The New York Jets committed to the rebuild of their offensive line this off-season, which was a problem that general manager Joe Douglas had no choice but to address.
The Jets ranked 31st overall in offensive line efficiency, which attested to their struggles at the quarterback position. Their adjusted sack rate was 9.8% on the season, as they turned over nearly every starting position on the line.
Ultimately, the Jets need their offensive line to mesh quickly and hit the ground running in 2020. They cannot afford to have an inexperienced unit without chemistry. The Jets made five moves in free agency to shore up the line.
They re-signed left guard Alex Lewis, left tackle George Fant, center Conor McGovern, guard Greg Van Roten, and center/guard Josh Andrews. They spent a relatively modest $40 million on all of the players acquired. In addition, they drafted Mekhi Becton with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Becton will likely slide in at left tackle, and Fant will move over to the right side. Overall, the Jets added nearly 2000 pounds to their offense of line. Interestingly, Andrews, Fant, and Van Roten were all undrafted free agents. Lewis and McGovern were later round picks. Becton is the highest of the bunch being drafted in the first round. A majority of their starters are overachievers at the NFL-level.
The new players added have 78 career starts, most of which are by McGovern over the last three seasons (36).
Overall, this unit has the potential to be solid, but they are also in a position to fall apart quickly. The majority of their players have minimal experience as starters or are average at best. McGovern made the transition to center years ago, and he solidified himself as one of the better options of the position given his new deal with the Jets. He was by far the best acquisition in terms of ready-talent. Van Roten is unpredictable, Fant is a solid run blocker but problematic in the passing game, and Lewis/Andrews are reserve options.
I believe a lot of the Jets’ success in 2020 relies on Becton, who will slide into a tough position with minimal experience against premium level talent at the collegiate level. Coming out of Louisville, Becton has faced off against some solid players, but his size might be an issue for him in the NFL. Stronger and faster pass rushers could expose his size and balance. However, he has exceptionally nimble feet for a player that’s 364 pounds. If he can adjust to the NFL quickly and protect Sam Darnold’s blindside, the Jets will be in decent shape moving forward.
One of the few benefits of having no fans in the stands for New York Ranger playoff games is that the televised look and feel may be different and in some ways improved. Rangers radio announcer Kenny Albert touched on this subject during Tony DeAngelo’s Watch Your Tone podcast that was dropped this past Wednesday.
Different camera angles could be part of New York Ranger playoff games
Albert addressed this issue when he was asked about how he felt the games would be like with no fans. One of the things he mentioned was that this could provide the networks with an opportunity to provide camera angles that they would not be able to do in a crowded stadium.
“I know with the golf event with Peyton Manning. Brady, Mickelson, and Woods the network was able to try some things with technology and put cameras in different areas and I’ve read some quotes from the NHL people that in an empty building, that is something that they might be able to do.” Albert explained. “But if there are no fans in the building, that would lead to some very interesting camera angles.”
Indeed, as sources have mentioned that the NHL and the networks are looking at ways to incorporate either fixed and/or robotic cameras, in addition to the normal manned camera shots, at the selected hub arenas to give fans a unique television experience that they would not be able to in normal circumstances.
Will we get to hear what the New York Rangers players are saying during the games?
During the podcast, Albert stated that he expected the technicians will set audio to be a part of the broadcast. “With the limited people at the arena, you will be able to hear everything on the ice,” Albert said.
The network censors will have their work cut out for them as they try to make sure the Rangers and other teams’ best chirpers do not say something that is not meant for us to hear.
The players will also be aware of that and while it might be strange to play in an empty building, Albert pointed out that many of the players have experienced playing in nearly empty arenas is the minors, juniors, and college so he does not expect that it will be a huge adjustment for them.
Albert also mentioned a downside of this system will be that he and other announcers around the league will be broadcasting from a studio for at least the first two rounds. Among the difficulties that he expects will be that while viewing the game from a monitor, he will not be able to see the entire ice, which means that he won’t be able to pick up a penalty that was called behind the play. Albert also mentioned that picking up jersey numbers is tougher to do from a studio monitor.
Regardless, the fans will get to see the New York Rangers in a playoff game, even if it will be a totally new experience for the players, networks, and the fans.
The New York Yankees have had several players that have come out publicly and said that they want a 2020 season, joining a significant number of other MLB players who have also done so. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association have yet to come to an agreement on a 2020 season, making baseball one of the only professional sports leagues that haven’t made a plan for a season.
It seems that the majority of players want to play this summer which is something to be optimistic about. Of course, there have been some players and owners that have expressed their disinterest in a season.
The disagreements stem from pay and finances. The MLBPA wants the owners to pay full prorated salaries for the number of games played, and the owners have said that cannot be done since there will be no fans in attendance.
Despite all the disagreements and confusion over the past few weeks, there are a number of New York Yankees players that have expressed their interest in playing a 2020 season. Take a look:
On August 15th, two of the greatest fighters that have ever stepped foot inside the UFC‘s octagon will settle their rivalry once and for all. The two champions have fought twice, and both men have secured a knockout. Daniel Cormier (22-2, 1 NC) moved up from light heavyweight and stopped Stipe Miocic (19-3) in the first round at UFC 226 to become a double champion. After waiting over a year for a rematch, Miocic got his revenge stopping Cormier in the fourth round at UFC 241 last August. Now the two men will face each other one final time. With the trilogy booked, one has to wonder, who has more on the line in this fight?
The case for Miocic
Stipe Miocic is considered by many to be the best heavyweight champion the UFC has ever seen. He holds the record for the most successful title defenses of the heavyweight title. Prior to his reign, nobody had ever defended the title successfully three times, but Miocic accomplished that with his dominant victory over top contender, Francis Ngannou. In a weird way, Miocic has been drastically underappreciated. Miocic rose through the ranks, won the heavyweight title by knockout, then had three incredible title defenses in a row before losing to Cormier. Miocic has beaten some of the greatest to ever do it, but he still doesn’t get the respect he deserves. You could make the argument that this fight is more important for him to finally get the respect he deserves. Many consider Cormier to be one of the greatest to ever do it, but two clean victories over “DC” would cement Stipe forever as the greatest heavyweight of all time.
The case for Cormier
If it wasn’t for a man named Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier might be considered the greatest of all time. Cormier has beaten the best in the sport in two different weight classes, but Jones was the one man he couldn’t beat. Cormier became the light heavyweight champion only after Jones was stripped of the title. Cormier beat all the contenders, but couldn’t get the job done against Jones either time they fought. Cormier’s light heavyweight title always had an asterisk by some pundits due to the fact that he never beat Jones.
Cormier moved up in weight to heavyweight where he had never lost in his professional career. The only reason Cormier moved down to light heavyweight to begin with was because of his close friend and teammate, Cain Velasquez. Velasquez once ruled the heavyweight division, and the teammates vowed to never fight. When Cain was out of the picture, Cormier moved up to challenge Miocic. “DC” caught Stipe with the perfect punch coming out of a clinch to secure the UFC heavyweight title. Cormier defended the title once against Derrick Lewis before losing it back to Stipe. This fight is huge for Cormier, due to the luck factor. Nobody can take away the fact that Cormier won the heavyweight title clean, but if he loses to Stipe a second time, many pundits will argue that he won the title with a lucky punch. In my opinion, you can’t contest DC’s greatness, but you know that some critics will always say that he couldn’t beat Jon Jones, and he got lucky against Miocic in their first fight if he were to lose.
Greatest UFC Heavyweight of All Time
To me, whoever wins this fight will go down as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. Even in a loss, Miocic will have more of a resume as champion, but two wins over Stipe for Cormier would take the cake. I think the fight means more for Daniel Cormier than it does for Stipe Miocic. Miocic will always have the distinction of the first champion to defend the title three times. There are no question marks or asterisks by any of his title wins. Cormier on the other hand, has an asterisk by his light heavyweight run, and many might say he just got lucky in the first Miocic fight. If Cormier is able to defeat Miocic again, nobody can takeaway or say anything about the legendary career that he has had. I cannot wait for this trilogy fight, and I encourage fight fans to soak it all in because it might be the last time we either one of these all time greats
Often times you can find Cyprien helping others, something it is clear he loves to do. Through his foundation the Cyp Squad At Risk Youth foundation, Cyprien has done some amazing work benefiting kids who are underprivileged.
When Cyprien had time off, he used it to spread joy to others by joining with a youth football league in Nashville. He also hosts a free football camp for kids ages 7 to 17 and joins in on his teammate’s camps as well to help out and teach essential skills. To benefit charity, Cyprien also hosted a Pro Bowl watch party complete with a fun meet and greet and awesome NFL memorabilia.
To inspire the Police Athletic League, Cyprien attended their charity golf event and surprised them with a signed jersey for their youth teaching center. Knowing just how vital and pivotal education is, Cyprien read books to kids to help forge their love of learning. His tremendous charitable work earned him the key to North Miami Beach. When it came time for the annual Music City Bowl, he gifted kids of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America tickets to the event. When back to school time comes, Cyprien provides backpacks filled with all of the necessary school supplies. Cyprien has also sponsored and granted wishes for numerous kids in need, putting a smile on everyone involved faces.
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck, Cyprien posted a message of inspiration on Instagram saying that we must all stay safe, stay home, and stay strong. Like he always does, he encouraged us to stay positive and make the best of it and better ourselves and others along the way, which is exactly what he did. Knowing how difficult it is to get groceries at this time due to store policies, procedures, and safety measure and precautions as well as lack of availability, Cyprien decided to partner with Joshua’s Heart, which aims to eradicate food insecurity and alleviate poverty and hunger for those in need, to provide 400 families in the city of North Miami Beach, Florida. A kind gesture like that can go a long way for those who need it most. Cyprien also partnered with Camarbre, a lifestyle brand to sell masks with proceeds benefiting his foundation. To purchase one go to https://www.camarbre.com/face-mask
Recently, Cyprien donned a shirt adorned with the powerful, yet simple words “Love Everybody”, a message we should all live by and enact in our daily lives! Johnathan Cyprien often proclaims “God blessed me, so I can bless others” and boy does he embody that mantra to the fullest!
The New York Giants brought in Joe Judge to turn over the disciplinary tactics utilized by the coaching staff and hired Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator, a diverse play-caller with immense knowledge and experience in the NFL.
The Giants have failed to implement a fundamental-centric team that does their job correctly. Ultimately, there have been on-field mistakes littered across the past few seasons, and Judge will look to eliminate those to improve the overall efficiency of the team. Coming from New England, Judge is bringing a winning mentality to New York, something that has been absent over the past few seasons
Former Patriot Rob Ninkovich had nothing but good things to say about New York Giants’ head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, referencing their “tremendous work ethic” while appearing on the “Giants Huddle Podcast.
“Well, I think they have a tremendous work ethic,” Ninkovich said. “I was with Pat a long time. Me and Pat are very close and good friends. He helped me a lot in my career because he was so thorough in everything that he did in preparation. Same with Joe Judge. Joe Judge is going to be a guy that’s first in, last guy out. He’ll probably sleep there four or five nights a week. I know that sounds crazy, but he’s that into it. Same with Pat. Those guys, they’re not going to leave any stone unturned when it comes to preparation.”
“Coach Graham and Joe Judge are going to hold guys accountable, which is very much so needed in the NFL. You have to be accountable. You have to be expected to play at a high level week in and week out,” he said.
Having coaches that are connected and have experience with one another is essential for the overall development of the team. Ever since Tom Coughlin left to become the general manager for the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants have been void of disciplinary tactics and a winning culture. Judge set out to fix that problem, primarily by bringing in high character players that have one goal in mind, to win.
Of course, having two players arrested this off-season has not been a great start to his tenure, but the virtual aspect of things disallows him from keeping his team in check. This cannot be blamed on him by any means, but I imagine over the next few seasons, he will begin to refine the types of people he brings into the building.
First came the unfortunate news Tuesday regarding the closing of the Coliseum by Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Sports and Entertainment — the company which operates the Old Barn — as he looks for new investors to help keep the building running and assist in paying off $100 million in debt. And then yesterday, a report came out stating prized prospect Ilya Sorokin is in a “holding pattern” as he waits for the NHL to come to a decision as to whether he can play for the organization this season.
Things seemed like they weren’t looking up. But once again, the thing that continues to provide some comfort for the fanbase took center stage — the Isles’ soon to be future home at Belmont Park.
In a 15-minute video released last night, the team provided updates on the construction going on right now after they were given the go-ahead to resume working on the building a few weeks ago following a two-month shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Richard Browne, the Managing Director of Sterling Project Development, whose company is running the show right now on site, spoke of exciting developments.
Browne acknowledged that construction is still ahead of schedule, and that he and his team are both “optimistic and very determined” that the building will be ready by October 2021. He also pointed out the momentum the project continues to gain and by the end of this summer, the roof will already be in place.
“We should be topped off – meaning the last piece of structural steel for the venue will be up toward the end of the summer,” Browne said. “We will be enclosing the building with architectural precast and it’s being manufactured as we speak.”
Even more fantastic news followed. Browne noted that by the end of the year, the entire outside of the facility is expected to be finished, meaning work on the inside will officially begin.
“By the end of the year, you should see an enclosed building,” he said. “On the inside, there will literally be well over 1,000 men and women working around the clock on the interiors to build out that space and have it ready for the 2021-22 season.”
A few other exciting prospects Browne provided fans with is what the experience will be like for Islander games.
“When you are on the inside, you will be a part of cutting-edge technology, the sound, sightlines, food offerings, everything; you’re going to know you’re in a next-generation arena,” he added. “You can be sure, between the orange and blue and the honor paid to the tradition of the franchise, there will be no doubt this will be the branded Islanders home.”
Just listening to those words, it’s hard not to get excited about what this building is going to do for the franchise. Everyone connected to the organization has been juiced up since the moment the team won the bid back in December 2017 and from when they broke ground last September. Add to that the other news that dropped yesterday about the arena’s new executive team being named and some of the heavy hitters who will be involved, and the reality of the Islanders finally getting the home they rightfully deserve feels like it’s getting closer by the day.
There’s still an entire summer to go, but the Isles and their supporters can keep taking solace in knowing a palace will be theirs soon.
Maybe some of that good karma will rub off on the actual team if and when they begin their qualifying series against the Panthers as well as a few other situations facing the organization right now.
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins may call himself “Shnow”, a catchphrase coined by him to stand out from the rest, but he could not be any warmer!
Being kind and making a difference in the lives of others is something Dawkins loves to do. He surprised kids at Grice Middle School and chatted with them. To honor those that serve our country, Dawkins spent the day with over 100 veterans and showed his gratitude and appreciation for their service. When the Thanksgiving holiday rolled around, Dawkins served food along with his teammates, dedicating his time to ensuring that those in need have a hot meal. One cause that he is passionate about is the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which he often visits to spend time with them and help promote adoption.
Often times, you can find him visiting with children and handing out toys and other goodies, at New York’s Oishei Children’s Hospital which focuses on pediatric, neonatal, perinatal, and obstetrical care. One particularly memorable and sweet visit involved Dawkins teaming up with some very special members of the hit movie “Frozen”. The kids were absolutely elated and Dawkins was just as happy to see smiles adorn their precious faces. When the Coronavirus prevented him from visiting patients in person, Dawkins decided to do a virtual visit with Finley a young pediatric patient. Dawkins was thrilled to see the joy on Finley’s face as he opened presents and basked in the joy of the day! Dawkins also sells Shnow merchandise and gear at https://26shirts.com/collections/shnow-gear with proceeds from sales benefiting pediatric cancer.
To promote change so desperately needed, Dawkins penned a beautifully articulated message about how we as a collective whole must fix the wrongs and ills plaguing African Americans brought on by society and then work towards figuring out how we can come together and love and accept one another unconditionally. This message speaks volumes and is something we all MUST enact in our lives. Dawkins is trying to make a positive impact in the world for all!
Dawkins is always “shnow”nating his time and helping others and that is truly commendable. He is a game-changer and uses his platform so wonderfully to work to amend issues and problems bedeviling America! There truly is “shnow”one like Dion Dawkins!
The New York Mets had a steady rotation of second basemen over the last 20 seasons. One common theme is their second basemen tend to carry the team during the postseason. Our first two names on the list exemplify postseason excellence the best.
Daniel Murphy put together one of the greatest postseasons in baseball history. In 2015, he hit .421 with seven home runs, including homers in six consecutive games to lead the Mets to an NL Championship. Murphy did not play second base every day until 2012 and was raw at the position but turned himself into a very serviceable defender. He is third all-time on the Mets doubles list with 228.
2. Edgardo Alfonzo (1995-2002)
Edgardo Alfonzo spent the earlier part of his career at third base but moved over to second when Robin Ventura arrived in 1999 and stayed there until 2001. During that period, he hit .293/.381/.487 and averaged 23 home runs and 34 doubles per season. Alfonzo added an All-Star appearance, four postseason home runs, and only made 22 errors during those three seasons.
Jeff McNeil settled in at second base during his rookie season in 2018, but the acquisition of Robinson Cano made him a utility guy in 2019. As a second baseman, he is hitting .323 with nine home runs, 19 doubles, and six triples. When baseball starts again, he will likely play a majority of third base.
4. Neil Walker (2016-17)
Neil Walker had the tall task of replacing Daniel Murphy and played great. The only problem came with Murphy’s power surge with the Washington Nationals over shadowed Walker’s greatness. He batted .275/.344/.462 with 33 home runs in 186 games in Flushing.
12/12/2005 The Mets ink 36 year old veteran, Jose Valentin. Valentin initially signed as a bench player but wound up playing in 137 games in 2006 and was a big part of their NL East Championship run. pic.twitter.com/GrBC1zVxvo
Jose Valentin earned his ranking based on his revival season of 2006. The 36-year old veteran batted .170 the year prior and took the job away from Kazuo Matsui. Valentin batted .271 with 18 home runs and 62 runs batted in to stabilize the bottom of the Mets order.
6. Luis Castillo (2007-10)
Unfortunately, Mets fans will only remember Luis Castillo for his dropped pop-up against the New York Yankees. He batted .274 with 55 stolen bases and still played Gold Glove defense at second base. Castillo only made 21 errors over 365 games.
The Mets took a significant risk in bringing in Robinson Cano, and he played just okay during his first season with the Mets. It was a tale of two seasons for Cano; he hit .240/.287/.360 with only four home runs during the first half of the season. Cano returned to his hall of fame form in the second half batting .284/.339/.541 with nine home runs and could have done more damage if a hamstring injury did not slow him down.
8. Roberto Alomar (2002-03)
Roberto Alomar seemed like a safer risk than Cano, but Alomar never produced as a Met. Like Cano, he only played okay but never put up his All-Star caliber numbers. Alomar’s .265 average was the lowest he had with any team he played with for at least 200 games.
Before primarily playing shortstop, Ruben Tejada spent the first two seasons of his career playing second base. Never known for his power, he slashed .256/.338/.314 with only one home run but had 27 doubles in 174 games.
10. Kazuo Matsui (2004-06)
Kazuo Matsui was the definition of disappointment after coming with so much hype that Jose Reyes had to play second base in 2004. While the Yankees struck gold with a different Matsui, the Mets got one decent season in 2004 with Kazuo, but he was playing shortstop in all but three games. He hit .274 with 32 doubles during his rookie season but failed to keep himself on the field during the following two. Matsui ended up with the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Eli Marrero.
The New York Giants‘ offensive line is the team’s kryptonite; it has been for the last five years. Finally, the Giants made improvements to the offensive line through the draft and free agency. As a fan, this makes me very happy, protecting Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley is the primary concern. All fans want to see these guys play for eight-plus years. There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed this offseason. Who will start at left tackle? Nate Solder, or Andrew Thomas? Who will win the starting center job, Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, or Shane Lemieux?
I think the end of the preseason will answer all these questions. Joe Judge and the coaching staff want the best man to win the starting job. All these players are going to get a fair shot, and it will come down to who wants it more and who excels at their position.
“The best players will play. I don’t care where you got drafted, I don’t care if you’re an undrafted free agent, I don’t care if you’re old, young, traded, whatever you got there for. Everybody will have an opportunity every day to compete for a job on our roster. Every day. If you want to be on the field, be the best player. Outwork the guy in front of you. Prove your value to us, show you can handle the job, and we’re going to put you on the field and give you an opportunity.”
Andrew Thomas starting left tackle
Andrew Thomas is going to be the starting left tackle week one. He is the best option and has all the skills to play at the pro level. The Giants drafted him to fix their blind side problem and protect second-year quarterback, Daniel Jones. As we all saw, Nate Solder was not at his best last season. I still think Solder will be apart of the offensive line, just at another spot. In 2019, Andrew Thomas was a Walter Camp All-American first team, and winner of the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, this was Georgia’s first recipient in 21 years!
There’s no question Thomas has the athleticism and skill set to become an All-Pro lineman; having a great offensive line coach is also huge for his development. There is no reason to move Thomas to right tackle, he played both in college but excelled at Left. Coming into the draft, Andrew Thomas was the purest left tackle; the Giants made the right decision with their fourth overall pick.
Will Hernandez starting left guard
Will Hernandez has been a reliable option since he was drafted back in 2018. Since drafted, Hernandez has started in every game (32), talk about a reliable offensive lineman! In 2019, Hernandez’s number of penalties went up (4), more than his rookie year (2). This is something that can be worked on and is not that big of a deal. He played 1067 snaps in 2019, and 1027 snaps his rookie season. The Giants’ offensive line needs a gritty guy like Hernandez, who will do all the dirty work in the trenches.
Spencer Pulley starting center
The New York Giants will have a competition battle at center. For starters, I believe Jon Halapio will be cut from the team; he has sustained too many season-ending injuries. I think the Giants have better options at center, Pulley, Gates, and Lemieux will all battle it out. I feel Spencer Pulley is going to win the starting job. He already has experience playing center, it is his primary position, unlike Gates and Lemieux. In 2019, Pulley only played in four games, he only recorded one penalty and was on the field for 95 snaps. If Pulley happens to get injured and can’t play for the remainder of the season, I want the Giants to give Shane Lemieux a shot at center. Several clips have surfaced of Shane Lemieux practicing snaps during his workouts. I feel like Nick Gates is more of a guard and would rather stay there.
Kevin Zeitler starting right guard
There is no mystery behind this one, Kevin Zeitler will be the starting right guard in 2020. He battled shoulder issues in 2019. If he is healthy, we will see a very productive right guard. I see Zeitler being the leader on the offensive line, a veteran who has a lot of experience in the NFL (eight seasons). He will be a great mentor for the young guys who were just drafted. In 2019, Zeitler started 15 games, he only missed one due to a shoulder injury. In those 15 games, Zeitler averaged 93% of offensive snaps, and only had one penalty all year! All in all, the Giants need Zeitler to be the leader of the offensive line in 2020, I think he has a few more years left to play before Shane Lemieux takes his position.
Nick Gates starting right tackle
In 2020, there will be a battle to see who plays right tackle. Most people think Nate Solder is a starter next season. I think he will come off the bench and be a fill-in type player. I think Nick Gates is the better option right now until Nate Solder can prove he can still protect and be effective in the run game. I think Solder will be a great mentor for the other offensive lineman; the Giants can’t rely on him. The Giants can’t let him play left tackle and be responsible for protecting the blindside. Nick Gates only started three games in 2019, I think 2020 could be a different story, and he could be a starter week one. He did well last season, the Giants’ offensive line was awful, and Gates was the only bright spot some games.