the Patriots and depending on how the Giants use him could perform better than he did with the Titans.

The Giants have also, of course, made some changes to their offensive line which may help the running game. After taking a tackle in the top five, returning Saquon Barkley for another year, and signing Dion Lewis, the Giants may just be able to say that the running game is one area where the team is competent.

New York Giants: How Will Patrick Graham Utilize The Giants’ Safety Trio?

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

The New York Giants have a trio of talented safeties on their roster. Jabrill Peppers is entering his second season with the team, as is former cornerback Julian Love. Love’s experience at cornerback made him a solid option as a coverage safety while Jabrill Peppers’s high-speed, hard-hitting playstyle made him an ideal box safety. Now the Giants are adding a third safety to the mix, Xavier McKinney, who is kind of a perfect blend of Love and Peppers. McKinney can play deep coverage and stuff the run in the box.

That makes for a plethora of versatile talent at the safety position for the Giants. Sometimes it can be difficult for defensive coordinators to utilize such versatile talent in their defensive schemes. The Giants hired Patrick Graham this offseason to be their new defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Graham will run a blitz-heavy multiple defense that emphasizes versatility.

Multiple Defensive Looks

The Giants ran a 3-4 defense under James Bettcher over the last two seasons. Bettcher received plenty of criticism during his time in New York as the defense often underperformed. The Giants’ hiring of Patrick Graham is exciting because he is as versatile and aggressive as a defensive coordinator can get. Patrick Graham will run a multiple, blitz-heavy defensive scheme with the Giants.

“The scheme is going to be based on the [personnel],” Graham said. “You can anticipate it being multiple. . . People ask if it’ll be 4-3 or 3-4, and I say yes. 2-4? Yes. 3-3-5? Yes. However you want to rearrange the front 7 or all 11, yes.” – Patrick Graham in an interview with Giants.com, via Giants Wire

Based on the personnel and the opposing offense, the Giants’ defensive scheme will change. One week they could play primarily in a 3-4 and the next week it could primarily be a 4-3 defense. This will keep opposing offenses guessing and allow Patrick Graham to get the best out of his players. Some weeks, the Giants will run mostly single-high safety looks, but Graham could also opt to run plenty of two-safety looks and even some three-safety rotations.

Typically there are only two starting safeties on a defense. But the Giants have three starting-caliber safeties in Love, McKinney, and Peppers. Luckily, Patrick Graham is determined to get the best players on the field, so they will all be rotated in depending on their matchups and could even see extended time on the field together.

Safety Blitzes

Patrick Graham loves to blitz. With the Miami Dolphins in 2019, Graham blitzed frequently:

The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps, 41% on third down (which was the third-most in the league). The Dolphins ran man to man coverage 50% of the time in the 2019 season and would often show blitz and drop back into coverage. This was a great strategy in the Graham defense, keeping opposing offenses on their toes because of the constant blitzing formations.” – via Jack Quartararo of Empire Sports Media

One of the most exciting aspects of Graham’s defense is the way he blitzes. Graham loves to utilize defensive back blitzes, and he has the talent to blitz his safeties with extreme efficiency. According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier McKinney earned an 89.2 coverage grade as a junior while also recording 10 pressures. In the past two years, Xavier recorded 21 pressures across 71 pass-rushing snaps. Graham’s usage of the safety blitz will allow Xavier McKinney to make an instant impact on this defense in his rookie season.

Report: Players Will Approve Tournament that Includes the New York Rangers

New York Rangers

The National Hockey League Players’ Association’s Executive Board is expected to approve a 24-team Return to Play proposal put forth by the NHL according to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie. At the time of his report, McKenzie indicated that he was informed that the vote was finished, or close to finished and that the players will approve the 24-team format. This format would include the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers should be in the play-in round

The most recent reports on the return to play format have the teams seeded one through 12, based on points percentage. That would put the Rangers as the eleventh seed, where they would face the Carolina Panthers. Dates, times, and places would not be immediately known, as the league is still working on where these games would be played, most likely in some kind of hub community. It is also not known if the higher seeds would get some kind of built-in advantage, like being awarded a game in the best of five series. Some teams and players have stated that higher seeds should get some kind of advantage in this expanded format.

This may have been why McKenzie stated on Thursday that the NHLPA executive committee conference call got “a little heated at times” and various individual players still have a wide variety of views on the NHL’s Return to Play proposal. However, his sources indicated that at least 18 of the 31 representatives would vote in favor of the proposal, the minimum number needed for approval.

The league is also considering several hub cities as an option to resume play in a centralized manner but has repeatedly said they are not close to determining what locations will be used. The league will have to monitor what local, state, province, and even national governments say about what can be done. One of the biggest barriers, for example, is the 14-day quarantine that is in effect for any person that enters Canada.

Darryl Strawberry said leaving the Mets was perhaps the biggest mistake of his career

Simeon Woods-Richardson

As the first overall pick of the 1980 MLB Draft, you could say that Darryl Strawberry was expected to have a legendary career. In fact, he was a big star in the eighties: he debuted with the New York Mets in 1983 and stayed there until 1990, when he went to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Strawberry also played with the San Francisco Giants and, from 1995 to 1999, he wore pinstripes, retiring with the New York Yankees. He said goodbye with 41.5 career fWAR, 335 homers, 221 stolen bases and a solid .259/.357/.505 line.

Up until his last day with the New York Mets, he was actually on the path to the Hall of Fame. However, he made what he now calls one of the worst decisions of his career: leaving Queens for Los Angeles.

Strawberry was one of the brightest stars of the Mets’ 1986 team that won the World Series. He told SNY “Baseball Night in New York” on Tuesday that signing with the Dodgers when he was a free agent after the 1990 season was the “the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career.

He was a star with the Mets but things went south after that

Simply put, Strawberry wasn’t the same with the Dodgers, Giants or Yankees. With the New York Mets, he hit 252 of his 335 round-trippers and drove in 753 of his 1000 runs.

After leaving the Mets, his career took a turn for the worst: he had legal issues, a drug addiction, lots of injuries and even colon cancer.

“The fans are so different in New York than LA,” Strawberry said. “L.A. fans come late and leave early. New York fans come early and never leave. They wait until the end of the game, whether you win or lose, and I was used to that.

“I was just more used to the aggressive fans and playing in New York City and letting people be over the dugout and yelling at you running across the field. And when you suck, they tell you you suck. And you look at them like, ‘Yeah, I do suck right now. I need to get better.’”

New York Giants: Tom Coughlin opens up about his Super Bowl wins and the legendary David Tyree catch

Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

Tom Coughlin’s coaching career with the New York Giants started off on the wrong foot. In his first year as head coach (2004), the Giants would only win six games, there was a lot of doubt surrounding the new head coach. Luckily, the Giants did not give up on coach Coughlin. The Giants would go onto win two Super Bowls (2007 & 2011) behind a well-coached team.

As the head coach of the New York Giants, Tom Coughlin created a lot of unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Finally, it is time for coach Coughligh to talk about his favorite memories from his Superbowl wins.

Coughlin on the Super Bowl run in 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb3Ebcf23l8

 

“Super Bowl 42 has been on a couple of times. I just wanted to make sure David Tyree made that catch. So I went back and looked at it again. It was a lot of fun watching that, it really was. It brought back fabulous memories. One of the things I loved the most about Super Bowl 42 and that run was that when you look back, FOX had the game and their experts were all on. And from the first playoff game on, nobody picked us to win. Not one game. Not in Tampa. No way in Dallas, they had beaten us twice. No way that the Giants were going to beat Dallas. And they certainly can’t beat Favre in Green Bay. There’s no way. They are going up there and it’s -27 (degrees). How can they win? And they can’t beat the Patriots. There’s no way. I remember Jimmy Johnson picked the score, 34-14 or something like that. And every one of them was wrong every time.”

The 2007-08 Super Bowl is one of the most historic Super bowl games to date. With the Patriots coming into Super Bowl 42 undefeated (18-0), a lot of critics counted the Giants out. There was one man who never lost faith and that was coach, Coughlin. In addition to the unreleased statement, Coach Coughlin also shared why he played his starters in week 17.

Coughlin on playing his starters versus the Patriots

“I remember I got chastised for playing my starters against New England in Week 17. My whole point was that we are the New York Giants and there’s no way history is going to look back at this and say that the Giants didn’t put their best foot forward against a team that was vying for an undefeated season.”

Eventually, the chatter around Coughlin starting his starters week 17 would fade away. The New York Giants shocked the world in the 2007-08 season behind one of the greatest coaches of all time. Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants made memories for the fans that will last a lifetime.

MSG will be featuring the interview with Tom Coughlin at 5 PM and 7:30 PM. 

 

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge eager to resume hitting

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

While New York Yankees‘ star right fielder Aaron Judge is making progress from a fractured right rib, he still isn’t ready to swing a bat and take batting practice in the cage. But the coronavirus pandemic is giving him plenty of time to get ready for whenever the MLB season starts.

Judge is eager to take batting practice, and according to Marcus Thames, the Yankees’ hitting coach, it hasn’t been easy for the team to keep him out of the cage. However, it is important, with rib injuries, not to rush back because the risk of re-aggravation is rather high.

The talented Judge has spent the better part of the last two months working out at George M. Steinbrenner Field, undergoing imaging and resting and testing that continue to show progress, albeit a bit slower than most fans would want.

He hasn’t swung a bat since early March. “It’s been tough,” Thames told the YES Network on Thursday. “He walks by the cage. He comes in to help the guys pick up balls, and he really wants to get going, but we’re just trying to stay safe. When the doctors turn him loose, he’ll be ready to go. He’s champing at the bit to get out there and start working hard on his swing.”

The Yankees are playing it safe

Judge reported early for the New York Yankees’ spring training, in late January, but after a few weeks, he shut down baseball activities due to discomfort in his right shoulder and right pectoral area. Doctors performed multiple MRIs, bone scans, X-rays and CT scans and announced the fractured rib on March 6.

“Once we resume play, we’re excited to believe that he’s going rejoin us at full capacity,” Cashman said last week.
Judge is arguably the New York Yankees’ best position player, but he has missed more than 100 games between the last two seasons after making a big splash as a rookie in 2017, with 52 home runs and the Rookie of the Year award.

Another slugger who is expected to be healthy when the season starts (if that ends up being the case) is Giancarlo Stanton, who suffered a Grade 1 calf strain during spring training.

“He’s been looking good,” Thames said of Stanton. “I think his swing is where it needs to be. We’ve been hitting off the machine and hitting BP on the field. He’s a pro. He comes in and gets his work in and we’re trying to make sure he’s healthy and ready to go. I think his teammates are excited about that.”

New York Yankees’ James Paxton is back: “I feel totally healthy”

New York Yankees, James Paxton

When left-handed pitcher James Paxton injured his back in February, it was reported that he was expected to miss between three and four months of action, which was very bad news for the New York Yankees. Back then, coronavirus already existed in China, but wasn’t considered a global crisis and it was far-fetched to think it could play a role in postponing the start of the MLB season.

Now, three months later, the Yankees’ pitcher himself announced to Meredith Marakovirs on YES Network that he is fully healthy and ready to pitch in games whenever the season starts. The team, which suffered the loss of ace Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery and of Domingo German due to a suspension, will welcome the Big Maple with open arms.

Paxton said that he has been throwing bullpen sessions regularly in the last few weeks while recovering from February back surgery.

The Yankees’ star southpaw is ready to contribute

“I think I’ve thrown probably 12-14 bullpens,” Paxton told said. “It’s (my back) feeling really good. (My) back is a non-issue, I feel totally healthy, so I’ll be ready to go as soon as the season comes about.”

Lots of players, including most of the Yankees’ roster, have been managing to work out at their homes. Paxton explained that he has been doing his throwing at a private facility to make sure his left arm and the rest of his body stay in shape. He noted that, as far as velocity goes, he is “getting better and better” and that everything, including the development of a new changeup, is “going really well.”

“I think I’m back to full strength,” Paxton said. “If a season was ready to start tomorrow or if spring training were ready to start tomorrow, I’d be ready to be just like one of the other guys and do all the regular stuff.”

The New York Yankees sure need Paxton to stabilize the rotation and provide some quality, K-filled innings. The Canadian had a good 2019, with a 15-6 record and a 3.82 ERA in 150 2/3 frames. He punched out 186 batters.

New York Jets signing former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to one-year deal

New York Jets, Joe Flacco

In a surprising move, the New York Jets are signing former Baltimore Ravens quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to a one year deal, per Adam Schefter. The Jets previously had Josh McCown behind franchise passer Sam Darnold, helping him adjust to the NFL and learn the ropes. Nonetheless, Flacco offers competition for Darnold and an experienced mentor for one year.

Flacco played in just eight games for Denver in 2019, amassing 1822 yards. He threw six touchdowns and five interceptions before rookie Drew Lock took over and Flacco headed to the bench due to injury. Ultimately, it was in the best interest of Denver to start their young quarterback and begin developing under him.

I don’t believe this move puts Darnold at any risk of losing starting snaps, but rather just a contingency plan in case he succumbs to injury. Flacco is extremely knowledgeable having played in 12 seasons. At 34 years old, he is still in suitable condition to continue playing in the NFL.

Following Flacco’s neck injury last year, he seems to be prepared to start training camp, according to Adam Schefter. This is a good sign for the Jets and he will likely be a cheaper back up with plenty of experience the whole things down.

New York Yankees History: If you don’t know Dr. Bobby Brown every Yankee fan should

Few living New York Yankees fans know much about Bobby Brown, but you should. He was quite a guy, to put it mildly. He only played eight years for the Yankees and wasn’t their top player due to the megastars he played with, so he tends to get overlooked. Many of us see him as that old man at the Old Timers Day Game each year but know little about him.

Robert William Brown was born in 1924 in Seattle, Washington. There are few parallels in baseball that equal Bobby Brown. For the Yankees, he held down the hot corner for eight years. When you play for the Yankees, you don’t have a lot of free time, but Bobby, during his time with the Yankees, also studied to become a successful Cardiologist. He was an intelligent guy and knew he needed a job to fall back upon when his baseball days were over. Back then players weren’t set up for life, with the big contracts that are given out today. Bobby served in the military in 1953 in the Korean War before returning to the Yankees.

His baseball years

The “Golden boy” of the Yankees was a really good defender at third base. Many that recall his play say he was as good as Graig Nettles. He wasn’t a home run hitter but in his career, he was a lifetime .279 hitter with 22 home runs. He would have had better stats, but he only played in half of the games, as he shared the third base with Billy Johnson. It was common during the period for managers to platoon players. He played with the likes of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Joe DiMaggio. Bobby and DiMaggio went to the same high school together.

Brown had a bases-loaded triple in Game 4 and a two-run triple in the championship-clinching Game 5 of the 1949 World Series. He tripled again in the final game of the 1950 World Series. All and all he was a champion in four World Series while batting .439 in seventeen games.  In three of his eight Yankee years, he had a batting average over .300. I can think of many present-day Yankees that would love to have that batting average.  At third base, he had a .948 fielding percentage and in the outfield a 1.000 fielding percentage.

A famous apocryphal story that has made the rounds for years in baseball circles concerns the time when Brown’s road roommate was star New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who had little formal education. The two were reading in their hotel room one night, Berra, a comic book and Brown his copy of Boyd’s Pathology. Berra came to the end of his comic, tossed it aside, and asked Brown, “So, how is yours turning out?” Brown was a highly intelligent guy having attended Stanford, UCLA, and Tulane where he received his medical degree.

Life After Baseball

After Bobby Brown left baseball he opened his Cardiology practice in Forth Worth, Texas He took a leave from heart surgery in 1974 to become President of the Texas Rangers for a year, before returning to his practice. At the age of 60 he retired from medicine and became President of the American League, a position he held until he was 70. Since then he has been a regular at Yankee Old Timer’s Day celebrations. This amazing Yankee will be 96 this year. He is the last New York Yankee survivor of the 1947 and 1949 World Champion Series.

Now you know a bit more about Dr. Bobby Brown. We have lost so many of the Yankee greats in recent years, like Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Mel Stottlemyre, Don Larsen, Oscar Gamble, Bob Turley, and more. I hope Bobby makes it back to Yankee Stadium for the next Old Timer’s Day. With the coronavirus when that will be is questionable. I love seeing the Yankee guys that played during my childhood.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam

Brooklyn Nets: Sources believe Nets Internally Discussing Trade Options for Bradley Beal

For many weeks, the rumor among Brooklyn Nets fans has been the possibility of the Brooklyn franchise bringing in a 3rd star to accompany Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. On Thursday afternoon, those rumors were confirmed by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News in the following tweet/article:

Beal has proved to be one of the league’s most efficient scorers, especially in this most recent season without his usual running mate John Wall. Although he was snubbed from the all-star team this year due to the Wizards abysmal record, Beal was averaging a career-best 30.5 ppg on 52% from the field before the season was suspended. From an offensive standpoint, Beal would be an improvement over the young Caris LeVert and create a dynamic trio of professional shot makers in Brooklyn’s starting lineup. As an undersized 2 guard, the only critique on Beal has been his defense. Beal found himself having to defend his play on the defensive end this year after being called out by several in the media as one of the worst defenders in the NBA.

3 Factors to Consider in a Beal to Brooklyn Trade

Obviously there are several variables to consider during these discussions regarding how this trade can happen. For one, would the Washington Wizards be willing to part with Beal? He has said in the past that he would like to retire a Wizard and has a great relationship with the city of Washington D.C. He even gets along great with his co-star John Wall. But with the Wizards struggling mightily in recent years, it seems that this would be the perfect time for the team to acquire assets and get younger. Moving Beal makes sense from the Wizards perspective, assuming they don’t believe they can keep trying to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal to create a championship contender.

Two, how much do the Nets really want to give up for a Beal? Is Sean Marks willing to part with young talents such as Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen? Would Spencer Dinwiddie be involved? How many draft picks would Brooklyn be willing to give up? Sean Marks has to ask himself if he’s willing to mortgage the future of the franchise in order to acquire a player who he believes will get Brooklyn closer to a championship. It’s going to cost the Nets regardless since Beal will be in the 2nd year of a $72 million dollar deal. Hopefully, Marks can find a way to trade for Beal without giving away the farm.

And finally, does Bradley Beal want to play in Brooklyn? As the 1b to Wall’s 1a, Beal will have to accept the “Chris Bosh” role in this potential Big 3 with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the lineup. If Beal is willing to sacrifice some of his offensive production, be the 3rd cog in the system, and improve on defense, he will no doubt be an excellent fit on this team.

It will be extremely interesting to see how this plays out. Marks has been an aggressive GM for Brooklyn thus far and it has paid off. A deal of this magnitude could make or break the next five years for the Brooklyn Nets. Will Marks be willing to make the sacrifice to acquire Beal? Beal is no doubt a great player but does trading for him make Brooklyn a title contender? All I know is there has never been and will never be a professional sports league with more drama than the NBA. That’s why the NBA is often televised on TNT…their tagline is “We Know Drama.”

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