New York Giants: Week Two Has Sense Of Urgency According To Evan Engram

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants are in a position that’s become familiar as of recent: the position of being 0-1 after one game has passed. The team has a bad record in recent years with their openers, but for the 2020 season, the Giants have a new administration. According to tight end Evan Engram, the team is doing a good job so far bouncing back between weeks.

Engram’s remarks on Friday

It’s a short week between the Giants’ opener on Monday Night Football and their next game, in Chicago. Engram, however, says that the Giants didn’t miss out on attention to detail because of it.

“We had a lot of urgency this week. Being a short week, the schedule was adjusted. I think we did a really good job this week of flying around with urgency and attention to detail, and getting all of our reps in and work in,” Engram told reporters on Friday.

When asked about how the staff approached his performance in week one, he also claimed the needed fixes were on the minor side.

“Just fixing some details that I needed to get fixed. Just some small things in the game that I could have been better at. When we broke down the film, we highlighted those and I added that to the emphasis of my practices throughout the week, and then we moved on,” he continued.

Engram had two receptions for only nine yards in the season opener. That’s out of seven targets – not the best performance, for a player that’s meant to be one of the receiving game’s most promising weapons. For the previous two seasons, Engram has struggled with injuries.

Now that he’s healthy for now, the next step is obviously producing on the field. But after one week, Engram’s ability to do that consistently will be called into question by many fans who expect more and expect results soon.

New York Mets: Matz Fails in Return to Rotation in 15-2 Loss

The New York Mets were out of options in their starting rotation, so Steven Matz lucked into the start against the Atlanta Braves. Matz’s outing went exactly the way we all expected it to. The Braves treated it like batting practice and gave the same treatment to Franklyn Kilome to put up a 15-2 victory.

The only savior for the Mets would have been a rainout because of the lack of confidence in Matz. It was the same pitcher they had before his IL stint, and he put the Mets in a hole early. Over 2.2 innings pitched, Matz allowed six runs on eight hits, including two more home runs. It was part of the Braves scoring in the first four innings of the game.

Kilome returned to the Mets roster before the game since the Mets needed relief help. He provided relief but did not offer any help in the game. Kilome allowed six runs and another two home run to the Braves offense.

Hughes to the Rescue

Jared Hughes came in for a rare long relief appearance throwing 3.2 innings and allowing three more runs and two more homers. While it was not the best performance, it saved the Mets from overusing their bullpen.

Brad Brach and Todd Frazier (you read that right) were the only pitchers with scoreless appearances. While Brach’s was only a one-out cameo, Frazier hurled a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth. He even got Adam Duvall to strikeout looking on a knuckleball.

On the other side, Max Fried continued his Cy Young campaign. Over five innings, he only had three strikeouts but held the Mets to one run, keeping his ERA under two. Jeff McNeil provided the only offense off Fried with an RBI double in the fifth.

Amed Rosario provided three of the five Mets hits on the night. His sixth-inning single gave the Mets their second and final run of the game.

On Saturday, David Peterson tries to become the first Mets starter to make it to the third inning in three games. He faces Ian Anderson at 7:07 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

Yankees’ Brett Gardner gives us insight into his future plans for baseball

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees might have found their future replacement for Brett Gardner in Clint Frazier, but the veteran outfielder has other plans for his future.

Currently, in his 13th year in the MLB, Gardner is 36 years old and still starting the majority of games for one of the best teams in baseball. That is no easy feat, and he deserves tons of credit for his ability to remain healthy and effective. While Gardner is known primarily for his defense, his offense in 2019 bubbled to the surface, as he posted 28 homers and 74 RBIs, both career highs.

So far, in 2020, he’s hitting .198 with five homers and 14 RBIs. While his offense has taken a backseat, his defense is still his best attribute, and it seems he could be a factor in 2021 for the bombers.

As one of the veteran leaders on the team, Brett represents much more than just an every-day player. He is headed toward a reserve spot, helping supplement injuries and keeping the team motivated and confident. He has the gusto of a future coach, but his desire is to play as long as possible.

Yankees’ Brett Gardner tells his future prior to Friday’s game:

“I feel great, and I feel like I can still do it,” Gardner said. “We’ll just see what happens in a few months. Right now I’m just focused on this team and trying to go into the playoffs strong, and hopefully, win the World Series.”

New York Jets Game Preview Week 2: San Francisco 49ers

New York Jets, Jimmy G

The September road gets no easier for the New York Jets, who welcome in the defending NFC champions on Sunday afternoon.

What: San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
When: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Watch: Fox

Whoever formed the 2020 NFL schedule was probably not a New York Jets fan.

A week after opening their season with a tilt against an up-and-coming divisional foe, the Jets open their 2020 MetLife Stadium slate against the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Each is looking to avenge opening week losses against familiar competition.

The Jets (0-1) experienced the worst kind of deja vu last weekend, opening their season with a loss to the Buffalo Bills for the second straight year. In their 27-17 defeat, the Jets allowed 404 yards of offense, 369 coming from the arms and legs of Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen. It allowed the Bills to build a 21-0 lead before the Jets earned second half touchdowns from Jamison Crowder and Josh Adams. Defensively, safety Marcus Maye impressed on the statsheet with a game-best 10 tackles and two sacks while also forcing an Allen fumble.

“It was about as bad of a start offensively as we could have had,” head coach Adam Gase said of the loss, per transcripts from the Jets. “We didn’t do anything when the defense did a good job getting a turnover. Complimentary football was non-existent throughout most of the game. We just really did not play well. The disappointing aspect is just watching the guys work all week and the excitement level coming into this game. We have a lot to work on and a lot of things to get fixed.”

San Francisco’s follow-up to their Super Bowl LIV appearance didn’t go as intended, as they fell 24-20 to the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. Raheem Mostert tallied 151 total yards of offense and a receiving touchdown in defeat.

The Series

This will be the 14th all-time meeting between the Jets and 49ers, with the latter leading the all-time series 10-3. With the scheduling formula, the teams meet only once every four years. The Jets took home the last meeting in overtime by a 23-17 final in 2016. It was a career day for Bilal Powell, who had a career-best 145 yards and the game-winning score in the extra period. San Francisco dominated the most recent meeting at MetLife Stadium, a 34-0 shellacking in 2012.

History Happens: 1983

Historically, the Jets and 49ers have been at the opposite end of the football success spectrum. The Jets had their share of success in the 1980s, but it was nothing compared to San Francisco’s quartet of Super Bowls. New York, however, was on the right side of things in a 1983 matchup at Candlestick Park. In a victorious 27-13 final, Jerry Holmes stifled the potential tying drive by taking a Joe Montana interception back 43 yards for the sealing score. Richard Todd threw for 201 yards and a score, while Scott Dierking added a rushing touchdown.

They Said It

“He has a short memory no matter what goes on good or bad. He’s always positive no matter what the situation is. On both sides of the ball, we look up to him. We look for him to get everybody going on that side. He’s the leader on that side of the ball and on this team. We will all rally behind him and I’m sure the offense will too. He always finds a way to bounce back,” Maye said. “I don’t expect him to come out with any doubt at all. He’s a great competitor and he knows how to get those guys going. I’m excited to see them come out fast, come out hot this week and he’ll be alright.”Jets safety Marcus Maye on Sam Darnold, per Eric Allen

“Obviously, hindsight is 20-20 but Nick at number two is a no-brainer. And Quinnen was a no brainer. At that point, it was just kind of what you prefer as a team, as a coaching staff, and as an organization. Obviously, I don’t think you could have gone wrong with either player. I do feel Nick has turned into one of the best at his position. Quinnen has that same ability. So we expect him to be disruptive on Sunday and we expect to try to contain him. Both of those guys are saturated with talent and I don’t think you could have went wrong either way.”-49ers tackle Trent Williams comparing Quinnen Williams and Nick Bosa, per Chris Biderman

Matchup To Watch

T Mekhi Becton vs. DE Nick Bosa

Becton has been thrown into the NFL fire in his professional debut. He dealt with the likes of Jerry Hughes last week that powered San Francisco into the most recent Big Game. Bosa exploded onto the NFL scene in his rookie year and, as evidenced by Williams’ comments, he might have a little extra something to prove as the 49ers battle Quinnen Williams, who went one pick later in the 2019 draft at third overall.

The Jets’ blocking was one of the rare consistent silver linings of Sunday’s opener. Becton’s performance was particularly inspiring, turning in a performance good enough for Pro Football Focus’ top-rated offensive rookie in Week 1 games. The second presents on opportunity or reckoning for the offensive line. If they truly want to show the NFL that their offensive line has taken a step in the right direction…and perhaps provide a stronger sense of security for Sam Darnold…pacifying the 49ers’ relentless rush would be an inspiring step in the right direction on both a local and national level.

The Jets Will Win If…

Sam Darnold responds to perhaps the biggest challenge his NFL career has faced yet.

A good portion of the Jets’ fanbase has to realize that criticism can be levied toward Adam Gase while also holding Darnold accountable. Opening weekend was not a strong showing for Darnold, who put himself in situations and issues that third-year franchise quarterbacks frankly shouldn’t be facing in their third year at the helm. In today’s world of instant gratification and response through hot football takes, that can be deadly for a quarterback’s social status in this league. Some mock drafts have gone as far as to pencil Trevor Lawrence into the Jets’ 2021 draft slot. A good game would do a lot to stifle those concerns.

The window of opportunity opens even wider upon the injury-induced absence of starting cornerback Jason Verrett. Darnold has risen to the occasion before when the odds are stacked against him…remember his return from illness against the Cowboys last season? He might need another one to create some peace of mind.

The 49ers Will Win If…

They take care of business. Until further notice, the Jets are prime trap game fodder, that possibility only increasing with each opponent’s prestige.

San Francisco is going to a popular pick in knockout pools over the next two weeks, as they return to the metropolitan area next Sunday to take on the Giants. The trap game case is only increased with their constant travel to the other side of the country. But the 49ers can not get caught looking ahead. The Week 1 scores, ones that left San Francisco as the only fruitless squad in their group, proved that the NFC West is going to be one of the most, if not the most, division in football season. Arizona’s road win in Santa Clara shows they may be ahead of schedule. The already dangerous Seahawks looked to be on another level with Jamal Adams in tow. In Los Angeles, the Rams christened both SoFi Stadium and their redemption tour with a nationally televised win over Dallas. Simply put, the 49ers can’t afford to go 0-2. Desperation only rises with both Verrett and star tight end George Kittle out due to injury.

The Super Bowl runner-up has missed the ensuing postseason in three of the past six seasons. San Francisco must take care of business to avoid that same fate.

Prediction

Even with the time zones on their side, it was already enough of a tall task to ask the Jets to take down the defending Super Bowl finalists. The fact they’ll be missing several major contributors (Jamison Crowder, Le’Veon Bell, Denzel Mims) and the idea that San Francisco will still be stewing from the misstep against Arizona only makes the task even more daunting. Thus, it’s probably not wise to expect any miracles on the New York end.

Moral victories will be the name of the game for the Jets in the foreseeable future. If they play well against an elite team, they can hang their heads high. Victories on the scoreboard, simply put, may still be at a premium.

49ers 27, Jets 14

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees: Welcome back Mr. Sanchez, we were waiting for you

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

For most of the 2020 season, Gary Sanchez has struggled. The New York Yankees‘ starting catcher has a .145/.253/.374 line with a .274 wOBA and a 69 wRC+ in 41 games and 150 plate appearances, and there is a good chance he finishes the season below the Mendoza line. That’s fine, though, because all indications are that the worst of the slump is already behind him. The Kraken is starting to break out of his funk.

Over his last seven games, the Yankees’ All-Star catcher is hitting a much better .250/.357/.583 with a .393 wOBA and a 151 wRC+.

Sanchez is being much more disciplined in the batter’s box, with a 10.7 BB% and a 17.9 K%, down from his 36.7 season mark.

He’s been hitting the ball with authority over those seven games, with a 91.5 mph average exit velocity. He also has two home runs, six runs and six RBI. Welcome back, Gary. We were waiting for you.

It’s nice to see Gary producing after all those bad at-bats of swinging at sliders in the dirt or fastballs at the eyes. But what changed?

The Yankees’ catcher went back to the basics

On Thursday, he had perhaps his best game of the season, with a double and a home run in the New York Yankees’ 10-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. He said, according to NJ.com, that the primary change he adopted was a different mindset.

“My goal was to really just go back to the basics and just hit the ball and put it in play,” he said. “I’m getting much better results”.

“It has been a lot of work with our hitting coaches and it’s finally showing up,” Sanchez said. “I’m very thankful for everybody here just giving me the opportunity to play and hit myself out of a bad funk.”

It took a while, but now, the Yankees appear on the verge of getting the full Kraken experience.

“It’s definitely a process,” Sanchez said. “That’s why playing is so important. The more games you play, the more chances you have to make the right adjustment and put all the work together and finally get going.

“Now I feel really good, so I’m hoping for good results to come.”

New York Giants’ Joe Judge predicts major jump in week 2

New York Giants, Joe Judge

While the New York Giants fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers in a week one 26-16, there are plenty of positives to extract from the contest. Of course, whenever a team loses, there are more negatives to work off of, but the Giants put themselves in a good spot to only improve moving forward. Competing against one of the best teams in the NFL, the Steelers represented a strong challenge for an extremely young Big Blue squad. Composed of 13 new starters and new coaches across-the-board, the Giants were always the underdog’s entering the contest, and Vegas agreed.

Consider this, Will Hernandez, who was only drafted two years ago, is the longest-tenured Giant on the offensive line. The Giants don’t have any players who signed a second contract on defense, with the only player on offense being Sterling Shepard.

Nonetheless, despite their youth agenda and inexperience with one another, head coach Joe Judge believes they can take a major step forward against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

New York Giants beat reporter Dan Salomone stated that in Joe Judge’s experience, teams make the biggest jump from week 1 to week 2.

Joe Judge says the good teams – and he’s been a part of a few – make a big jump from Week 1 to 2. The New York Giants will try to do that Sunday as they look for their first win against the Chicago Bears, who rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Lions in their season opener.

The major issues for the Giants in the week one loss of the Steelers were the offensive line and CB2 position. These were two units that were expected to struggle early on, due to a lack of chemistry and overall talent. Utilizing Corey Ballentine and Isaac Yiadom at CB2 was tumultuous, but the offensive front was OK in pass protection. Their primary struggles came in the run game, as star running back Saquon Barkley only picked up six-yards on the ground over 15 attempts.

Let’s hope the Giants can provide a bit more room to run for Barkley in week two against a team that allowed 138 rushing yards in their opener.

UFC: What to make of this Dustin Poirier – Tony Ferguson situation

A few weeks ago, UFC President Dana White smiled at a press conference when hinting that Tony Ferguson (25-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) would be the co-main event at UFC 254 on Fight Island. Everyone assumed the fight would happen.

Then, we started to hear that there were troubles in the negotiations between Poirier and the UFC. Shortly after, we learned that the UFC scrapped the fight and was moving on. White said that the promotion would move on to give Tony Ferguson another fight.

A confident White said that he didn’t believe Ferguson would turn down the fight that they would offer. However, Ferguson appeared to, “go quiet,” on the UFC according to White. Without hearing a confirmation from El Cucuy, the promotion pulled him from the 254 lineup as well.

White said that he’s looking for guys right now who are willing to jump in no matter what. Well, Poirier wants to be compensated more by the UFC for his next fight, and it appears that Ferguson is only interested in a fight with Poirier.

What does the UFC do?

It’s obvious now that we won’t see Ferguson and Poirier square off inside the UFC until at least November when the promotion returns from Fight Island. Now that we know that Ferguson is also off the 254 card, I expect the UFC to try to make this fight again for a later date.

We don’t really know how far Poirier and the promotion were apart on the negotiations. I believe that there is a middle ground somewhere in order to make the fight happen. It’s clear that both guys want the fight, the money just has to be right.

This is such an interesting situation. Here you have Tony Ferguson essentially standing up for his future opponent. Normally the UFC could just make another fight for Ferguson, but that’s not the case here.

Since Ferguson is also taking a stand, I think the likelihood of the fight eventually coming together goes up. These are two of the best that the promotion has to offer, and I can’t imagine they will just let both sit. A deal will eventually get worked out, and I think we will see this fight by the end of 2020.

Should the New York Giants try Evan Engram at WR?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

After his porous Week 1, New York Giants fans are already banging the drum for the team to cut ties with Evan Engram. While the criticism of the 26-year-old is expected and understandable given his play, the Giants would be silly to get rid of him after one very underwhelming performance in his first game back since Week 9 of last season.

However, if Engram’s play Monday night becomes a regular occurrence and more than just a matter of him needing to shake off some rust, it might make sense for the Giants to explore different ways they could utilize his services before they consider moving on from him.

What do I mean by that exactly? Moving him to wide receiver.

Now, before I make a case for the switch, I should make it known that I’m confident Engram will improve and find his footing as the season progresses. He’s too talented, and Jason Garrett’s offense is going to maximize his potential as a tight end. There are ways to scheme around his horrid blocking, and the mismatch he represents at his current position is extremely valuable.

According to reports, Engram generated a lot of hype during training camp and looked very explosive. He quickly caught the eye of head coach Joe Judge, and Judge has not been shy about praising what he’s seen from Engram. Here’s Judge practically gushing about Engram back in August:

“He’s very in-tune, he’s very intelligent, he’s very deliberate about how he works and what he’s focusing on within each period,” Judge said. “I turn his tape on and see him flying around. He’s a fun guy to watch play because he has a lot of ability, but he loves the game, too.”

It’s clear that Judge and the Giants are excited about Engram and the value he brings. They are looking to get him involved a lot, and I doubt one bad game is going to change that. But on the flip side, moving Engram to wide receiver could make sense for multiple reasons. For one, as I mentioned earlier, Engram has never been a good blocker, and that proved to be the case still Monday night.

He’s been trying, so you have to give him credit for that, and he has shown that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty, but throughout training camp, that has been a department where he’s struggled and has just continuously gotten beat my his man. It was no different against Pittsburgh, as there were multiple occurrences where Engram just whiffed completely. The defender lined up against him was able to get past him with ease, causing trouble for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. He was so bad that out of the 64 tight ends that Pro Football Focus graded from Week One, Engram was dead last, being last in run-blocking and second-to-last in pass-blocking.

While there’s always a chance he could improve as a blocker, the likelihood at this point is that he’ll probably always be below average in that area. The Giants can’t keep having him as a blocker, it’s only going to hurt them. Having Engram play most of his snaps on the outside will require him to block a lot less, and when he does, he’ll be facing corners or safeties who he should fare better against than the linebackers and edge rushers he mainly ends up having to block now.

The Giants also have another young tight end, Kaden Smith, who is a very good blocker, so having him replace Engram as the top tight end on the roster would allow Smith do most of the blocking, and that, in turn, would be a better situation for the offense. Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson, the other tight ends on the roster, are also much more capable as blockers than Engram and would be better options as well.

In this scenario, Engram would be able to focus on catching passes, where he’s thrived over his career, and Smith would be able to not only bring a more consistent blocking presence at the line of scrimmage but become more of a focal point in the offense. With his increase in snaps, Smith can build upon the potential he showed as a pass-catcher himself last season.

Additionally, another reason for Engram to make the switch is his height. Standing at 6’3”, Engram has excellent size for the wide receiver position, and the Giants have been needing a big-bodied receiver. Engram has always been a glorified wide receiver, and although he might not get as many mismatches against linebackers as he does currently, he is a good enough route runner with great speed to be able to succeed and make plays on the outside.

Again, I want to reiterate that I only see this as a possible opportunity if Engram continues to struggle in the coming weeks. I still believe he’ll get his act together and improve, and the Giants will definitely still be looking to get him the ball as much as they can. However, this could pose an interesting compromise to trading him or letting him go.

What do you think, Giants fans?

New York Jets: Jamison Crowder OUT of Sunday’s game

Head coach Adam Gase confirmed that the scorer of the New York Jets’ first 2020 touchdown will not play against San Francisco.

It’s only Week 2, but losses are continuing to pile up for the New York Jets.

Per ESPN’s Rich Cimini, head coach Adam Gase announced on Friday that receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring) will not play on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers (1 p.m. ET, Fox). Crowder is the latest injury of New York medical absentees, joining offensive weapons Le’Veon Bell and Denzel Mims.

Crowder, 27, was the Jets’ top receiver during their opening week loss to Buffalo. He scored the team’s first touchdown of the season via a 69-yard aerial hook-up with Sam Darnold in the third quarter. Crowder’s 115 receiving yards on the afternoon were good for fifth-best amongst all Week 1 receivers. He’s in the midst of his second season with the Jets (0-1), leading the team with 833 yards on 78 receptions last year.

With Crowder out, Gase expects fellow slot receiver Braxton Berrios to take on expanded duties against the 49ers. Berrios is primarily used as a returner but earned 115 yards on six receptions last season.

“Crowder’s been probably our best player on offense the last two years,” Gase said in video from SNY. “Berrios, his skill set fits what we do. We always try to develop a role for him throughout the week. We’ve got to do it in a way that Crowder stays on the field, they both play the same spot (slot receiver). I’m just glad he’s here. I think it’s rare to have two starters in this league.”

San Francisco (0-1) may likewise be missing an important offensive weapon upon their Sunday visit. According to KNBR’s Brian Murphy, tight end George Kittle will be a game-time decision. The defending first-team All-Pro representative suffered a knee sprain in the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Are the New York Yankees peaking too early?

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

It’s truly remarkable how quickly the tide has changed for the 2020 New York Yankees. Just ten days ago, the team hit the lowest point of their season. They lost a 2-1 game to the Toronto Blue Jays that marked their seventh loss in eight games.

The team just looked defeated. The Yankees offense couldn’t get blowing, the bullpen was consistently blowing leads, and the starting pitching was all over the place. It was a dark time for Yankees fans, and some thought the team might not make the playoffs.

All of a sudden, the Yankees got an incredible start by rookie Deivi Garcia which led to a win, and they haven’t looked back. The Yankees have now won eight straight games. The offense is setting major league records with the way they are crushing the ball.

The bombers have scored an astonishing 43 runs in their last three games that came against the Blue Jays. The starting pitching has looked good, and the team looks to have all the confidence in the world. Not too mention they just got Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back.

Have the Yankees peaked too early?

The Yankees are playing their best baseball of the season right now. They are just demolishing their competition, but I’m honestly a little concerned. The team still has ten games to go before the season ends. Will this hot streak carry into the postseason or have they peaked too early?

So far, we have seen three waves in the Yankees season. They started out 10-6 before going on a six game winning streak that pushed them to first in the division. That’s when the Rays came into the Bronx and broke Yankees fans hearts.

The Rays swept the bombers, and the Yankees went on to lose seven straight games. The Yankees looked to be a shell of themselves as they were 5-15 in the 20 games following their six game winning streak that pushed them to 16-6.

Now, the bombers have won eight straight games to get them to 29-21. Minus having Paxton, the team is healthy and looks ready for the postseason. Gerrit Cole is pitching up to his talent level and the team is smacking home runs left and right.

Despite feeling good about those areas, this team has been so hot and cold that I am slightly concerned. The Yankees are still extremely reliant on the home run ball, and we know how that doesn’t always translate in October.

Maybe I shouldn’t be concerned. Maybe the Yankees will ride this wave all the way to a 28th World Series champion. Or maybe the wave crashes right when the playoff start. Either way, I’m still not feeling 100% confident as we head closer to the playoffs.