New York Giants Secondary Improved Little In 2020 According To PFF

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

Going into the 2020 season, one of the most important points for the New York Giants will be improving their play in the secondary.

There were too many times last season when opposing quarterbacks were able to turn bad situations into good ones through picking apart openings in the Giants’ passing defense on second and third downs.

And while play from DeAndre Baker started to improve later in the year, it remains to be seen when Baker will get off the commissioner’s exempt list and return to the team. Even if he does return, it’s debatable if his play will be up to standard.

There’s some decent reasons to not have an optimistic view of the Giants secondary this year. Even if the team did add a big player through the draft in Xavier McKinney.

The Pro Football Focus take on the secondary

Pro Football Focus had their own take on the secondary and in their rankings of each one in the league, the Giants were one of the worst. The team comes in at number 27 on the PFF list. While the list claims James Bradberry will likely see a step up in performance after the move in divisions, it’s not as confident in some of the other players in the secondary.

DeAndre Baker struggled badly as a rookie and was beaten for eight touchdowns in total, though his future is somewhat up in the air, given the reported off-field troubles. Beyond Baker, the Giants would be turning to Sam Beal, who played fewer than 300 snaps last year, or one of either Corey Ballentine, Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson or Montre Hartage. So, for as much as Baker struggled last year, the prospects of a season without him would not be good.

The article goes on to speak about the team’s lack of depth further by pointing out how Grant Haley, one of the likely contenders for slot corner, didn’t do all that well when targeted last year. Furthermore, Julian Love’s development may end up wasted when Xavier McKinney likely takes over his spot at safety.

Is it really all that bad, though?

Well, a lot of that depends on the unknown. DeAndre Baker wasn’t great last year but the Giants don’t have many other credible options at this point at the number two spot. And we don’t know how Grant Haley will play after getting more experience. Xavier McKinney could make a huge impact as a rookie or could take longer to adjust.

And because of so many unknowns as well as younger players being involved in large roles, it’s hard to say one way or the other if the Giants really are one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

New York Mets: Vazquez Outslugs the Mets Offense in 4-2 Loss

New York Mets, New York Yankees, Steven Matz

For the second straight night, the New York Mets could not figure out a way to quiet the bat of Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. He terrorized the Mets with two home runs, which provided the three of the four runs the Red Sox needed to escape Queens with a two-game sweep. Just like Wednesday’s loss Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes failed to tie the game in the eighth inning.

The Mets would love that type of day from anyone in their lineup as all they could muster was three hits off Red Sox starter Martin Perez. Jeff McNeil provided two of them, and one of his hits brought in the only two Mets runs.

Struggling Offense

The biggest issue for the Mets is their inability to drive in runners with scoring position. They went 1-for-10 in those situations, leaving nine runners on base. There were too many strikeouts when a ball put in play could have resulted in a run. For such a powerful lineup, the Mets are struggling to make solid contact, and when they do, all they hit are singles.

The Red Sox had a game plan to neutralize the Mets’ power with breaking balls, and it paid off. When the Mets laid off or continued to foul off the breaking balls, they surprised them with a fastball and left them flat-footed.

Battle of the Lefties

Martin Perez and Steven Matz both did not have their best stuff but pitched well enough to deserve victories. Matz went 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out three batters. The two homers from Vazquez were the only extra-base hits Matz allowed.

Perez worked around trouble all night but kept the bats neutralized. Over 5.2 innings, he battled through two hits and four walks. Perez also struck out five on the night, a number higher than usual for him.

Bullpen Good, Diaz Bad

The Mets bullpen rebounded from their hiccups in Wednesday’s loss. Drew Smith and Jeurys Familia combined for 2.2 hitless innings in relief of Matz. They each struck out two batters, and both looked like they were in midseason form.

Manager Luis Rojas turned to Edwin Diaz for the first time since his blown save on Saturday. Diaz looked awful and had no command of the strike zone. He walked two batters, hitting one, and allowing once run. It looked even worse when Paul Sewald came in two easily get the final two outs of the inning.

It was the same Diaz from 2019, and he looked mentally drained already. Once either Brad Brach or Jared Hughes returns from the COVID-19 injured list, there is no reason for Diaz to remain on the roster. Especially when the roster shrinks, there has to be a real consideration of removing Diaz and sending him to MCU Park to figure himself out.

The Mets hope to turn things around in Atlanta against the Braves. The same matchup from Sunday Night Baseball returns as Rick Porcello takes on Sean Newcomb in game one of their four-game weekend series. The first pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET from Truist Park.

 

New York Knicks: Julius Randle Could Be A Dark-Horse Candidate To Improve Under New Head Coach

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

New York Knicks Head Coach Tom Thibodeau tends to get the most out of flawed yet talented players. There is a possibility of fans being shocked about what Thibodeau is able to pull out of Julius Randle, especially defensively, if the Knicks actually decide to keep Randle and not ship him elsewhere before next season begins.

The Knicks head coaching position is Tom Thibodeau’s dream job. Thibodeau has a phenomenal understanding of New York due to his time as an assistant for the Knicks from 1996-2003 and the fact that as a youngster, his household grew him up as a Knick fan in Connecticut. Thibs will impact the young Knicks core in a positive way. High motor players tend to thrive under Thibs in the past. Therefore, Julius Randle could be a dark-horse candidate to improve under the new head coach.

The brilliant Tom Thibodeau, who spent four years at Harvard during the late 1980s could definitely relate to Julius Randle when it comes to attacking the boards for rebounds. Thibs was a rebounding machine in 1976 while playing for his high school alumni New Britain High.

Thibodeau, a 6’1″ senior at the time, pulled down 22-rebounds during an upset over Hartford Public. George Lynn, New Britain’s coach, called it one of the best wins he ever had in his coaching career. Thibodeau was relentless then, and he’s relentless now. The relentless competitiveness from Thibodeau may rub off on Julius Randle, who’s actually already a competitive player who may need the reigns pulled back for him occasionally. Could Thibs help tone down the often reckless Randle on the offensive side of the basketball court?

Can the New York Knicks find the best in Julius Randle?

Julius Randle is such a beast physically. He can snatch an offensive rebound, finish around the rim, then guard multiple positions on defense. He has great work ethic and a very strong physical upper body and motor. These characteristics will not rub Tom Thibodeau the wrong way. Julius Randle never played for a winning coach in the NBA. Tom Thibodeau would technically be the first winning coach Randle has played for in the National Basketball Association, and it’s finally going to happen in Randle’s seventh year in the league.

Randle and Thibs have some similarities. One similarity the two share is their love of rebounding. The new head coach hiring could be the best thing to ever happen to Randle in his young NBA career. Or it could be a disaster in which the two are so similar that they bump heads often. Only time will tell Knick fans. Stay tuned!

New York Yankees receive great news on Gleyber Torres injured elbow

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees suffered a seemingly devastating blow when starting shortstop Gleyber Torres left the game with the supposed elbow injury. After being plunked in the right elbow by a pitch, Torres went down in severe pain.

He ended up staying in the game and subsequently left a little while later in the sixth inning. Tyler Wade took over at shortstop and the Yankees sent Torres to get x-rays to determine the severity of his injury.

Luckily, by the grace of the baseball gods, Torres was cleared of any significant damage. The worst case would have been a chipped bone, but it seems he will just have a nasty bruise as a consequence of being hit.

Torres was one of three Yankees that were struck by pitches on Thursday evening against Baltimore. Aaron Judge was hit twice and Gary Sanchez was hit in the hand. When Torres was hit, he was in the process of swinging and his elbow hovered over the plate for a second too long.

Losing the starting infielder would be devastating for the Yankees, who rely on him to be there number three hitter in the order and play at the most important position on defense. While Torres has struggled to throw the ball at times and short-hopped a few attempts, he is the future of the franchise along with Aaron Judge and is the epitome of being a Bronx Bomber.

With Gleyber been cleared, we should expect him to return to the lineup on Friday, if not on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres leaves the game with injury, here’s what we know

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees started off Thursday evening’s game on a high note, posting five runs in the first inning on a Luke Voit grand slam. However, starting pitcher JA Happ quickly allowed Baltimore back into the game, giving up four runs on four hits.

The biggest news of the game was how many Yankees got hit by pitches. Aaron Judge was hit twice, Gary Sanchez was hit once, and Gleyber Torres was hit on the inside of his right elbow.

Torres managed to stay in the game for a bit longer but was replaced by Tyler Wade in the fourth inning. After being hit on the elbow, he was in obvious pain and could barely stand for a few minutes. He eventually made it to first base but it seems as if the pain did not subside.

The young shortstop is one of the most capable offensive players on the Yankees’ squad, and losing him would be devastating to their infield and batting order. Taking him out could’ve been a precaution, considering the Orioles are not worthy of risking any premium talent against.

Last season for Torres, he hit .278 with 38 homers and 90 RBIs. He ranked 17th in MVP voting. So far this season, he is .214 batting average with one homer and two RBIs. Hopefully, it is nothing more than a minor bruise, but we will update you with additional information as we learn more.

 

WATCH: Yankees’ Luke Voit launches grand slam to blow game open in 1st inning

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees got off to a hot start on Thursday evening against the Baltimore Orioles, earning a 5-0 lead in the first inning. Giancarlo Stanton started off the run production with a single to left field, which scored a run. Shortly after, Hicks walked the bases loaded and Luke Voit stepped up to the plate.

Voit smashed a grand slam to left field, blowing the game open in the first inning. The Orioles’ pitcher, John Means, had nearly 40 pitches in the first inning.

Voit, who has two home runs on the season, entered the game with just one hit through three games. He replaced Mike Ford in the lineup, who started on Wednesday against the Orioles.

Here’s the awesome video of the grand slam.

New York Giants: How Nate Solder’s Opt-Out Affects The Rest Of The Linemen

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

Major news broke out for the New York Giants yesterday as starting offensive tackle Nate Solder announced that he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season. Solder is a high-risk opt-out as he has a son fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Nate Solder is doing the right thing opting out to protect his family and their health.

For the Giants, this news has major implications. Nate Solder’s absence in the 2020 season will create a huge shift along the offensive line. How exactly does Nate Solder’s opt-out affect the rest of the offensive linemen?

Conor McGregor on Recent UFC Callouts – “I accept!”

Conor McGregor, UFC

Well you had to know that the biggest star in UFC history couldn’t stay quiet for too long as people continue to call him out.

Conor McGregor is notorious for using Twitter to respond/callout fellow fighters in the UFC. The former double champion seemingly responded to some of the recent callouts today.

Now of course, this tweet doesn’t really tell us a lot about McGregor’s UFC future. What we do know is that McGregor “retired” due to the lack of options when it came to fighting. McGregor wanted an active 2020 and it’s been anything but.

Who in the UFC is calling him out?

One of the most recent callouts that makes the most sense would be Tony Ferguson. Ferguson recently told ESPN that he was wanting to either fight McGregor or Dustin Poirier next.

McGregor and Ferguson have had verbal back and forths in the past. A fight between the two never came close to getting done. When Ferguson was ready for a title shot, McGregor was boxing Floyd Mayweather.

Another person who has called out McGregor in recent months is Dustin Poirier. Poirier has fought McGregor once at UFC 178 and was knocked out in the first round.

Of course, that fight was a long time ago, and Poirier is much better know. The Diamond has wanted to get that fight back and believes he could beat McGregor if they rematched at lightweight.

One of the latest callouts is coming from the UFC‘s budding star, Khamzat Chimaev. Chimaev has been very vocal about his dislike of McGregor. He tweeted this out earlier today.

We do not know who McGregor is talking about with his cryptic “I accept,” tweet. Nobody really believes he’s retired so it would make sense that he would start angling for another fight soon. Who do you think he’s talking about in his tweet?

 

New York Knicks: Mike Woodson expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff

New york Knicks, Mike Woodson

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, former New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is expected to join Tom Thibodeau’s coaching staff for the 2020-21 NBA season.

The Knicks announced Thibodeau’s hiring on Thursday morning. The former Knicks assistant is the 31st head coach in franchise history.

Steve Popper of Newsday tweets that Rick Brunson, Daisuke Yoshimoto and former interim head coach Mike Miller are also under consideration to join Thibodeau’s coaching staff.

Woodson was the Knicks head coach from 2012-14. He was promoted to the position in March 2012 in the wake of head coach Mike D’Antoni’s resignation. Woodson joined D’Antoni’s staff for the 2011-12 NBA season.

The Knicks made the playoffs in the first two seasons with Woodson at the helm. In 2012 they lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The ensuing season they were the second seed in the Eastern Conference (54-28), beating the Boston Celtics in the first round and losing to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Woodson was fired in 2014 after the Knicks went 37-45, missing the playoffs by one game. Owner James Dolan hired Phil Jackson to be the team’s president five weeks before Woodson was axed.

Woodson was the Atlanta Hawks head coach from 2004-10, making the playoffs in his final three seasons. Prior to coaching Atlanta, Woodson was an assistant for the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons. He was most recently an assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers under head coach Doc Rivers from 2014-18.

New York fired head coach David Fizdale in December 2019, subsequently promoting Mike Miller. President Steve Mills was fired in February and replaced by former agent Leon Rose. The Knicks have hired Tom Thibodeau (head coach), William Wesley (executive vice president/senior basketball advisor) and Walt Perrin (assistant general manager) under Rose.

Woodson was a member of Creative Artists Agency, which was previously administered by Rose.

New York Giants: What James Bradberry needs to do to help the secondary succeed

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants’ secondary has been the team’s weakness spot for years. Finally, the Giants’ front office made it a priority this offseason to fix it. With the addition of James Bradberry, the Giants’ secondary is looking a lot better. For example, Bradberry can play multiple positions. He can play slot corner, outside corner, and nickel corner. Overall, the signing of Bradberry was a steal, and also was an old Dave Gettleman draft pick.

Bradberry is capable of covering a team’s number one receiver

Over the past few seasons, the Giants have relied on Janoris Jenkins to cover a team’s number one receiver. Now, they have a better option with Bradberry because he is capable of guarding a receiver wherever they line up. Last year, Bradberry covered some of the best receivers in football.

Also, James Bradberry only allowed one touchdown against the best receivers in football. Hopefully, he can do that again this year for the Giants. Last season, Bradberry was target 97 times and allowed 58 completions. His completion percentage allowed was 59.8. He allowed 644 yards which were an improvement from 2018 where he allowed 802 total yards.

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2019 stats 

In 2019, Bradberry played in 15 games and tallied three interceptions. Also, Bradberry has recorded one sack for the past three seasons. Patrick Graham could use Bradberry on a corner blitz and in the box. Alongside those numbers, Bradberry recorded 65 combined tackles and 51 solo tackles. Overall, he only had one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit last year. If he could increase these two stat lines he’d be playing elite football.

To add on, Bradberry also played 1020 snaps last season which was 92% of defensive plays. The Giants will need him to stay healthy an average around 90% of snaps throughout the season.

A quote from Brabderry about challenging himself

“I see myself as a versatile corner. I can play zone, I can play man. I was down for whatever. Of course, playing a lot of man is a challenge for any cornerback and I am always willing to accept a challenge.”