New York Giants: Replacing Ryan Connelly After Strange Cut Decision

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants made their cuts to reach their 53 man roster recently, and Ryan Connelly isn’t on the list of players being kept. It’s kind of a strange decision, because Connelly was expected to compete for a starting spot next to Blake Martinez. And last season before his injury, it looked like Connelly was going to be a top defensive name on the team in his rookie year.

However, all that went up in smoke when the Giants made their cuts and decided Connelly wasn’t good enough. Perhaps it’s because of taking too long to bounce back from the injury properly, but it seems quick for the Giants to give up on a promising player like this. Especially when David Mayo’s injury brings uncertainty to the position.

Who exactly will fill the role that Connelly may have had if his recovery was successful?

Last year’s option, David Mayo

It looks like the Giants are going to rely on one of the players that manned the position last season, David Mayo.

But things are a bit more complicated because Mayo is out with a knee injury right now. That’s one of the reasons it’s so surprising the Giants moved on from Connelly very quickly. Mayo, however, may have gotten lucky with the injury and could make a quick return rather than miss a long period of the season.

Mayo isn’t exactly a bad option, and while he doesn’t look like a player with the breakout potential Connelly showed, he did have 82 tackles last season and isn’t going to actively hurt the Giants at linebacker.

The other option, however, is less certain.

The newcomer, Devante Downs

There’s some talk that Devante Downs was one of the players in direct competition with Connelly, and that the Giants must favor Downs if they cut his rival.

That may be the case, but it’s hard to put too much stock into Devante Downs just yet. Likely, the team isn’t thinking of him as the main option either. Maybe a stopgap before Mayo is back, but not a primary option after that.

That’s not because Downs is a bad player, but because he’s simply inexperienced. He only has 3 total tackles in the NFL. With no track record like this, it’s kind of asking a lot to throw a player like Downs right into the middle of things.

If he’s performing well in camp, Downs should get some kind of shot. But it’s a safer bet to give him time in the rotation first and let him gain some experience while others do the heavy lifting as starters.

With that being said, it’s not uncommon for linebackers to substitute often, so we might see Downs get a decent share of time on the field.

Alistair Overeem stops Augusto Sakai at UFC Vegas 9

The UFC hosted it’s ninth event from the APEX this evening. It was a wild event and it all started way before the event started. The promotion lost several fights that left UFC Vegas 9 with just seven fights. Due to this, they decided to just have a fight card instead of having prelims and a main card.

In the main event of the evening Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) took on Augusto Sakai (15-2-1) in a fight that was massive for the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Both men were looking to take another step towards a future shot at the heavyweight crown.

Overeem Continues Final UFC Run

In a back and forth battle, Alistair Overeem was able to stop Augusto Sakai. This fight all came down to the experience of Overeem. This is a massive UFC win for Overeem who is in the twilight of his professional career.

Early on in the main event of UFC Vegas 9, Augusto Sakai was getting the better of Overeem. Overeem, the decorated striker, was getting outstruck on the feet. Sakai was doing a fantastic job of using blitzes to stifle Overeem against the fence.

However, halfway through the fight, Overeem made the winning adjustment. He started taking Sakai down. Once Overeem got Sakai down, Sakai really had no answer. Overeem got Sakai down in the fifth round for the final time and earned his second UFC main event victory of 2020.

For the second straight fight, Overeem had to battle adversity. However, Overeem was able to overcome it to win the fight. At 40 years old, Overeem is trying for one final run at the UFC heavyweight title.

 

 

New York Mets: Lugo’s Best Start of the Season Gives Mets a 5-1 Win

The New York Mets needed Seth Lugo to pitch as long as he could, and it was exactly what he did. Lugo gave the Mets five strong innings, holding the Phillies to one run and throwing a season-high 81 pitches. The Mets offense came together to give them a relaxing 5-1 victory.

The command that Lugo lacked with his fastball he made up for with his curveball. It helped him record eight strikeouts and keep the Phillies to four hits. Their only run came off a Rhys Hoskins home run on a fastball in the first inning. Lugo recording the win was the first Mets starter to earn a W in 19 games.

Team Effort On Offense

Six different Mets recorded hits and half of them had multiple-hit games. Michael Conforto made use of the opposite field for two hits, including an RBI single. Jeff McNeil did not have an RBI but had a double to continue his hot hitting.

Andres Gimenez was the best player for the Mets on both sides of the ball. He had four productive plate appearances. Two hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly that was a gift from the Phillies defense as Bryce Harper’s laziness forced a backpedaling Neil Walker to make the catch.

The strong play on offense and defense is showing why he should play more than Amed Rosario. With the Mets needing every single victory they can get, Gimenez will likely continue to play as Luis Rojas rides the hot hand.

The struggling Mets bullpen also hurled four shutout innings and recorded five strikeouts. The entire staff also held the Phillies to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 Phillies on base.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup is a battle of the aces as Jacob deGrom faces Aaron Nola at a 1:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

New York Yankees: Good news and bad news following embarrassing loss to Baltimore

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees suffered another embarrassing loss against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday evening. With the offense putting up a putrid one run, starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was also batted around in the sixth inning to extend the Orioles lead to 6-0. Cole lasted 6.0 innings, tossing 101 pitchers. He allowed four hits and five runs, striking out 10 batters.

Offensively, the Yankees were only able to record four total hits, two of which came from Clint Frazier.

FINAL SCORE: 6-1

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news, starting shortstop Gleyber Torres returned to the team on Saturday. He posted one hit over three at-bats, and also earned a walk. It was a positive thing for him to get on base and start his return strong, but the remainder of the Yankees’ offense failed to produce. Catcher Gary Sanchez struck out four times over four at-bats, lowering his average to .130. At this point, the Yankees may consider starting Erik Kratz in a regular role, considering Sanchez’s offense is nonexistent.

Despite giving up a home run within his first three pictures, relief arm Miguel Yajure tossed two impressive innings. He recorded two strikeouts and allowed two hits.

In other news, the Bombers kept Deivi Garcia at the alternate site and will utilize him again in the coming days. They also retained Clarke Schmidt as a relief arm in hopes of activating him more frequently with little rest for their more accomplished options.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news remains consistent for the Yankees, as their starting pitching has struggled a bit the past few days and their offense has been quiet. Scoring one run against a young Orioles starter in Keegan Akin was tumultuous at best. While the Yankees started strong in the 2020 season, they are quickly falling behind and could be out of postseason contention if they keep playing like this.

Getting Torres back was a big deal, but they sorely miss their talisman in Aaron Judge. Manager Aaron Boone stated before the game that Giancarlo Stanton was running at about 80% but Judge is behind him in his rehab. He hopes they both will be available for the postseason.

New York Giants Shockingly Cut Second-Year Linebacker Ryan Connelly

New York Giants, Ryan Connelly

The New York Giants made a surprising cut today as the team trimmed its roster down to fifty-three players. Inside linebacker Ryan Connelly was released after one season with the team.

Connelly was selected by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Early on in the 2019 season, Ryan looked like one of the best young players on the Giants’ poor defense. In the first four games of the season, Ryan Connelly recorded 2 interceptions, 1 sack, and 20 combined tackles.

But this great season was brought to a screeching halt. Connelly suffered a torn ACL in Week 4 that kept him sidelined for the remainder of the season. Many. Giants fans expected Connelly to be one of the Giants’ two starting inside linebackers this season, which is why this roster move is so shocking.

According to the New Jersey beat writers, Connelly was slow to recover in training camp from this injury. But they were all surprised to find out he was cut. After looking so impressive on the field last season, it seemed like Connelly had a bright future ahead. Maybe he does, but that future likely will not be with the New York Giants.

Who Will Replace Connelly?

The Giants drafted four linebackers in 2020. Tae Crowder, Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, and TJ Brunson will all be on the Giants’ roster, fighting to replace Ryan Connelly. Additionally, DeVante Downs is another young linebacker on the roster who will have a chance to fill Connelly’s role.

Many expected Connelly to start alongside Blake Martinez in 2020. Realistically, that was never going to happen, even with the injury to David Mayo. Mayo’s injury will not keep him sidelined long, and he will return to the starting lineup when he is healthy.

Ryan Connelly is eligible for the Giants’ practice squad if he is not picked up by another team. Tomorrow, we will find out where Connelly is headed.

New York Yankees currently sitting on postseason bubble with four weeks left

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

So far, the 2020 MLB season has not been a memorable one for the New York Yankees. They’ve dealt with an absurd number of injuries, with DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Tommy Kahnle, and now Gio Urshela spending time on the IL.

When players have gone down in previous years, the team has always had the “next man up” mentality. However, that isn’t working in 2020 as the Yankees have lost 11 of their last 16 games.

Right now, they are tied for second in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays and are on the postseason bubble. This season, the top two teams in each division get into the postseason, as well as the top two teams that are in third place or worse in each league.

If the postseason were to begin today, the Yankees would either have the sixth or eighth seed in the AL, dependent on tiebreakers. If they won the tiebreaker, they would be sixth but eighth if they lost it. The team still has 10 games left to play against the Blue Jays.

Right now, it’s the Minnesota Twins that would have the seventh seed in the AL. They are in third place, but just a half a game back of the White Sox along with the Indians in the central division.

Oakland leads the west, with the Astros two games back of them. In third place is the Mariners, seven and a half games back with postseason aspirations running low.

Right now, the Yankees need to turn things around if they want to make a run this year. If any other team passes the Yankees in the American League except for the Blue Jays, the team will fall out of the postseason picture.

New York Islanders: The Evolution of Matt Martin

New York Islanders, Matt Martin

The New York Islanders drafted Matt Martin in the 5th round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, Matt Martin has been the staple/identity of Islanders’ hockey. Hard-hitting, physical forechecking, and a lot of chirping. Martin has grown as a player since being drafted. He went from a head-hunting enforcer to a “get in front of the net” grinder. Not only has this change impacted the Islanders positively, but also added years to his career.

Young Matt Martin played a lot like Ross Johnston does. Both of them are big bodies who stuck up for their best players. For Martin, it was John Tavares, for Johnston, it is Mat Barzal. Don’t get me wrong, Martin is still an enforcer, but he’s an offensive enforcer.

Barry Trotz has made Martin an offensive threat for the first time in his whole career. Matt Martin currently has four playoff goals, and all of them were “clutch” goals. Having a 4th liner who can score along with creating opportunities through the forecheck is huge. He can still deliver the big hits too, but not as frequent. My only criticism is that he takes bad penalties at bad times. Too many stick infractions in the closing minutes of the third. Other than that, Martin is a great player.

Sadly, Matt Martin’s contract is over with the Islanders after the season ends. Since the Islanders have to sign Mat Barzal, Devon Toews, and Ryan Pulock, the chance that Martin gets resigned is very slim. I would keep Martin over Johnston, though.

There’s no reason to break up that 4th line chemistry just because there’s a younger version of young Matt Martin. Martin should command $2-$2.5 million in free agency, close to Johnston’s contract. I’m not saying get rid of Johnston for Martin, but if that’s how it has to happen, that’s how it must happen. The 4th line is crucial to the Islanders’ success, it’s the entire identity of who the Islanders are. The Islanders must keep Martin somehow.

Yankees: Why Schmidt’s performance last night should NOT concern you

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees called up RHP Clarke Schmidt before last night’s game in Baltimore. He was ranked as the number two prospect in the Yankees organization. Ever since his intrasquad performance, fans have been hyping up the young right-hander and for good reason.

Clarke Schmidt isn’t usually a relief pitcher, but he was the Yankees’ only option last night. New York had an extremely overworked bullpen, which forced Aaron Boone to pull the trigger. It’s safe to say he didn’t have the debut he wanted. He gave up four runs on four hits in the fifth inning. However, it’s not something we should be worried about.

Three reasons you shouldn’t be concerned about Schmidt after his debut:

3. He’s not a relief pitcher

Clarke Schmidt is a starting pitcher. He’s not used to coming into situations in which there are already runners in scoring position. It’s extremely hard to adjust to a different role in general. But it’s especially hard to do so in your MLB debut. His success with the Yankees in the future is not going to be his ability to pitch out of the bullpen, which is why you shouldn’t be upset with him. I would’ve loved to see him come out and deal right off the bat, too, but it’s not something you should expect from someone like him right now. 

2. No one hit him hard

Most of the hits that Schmidt gave up last night were balls not hit very hard that found holes. There were several times that the Yankees’ defense were beat by balls that went against the shift. That happened a lot against Clarke Schmidt. The very first hit he gave up was a 75 mph blooper that just went over Tyler Wade’s head at shortstop. Then the hit right after that was a slow ground ball that went against the shift. That’s exactly what you want to see when a guy like Schmidt is pitching. Balls that aren’t hit hard.

1. It was his MLB debut!

Not only was it one of the only times he’s come out of the bullpen, but it was also the first time he has pitched in the MLB. One outing doesn’t describe a player. And if it did, Schmidt’s performance would be described as weak hits that found holes against good pitching. That’s what it was. It was an unlucky start for Clarke Schmidt in his debut. He is a very competitive player and knows what he has to do. Trust me, we weren’t the only ones disappointed last night. No one is more disappointed than Schmidt. That’s what you want. 

Clarke Schmidt is going to be a big part of the Yankees’ success very soon. New York took a chance on him in the draft by taking him despite him being due for Tommy John. He has impressed everyone in the organization, and the results of his pitching on Friday night does not tell the story of Clarke Schmidt. You can take that to the bank.

Eagles Cut Two CBs That Might Interest Giants

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The Philadelphia Eagles released two cornerbacks on Saturday that the New York Giants – who admittedly are still building their secondary – may have some interest in.

Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas were the two players waived by the Eagles after the team reportedly could not find trade partners for their services. Jones was a second round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Washington and Douglas, who played at West Virginia, was taken a round later.

Both had fallen down the depth chart recently behind Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Cre’Von LeBlanc and Craig James, who signed a 1-year extension on Friday.

The Giants have been behind the eight ball at cornerback all summer after DeAndre Baker got himself jammed up in an armed robbery incident in May and Sam Beal decided to opt out of the season due to Coronavirus concerns. Both players were considered to be in the running for a starting role across from free agent addition James Bradberry this fall.

Jones has been a disappointment and has had injury issues but overall, he just hasn’t shown the promise that made him first-round material at Washington. Douglas, a New Jersey native, fits the Giants’ mold a little better.

From Rotoworld: “Still only 25 with 18 starts (and 46 appearances) under his belt, Douglas is a strong candidate to be claimed off waivers and compete as a nickel option for a handful of suitors. He’s totaled 118 tackles and five interceptions in his three-year career.”

The Giants have been adding defensive backs all summer and may not believe Douglas is an upgrade over any of them. Right now, they have some hard decisions to make as it is. Claiming Douglas would add another tough cut for them.

Should the Giants decide to claim him, they will most likely gat him. They have fourth priority on the waiver wire behind only Cincinnati, Washington and Detroit.

New York Jets optimistic as training camp ends, training camp looms

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton

Cautious optimism emerged from the final day of New York Jets training camp, as a tense weekend of cuts awaits.

Stage one of a most unusual NFL season has come and gone. One of its most painful mainstays, however, is already underway.

The New York Jets’ training camp proceedings ended on Friday afternoon, just a little more than 24 hours before the mandated downsizing of NFL active rosters to 53 players. New York’s personal purging has already bid farewell to veterans James Burgess (who led the Jets with 80 tackles last season) and Jonotthan Harrison (19 starts over the last three seasons). The process will only continue as Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline approaches, though several departees could find new opportunities with practice squads extended from 10 to 16 players.

Head coach Adam Gase anticipates Saturday’s organized chaos, especially in such a tenuous season that could require substitutions rising to the occasion on short notice.

“It’ll be interesting when we kind of get to those because I’m sure that it’s going to end up being we’ll have about five really tough decisions to make,” Gase said of the roster trim, per transcripts provided by the Jets. “Those active roster (decisions), but on the practice squad and then kind of holding your breath to see if anybody gets claimed it’ll be interesting heading towards the end of this week.”

The calm before Saturday’s storm of transactions allowed the Jets’ a brief opportunity to focus on a roller-coaster training camp session. Set in the backdrop of the ongoing health crisis, some would say it’s enough of a win that the team emerged without major catastrophe.

Still, Gase was pleased with what the team was able to accomplish in their college campus-like settings. He hopes the awareness and precautions taken during the process carries over into the regular season.

“I think the players did a great job staying focused. I know it was an unusual training camp, a lot of walkthroughs, rep wise,” he said. “No preseason games, but I thought the guys did a good job of using the time he had his effectively as possible. It was nice that, you know, we were able to kind of have the setup we had with having the hotels as close as we had them, kind of almost making that like a dormitory, buying out the whole hotel, which that was big for us, just kind of had smooth transition on all that stuff.”

“We’ll kind of see as we get into the season, where now guys can live on their own and we’ll maneuver that and now we’ll be able to just kind of start doing meetings live in person, which is that’s going to be something that we’re, we’re going to be excited about.”

Walkthroughs weren’t able to fully simulate the type of action the Jets lost through the cancellation of the annual preseason quartet. But Gase was pleased with what the effort put forth and the work accomplished.

“The walkthroughs were awesome,” the head coach remarked. “It’s like having a meeting on the field and I do think the way that our guys engaged in the virtual meetings was, I felt like we got a ton of guys asking more questions than sometimes when you’re live, where it’s easier to nod your head and say you got it and you might not have it, where on the virtual stuff, I just felt like there was a better back and forth for whatever reason.”

With training camp in the books and no exhibitions looming, the first opportunity to battle a football player clad in a color other than gree and white comes in the Week 1 opener against the Buffalo Bills (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Jets will likely enter that game packed with youth and inexperience and without some crucial would-be contributors stepping out due to medical concerns and training camp injuries. There’s no telling just how much progress was made before the Jets battle a good number of experts have pegged to swipe New England’s AFC East throne.

But from what the players and coaching staff have gathered, they believe they’re ready to face a season laden with questions.

The spring selection of Louisville offensive lineman Mekhi Becton will loom large for both the Jets’ immediate and long-term future. If he fails to rise to expectations, it could set the Jets back years and have them wondering about the wide receiver prospects left behind. But his success could change the narrative about the Jets’ offense and perhaps become the spark the Sam Darnold/Le’Veon Bell era truly needs to ignite.

It would’ve been Becton’s showings that garnered the most observers if summer showcases were allowed to proceed. The Jets sound pleased with what they were able to get in the meantime.

“He looks comfortable to me. And he’s not making mistakes,” Gase said of Becton, per Olivia Landis of the official team site. “I’ve been extremely impressed by how he’s operating as far as his knowledge of football, how he’s retaining things, acquiring the information, recalling it, and then at the same time executing, playing fast. He’s doing a really good job.”

Becton’s first NFL training camp has certainly been one for the books. He was denied a handshake from the commissioner and hearing his name called in Las Vegas with the league opting for virtual draft settings last April. Presumably starting, he’ll be thrown into an immediate fire against Buffalo, owners of one of the NFL’s scariest pass rushes. He’s one of many Jets that could’ve used four consequence-free opportunities in August to adjust to the professional game.

But the experiences at One Jets Drive in Florham Park may have given Becton the best preseason/tune-up opponents of all: Gregg Williams’ defense.

Becton admitted that virtual meetings at the onset of camp that virtual meetings took a bit of adjusting to, but that he found his first NFL training camp to be a fulfilling experience, one that helped him learn where his true NFL strengths lie and where he might need to improve moving forward.

“I would definitely say I got better as a player, person and teammate,” Becton said in Landis’ postcamp report. “I definitely learned how to take care of my body, technique, plays, everything. I’ve gotten better over this time period.;”

“I fixed my hand placement and made sure that I keep my feet moving and don’t just stop once I make contact. Those are the things I worked on the most and needed to harp on the most. I also needed to work on my backside cutoff as well.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags