New York Giants: What does the first win mean for the Draft?

New York Giants

The New York Giants picked up their first win of the season against Washington, but it’s hard not to think of the NFL Draft still. That’s because, while the win is nice, it looks like the Giants are still pretty far back from contending for the division unless this win sparks a sudden run of form. It will also take better performances. The Giants beat Washington by one point, and yet Washington is one of the other worst teams in the league right now.

While it’s not quite late enough in the season yet to have the debate about whether or not tanking should be the chosen path, and that debate is becoming a yearly trend now for the Giants, it is possible to keep track of the team’s draft position.

New York Jets are the big loser (or winner)

After getting shut out by the now 3-3 Dolphins, the Jets are both a big winner and loser in week three. Obviously, the ‘loser’ part is because they were shut out 24-0 and they’re still a winless team. Their fans are still very much in a similar spot to Giants fans right now and the team recently gave up star running back Le’veon Bell for nothing before Bell was quickly picked up by the Super Bowl contender Chiefs.

On that front, it’s not fun following the Jets right now. On the other hand, the combination of a Giants and Falcons victory and a Jets loss gives the Jets the sole possession of the number one overall pick. That’s probably a good thing for the Jets. It either means top quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence or a big trade haul in exchange for the pick. Assuming, of course, they keep their position through the end of the season.

As for the Giants, they’re now in third position behind Washington but ahead of a number of other 1-5 teams. There’s an abundance of bad teams this year in the NFL and it will probably make the race for the number one pick more interesting down the stretch if some of these teams don’t improve and pick up more wins.

Just because the Giants are now in the 1-5 group and not the winless group, however, doesn’t mean they won’t get the pick. Let’s not forget, after all, that Washington is also one of the worst teams in the league. The Giants pulled off a slim victory, but their performance doesn’t indicate that they’ll suddenly have a miraculous turnaround and jump out of the league’s basement, and contention for the top pick, soon.

Pit road victory allows Joey Logano to advance to NASCAR’s final four

Joey Logano’s well-timed pit stop allowed him to beat out Kevin Harvick at Kansas, making him eligible for the NASCAR Cup Series title.

Joey Logano and his No. 22 Team Penske Ford team showed exactly why NASCAR is a team sport at Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.

A caution session with 45 circuits left in the 267-lap event saw Logano’s crew provide the fastest service. He beat out incoming leader Kevin Harvick off pit lane, as well as the final 41 green flag circuits to earn a victory that clinched his spot among the four championship contenders at Phoenix Raceway on November 8.

Logano’s win at Kansas is his third of the season and his first since taking two of the first four races held prior to a COVID-19-induced pause in March…his last win ironically coming at Phoenix. With the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs entering its three-race Round of 8, Logano earned automatic entry to the finale as the Connecticut native seeks his second title over the last three seasons.

If I’m being honest, I don’t have fun driving a race car, I have fun winning,” Logano said after the race. “That’s what I enjoy doing. That’s what that is at this point. If I want to go fun, I’ll go to a go-kart track and have fun. That’s not what this is about. This is about winning, this is a job, putting food on the table for not only my family but countless others that helped this race team.”

En route to his first Cup Series title in 2018, Logano also won the first race of the Round of 8, then held at Martinsville Speedway (which will host the final contest of the round this time). The importance of such a victory was not lost on the 30-year-old.

The weight lifted off your shoulders is only part of it. The ability to start working on your Phoenix car, not worry about your Texas and Martinsville car,” he said. “I don’t want to say that, but you’re 100% focused on one more race.  We know we can’t finish worse than fourth in points, you know what I mean? We know we’re in it.”

Logano mostly lingered in the middle portions of the field in the early going, watching Chase Elliott and Denny Hamling win the first two 80-lap stages. After the second stage, Logano and Aric Almirola gambled by taking two tires on the ensuing pit stops. While Almirola (a former playoff driver eliminated after the Round of 12) faded, Logano was set up to run with the leaders. By the time Tyler Reddick brought out the caution by scraping the wall at lap 221, it was clear that Logano and Harvick had the vehicles to beat.

The No. 22 team helped Logano win the fateful race off of pit road before he held off a furious challenge from Harvick over the final segments for the win. Some fans took issue with the current rules package, claiming that it allowed Harvick to catch up to Logano but not take the lead. Logano instead credited his choice of lanes in the final turns around the 1.5-mile tri-oval, as well as the assistance of spotter TJ Majors.

“When you have clean air in front of you, like Kevin did as well, being so close to the lead, the advantage probably goes to the trimmed car, which is what the 4 has.  At that point you just kind of hope for dirty air and tires to wear out a little bit.  That’s where our car should start to excel,” Logano explained. “So, knowing that in your mind, you try to hold him off for as long as you can. If you can hold off 15 laps or so, maybe it would get a little easier. It didn’t. He hung on there for a long time, was catching me so fast on the straightaways. It was a matter of picking the right lanes when you get there.”

Harvick was denied his 10th win of the season, a mark unattained since Jimmie Johnson pulled off the feat in 2007, but praised Logano for his work over the final laps. He’s currently up 41 points on the championship cutoff.

“Joey did just a good job of putting his car right in front of ours,” Harvick said. With this package, every time you put your car in front of the car behind you, it takes the nose away.  We just had a little bit of trouble trying to get the nose to turn when he would take our lane.”

Alex Bowman joined the main duo late to finish third, while Logano’s Penske teammate Brad Keselowski came home fourth. Non-playoff driver Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Keselowski is currently the last driver in when looking at the final four picture, up on Elliott (6th), Sunday’s polesitter by eight points. Elliott would be on via points, but was shifted to the outside looking in by Logano’s victory.

The Round of 8 reaches its middle stage next Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Race Notes

  • Elliott recovered to finish sixth after radio problems plagued him in the early stages of the race.

 

  • After winning the second stage, Hamlin made contact with the wall, forcing him to pit road. He eventually recovered to a 15th-place finish and currently holds one of the championship spots by 20 points.

 

  • Prior to the race, the small, socially distanced crowd paid tribute to Kansas native Clint Bowyer, the retiring driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Bowyer, winner of 10 Cup Series races and the 2008 Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series title, moved to the front of the field before the green flag flew. Bowyer finished 26th, capping off his Kansas ledger with three top-five and eight top-ten finishes in 25 starts at his home track.

 

  • Playoff driver Kurt Busch’s title chances took a major hit when he lost his engine at lap 198. At 73 points behind the cutoff, Busch more than likely will need to win of the two remaining pre-Phoenix races at Texas or Martinsville to contend for a championship.

 

  • Bowyer’s fellow retiree Matt Kenseth also endured a tough day, bringing out the caution with a wreck at lap 144.

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Jets’ Steve McLendon traded to Tampa Bay

Steve McLendon has been a quality veteran piece for the New York Jets since 2016. Coming over from Pittsburgh, he had decently high expectations. Ranked by PFF as one of the most efficient nose tackles in the game, the Jets were looking to gain a reliable piece upfront.

Since then, McClendon has provided that and then some on the field, McClendon has been a formidable piece for the squad. With his last season totaling up 36 tackles, seven QB hits, 10 TFL’s, 2.5 sacks, and a fumble recovery. Not only that, but McClendon has not missed a game since 2017. McClendon is also a vocal leader and someone, the coaching staff, has been immensely complimentary of.

Per Jim Stroud, McLendon has been traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he reunites with former Jets had Coach Todd Bowles. In his last season with Bowles, McClendon had 3.5 sacks, 7TFL’s, a forced fumble, and 28 tackles. McClendon adds a veteran presents upfront to an already stout buccaneer defense.

As for the Jets, this is a sign of full-on rebuild mode. After releasing an offense of leader and playmaker and Le’Veon Bell earlier this week, they now followed it up by trading away a defensive captain in an eye-opening move. With the deadline just a few days away, you’d have to wonder if this is a signal of more to come. With the bulk of the Jets’ top players on short term deals and the team now sitting at 0-6, it would make more sense than not to begin the deconstruction now.

In terms of compensation, the Jets will send a 2023 7th Round selection along with him in order to gain a 2022 6th rounder. At 34 years old, yes, he does provide value, but he was likely not going to fetch anything more than a late rounder. Still, the Jets were able to shed cap, provide young guys opportunities to step up, and earn a role in the future, while also giving McClendon a much-deserved opportunity on a contender.

New York Jets: The rumored favorite to replace Adam Gase

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets have had an awful start and will likely be looking for a new head coach this offseason (0-6). With a team in one of the biggest markets in the country, there were undoubtedly going to be rumors spread early. Now, the team already has it’s first rumored coaching candidate in Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell.

Campbell spent a lot of time throughout in different spots through the college ranks despite his quick rise to a head coaching gig. Campbell was a Grad Assistant at Bowling Green before switching between Mount Union, Bowling Green again, and Toledo.

While at Toledo, he was the offensive coordinator before being named head coach at 32 years old. He then led Toledo to a 35-15 record with two Bowl wins. After getting offered the job at Iowa State, Campbell headed to Iowa State to resurrect their program.

After an 11-14 start over the first two seasons, Campbell has coached the team to an 18-12 record. One reason Campbell has drawn the eye of many NFL execs is because of his squad’s impressive development in the 2018 season. The team managed to pull off two massive upsets against #3 Oklahoma and #4 TCU, and wins of that level of magnitude do not go unrecognized. Those kinds of wins show a coach has built such a strong culture in a locker room that they fail to be bogged down by the weight of facing upper-echelon competition.

The Iowa State team has shown so much growth that Campbell is a 2-time Big 12 Coach of the Year recipient. Campbell was asked to interview for the Jets opening in 2018, but he declined.

Now, things could be different. With a well respected general manager in Joe Douglas and an Albert Breer report that he is going to actively pursue Campbell, the potential of the Iowa State coach heading to Florham Park. Campbell would do a number of things. He would bring a fresh, innovative offensive mind to the team while also instilling a respectable culture. Campbell has had immense success to this point, and at 40 years old, his future is very bright. The same cannot be said for the Jets, but with a coach who is respectable and shares the same fresh perspective that Douglas has, it could just have a flickering light.

Four plays that decided the New York Jets’ Sunday fate vs. Miami

New York Jets, Adam Gase

Typical New York Jets silliness ensued on Sunday in South Beach, leading to another loss, their first in the post-Le’Veon Bell era.

Le’Veon Bell may be gone, but the results are, alas, the same for the New York Jets.

Three first half touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick helped the Miami Dolphins build an insurmountable lead at Hard Rock Stadium, en route to an 24-0 win over the Jets. After the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants won in Sunday afternoon’s early window, the Jets (0-6) are the only team in football without a win. New York also becomes the first victim of an NFL shutout in 2020.

ESM looks back on another brutal loss so you don’t have to, tracking down a play from each quarter, for better or worse, that determined the Jets’ present and future in a visit to Florida that was anything but a vacation.

1st Quarter: Miami Vice

The Jets’ problems with penalties are overshadowed by malarkey on both sides of the ball, but they entered Sunday’s game averaging over eight flags per game. Their first half against Miami provided only further fuel for this yellow flag fire, picking up seven infractions before the first half-hour let out. The most egregious sequence came in the final stages of the opening frame. Down only 7-0…which, let’s face it, could be seen as insurmountable by some Jets fans…the Jets actually had a strong drive going, getting to the cusp of the Miami red zone.

Alas, their biggest enemy rose to the occasion: themselves.

The Jets appeared to keep the drive on with a nine-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Breshad Perriman on a one-yard third down, but that was wiped out due to an offensive pass interference penalty of Ryan Griffin. An illegal motion penalty on the next play, later declined, took the spotlight of a Flacco fumble, one that was recovered but pushed the Jets back to the 40, where they opted to punt. Braden Mann, one of the rare silver linings of consistency in New York, downed the ball five yards from the end zone, but Vyncint Smith failed to get on top of it before it went to the back of the end zone…at which point, a Harvey Langi personal foul gave the Dolphins 15 extra yards and giving the Jets a net worth of five yards on the punt.

That sequence, which ended the first quarter, simply highlighted the dysfunctional fire that is Jets football…one that shows little signs of pacifying. Making things all the more brutal for the Jets: that drive that ended in the brutal penalties was the drive on the first half in which they obtained first downs.

2nd Quarter: Offensive Defense

Earlier this week, Gregg Williams took what was perceived as a thinly veiled jab at the offense, claiming the Jets’ struggles at giving up points were “not all defensively”. But his defense certainly didn’t help matters, with their own struggles perfectly on display at the end of the first half.

Williams may nonetheless have had a point; all but one of the Jets’ first half drives (as mentioned above) ended without the team getting a first down, forcing the defense into brutal on-and-off situations throughout the ball game. With Miami getting the ball right before the two-minute warning (a Jakeem Grant punt return for a touchdown stopped only by a Mann tackle), they wasted no time in a third invasion of the Jets’ end zone, a trek amplified by a 44-yard hook-up between Fitzpatrick and Adam Shaheen. Myles Gaskin needed only one play to earn the final yard to glory, giving the Dolphins a 21-0 halftime lead.

3rd Quarter: Ty Ballgame

Somehow, even with Bell having moved to the greener pastures (pun intended) of Kansas City, Frank Gore remained the Jets’ top ball rusher at 11 carries…still getting more opportunities than fourth-round project La’Mical Perine. Perhaps even more surprising, Gore earned more carries than Perine and recent veteran signee Ty Johnson combined. The latter made his mark in a mostly quiet third quarter, Johnson uncorked a 33-yard carry that set up a failed Sam Ficken field goal (his first three-point miss of the season). It was the longest carry by a Jets running back this season, besting matching 13-yard tallies by Bell and Gore. Who knows if Gore will continue to see a lion’s share of the carries, but Johnson’s emergence should not be quickly forgotten, especially on a team that has lost everything there is lose.

4th Quarter: Oh No, Joe

The fourth quarter could’ve been a time to look at the silver lining of an incredible Marcus Maye interception, but the Jets couldn’t even emerge with that fleeting positive. Following Maye’s backside grab, the Jets embarked on another potentially lucrative drive, one that could, at the very least, avoid a shutout. However, Flacco’s scramble of doom cost New York a whopping 28 yards, one that pushed the Jets all the way back into their own territory at the 45. Flacco had the opportunity to throw the ball away, but instead committed a rookie mistake at 35.

If Darnold continues to miss games, the Jets’ next step is simple…it’s time to activate fourth-round thrower James Morgan, if only to see what they have and at least add some intrigue to this ten-game dirge.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

What’s next for Chan Sung Jung after UFC Fight Island 6?

The Korean Zombie is one of the more popular fighters in the UFC‘s featherweight division. His dynamic striking and power along with his incredible heart make him a fan favorite. However, he didn’t show off what makes him special this past Saturday.

At UFC Fight Island 6, Chan Sung Jung (16-6) really struggled in his fight against Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC). Ortega had been out of the cage for nearly two years while the Zombie had been relatively active last fighting in December.

However, it looked like Jung was the fighter who had been inactive. All night long, Jung stayed on the outside and didn’t appear aggressive. Ortega used his improved striking to just pick apart Chan Sung Jung from the outside. Jung was even dropped twice.

In the end, the judges gave the shutout victory to Ortega at UFC Fight Island 6. A fight that was billed to be a war ended up being a largely one-sided affair. It was a big disappointment for the Korean Zombie. So what’s next for Chan Sung Jung inside the octagon.

What does the UFC do with TKZ?

Losing to the top contender in the division doesn’t set Jung back to far. However, it is disappointing as Jung was hoping to secure a UFC title shot with his victory. The one-sided nature of the loss will cause him to have to put together a string of wins to get back into the title picture.

In looking at the UFC‘s featherweight division, I think a decent next option could be a matchup with Josh Emmett (16-2). Emmett has won three straight and five out of his last six to get to the seventh ranking in the division.

Emmett is coming off of a bad knee injury, but he recently started resuming training. Jung didn’t appear to have any serious injuries, but it will take him a bit to recover from the loss. I think pairing these two could be a very good option for the UFC.

James Krause calls out Joaquin Buckley after UFC Fight Island 6

One of the fighters on the main card of last Saturday’s UFC Fight Island 6 card that picked up a win was James Krause (28-8). Krause picked up his seventh victory in his last eight fights with the only fight he’s lost being a fight he took on one days notice.

Quietly, Krause has turned himself into one of the more solid fighters in the UFC. Krause has also developed into quite the coach and he’s developed a solid stable of fighters. Being a coach seems to be his main focus at the moment, but he’s always down to fight.

Last Saturday he took on Claudio Silva. Silva was pressing forward the entire time, however, Krause was able to use slick movement and counters all night. In the end, it was a shutout victory for Krause who had some strong words for another UFC fighter in the post-fight press conference.

Krause was asked on if there was an issue between himself and Joaquin Buckley. Buckley has gone viral over the past couple of weeks due to his highlight reel knockout at UFC Fight Island 5. Buckley already has his next fight booked, but it didn’t stop Krause from talking about him.

“The dude’s a clown, man. People just know him from his viral video, for his viral knockout. It was a beautiful knockout. I’m not going to rag on that. The dude’s a s–t box. He’s from my neck of the woods and all he does is sit on social media and talk s–t all day. He called me to come train and I told him to get f–ked,” Krause told reporters

UFC Midwest Rivalry?

Krause went on to talk about the fact that he would love to face Buckley in the UFC. “I’ll go back up to middleweight and whoop his ass. He can get it. I know he’s got a fight set, but I’ll go back up middleweight for that. No problem. Easy work, Krause told reporters.

Buckley is set to take on Jordan Wright at UFC 255 in November. If Buckley gets through that fight with a victory, it might make sense for the UFC to book these two against each other. There is personal beef which always leads to a great build up.

Krause is a veteran in all aspects and it’s clear that Buckley has rubbed him the wrong way. A fight between the two just makes total sense, and Krause would take that fight on a moments notice given his history.

New York Islanders: The Islanders’ plan for the rest of free agency

New York Islanders, Johnny Boychuk

The NHL 2020 free agency has officially hit a dead period. What do I mean by a dead period? I mean there’s absolutely nothing happening at all. This dead period is where New York Islanders‘ general manager Lou Lamoriello thrives. Lamoriello knows how to make a splash out of absolutely nowhere. I mean just a week ago, Devon Toews was traded out of nowhere. Lamoriello has something up his sleeves and all it takes is one move to put it all in motion. What is his true plan though?

Trading Away Johnny Boychuk and Leo Komarov

Oh, it’s a long-overdue move for the Islanders. If the Islanders can somehow dump both these players and retain no salary in return, Lamoriello will be one of the greatest general managers’s in Isles history. This move opens $9 million in cap space. Do you know who costs $9 million dollars? Mat Barzal.

It’s no secret that these two are on the trade block right now, but that doesn’t mean this move is bound to happen. Yes, I know for a fact there are a few suitors for Boychuk, but the deal isn’t right yet. Yes, I also know that at least one of the second-round picks from the Toews trade will be used to ship Boychuk off. Finally, I know that Leo Komarov will be moved with the other one.

Signing One Top Forward

There are only two top forwards left on the market. One doesn’t have an agent and the other one wants a one-year deal. The Islanders must sign either Anthony Duclair or Mike Hoffman. If the Islanders sign either one, this will end up being one of the most successful free agencies in a long time. I’d rather the Islanders sign Duclair, due to the fact that he has less of an ego. But, no one can complain if the Isles sign Hoffman.

Resign the Rest

Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock will be resigned, but not yet. The Isles know that they’ll be able to retain both of their superstars. Knowing this, Lamoriello has decided to resign/sign other minor players. Islander fans, Barzal and Pulock are not going anywhere. Lamoriello has them in his pocket, it’s okay.

Giants’ Joe Judge offers explanation for Andrew Thomas benching to start week 6

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

One of the bigger storylines before the New York Giants took on Washington in week six was the benching of Andrew Thomas to open the game. Thomas, who has struggled to start his career in the NFL, reserved his normal duties to Matt Peart, a third-round pick out of the University of Connecticut.

At first, it seems as if the Giants just wanted to give Peart a chance, considering Thomas’ struggles over the first five weeks. He has been awful in pass blocking and an inconsistent run blocker. All of the strengths he carried over from Georgia have seemed to take a backseat as a Giants try to rework his sets and technicalities.

Nonetheless, head coach Joe Judge explained after the contest that Thomas had violated a team rule (late to a meeting), which resulted in his benching to start the game.

This seemed to be a lose-lose situation for Thomas, as he not only was benched, he allowed Matt Peart to come in and perform well at his spot.

This could provide to be an interesting development for their Giants’ week seven matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. I could see Peart starting on Thursday night, and after his performance on Sunday, I think it is justified.

New York Giants: Good news and bad news in first win under Joe Judge

New York Giants

The New York Giants found a way to walk out of week 6 with a victory over the Washington Football Team.

In what ended up being Joe Judge’s first win as head coach for Big Blue, it was a memorable one. With Washington driving down the field in the final moments and scoring a touchdown, Ron Rivera called for a two-point conversion to give his team the ultimate win. However, the Giants’ defense stepped up and showed why they are top 10 unit in the league, forcing an incompletion by Kyle Allen and securing the win.

FINAL SCORE: 20-19

Good news and bad news for the New York Giants:

GOOD NEWS:

The good news, the Giants, can finally add a win to a category that has been sitting at zero for the first five weeks of the season. Quarterback Daniel Jones ran for 74 yards, leading the team on the ground, but also threw a timely interception that gave Washington a chance at a comeback.

The good news is primarily on defense, as Blake Martinez racked up 14 total tackles, and Tae Crowder recovered a fumble in which he took for a touchdown late in the game.

Cornerback James Bradberry also secured a turnover and continued his dominant performance this year as one of the top CBs in the NFL. In addition, Leonard Williams had a stellar afternoon, recording five tackles, one sack, and a bevy of pressures.

Overall, the Giants won this game because of their defense, as the offense once again struggle to move the ball downfield and pick up first downs. Wide receiver Darius Slayton fought through an injury and finished the day with 41 yards and a touchdown.

BAD NEWS:

The bad news, the offense was lackluster, and Daniel Jones was unable to get much going through the air. He finished with just 112 yards passing, and that is likely due to his injured number one receiver in Slayton and the ineffectiveness of Evan Engram.

Ultimately, this was to be expected for the Giants, who still lack talent at the wide receiver position, and the offensive line remains a liability. They transitioned Andrew Thomas to the bench on multiple occasions, including to start the game in favor of Matt Peart. The third-round pick out of Connecticut performed well, especially in the run game, which opened up 61 yards for Devonta freeman.

While the Giants did walk away with a win, it was a scrappy game that could’ve gone either way. Beating bad teams is a necessity, and the Giants proved they are capable of doing so. This is a big win for Joe Judge and one that can hopefully spark some momentum moving forward.