New York Giants: What Would A Return To Football Look Like For Eli Manning?

The New York Giants said goodbye to one of their franchise’s heroes recently. Legendary quarterback Eli Manning retired in 2020 after sixteen seasons in the NFL. Manning led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories during his career and never missed a game due to injury. He will go down as one of the greatest players to ever wear a Giants uniform. It was tough to say goodbye to this iconic player, but that goodbye could turn into a “see you soon.”

Eli Manning has expressed interest in returning to football. No, not as a quarterback, but in some other capacity. Giants co-owner John Mara also expressed interest in bringing Manning back into the organization to fulfill another role. But what would Eli Manning’s return to football look like?

Could Eli Become A Coach?

Eli Manning is interested in being a coach- not a football coach. Manning is interested in coaching his daughter’s third-grade basketball team. But what about coaching football? Eli does not have any interest in that, stating: “I learned I don’t want to be in coaching. I don’t like it. I don’t like doing that aspect.”

So that can be crossed off the list. Eli’s future role with the Giants will not be a coaching gig, barring anything unforeseen. I personally think Eli would make an excellent quarterback coach, but if that’s not what he wants to do then he shouldn’t do it.

If Not Coaching, Then What?

A far more likely role for Eli Manning places him in sports media. Eli’s role could one day be as a commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football alongside his brother Peyton Manning. But, even more likely than that, Eli could join Giants.com alongside former teammate Shaun O’Hara. The former Giants center, Shaun O’Hara, has stayed involved with the Giants on their website as a media personality.

How cool would it be to watch Manning and O’Hara team up again to break down some Giants film together? This would mean that Manning is again an employee of the New York Giants. Giants fans would love this, John Mara would love this, and Giants players would love this. Eli could interview the likes of Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, his former teammates.

Eli Manning joining Twitter was an exciting moment for Giants fans. His return to football will be exciting too. Hopefully Manning joins the media next season and blesses us with plenty more hilarious, classic, Eli moments.

New York Rangers/Knicks Owner Offers Further Explanation for Silence

New York Rangers and Knicks owner James Dolan sent out a second email on Tuesday hoping to clarify the email that he sent to employees on Monday. In a copy of the email obtained by SNY, Dolan appeared to try to explain his first email, that had confused many employees of the Knicks, who are just one of two NBA teams, as well as the being just one of two NHL teams, to not to issue a formal statement on George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

During the second email, Dolan made his feelings about racism clearer. “So let me be clear. We vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period,’’ Dolan wrote and then added, “Racism is born of ignorance.’’

The second memo was sent as the first was met with confusion and anger by Knicks employees and prompted a virtual meeting by some employees on Tuesday morning. The Knicks’ Instagram account did put up a post in support of Blackout Tuesday.

Also In the second email, Dolan reiterated that MSG has built an “environment of inclusion and mutual respect.” The implication was that MSG’s strong value system serves better than any public statement about injustice or police brutality.

It was reported that some players, especially on the Knicks, were “furious” that no statement has been made by ownership, according to ESPN’s Pablo Torre. That also helped prompt the second email.

What has compounded the issue for all parties involved with Dolan, their New York sports counterparts have all responded to the civil unrest. The Brooklyn Nets did address what was happening right outside their front door at Barclays Center. The New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils also issued statements supporting the need to address racial inequality.

The second memo may have come too late for damage control, as Dolan waited a full day to respond while taking a great deal of criticism in the news and on social media.

 

 

New York Giants: McAdoo Named Biggest Scapegoat… But Is It True?

The New York Giants have a lot of people to blame for their losses during the past decade, so it may be hard to name their biggest scapegoat of the 2010s. But Bleacher Report attempted to name each team’s biggest scapegoat around the league, and of course, the Giants were one of the 32 teams on that list. The name that was listed for the Giants may be somewhat surprising to Giants fans that are still very familiar with this specific coach’s tenure: Ben McAdoo.

McAdoo proceeded Pat Shurmur, and in the eyes of many, is the worst coach between the two. While Shurmur moved on to become an offensive coordinator again quickly after his stint with the Giants, McAdoo took longer to find a job again and is currently the quarterbacks coach of the Jaguars, a lower ranking position.

McAdoo coached the Giants to a 2-10 record before being fired in 2017. Along the way, he benched longtime starting quarterback Eli Manning—in a thinly veiled attempt to spark change and save his job.

“At the time, we were 2-9, beat up, and I told Eli we wanted to see the other quarterbacks on the roster—including our promising rookie, Davis Webb,” McAdoo wrote in Peter King’s inaugural Football Morning in America column.

Instead of Webb, though, McAdoo gave the start to Geno Smith, signaling to fans that the quarterback change wasn’t about the future of the position. That decision, by the way, ended Manning’s consecutive starts streak at 210.

It’s arguable, though, whether or not McAdoo is a true scapegoat. Usually, a scapegoat is a figure who receives most of the blame despite others being significantly at fault too. McAdoo, however, was legitimately one of the worst parts of the Giants franchise when he was the head coach. He lost the locker room quicker than Shurmur did and left with fewer redeeming narratives than Shurmur, with most considering his hiring to be one of the largest mistakes in recent franchise history.

The Giants have had a number of players and other figures over the past ten years who have also received plenty of blame, and some of them perhaps make more sense as scapegoats. Players such as Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, and Damon Harrison have received a fair amount of criticism for their attitudes despite performing well on the field for the most part, but the Giants haven’t quite bounced back ever since getting rid of them. In fact, the entire 2016 Giants team that went to the playoffs could easily be considered a scapegoat.

Head coach Tom Coughlin could also be considered one – not necessarily by the fans, but for the organization itself. The Giants rushed Coughlin out to move on to McAdoo, but of course, that decision will be remembered forever as a misstep rather than a stroke of genius. The team would have likely dropped off whether Coughlin was kept or not, but the decline of the Giants was accelerated by bad coaching which also saw the team implode in 2017 during a season where they returned a decent amount of talent from their 2016 playoff team.

Momentum is important in the NFL, and if the team was under good leadership, it’s possible they could have reloaded after 2017 rather than being forced into the rebuilding process that’s still going on right now.

All in all, it’s easy to call McAdoo a scapegoat because of the amount of hate he’s gotten from the fans – but McAdoo did take a team that wasn’t yet fully on the rebuilding path and contribute to a 2017 performance that was bad enough to be shocking to much of the fanbase when it was first happening. Was everything McAdoo’s fault? No, but on the other hand, before calling him the team’s biggest scapegoat, it’s worth looking at others who gave more to the team and still ultimately found themselves taking blame for its fall.

Obscure All-Stars to Play For the New York Mets: Bobby Abreu

The 18-year veteran, Bobby Abreu, is another former All-Star who would conclude his terrific career with the New York Mets. He was only a two-time All-Star but one of the most consistent players of his generation. Abreu is one of six players with at least 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases, the other five members are either in the hall of fame or belong to the Bonds family.

It seemed that there was nowhere else for a 40-year old Abreu to play, after taking 2013 off. He ended up playing in the Venezuelan winter league, where he hit .322 and landed a minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies released him right at the end of Spring Training and signed with the Mets on the last day of March.

Journey Through the Minors

Most veterans with Abreu’s career would not have accepted the minor league route. He embraced it and hit over .300 and earned his way back to the big leagues when the Mets traded Ike Davis. Though his defense and power were far off from his earliest days, he still could put together a quality at-bat.

Abreu was used mostly as a pinch hitter/designated hitter but did not adjust to the role well. He only had five hits in 39 at-bats as a pinch hitter and went 1-for-11 as a DH. Whenever he played the field, he looked like the Abreu of old in the batter’s box. He slashed .318/.406/.447 over 101 plate appearances when he played the field.

His defense was on pace to rank at the worst of his career, which prevented him from seeing more playing time in the outfield. Also, sharing right field with Curtis Granderson made things tougher for Abreu to see playing time, but luckily Granderson was still versatile enough to play center along with left field.

Oldie But a Goodie

Mets fans also got good memories out of Abreu. They got to witness his final home run and stolen base of his career, which put him at 400 stolen bases for his career. Abreu also had a classic staredown on back-to-back check swings after Mike Everitt called him for a swing on the first one.

All of this allowed Abreu to gain the respect of Mets fans. Despite playing his best years with the rival Phillies, he received a nice ovation when he finished out his final game with a base hit in 2014.

His path to the hall of fame is a long one, as he only received 5.5% of the vote in 2020. Abreu has a higher WAR than recent hall of fame inductees Mike Piazza and Vladimir Guerrero. Even if he does not get in, he still deserves more consideration and more support.

New York Yankees: James Paxton speaks up against “white privilege”

New York Yankees, James Paxton

The death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minnesota has stirred up protest all around America. People are fighting for equality, and to stop racial hatred once and for all. Athletes have joined those voices, including New York Yankees‘ pitcher James Paxton.

Former Yankee legend Derek Jeter also spoke about the matter recently, and now Paxton is talking about how the so-called “white privilege” is not only a thing, but it needs to end right now.

Paxton went to his Instagram account to publish his thoughts on the matter. He even called himself out, per NJ.com, for not standing up against racial abuse.

“My white privilege has allowed me to be oblivious to the true magnitude of oppression the black community faces,” Paxton said. “My silence to this point is also a product of my white privilege. I’m beginning to realize my privilege and ignorance. Time to listen, learn, and take action. #blacklivesmatter”

The Yankees say no to racism

The Yankees’ southpaw, who is ready to pitch after spending a couple of months on the shelf, also uploaded a photo that said, “I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand with you.” It is a welcome sign of support from a very prominent sports figure.

Another Yankees player who spoke against racial abuse in the wake of Floyd’s death was outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Shortstop Gleyber Torres also posted a Black Lives Matter message on Instagram, and former star Alex Rodriguez did, as well.

“Enough is enough,” the Yankees’ slugger stated. “It’s going to take everyone to help this system change. No matter your color or attributes, We are all human, who know what’s right deep down. Making a real change will be Justice for Floyd & everyone who came before him. Let’s all be a part of the change.”

MLB: Union doesn’t like the idea of a 50-game season

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The week started off with MLB owners considering a shorter regular season, between 50 and 60 games. Although the proposal hasn’t yet been submitted to the players, per NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty, that is, apparently, a possibility.

However, the initial response of Tony Clark, the leader of the MLBPA (MLB Players Association) wasn’t positive. Clark believes there is a reason behind the owners’ desire for a shorter season.

“This is all part of the league’s attempts to negotiate through the media instead of focusing on how to bring baseball back to its fans,” Clark, the MLBPA executive director, said in a prepared statement, per The Athletic.

The owners have been saying for quite a while that they stand to lose too much money if they pay the players what they want, which is the full prorated salaries for an 82-game season. And the reason is because there wouldn’t be fans in the stadiums because of the coronavirus outbreak that has been going on since late 2019.

MLB and the union keep negotiating

The players are upset because it was agreed that they would receive their fully prorated salaries back in March, back when spring training was halted due to the COVID-19.

“We have an agreement on compensation that says clearly how players get paid in the event games are played — pro-rata,” Clark said, per the report. “In fact, the league recently confirmed in writing that ‘we agree with the Association that, under the Agreement, players are not required to accept less than their full prorated salary.’”

The two sides seem to be very far apart in negotiations. As recently as Sunday, the players offered to play a 114-game season with full prorated salaries, with payment deferrals to 2021 and 2022 and expanded playoffs in those years.

NJ.com reported that, per an MLB PA representative, some players have said that they won’t play a season with anything less than 82 games. MLB owners could make between $700 million and $1 billion in TV deals related to expanded playoffs, per the report.

Can New York Jets’ Bryce Hall land a starting corner spot right out of the gate?

New York Jets, Bryce Hall

Did the New York Jets land a steal in cornerback Bryce Hall?

The New York Jets knew what they were getting in Bryce Hall when they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL draft. A considerable amount of NFL analysts coined Hall as a potential steal in the draft, and the Jets managed to grab him in one of the later rounds due to injury in 2019.

Hall was on pace to end up in the first or second rounds, but as stated above, injuries derailed his season and ultimately forced him to settle as a day three draft pick. The Virginia stand-out lead the nation in pass breakups, and his most significant positive is his ability in one-on-one coverage.

Scouts are really excited about his potential, but there are some negatives that he needs to work on at the NFL level. Improving his ball skills, which translates to turnovers, and adapting to a zone coverage system would aid him in his development. However, Hall is a perfect man coverage player for the Jets, who recently cut Trumaine Johnson after his disastrous contract.

Ironically, Hall was formally a wide receiver in high school, which makes his ball skills problem a bit more interesting. Of course, as a receiver, your eyes are on the ball at all times and tracking the throw from your quarterback. As a corner, you have to swing your head around the last second or break on a route to land an interception. The reaction timing and anticipation hast to be there, and that is what Hall really needs to work on.

Analysts have also claimed that he is the epitome of a lockdown corner, and is a player that can take away a section of the field, Revis style.

I believe the Jets will designate him to island duties in the future if he progresses as they hope, but he does need to develop a bit before they can trust him in that role. He is bouncing back from the season-ending ankle injury while featuring on Virginia’s special teams unit. At 6-foot-1, 202 pounds, he has the perfect frame to be a stand-out corner in the future, but the Jets seem dedicated to leaning on Pierre Desir for the time being.

I do like Hall’s mentality toward film work and focusing on improvements on a detailed level. If he can translate all of these positives to the NFL, Bryce could absolutely be one of the bigger steals in the draft. With that being said, I don’t think he will be a starter for the first few games of the 2020 regular season, but since the Jets haven’t invested in a premium level corner, I think he will begin to earn starting wrap sooner rather than later.

Is New York Giants’ Oshane Ximines the next big-time pass rusher?

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

The New York Giants are sticking with a relatively young pass rush unit, even if they do end up retaining Markus Golden for the 2020 season. New head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman used the rare free-agent tender on Golden, which would pay him 110% of his 2019 salary for one year.

However, the core of the outside linebacker unit revolves around Oshane Ximines and even Lorenzo Carter.

Ximines was a third-round pick in 2019, posting 4.5 sacks over just 45% of defensive snaps. As a rookie, he stepped in and made an impact instantaneously, also tallying 12 pressures and 25 combined tackles.

Coming from Old Dominion, Oshane displayed a vast array of pass rush moves that one normally wouldn’t have coming out of a smaller school. He is prepared to increase his production in 2020 and add more diversity to his game.

However, Ximines can only excel if the secondary holds up, and the other pass rushers on the team are able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That is where a player like Carter comes into play, who struggled last season.

Carter is only going into his third season in the NFL, so there’s plenty of untapped potential to be extracted. The Giants also signed Kyler Fackrell, formally of the Green Bay Packers. He last posted a successful season in 2018 (10.5 sacks), when Patrick Graham was his linebackers coach.

The New York Giants are putting their chips on the success of an interesting pass rush grouping:

While this grouping seems like a band of misfit toys, the Giants are building out a defense focusing on the trenches. The interior defensive line consisting of Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams, is meant to disrupt the trenches and put interior pressure on quarterbacks.

Hopefully, their impact will force more turnovers and give the secondary more assistance.

Ximines, though, has the potential to be a staple on the defense moving forward. Posting 4.5 sacks in his rookie season in less than half of defensive snaps is impressive. If he can build on these numbers in Graham’s scheme, his contribution to the team overall will exceed expectations for a third-round selection. Again, he has an imposing number of pass rush moves, and honing down on his fundamentals and strength will put him in a position to succeed.

Graham’s system will include a variety of different blitzing sets — focusing on safeties moving up to show blitz-looks but dropping into coverage. Expect to see a very unpredictable unit that will take time to gel and build chemistry, but the potential of his scheme is sky-high.

New York Yankees: Establishing Mike Tauchman’s real-life value

Mike Tauchman, New York Yankees

Last season, Mike Tauchman was one of the unsung hero of the New York Yankees. The team had some incredibly bad luck with injuries and someone needed to step up his game. Thankfully, Clint Frazier did it for a while and Brett Gardner had a career-best year.

However, Tauchman came almost out of the blue and performed admirably: he finished 2019 with 2.6 fWAR in just 87 games, which translated to a 162-game pace, is roughly 4.8 wins above replacement. That number would make him a borderline star.

But is Tauchman really a 4.8 WAR player? Well, he looks the part defensively. He had a 4.2 “Def” rating according to Fangraphs, which is basically 4.2 fielding runs above average.In left field, he had 12 DRS, 6.3 UZR and 19.1 UZR/150 in 472.2 frames. He was elite out there.

The New York Yankees also sent him for 99.2 innings in center field, and he was OK there, too. He had 2 DRS, 0.7 UZR and 3.7 UZR/150 while patroling the outfield’s most difficult position.

On the basepaths, Tauchman was also a net positive. The Yankees’ outfielder stole six bases plus four on the minors, and had a +1.2 base running rating per Fangraphs.

Is the Yankees’ outfielder a true-talent +.500-slugging hitter?

The offensive side of the game is where his value is more difficult to identify. He slashed .277/.361/.504 with a .364 wOBA and a 128 wRC+, all very good numbers. He hit 13 home runs in just under 300 plate appearances (296.) But his expected stats were somewhat lacking (.248 xBA, .412 xSLG, .323 xwOBA) and that raises the question about the sustainability of his performance.

He did, however, had a more than decent hard-hit rate of over 39 percent and upped his average exit velocity to the 88.5 mph range. So while he may not be a true-talent .277/.361/.504 hitter, he looks capable of batting in the .260-.270 range while slugging somewhere in the neighborhood of .470-.480 and sporting an OBP near .350. With his defense and baserunning, that would make him a very good player, and the Yankees surely won’t complain.

If the coronavirus outbreak hadn’t stopped the season from starting when it was scheduled, Tauchman would have been an unquestioned regular, either in center or left field (he was elite in the latter last year.) However, that wasn’t the case and MLB and the union are still negotiating the terms for a restart, which have caused injured stars in the Yankees’ lineup such as Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton, to get healthier.

Unfortunately for Tauchman, they are all outfielders, and they will all play at least semi-regularly if they aren’t hurt. That’s why Tauchman’s prospects for regular playing time have taken a hit in the last few weeks, and will worsen if there isn’t a quick resolution.

Who is the most underrated hitter in the Yankees’ lineup?

New York Yankees

It is no secret that the New York Yankees boast some of the best offensive talent in Major League Baseball. They have elite hitters like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu, and ascending players like Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and more. There is no shortage of star power.

However, have you thought about who is the one batter in the Yankees’ lineup that doesn’t get the recognition he deserves? That ever since he was acquired has done nothing but rake, take walks and hit home runs? We have, and his name is Luke Voit.

He came to the Yankees in a trade with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018, and what a September he had. Combining stats from the two teams, Voit slashed .322/.398/.671 with 15 homers in just 47 games in that 2018 season.

He entered 2019 with a chance to prove his worth, and he did, despite having to miss a great portion of the season with a core muscle injury. Last year, he slashed .263/.378/.464 with a .360 wOBA and a very good 126 wRC+ while playing some games hurt. That is a fantastic OBP that, had he been healthier, could have pushed .400.

The Yankees’ walk machine

Yes, the Yankees have had to cope with Voit’s strikeouts (27.8 K% last year) but he had an elite 13.9 BB% that was the cause of that sky-high OBP. Today’s baseball values players that have power and can take a base via walk, and Voit excels at both.

No, he isn’t a particularly good defender, but there is no denying that among the regulars and semi-regulars in the New York Yankees’ lineup (LeMahieu, Judge, Stanton, Torres, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar and Aaron Hicks) Voit is the most underrated offensive asset.

If there is a season in 2020, the Yankees will likely give Voit the majority of reps and at-bats from the first base, and maybe Voit can start to get some recognition now that he is fully healthy.