New York Giants: Why Dion Lewis is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants’ front office made big moves this offseason to improve both the offense and defense. During free agency, the Giants’ signed veteran running back, Dion Lewis to a one year deal which is worth 1.5 million. The Giants needed a running back who is reliable and can give Saquon Barkley well-deserved rest. Luckily, the Giants found the perfect guy, no disrespect to Wayne Gallman, but he is just not the answer.

Wayne Gallman’s 2019 stats

In 2019, Wayne Gallman started in two games after Saquon went down with a high ankle sprain. Throughout the season, there was not much to cheer about, Gallman had 110 rushing yard and only two touchdowns. Even when Barkley was healthy, Gallman would only average 11 rushing yards a game. As you can see, Gallman was never a go-to option like Saquon is, Daniel Jones had to rely on throwing the ball often. This was no easy task for Jones, Saquon was out for three weeks after his first start and Gallman never was. Overall, Gallman had one standout game in the absence of Barkley. In my mind, Gallman is a backup NFL running back. He’s better off on another team that needs a backup because Dion Lewis is going to take all his touches.

Dion Lewis’ 2019 stats

Dion Lewis played a much smaller role in 2019, he was backing up star running back, Derrick Henry in Tennessee. In 2019, Dion lewis only started in one game and ran the ball 54 times for 209 yards. This is not the Dion Lewis most people are used to seeing, but he still is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman for multiple reasons.

Effective in the passing game

Back in New England, Dion Lewis was used in the short passing game. A lot of screen passes were used along with some out routes that fit lewis’ playstyle well. I can see Dion Lewis helping the Giants with his versatility, I see Jason Garrett calling a lot of screen passes, and bubble screens. With an upgraded offensive line, the Giants offense will have more time to set up screen passes and routes designed for Lewis. This signing of Lewis was huge, the Giants haven’t had a solid running back duo since Jacobs and Bradshaw.

Will give Barkley well needed rest

All Giants’ fans know that Saquon is the star running back, but it will be nice having Lewis as a backup. A guy who is effective in both ground and passing game will allow Saquon to be at his best late in games. Last season, Barkley played on every offensive down basically. If the Giants want him to last seven-plus years, they need to start protecting him. Finally, Dion Lewis will be a huge factor for the Giants in 2020.

NFL set to remove two games from the preseason schedule (Report)

As the NFL continues to prepare for an uncertain 2020, the already-maligned preseason slate has seen two weeks erased from its ledger.

Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the National Football League is ready to do away with half of its preseason slate as it prepares to potentially navigate a season through the COVID-19 pandemic. The PFT report says that the first and final weeks of summer’s exhibition summer quartet are on the chopping block.

The league is set to make a formal announcement regarding the decision on Thursday, one week after the cancellation of the preseason-opening Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between Dallas and Pittsburgh in Canton, Ohio.

Trimming the preseason has long been discussed and appeared to be a certainty when the new collective bargaining agreement left open the possibility of a 17-game regular-season slate in 2021. The league’s squads have played four preseason games ever since 1978

If Weeks 1 and 4 are eliminated from the preseason picture, the annual meeting between the local New York Jets and New York Giants would be eliminated, having been scheduled for the opening week for the second consecutive season. Starters rarely play past the first quarter in the opener, and often sit out the finale entirely. The Jets and Giants have respectively played interconference rivals from Philadelphia and New England in the final week of summer games since the turn of the century. It’s possible these games could be rescheduled to cut down on travel. If the cancellations are kept, the Jets would have a visit to Detroit and an East Rutherford tilt with Pittsburgh (the former being nationally televised on ESPN). The Giants have a road game against Tennessee and a visit from Green Bay left on their docket.

Many teams are planning to open training camp on July 28 with the first games scheduled for the week of August 20-24.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

 

Should the New York Giants Try To Trade For Chiefs DL Chris Jones?

The New York Giants have arguably one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a priority to build through the trenches. Since becoming the general manager in 2018, Gettleman has invested

But what if this defensive line could get even better? What if Gettleman made one last investment to push the unit over the top? One of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL, Chris Jones, could be a potential blockbuster trade target.

Why would this trade make sense for the Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs and Chris Jones are in the middle of a contract dispute. Chris Jones even threatened to sit out the 2020 NFL season if he does not receive a long-term contract extension. Jones is seeking a deal worth more than $20 million per year.

“[Chris Jones] always viewed himself as a $20 million-plus-per-year guy. The Chiefs, frankly, never did. Even before the whole COVID situation, they never made an offer north of $20 million — felt like they could get him somewhere below that. A lot of work to be done here if there’s going to be a long-term deal for Chris Jones…” – Mike Garafolo of NFL Network

Additionally, the Chiefs have another superstar to pay. You might have heard of him. Patrick Mahomes? Yeah, they have to pay him soon. Showtime Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL and he is about to get paid like it. Reports indicate that Mahomes could seek a contract worth more than $40 million per year. It would be tough to pay Mahomes that amount while also paying Chris Jones $20 million. This cap dilemma could lead the Chiefs to trade away Chris Jones.

If the Chiefs were to trade Chris Jones to the New York Giants, receiving Leonard Williams and a draft pick in exchange would make sense for them. Trading away Jones would be a huge loss for this defense. But obtaining Leonard Williams would surely soften the blow. Williams could fit right into Jones’s previous role with the team. He would not perform in that role as well as Jones did, but Williams is still one of the better players in the league at the position. Plus, his contract will be much cheaper than Chris Jones’s.

On top of that, if the Chiefs do not give Williams a long-term deal, they will be eligible to receive a third-round compensatory pick in the next NFL Draft if Williams walks away in the 2021 free agency period.

Why would this trade make sense for the Giants?

In order for this trade to make sense for the New York Giants, they will need to free up some cap space. This offseason, the Giants placed the expensive franchise tag on IDL Leonard Williams. The one-year franchise tag is worth over $16 million in cap space. Williams is seeking a new, long-term contract. That contract will likely be worth around $16 million per year.

If the Giants were to offer a trade for Chris Jones, they should begin by including Leonard Williams in the deal. Leonard Williams is a highly-talented defensive lineman and is arguably top-ten in the league at his position. But Chris Jones is arguably top-two. If the Giants could make that upgrade for a few million more in cap space, they should.

Chris Jones is a legitimate pass-rushing threat from the interior. In 2018, Jones totaled 15.5 sacks and 49 pressures. He followed that up with a 9 sack, 27 pressure performance in 2019. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones ranks third among interior defenders in pass-rushing grade over the past four seasons. He also has recorded 212 pressures in that time span, fourth-most (PFF).

If this hypothetical trade were to come true, the Giants would have to throw in a draft pick. That pick could be the deal-breaker. If it is a high pick, then they should not take the deal. Draft picks are extremely valuable in the first three rounds, especially for a rebuilding team like the Giants. But if they can complete the trade by throwing in a mid-to-late round pick, plus a new $20 million-per-year contract along with Leonard Williams, the Giants would be acquiring one of the NFL’s brightest defensive stars in Chris Jones.

Why would this trade make no sense?

If this trade were to happen, the Chiefs would be losing the best player on their defense. Keeping Chris Jones is going to cost the Chiefs a lot, but he is worth the money. Jones has been one of the most consistent and dominating defensive lineman in the NFL over the past four years. At only 26 years old, the Chiefs would be wise to keep Jones as part of their long-term plans. If they feel like they can afford to pay him, they will.

On the flip side, the Giants might not consider this trade worth it. As stated previously, the extra draft pick is the key. If the trade requires a second-round pick, the Giants should turn the other way. But even if it only requires a fifth-round pick, the Giants might not be interested. The Gmen are a rebuilding team. Cap space is valuable. Maybe they are not the best team to pay a defensive lineman $20 million per year.

Then again, Dave Gettleman does love his hog mollies and Chris Jones is one of the best hog mollies in the NFL. Maybe he will be enticed by a potential trade for the young and dominant Chris Jones. It may be a long shot, but a trade does hypothetically make sense. This could be exactly what the New York Giants need.

New York Knicks: George Karl endorses coaching candidate Jamahl Mosley

Jamahl Mosley, New York Knicks

Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Jamahl Mosley is one of 11 reported candidates for the New York Knicks‘ head-coaching position.

In an interview with Marc Berman of the New York Post, George Karl, who Mosley coached and indulged in player development under with the Denver Nuggets from 2006-10, said that the Mavericks assistant can connect with modern-day players.

“I thought he had a great connection with today’s player,’’ Karl said. “He was hungry. He was big in player development, then toward the end of his time, we gave him scouting reports, game-plan responsibilities. He was really good with basketball intellect and really good with players. That’s the combo you need in today’s world and changing attitudes of the young players.”

Berman mentions how Rick Carlisle, the Mavericks head coach, told a Dallas radio station that Mosley is a “great” communicator who is going to get an opportunity to run his own program.

“He’s a young man that’s worked extremely hard to build up his reputation as a great young coach, great communicator,” Carlisle said last week on a Dallas radio station. “I don’t think he’s going to be with us much longer, honestly. Whether it’s the Knicks or somebody else, this guy is going to be a head coach sooner than later. The opportunity to talk to the Knicks is one that he’s earned.”

Karl touts Mosley’s “enthusiasm” and compares him to highly regarded NBA head coaches.

“It was his daily enthusiasm and desire to put in the time to be a really good coach,’’ said Karl, who hosts a podcast “Truth and Basketball.’’ “He reminds me a lot of coach [Dwane] Casey when I had him in Seattle and Terry Stotts [Karl’s assistant in Seattle and Milwaukee]. They both went on to be very good head coaches, and like them, Jamahl is defensive-minded.’’

“Both Denver and Dallas won a lot of basketball games when [Jamahl] was there,’’ Karl said. “Rick is different than I am but that makes you a better coach when you learn you can do things differently and still be successful.’’

Mosley has been an assistant coach in the NBA for 14 seasons: four with the Nuggets, four with the Cleveland Cavaliers and six with the Mavericks.

New York Knicks: Patrick Ewing calls Tom Thibodeau a ‘great coach’

New York Knicks, Patrick Ewing

Tom Thibodeau has been linked to the New York Knicks‘ head-coaching position from the moment Leon Rose took over as team president. Rose, the former head of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), has worked with Thibodeau in the past.

Knicks legend Patrick Ewing called Thibodeau a “great coach” in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio’s Frank Isola and Sarah Kustok (quote by means of Forbes’ Adam Zagoria).

“I think Tom’s a great coach. I had the opportunity to him being on the staff when he played, and also work with him. He’s been around for a lot of years, he knows the game in and out. He’s gonna do everything that he needs to do in terms of having his team prepared to play every night. I think he’d be a great candidate for that job.”

Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Knicks from 1996-2003, which included four seasons of coaching Ewing. Thibodeau was previously an assistant for the Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers. He joined the Houston Rockets as an assistant for the 2003-04 NBA season and was present through 2007.

Thibodeau was hired by the Boston Celtics as an assistant in 2007, where he’d reside for three seasons before becoming head coach of the Chicago Bulls. He spent five seasons in Chicago, winning Coach of the Year honors in 2011. Thibodeau was fired after the 2014-15 season and named the Timberwolves head coach in 2016.

The former Knicks assistant spent two and a half seasons in Minnesota, making the playoffs in his second season. Prior to his 2019 termination, Thibodeau was also Minnesota’s president of basketball operations.

The Knicks fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019, and named assistant Mike Miller as interim head coach. President Steve Mills was axed in February and replaced by Rose. New York has hired Brock Aller as a chief strategist, Walt Perrin as assistant general manager and William Wesley as executive vice president/senior basketball advisor among other front-office hires under Rose.

The Knicks are reportedly considering 11 people to be their head coach for the 2020-21 season.

New York Yankee News: Aaron Boone spells out the importance of not rushing players in media call

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

As New York Yankee fans await the start of baseball, today, New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone held a conference call with the media about the start of summer camp 2020. For EmpireSportsMedia.com, I was in on the call and took notes on a variety of subjects.

An overriding subject that was constantly talked about, Boone responded to many questions asked in different ways about how his players have prepared for the season and how they will be ramped up for the season when it starts on July 23rd.

Aaron Boone continually emphasized that he will be careful in getting players to move forward. He stated that

“you can get into a lot of trouble forcing guys, pushing them early on when they are not ready to go. An injury early on could mean missing a quarter, half, or even all of the season because you pushed them too hard at the start.” He continued “if we are healthy we are going to lean on our depth and hopefully build guys up properly so that we are not sacrificing any game early on, but are giving ourselves the best opportunity to be one of the best teams over the 60 game stretch.”

At one point, he was asked what it was like to be away from the game for so long.  He responded that it was different. He mentioned that he spent some time with Gerrit Cole, who lives nearby in Greenwich, CT. He said it was an opportunity that he wouldn’t have had otherwise, to watch the seasons change, see the trees fill out, and spend time with family.  He mentioned the joy of planning meals and cooking with his wife.  He also said how difficult it would be for his daughter not to be able to come to the Stadium and watch games.

He was asked about his New York Yankees starting pitchers and if he was able to stay in touch with them and how he thought they had prepared for the eventual season.  He stated that he had been in regular contact with most of them and especially with Gerrit Cole, who has been “working his tail off.”  Boone feels his pitchers are in a good place and that he will watch them carefully as summer camp starts this Saturday.  He specifically mentioned that he had less contact with Masahiro Tanaka than with the other players as he left camp immediately when it was shut down and went home to Japan. He did say that Tanaka is a veteran and knows how to prepare. He mentioned that Tanaka was at the Stadium and had undergone his intake testing.

One question was if Boone had considered a six-man pitching rotation or even a four-man.  Boone reiterated that he had not thought about it, but that everything is fluid when you’re dealing with a short season. “we will be creative as we need be, those calls will be made at the beginning of the season or on the fly as needed.”

He was asked if he personally had any hesitation coming back to baseball, considering his health issues. He answered “no hesitation healthwise
I’m in a good place; the family is healthy, I have no fear I’m excited to play
smartly and as safely as possible.”

He was questioned about how and what he would say to the players during the first team meeting.  “We have a responsibility for each other
in being safe at the field and off the field. We’re a hungry group, and we want to rise to the top of the mountain, we want to be champions..find that energy the edge on a daily basis.”

During the conference call, there was little mention of any of the individual players, with the exception of Miguel Andujar.  Boone stated that he was comfortable with Andujar playing in both corners of the outfield and even at third base. He continued that he still had to grow into the positions, but the more he does, the more opportunity he will have to play ball.

When queried about the Yankee 30 man roster, Boone said it gives us flexibility early on in using pinch hitters and even going to the bullpen early.  ” With a more flexible bench that are some things you can do in the middle of the game or during the game that last year with a 25 man roster you wouldn’t necessarily do. We will try and be creative there and be smart about effectively using our roster whether it be the 30 or when it goes to 28 and 26.”

A question that I thought would never come up in the 50-minute call as if he was concerned that the season might not be completed.  Boone said that he doesn’t think about that much. He stated that anything was possible, but my job is to focus on getting ready to play on a championship level,
that’s the focus and goal. We are in this to win it, to get to a World Championship. If circumstances change, that is out of my control; I don’t spend time thinking about that.

Overall, Boone was upbeat on the season that will definitely present challenges for the Yankees but he believes his players are in a good place both emotionally and physically. He stated that whether it’s a 162 game season or a 60 game season, the approach is the same. We are totally focused on winning and getting to a World Championship.

We have a video of New York Yankee players arriving today at Yankee Stadium in another EmpireSportsMedia.com article, see the video here.

 

 

New York Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone is ready to try Andujar in the outfield

New York Yankees, Miguel Andujar

Back in spring training, the New York Yankees were seriously considering the idea of Miguel Andujar, the 2018 runner-up for the Rookie of the Year award, playing some games in the outfield. After all, he didn’t show he was a good fielder at third base, his natural position, at any point in his major league tenure, and that spot is now occupied by Gio Urshela.

However, the Yankees want to keep Andujar’s potent bat in the lineup at least a couple of times per week, potentially more depending on the injury outlook. That’s why manager Aaron Boone and the team as a whole decided to try Andujar at new positions, such as first base and the outfield.

It appears that the New York Yankees are comfortable with the plan, and want Andujar to earn playing time while playing the outfield, Boone confirmed in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

Another option for the Yankees’ crowded OF

Playing the outfield, therefore, is “something he (Andujar) could absolutely do.” The New York Yankees have a logjam in the position, with Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner the likely starters and Giancarlo Stanton as the main DH, but potentially seeing some starts in left field as well. The club also has Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier ready to roll if needed. However, Boone thinks Andujar, who missed most of last season with a labrum injury, could handle a corner position in the outfield if needed.

“Early signs show me that he’ll be able to handle that versatility,” Boone added. That way, Andujar could play the outfield corners, some third and DH, opening up some at-bats for his talented bat, one who hit 27 home runs with a .297 average in 2018.

During his pro career, Andujar, forever an exciting Yankees prospect, has never played other position than third base. However, the team brass liked what they saw from him in the outfield in spring training and appear ready to move forward with the experiment.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone gives date for first team workouts in the Bronx, more quotes, players arrive at the stadium (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

On a conference call with New York Yankees Aaron Boone on Wednesday, the manager stated that the first scheduled team workout with occur on Saturday, to start spring training 2.0.

The Yankees have waited several months to return to action, and while they had to leave Florida due to the spike in coronavirus cases, they will start round two in the Bronx.

Boone also mentioned, regarding the civil issues the country is facing, that he encouraged the players to speak up and remain vocal in inspiring change.

We can expect the players to be making a difference with their platforms and to use the upcoming season to their advantage.

In addition, the players arrived at Yankee Stadium earlier on Wednesday morning, preparing to start rehabilitation for injured players and working our way toward playing form for the regular season which is expected to start in late July.

Additional quotes from the conference call:

“Our guys have been like awesome in this and have been guys who have stimulated and encouraged conversation and I think what we’re going through as a country… I really hope and believe we’re all gonna come out of it better for going through these times.”

“I feel like there’s so many people involved and listening and talking and that’s something we’ve already started to do within our organization and it’s something we’ll continue to encourage.”

Boone also gave a motivated answer:

“We’re a very hungry group and we want to climb to the top of the mountain. That goal doesn’t change. We want to be champions.”

UFC: Michelle Waterson & Angela Hill to fight on August 22nd card

A big time UFC strawweight contest is being added to the August 22nd fight card. Eighth ranked, Michelle Waterson (17-8), will be taking on thirteenth ranked, Angela Hill (12-8). The August card is being headlined by a middleweight contest between Yoel Romero and Uriah Hall.

Waterson looks to get back to UFC title contention

Both of these ladies come into this fight with a lot on the line. For the “The Karate Hottie”, she’s looking to snap the first losing streak of her career. Since joining the UFC five years ago, Waterson has consistently been one of the better strawweights in the UFC. Last year, she got the closest she’s been to a title shot with her fight against former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Waterson put up a really tough fight, but the former champion was too much. Waterson recently competed at UFC 249 and was suffered her second consecutive loss to another former champion, Carla Esparza. The decision was razor close and many scored the fight for Waterson.

Hill looking to bounce back

A week after Waterson suffered a tough loss on the scorecards, Angel Hill found herself the victim of a close decision. Hill had won three consecutive fights leading up to her fight against top contender, Claudia Gadelha. After losing the first round, many believed that Hill won the final two rounds to secure the win. However, two of the three judges gave the fight to Gadelha.

Hill got off to a rocky start in the UFC, but she looked like she was finding her groove this year. She won three fights in five months leading to that Gadelha fight. She looked fresh after that fight, and she wanted to get right back in there.

This will be an intriguing matchup for the UFC‘s strawweight division. A win for either woman puts them back on the road to contention. However, a loss for either would be a big setback at this stage in their careers. It should be a very fun matchup to watch when August 22nd rolls around.

MLB News: Major League Baseball news from around the country

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Will there be any SP Exhibition games?

Many New York Yankees fans are wondering if the YES Network will be televising any of the spring training games.  The answer is no one knows, not even the YES Network.  I found out why in a conference call with Yankee general manager Brian Cashman.  He was asked that question, and he responded that the owner will still be discussing if there would be any exhibition games.  I doubt there will be any, as Cashman added, that the Yankees would not be interested in any road games.

Here are the personal milestones that can be reached in this short season

Albert Pujols would have a record-breaking year even with the shortened season. He is just five home runs short of breaking Willie Mays record of 661 home runs, which would make Pujols 5th all-time.  Pujols is also just 12 RBI’s short of 2,087. If he accomplishes that, he will pass New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s record for 2nd all-time.

Other milestones that can be accomplished is for Angel’s outfielder Mike Trout.  If he hits just 15 home runs in the short season, he will reach the magic 300 number.  Los Angeles star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is just thirty-three strikeouts from the 2,500 plateau. New York Yankee Aaron Judge is just 13 hits away from 400 in his short career.

COVID-19 testing starts today at Yankee Stadium

Today is the first day that New York Yankees players were to report at the Stadium in the Bronx.  For the next two days, they will undergo coronavirus testing. After that, it is my understanding the all the players and workers at the Stadium will be tested twice weekly.  The entire staff will have MLB temperature checks every day upon arrival at the Stadium.

Yesterday in a conference call with GM Brian Cashman, he stated that he had the 101-page health protocol that was issued by MLB.  He said that the Stadium crew has been working for days to sterilized everything at the facility. He made it clear that they are making every effort to have all of the health protocols in place by the time training starts on Friday, July 3rd.

Brett Gardner will be the starting left-fielder

General Manager Brian Cashman indicated yesterday that Giancarlo Stanton would be the obvious choice to start the season as the DH.  If that is the case, it appears that Brett Gardner will be in left, with Aaron Hicks in the center and Aaron Judge in right-field.

If Aaron Judge is not recovered enough from his fractured rib to play in the outfield, that leaves manager Aaron Boone with the options of using Clint Frazier or Mike Tauchman in his place.  Cameron Maybin filled in for Judge last year, but he is now with the Texas Rangers.

One curious point of interest is that with this alignment, it puts Miguel Andujar in an odd position.  That position is none, nowhere to play. The Yankee will want Andujar’s bat in the lineup, so they are going to have to resolve how to accomplish that before the regular season starts. Originally the thought was that Stanton and Andujar would alternate in left field and being the DH.  That now seems not likely with Cashman saying Stanton would be the DH.

Manager Aaron Boone to have a conference call with the Media

This writer will take part in a conference call with New York Yankee Manager Aaron Boone at 2 pm this afternoon.  It is hoped we will learn more about Aaron Judge’s ability to be ready for the beginning of the regular season.

Other areas the writers will be looking to clarify is whether there will be MLB exhibition games during this spring training 2.0.  They will also want some guidance as to what the situation is with Giancarlo Stanton.  Boone in his news conferences, seems to be more open and thoughtful than Cashman, so hopefully, we will learn much more about spring training and his hopes for the shortened season.

Derek Jeter talks about the lack of trust between players and owners

Last night on Line Drive ex-Yankee and Miami Marlins owner talked about the recent MLB negotiations:

“It was disappointing. It was embarrassing at times. There’s a lot of trust — there is no trust (between MLB and the MLBPA), I should say, is the best way to put it,” Jeter said. “Hopefully things will change moving forward. It was pretty sad to see the back and forth being played out publicly at a time like now. So many people filing for unemployment throughout the country — over 30 million people, 40 million people — with no jobs. They really don’t want to hear owners and players going back and forth about how much money they deserve and how much money they need.

“I get it. I was a player,” Jeter added. “I feel as though players should fight for everything that they feel as though they should have. I’ll always support them in that sense, but in this particular case, I think something should have been done behind the scenes.”