New York Giants: Should Daniel Jones sit the rest of the year?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

As everyone knows by now, the New York Giants are dealing with another problem on the quarterback front. Daniel Jones came into the last game with a hamstring injury, but that’s been upgraded into an additional ankle injury on top of the original one after Jones took a few too many hits against the Cardinals. It’s believed that Jones was injured further while taking a hit in that game, and now his status is again in doubt going into an important game with the nine win Browns.

Jones didn’t look the best on practice on Wednesday, which is already a red flag that he might not be in a good spot to start by the time Sunday night comes. After all, we all saw how Jones played against Arizona after being limited in practice all week.

But should the team sit Jones for the rest of the season and guarantee that his health doesn’t decline further?

Looking ahead for the Giants

The Giants only have three games left in the season and are currently in second place against the NFC East. Right now, they haven’t been eliminated from the playoffs. But if they aren’t at peak performance, that could happen easily. Washington will make it in if they win out, and the Giants need to win more than Washington in the final weeks to surpass them.

Jones was expected to be over his injury after the Arizona game, but taking too many hits due to the offensive line and his lack of mobility in that game dealt him another injury. If the Giants start him against Cleveland while he’s still low on mobility, it would be hard to guarantee that doesn’t happen again.

Sitting Jones doesn’t look like the best option for the Giants to make it into the playoffs. After all, Colt McCoy hasn’t shone as brightly while replacing him, and the Seattle game was largely won by the defense. Unlike some other teams, the Giants don’t have a true competitor to Jones waiting in the wings. However, the assumption that starting Jones will help the team win is based on the idea that Jones is healthy.

We saw what happened when Jones played hurt against Arizona, and playing hurt against Cleveland could easily end the same way. Furthermore, it could result in another injury or aggravate one of the ones Jones is dealing with right now. And if that happens, the Giants will likely still be dealing with the same problem going into the critical last two weeks.

Should Jones start on Sunday?

If Jones couldn’t play well with a hamstring injury, it’s doubtful that he can do so while playing with both a hamstring and an ankle injury. The Giants would be smart to sit him here, even if it makes the offense look worse on paper. As for the rest of the season, that may depend on whether or not Jones can recover quickly enough following the Cleveland game – as well as the result.

Should the team pull off an upset win, they’ll be in a better position to make the playoffs than they were coming into the game. It may be worth bringing Jones back at that point and taking more of a risk in the hunt for the critical wins they need in the last two games to have the best odds of making it in.

However, if the Giants lose, the best move might be sitting Jones for the last two games and allowing him to recover. While a loss here won’t eliminate the Giants, it does make their playoff situation a lot tougher. And sometimes, when the odds are against you, it’s best to know when to fold instead of forcing the issue.

There’s always next season, after all. But much of next season depends on Jones playing at his best and not spending the offseason dealing with injury recovery because the Giants carelessly started him through the end of the year and let him get injured further.

Buffalo Bills: WR John Brown set to return from injured reserve

As the Buffalo Bills close in on a playoff berth, they’re set to welcome back one of their veteran receiving options this holiday season.

The Buffalo Bills (10-3) have gained their share of supporters and believers as they continue their trek towards the NFL postseason. Now, it appears they’re going to gain back one of their most experienced receiving options as the playoffs approach.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott mentioned this week that the team will test Brown in practice with the intention of having him play in Saturday’s visit to Denver (4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network). Brown is eligible to come off injured reserve after spending the past three weeks on the list with an ankle injury sustained during the November 15 loss in Arizona.

McDermott said that while Brown will practice during this short week, he mentioned that “we’ll have to see how it goes” when asked if the receiver will suit up at Mile High, per Thad Brown of RochesterFirst.com.

Injuries have prevented Brown, 30, from building on the best season of his career, which began in 2014 as a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals. Last year, his first in Western New York, Brown earned personal bests with 1,060 yards on 72 receptions, also scoring six touchdowns. Separate calf and ankle ailments have limited Brown to only eight games so far this season, during which he has earned 29 receptions for 386 yards and two touchdowns. Brown did rise to the occasion during the Bills’ November win over Seattle, picking up a season-high 99 yards on eight grabs in the 44-34 triumph. His most renowned moment in Buffalo came in the team’s playoff cameo last January, when he threw a 16-yard touchdown pass against Houston in the AFC wild-card round.

Bills receivers have certainly risen to the occasion in Brown’s absence, winning each of their three contests played with Brown on injured reserve. Stefon Diggs became the second receiver in Bills history to reach triple-figures in receptions, currently leading the NFL with 100. Cole Beasley also took advantage of an increased workload, posting a career-best showing (9 receptions, 130 yards) in a Monday night win over San Francisco earlier this month.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Can the New York Giants’ offense hang with the Cleveland Browns?

New York Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones called a "loser" by Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns.

The New York Giants have one of the worst offenses in the NFL. The Giants are averaging 18.3 points per game, the second-lowest averaging in the NFL this season behind only the New York Jets. New York is coming off of a disappointing Week 14 loss that saw the team score only 7 points against the Arizona Cardinals.

In Week 15, the Giants will play a crucial primetime matchup with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns will be playing their second primetime game in a row, after going toe-to-toe with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. Cleveland came up just short in this divisional matchup, losing 47-42.

Each team scored six touchdowns in the thrilling Monday night matchup that saw the heroics of the reigning MVP Lamar Jackson propel the Ravens to victory. The Browns hung in there though, seeing their offense explode with 42 points. Now, heading into Week 15, do the New York Giants have what it take to hang in with the Cleveland Browns’ offense if they explode once again?

The Cleveland Browns offense

The Cleveland Browns possess one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL. The Browns have averaged 25.6 points per game this season, over a touchdown per game more than the Giants.

Cleveland possesses the third-ranked rushing offense in the NFL. They are averaging 156.2 rushing yards per game. The Browns’ impressive running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt has helped the Browns control time of possession and win games with a fierce ground attack.

But third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield has not been too shabby either. Baker has had a breakout season in 2020, totaling 2,785 passing yards en route to a 9-4 record. Mayfield has also already passed his 2019 season total of passing touchdowns with 23 so far this season. But the key to Baker’s third-year development has been his turnover reduction. Baker threw 21 interceptions in 2019 but has only thrown 8 so far this season. This improvement has been the biggest difference-maker for Baker and the Browns offense.

With the Browns’ excellent rushing attack combined with a new-and-improved Baker Mayfield in 2020, rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski has put together a few huge offensive performances this season.

The Browns have scored 30 or more points in seven games this season. They have managed to crack 40 or more points three times this year. Stefanski’s offense is capable of putting up high-flying offensive performances. The Giants, on the other hand, are not as capable.

The New York Giants have only scored 30 or more points in one game this season, their Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Granted, the Giants’ defense has been great this season, so the Giants’ offense was not required to put up a high volume of points in any of their five wins. But the Browns’ offense is playing like one of the best in the NFL this season, so even though the Giants have a phenomenal defense, Cleveland could manage to put up a high volume of points on Sunday night. New York’s offense will need to have its best performance of the season if it wants to hang in a shootout with the Cleveland Browns.

New York Jets: Jordan Jenkins, Saquon Hampton done for season

New York Jets, Jordan Jenkins

Two New York Jets defenders will see their season end prematurely, as Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton have been placed on IR.

The New York Jets announced on Wednesday that defenders Jordan Jenkins and Saquon Hampton will be placed on injured reserve. With visits to IR lasting at least three weeks, their seasons are effectively over.

Jenkins (shoulder) had partaken in 12 games this season, missing last weekend’s visit to Seattle. His fifth season as a Jets ends with 32 tackles, including a pair of sacks, after earning 15 quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. The linebacker, 26, joined the team as a third-round pick (83rd overall) in 2016. He is set to become a free agent this offseason after inking a one-year, $3.75 million deal.

Hampton, 25, returned to New Jersey after starring in his native Hamilton and later in college at Rutgers. A member of the secondary and former sixth-round draft pick in New Orleans, Hampton joined the Jets in November after he part of the Saints’ final training camp cuts. He made his New York debut on Sunday in Seattle, partaking in five special team snaps before leaving with an Achilles injury.

As the Jets (0-13) prepare to partake in their final games of the season, they’ll be missing some crucial names on defense. Jenkins becomes the sixth opening day starter to not finish the year on the active roster, whether it’s through injury or transactions. His role at outside linebacker will likely be filled by rookie Jabari Zuniga, who has mostly been used as a defensive end but maintains experience from his days at Florida.

Earlier this week, the Jets partially prepared for the medical departures by signing Trevon Coley on Monday, two days after he was released by the Arizona Cardinals.

New York continues to play out the final stretches of their schedule out west, as they’ll wrap up their interconference slate on Sunday at SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams (4:05 p.m. ET, Fox).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets’ star pitcher is ‘ahead of schedule’ after spring surgery: A June return is a possibility

The New York Mets have perhaps the best pitcher in the planet in Jacob deGrom and a solid, mid-rotation arm in Marcus Stroman. After that, they have rookie David Peterson, who had a very good debut year in 2020, and Steven Matz, who didn’t fare so well.

As a result, they need to sign (or trade for) a couple of pitchers, at least, to shore up the depth in the rotation. Nowadays, MLB teams need between eight and ten starters to navigate through a full 162-game season. Between injuries, ineffectiveness, suspensions, and other unexpected scenarios, depth can disappear at any minute.

Noah Syndergaard is the wild card for the New York Mets. A 3.31-ERA pitcher (2.92 FIP) in 716.0 career frames, he underwent elbow reconstruction surgery (Tommy John) in March. Regular timelines stipulate between 14 and 16 months for pitchers to be ready to return from the procedure.

Mets are hopeful he can pitch in June

However, and according to Mets manager Luis Rojas, Syndergaard is “on schedule or maybe a little bit ahead of schedule” in his rehabilitation.

As a result of the injury, Thor missed the whole 2020 campaign. Initially, he was expected back around July or August. However, if he’s truly ahead of schedule, it is a real possibility that the Mets get him in the first half, which would be huge.

In fact, Mets president Sandy Alderson said in an interview on WFAN on Wednesday that June is a “reasonable expectation” for the hurler’s return.

The 28-year-old right-hander will become a free agent next November, so he will have every motivation to prove to the Mets and other teams that his elbow is in good shape once the games start.

For the Mets, having Syndergaard return so early will do nothing but improve their chances of qualifying to the playoffs and perhaps making a deep run.

Per Dana White, Rose Namajunas doesn’t want the next UFC title shot

For the last couple of months, fans have been anticipating the next UFC strawweight title fight. The fight was expected to be Weili Zhang (21-1) and Rose Namajunas (9-4). A fight that would truly pair the best two strawweights in the world.

Namajunas was the reigning UFC strawweight champion prior to her loss to Jessica Andrade. In that title defense, Namajunas was winning until she was slammed and knocked out by Jessica Andrade.

Andrade would go on to lose her first UFC title defense to Zhang. Namajunas was very vocal about being relieved when she lost and that she didn’t like the pressures and anxiety that came with being UFC champion.

However, she found that fighting spirit again in 2020 and she got back in the cage. She took on Andrade and was able to avenge her loss which was supposed to setup the anticipated title fight with Zhang.

The promotion has been saying that was the fight they were going to make. However, Dana White changed his tune in an interview with BT Sport. White said, “What I’m hearing is Rose does not want a title shot. She doesn’t want to fight for the title.”

What is the UFC going to do?

After this, Rose Namajunas’ fiancé/head coach told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani that the information from Dana White was false. Pat Berry told Helwani that Namajunas definitely wants the UFC title shot.

However, White doesn’t seem to think so. White would go on to say in the interview that Carla Esparza (17-6) is the fight they are currently looking at for Weili Zhang. No disrespect to Esparza, but nobody really wants to see that fight.

Yes, Esparza is on a four-fight winning streak, however, none of those were that incredibly impressive. Her last two wins were razor close split decisions that many had going the other way.

This is not a high profile UFC strawweight title fight. Zhang – Namajunas is the fight to make, however, if the UFC can’t come to a deal, they will move on. Looks like they have a plan in place. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation shakes out.

Yankees News/Rumors: Bombers interested in boom or bust reliever Ryne Stanek

Ryne Stanek, Yankees

The New York Yankees are looking to add some fireballers to their bullpen to shore it out. They have the backend completely set, Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Aroldis Chapman are more than enough firepower. The issue is the middle innings, and they simply don’t have a solid 4th guy. Adding names to the mix with talent helps to add depth and talent to the bullpen, and that’s exactly what Ryne Stanek provides. Is he Liam Hendriks? No, not even close, but is he a talented pitcher? He sure is, and Bryan Hoch is reporting that the Yankees are very interested in the hard-throwing righty.

Ryne Stanek Has a Rocket Arm

According to Statcast, Ryne Stanek’s fastball can run it up to 100 MPH, with it sitting at 95-97 on average. For 3 consecutive years, he’s been well above average in fastball spin rate as well. This is paired with a nasty slider that generates high whiff% numbers, contributing to his strikeout stuff. His rocket arm is probably why the Yankees are interested in him, as if they can manifest that arm, they might have a nice asset on their hands. You can teach someone how to pitch, but you cannot teach a 100 MPH fastball.

Fixing His Walk Problem

Ryne Stanek’s talent is amazing, but he does have a major problem with walks. The Yankees are hoping they can curb this if they get him, but since 2018 he boasts a. 11.6% BB%, not good at all. While the Yankees can certainly help the problem with Matt Blake’s analytical genius, he’s still always going to walk more batters than most. His control is why he’s even so available on the market, and it’s something that matt Blake and Ryne Stanek would have to overcome in order for him to succeed.

Boom or Bust

We could either see the Ryne Stanek who had a 3.52 ERA and 28.8% strikeout percentage or the Ryne Stanek who stunk (no pun intended) in 2020. His walks and his ability to command the zone will be crucial in development. While the Yankees are probably just keeping tabs on pitchers, Ryne Stanek could be a very nice pickup for a very cheap price for the ballclub. I don’t imagine him getting much money, but I do see him potentially having a massive impact with the right pitching coach.

Yankees sign Bronx native INF Andrew Velasquez to deal

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees finally engaged in some action on Tuesday afternoon, signing infielder Andrew Velasquez to a minor-league deal. The Bronx native is capable of playing shortstop, second base, and a little outfield. In the seventh round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, coming out of Fordham prep high school.

Velasquez has spent the last three years bouncing around a few teams, including the Tampa Bay rays, Cleveland Indians, and Baltimore Orioles this past season. He played in 40 games for the Orioles in 2020, earning 63 at-bats and a .159 batting average. He has never hit a home run and has only recorded three RBIs over 96 total at-bats.

The signing is nothing to write home about, despite the fact that he is an above-average fielder, despite a small sample size. He didn’t allow an error over 30 games at shortstop in 2020 and was a perfect fielder. He seems to be a last resort option for the Yankees and possibly a player they want to develop in their farm system. He reminds me a bit of Gio Urshela and the quality he provides defensively, but as we know, Gio is a dime a dozen, and finding offensively capable players like that is extremely rare.

Yankees: Deivi and German are struggling in winter ball, but you won’t guess who’s dealing there

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The performance of Deivi Garcia and Domingo German is, naturally, being closely monitored by the New York Yankees and fans alike. After all, as of today, both of them would be in the rotation to start the 2021 season since the team doesn’t seem particularly close to bringing upgrades.

Garcia pitched 34.1 very good innings in his debut season in MLB this year, with a 4.98 ERa and a 4.15 FIP, coupled with a 22.6 K% and an excellent 4.1 BB%. The sample is really small but the Yankees were pleased with his performance. German missed the whole 2020 season after a 2019 domestic violence incident.

Yankees pitchers’ winter league roundup

Not that they aren’t good. They are! Very much, indeed, especially the young Garcia. However, they aren’t pitching very well in winter ball. Both of them are in the Dominican league, LIDOM: Garcia with Tigres de Licey and German with Toros del Este.

German had four no-hit innings to start his tenure with Toros, but he’s been battered after that. In five starts and 16.1 frames, he has allowed 17 hits, and 13 runs, with nine bases on balls and 18 strikeouts.

“Obviously in Domingo’s case, having not pitched this year, to be able to go there and pitch and rack up some innings and just knock off some rust, if nothing else, will give him some momentum coming into spring training,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said this week via Zoom.

Garcia has a 0-2 record with a 7.50 ERA in Licey’s uniform. He has four walks and three punchouts in 6.1 innings.
One that is stepping up for the Yankees’ farm system is Albert Abreu. He debuted this season on MLB, with a 20.25 ERA in 1.1 frames. He struck out and walked two.

However, with Licey, Abreu has a tiny 1.10 ERA in four starts. In 16.1 innings, he has only allowed two earned runs, and while he has handed 10 free passes, he has 19 whiffs.

MLB insider reports the Rockies want the Mets to trade for Nolan Arenado; proposes idea

New York Yankees, Nolan Arenado

The New York Mets have been very active in the offseason, adding reliever Trevor May, catcher James McCann, owner Steve Cohen, president Sandy Alderson, general manager Jared Porter, and plenty of depth arms, most recently starter Jerad Eickhoff. They still have holes to fill, though.

The Colorado Rockies, in turn, may be looking at a different approach to the offseason. Star third baseman Nolan Arenado still has six years and more than $190 million remaining in his mammoth contract, and they would like to move him this winter. The problem for potential suitors is that he has an opt-out clause after 2021.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi, the Rockies want the New York Mets to be involved in trade talks. They know that Cohen, who recently took over the Queens’ team, has loads of money and isn’t afraid to spend if it means improving the roster.

“The team that I am watching very carefully — that I was told even this week is the team the Rockies want to engage with — is the New York Mets,” Jon Morosi reported Wednesday morning on MLB Network (link to SNY article here.)

The Mets may not be that interested

The Rockies would like to free up some salary to extend shortstop Trevor Story and to receive a couple of quality players from any potential suitor. They see the Mets as an attractive trade partner. However, the sentiment may not be mutual.

Morosi suggested that Robinson Cano could be part of a transaction, and it would help offset the massive amount of money still owed to Arenado. In addition, the writer speculated that Brandon Nimmo and a prospect could seal the deal.

The Mets, however, may not be interested in the deal. Sure, it would improve the infield defense and shore up the lineup, but they would be taking a massive contract and give up valuable players for a player that may opt out after next season. If Colorado accepts Cano, like Morosi suggests, maybe there would be some kind of interest from the Mets, but that’s highly unlikely.

The Mets have options to plug at third base, anyway. They can play Jeff McNeil, Andres Gimenez or JD Davis there.