The New York Giants need a number one receiver, and Allen Robinson has been connected to the Giants by rumors for a long time now. The Giants never did make a trade for Robinson, but it looks like the wide receiver is going to become a free agent after not agreeing to a contract yet with the Bears. Chicago, of course, has just been eliminated from the playoffs. With no more games this season, the franchise will likely turn their attention to personnel decisions like this.
Robinson said on Monday, the day after the game, that “everything’s pretty much on the table” despite also claiming that he has great fondness for the Bears as an organization. That ‘everything’ includes the option of leaving the Bears for some other team, and Robinson restated how long the Bears have had to reach a deal before things got to this point.
“I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days,” Robinson told media. Robinson’s social media activity earlier in the season indicated he might be thinking of leaving Chicago. The receiver was spotted liking some tweets about that subject, and popular consensus says Robinson will likely be on the way out as part of reshuffling for Chicago.
It remains to be seen if the Giants are a good destination in the long run for the receiver, though. The Giants may find it hard to fit Robinson in under the salary cap, and it looks like Robinson is interested in leaving the bad quarterback situation of the Bears.
While the Giants only leaned on one QB while Daniel Jones was healthy, Jones himself is another developing quarterback and Mitch Trubisky threw for more touchdowns and less interceptions than Jones did.
Obviously, though, the Giants have a need at receiver and Darius Slayton didn’t turn into that player that they’re looking for last season. If they address this through free agency and not the draft, Robinson may be the player on their radar.
Multiple reports indicate that Hendrick Motorsports have hired Tyler Monn to spot for Kyle Larson and the No. 5 in the NASCAR Cup Series. Monn spotted for Rick Ware Racing last season, primarily for JJ Yeley in the No. 27.
This comes after Hendrick fired spotter Chris Monez shortly after his hiring due to suspicious Twitter activity. Monez was caught liking tweets related to QAnon, a disproven far-right conspiracy theory having to do with Satan-worshipping pedophiles plotting against United States President Donald Trump.
In addition to Larson, Monn will spot for AM Racing in the Camping World Truck Series and SS GreenLight Racing in the Xfinity Series in 2021.
IndyCar star Santino Ferrucci switching to NASCAR
22-year-old Santino Ferrucci will be leaving IndyCar to join the NASCAR Xfinity Series on a part-time basis in 2021. Ferrucci raced two full-time seasons in IndyCar, tallying 4 top-10 finishes in 2020.
The driver will enter in around 20 races with Sam Hunt Racing in the No. 26 Toyota. Andrew Abbott will serve as the Crew Chief for the team. Ferrucci will race primarily intermediate tracks, with a few short tracks and a superspeedway race mixed into his schedule. Despite the increased number of road courses on the NASCAR schedule, Ferrucci will only race on ovals. He’s already a good road course racer and wants to learn ovals to help land a full-time ride.
Ferrucci said he’s open to running the Indianapolis 500 if it’s with a good ride.
Driver reprimanded over offensive iRacing comment
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan was reprimanded after saying an insensitive comment in a streamed iRacing event.
Deegan apologized over Twitter and is required to complete sensitivity training before the 2021 season to remain eligible. She will race full-time in 2021 for DGR-Crosley in the Truck Series.
As the New York Rangers season gets ready to kick off on Thursday, some interesting news came out of training camp, one of which being the status of star forward Mika Zibanejad.
The Rangers’ star center told members of the media after practice on Monday that he feels good now but is taking things day-by-day. He was on the ice with familiar linemates Pavel Buchnevich and Chris Kreider. It was also revealed that there are no guarantees that Zibanejad will play in the Rangers season-opener this Thursday against the New York Islanders.
The Rangers did not reveal this news as per league protocols, players who are placed on non-roster status due to COVID don’t need to be identified during training camp. That is not the case during the regular season.
Day 9 of #nyr Zooms starts out a little heavier as @MikaZibanejad discloses he was out due to covid, I asked him if any thoughts creeped in on ice today if at anytime he was winded if it was an after effect, hope to have video up later. pic.twitter.com/MsaPQoQ9iJ
Also coming out of training camp, head coach David Quinn has been experimenting with the defensive line pairings by having rookie K’Andre Miller skate with Jacob Trouba.
The duo was paired recently in a scrimmage that performed so well that might Quinn to keep them together for Thursday’s season opener.
“That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to see them together tonight,” Quinn said after Sunday’s scrimmage. “See what type of chemistry they had, see how they played off each other. Obviously, they did a really good job tonight. I thought it was a very good pair. I really like that ‘D’ pair, they certainly take up a lot of space.”
Finally, the Rangers announced that they have placed Colin Blackwell, Anthony Bitetto, and Anthony Greco, Keith Kincaid, Jonny Brokinski, Brandon Crawley, and Gabriel Fontaine on waivers. Blackwell, Bitetto, and Greco were signed to two-year deals in free agency. Brodinski is on a one-year deal worth $700,000, and both Fontaine (171st overall in 2016) and Crawley (123rd overall in 2017) are on similar deals. Kincaid was expected to be on the taxi squad but some wonder if the goaltending starved New Jersey Devils might take a room at him.
After Wild Card weekend, the New York Jets will pick 23rd in April’s draft, in addition to owning the No. 2 overall choice.
Jamal Adams apparently had one final parting gift for the New York Jets.
With Adams and the Seattle Seahawks falling to the Los Angeles Rams during the opening round of the 2020-21 NFL playoffs, the safety’s former comrades in New York will officially hold the 23rd overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. New York gained the pick in the trade that sent Adams out to the Pacific Northwest back in July. The Jets also hold the second overall pick in this spring’s selection proceedings and will also choose in Seattle’s slot in the 2022 draft thanks to the summer transaction.
With the selection solidified, who are some of the great names chosen at 23rd overall? ESM looks back…
1951: LB Bill George, Chicago
George revolutionized defense in football, often credited as the first “middle” linebacker in the history of the game. His antics are also attributed to the creation of the 4-3 defense, which he used to his advantage to the tune of 18 interceptions during a 15-year NFL tenure. He was named to eight Pro Bowls and first-team All-Pro squads each and also guided the Bears to the 1963 NFL championship. George’s No. 61 is retired by the Bears and was also named to the NFL’s all-decade squad for the 1950s.
1959: OL Dick Schafrath, Cleveland
No matter what happened, Schafrath was probably going to leave an impact on Ohio sports. By the time his high school days were done, he was being actively recruited by the Cincinnati Reds baseball club and Woody Hayes’ Ohio State football program. Schafrath opted for the gridiron, developing a no-nonsese work ethic that earned him the nick name of “The Mule”. He went on to make seven Pro Bowl squad appearances and earn four first-team All-Pro nods over the course of his NFL career (1959-71) before entering politics in 1983. Schafrath would go on to serve over 14 years as a Republican State Senator in Ohio’s 19th District.
1973: P Ray Guy, Oakland
Choosing a punter with the 23rd overall pick seems like a ridiculous notion, but Guy lived up to his billing and then some over a 14-year career with the Raiders organization. He partook in 207 consecutive NFL games and landed 210 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line since 1976 (when the NFL first started tracking such a stat). In 2014, Guy became the first exclusive punter (and first exclusive special teamer since Jan Stenerud) to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, the top honor to the best collegiate punter in the nation is known as the Ray Guy Award.
1978: TE Ozzie Newsome, Cleveland
Though Newsome is perhaps better known for his exploits off the field through his endeavors as the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager and the Byron “Whizzer” White Man of the Year Award, he was one of the most dominant tight ends of the 1980s. Newsome remains the Browns’ all-time leader in receiving yardage (7,980) and receptions (662) and appears as the tight end of the Hall of Fame’s all-decade squad. He would go on to make history in 2002, serving as not only the first general manager of the Ravens but the first African-American in league history to hold the title. Baltimore has won two Super Bowl titles with Newsome in the front office, most recently in 2013.
1983: DE Jim Jeffcoat, Dallas
The New Jersey native (Long Branch) had big shoes to fill in replacing former Super Bowl MVP Harvey Martin on America’s Team. He filled them in rather nicely, becoming a star attraction in some of the leanest years in Cowboys history. Once the team started to started to return to prominence upon the arrival of Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, Jeffcoat’s dominance rose to a national level, partaking in first two championships of the Dallas dynasty in the 1990s. Jeffcoat retired with 102.5 sacks, one of only 35 defenders to reach triple digits in the category in his NFL career.
1987: T Bruce Armstrong, New England
Armstrong retired just before the Patriots’ dominance began, but he built a strong career as a reliable blocker. Over a 14-year career, Armstrong started all but 12 possible games in a New England uniform, making six Pro Bowls in the process (including one during the Patriots’ run to the Super Bowl in 1996-97). Though he was unable to earn a ring before departing, Armstring’s No. 78 is retired by the Patriots.
1995: CB Ty Law, New England
Law earned 59 interceptions in his NFL career, none of which were more important than his lone postseason touchdown. His interception of Kurt Warner came during the first-half proceedings of Super Bowl XXXVI, taking it back 47 yards to give the Patriots a lead they would never relinquish against the St. Louis Rams. That score kicked off the New England dynasty in earnest, setting off a streak of six Super Bowl titles over the next decade-plus. Law stuck around for two more of those championships and appears on both the 1990s and 2000s versions of the Patriots’ official all-decade squads. The defender included a brief tour of New York in his Hall of Fame career, earning a career-best 10 interceptions during the 2005 season.
1999: CB Antoine Winfield, Buffalo
Winfield bookended his rookie season by earning an interception of Peyton Manning in his first contest and ended it with a takeaway of Steve McNair during the AFC Wild Card playoffs in Tennessee. After five years with the declining Bills, Winfield made a strong name for himself in Minnesota, earning 22 interceptions and establishing himself as one of the hardest hitters in the league. By the time the 2000s ended, Winfield was one of four players to earn at least 600 tackles, 65 pass breakups, 15 interceptions, and 10 forced fumbles, a brotherhood that also featured Ray Lewis, Ronde Barber, and Keith Bulluck. Winfield would later be named one of the “50 Greatest Vikings” during the team’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2010. His son, Antoine Jr., is currently in the midst of his rookie season with Tampa Bay.
2001: RB Deuce McAllister, New Orleans
Injury woes perhaps tragically denied us of the true Deuce McAllister experience. Originally called upon to pick up the Saints’ rushing pieces after the Ricky Williams misfire, McAllister topped 1,000 yards in four of his first six seasons, including a career-best 1,641 in 2003. But two torn ACLs over three seasons ended his career prematurely, forcing New Orleans to turn to the services of Reggie Bush. Though he sat out the entire 2009-10 season, the Saints remembered McAllister’s contributions to the team. He was signed shortly before the team’s Divisional playoff matchup en route to the Super Bowl, serving as the honorary captain for their win over Arizona. McAllister did not play but was allowed to retire with a championship ring when New Orleans won Super Bowl XLIV.
Next weekend at UFC 257, Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) will get the opportunity to avenge one of his biggest losses. In the headliner, Poirier will be taking on Conor McGregor (22-4) in a rematch from UFC 178.
The first fight that took place back in 2014 did not go well for Poirier. After a heated buildup, McGregor stopped Poirier in the first round. However, since that moment, Poirier has surged in his career.
Since the first loss to McGregor, Poirier has gone 10-2,1 NC in thirteen fights. The pinnacle of his rise came at UFC 236 when he defeated Max Holloway (21-6) to become the interim lightweight champion.
However, his interim reign didn’t last long as he was dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) at UFC 242 later that year. Still, Poirier is one of the very best in the world and he plans to show his improvement next Saturday.
Getting Poirier to this fight hasn’t been an easy thing. Originally, the promotion wanted Poirier to fight at UFC 254 in the co-headliner against Tony Ferguson (25-5). However, Poirier and the UFC couldn’t come to an agreement.
After they couldn’t come to an agreement on the money for the Ferguson fight, the promotion tried offering Poirier a fight with Michael Chandler (21-5). However, Poirier was still not good with the UFC‘s financial offer.
As a result, the talks fell apart and Poirier didn’t end up fighting. During this time, Conor McGregor was having his own issues with the promotion. With both men upset at the UFC, they talked online about having a charity match. That’s where things turned.
After all of the issues that Poirier was having with the promotion, it seems that everything has been ironed out. In the interview, Poirier even talked about a willingness to move up to welterweight eventually.
Poirier told Von, “I just signed an eight-fight contract with the UFC. My plan is to fight eight more times. I want to finish this contract I’m on, fight eight more times. Then we’ll see where we’re at there. But I’m not looking past that or before that.”
The New York Islanders continued their training camp with another scrimmage yesterday. It was a “for real” scrimmage with the official game jersey’s given out to everyone participating. The teams were blue vs. white as always. The blue team’ forwards consisted of Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Oliver Wahlstrom, Kieffer Bellows, J.G. Pageau, Ross Johnston, Andrew Ladd, Otto Koivula, and Michael Dal Colle. The defenseman for the blue team: Nick Leddy, Scott Mayfield, Thomas Hickey, Bode Wilde, Sebastian Aho, and Grant Hutton. Semyon Varlamov was in between the pipes. Now, the forwards for the white team were: Mat Barzal, Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle, the fourth line, A.J. Greer, Austin Cznarik, Leo Komarov, and Simon Holmstrom. The defensive lineup consisted of Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Andy Greene, Noah Dobson, Parker Wotherspoon, and Samuel Bolduc. Ilya Sorokin was the starting goalie. This scrimmage got very interesting.
Jordan Eberle opened up the scoring by putting one past Semyon Varlamov on the opening shift. J.G. Pageau would then respond with the equalizer after scoring in his favorite spot, the crease. This was the first goal that Ilya Sorokin allowed all camp. When it rains, it pours, Grant Hutton put another one past Ilya Sorokin on a rush. Next, Kieffer Bellows believed he scored to open up the third period on Ilya Sorokin. This goal would end up counting. Then, Oliver Wahlstrom would pop out of the penalty box and score on Ilya Sorokin. This would effectively win the game for the blue team. The final score was 4-1.
Samuel Bolduc had an all-around great day, he even dumped Beauvillier to the ice after spinning away from him. The third line of Pageau, Wahlstrom, and Bellows all scored goals today and played excellent defense. Don’t be surprised if that’s the opening night third line. Although Ilya Sorokin let in 4 goals yesterday, he played very well and stopped many other scoring chances. Do not panic, Islander fans, it’s just a scrimmage. Semyon Varlamov played great yesterday and stopped nearly everything that came his way. Varlamov will get the opening night start, but Sorokin could play on Saturday. Noah Dobson and Ryan Pulock have been playing on the same PP unit, most likely the squad for opening night. Also, Casey Cizikas was involved in a three-way collision with Thomas Hickey and Matt Martin, his status is trending upwards.
Josh Ho-Sang and Mason Jobst were put on waivers yesterday. I believe this will effectively end Ho-Sang’s time with the Islanders. Though Thomas Hickey has had a good camp, he will most likely be traded. Look for the Islanders to try and pick up someone on waivers today. Barry Trotz has stated that Bode Wilde could become the next John Carlson which is great news. Finally, the Islanders only have two more skates left before January 14th.
The Alabama Crimson Tide and Ohio State Buckeyes are playing on Monday night in the National Championship Game. This is the last time NFL teams will see these players play in a live game before they go through the NFL Draft process. The New York Giants need a No.1 wideout to be paired up with Daniel Jones. All Giants players and fan’s eyes will be glued to the T.V., watching hopefully one of their future playmakers on the outside.
Here are three WRs, the New York Giants could be interested in:
DeVonta Smith, Alabama
DeVonta Smith is arguably the best wideout in college football and will easily be the best wideout you see on Monday. Most draft analysts expect Smith to be off the board when the Giants pick, but what happens if Smith falls or if the New York Giants trade up?
The 6-foot-1 wideout out of Alabama has incredible hands but would need to bulk up some at the NFL level. He needs to balance his height with the cornerback’s strength to get off press coverage. Besides Smith’s weight, Smith is a perfect prospect. Smith excels at creating separation, which the Giants need the most on offense. Smith is also a fantastic route runner with perfect footwork.
This is the player that all Giants fans would be thrilled to get in April.
Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
Jaylen Waddle is a name you might not have heard of, but he is in that DeVonta Smith tier of wide receiver. Waddle has been hurt for most of the season, which is why you have not heard his name much.
Waddle is not a big body receiver (5-foot-10), which the New York Giants are looking for, but he is lightning fast. The Giants lack separation on the outside, Waddle best attribute is his speed. Waddle can stretch the field or catch one short and take it to the house. Defense’s have to be aware of Waddle at all times; he reminds me a lot of Odell Beckham Jr.
Waddle is expected to be drafted in the top 15 in April, maybe to the New York Giants.
Chris Olave, Ohio State
Alabama has been breeding wide receiver talent, but Ohio State has a receiver that can find his way in the first round.
After Ja’Marr Chase, Waddle, and Smith, there is a drop off of wideout talent, but Olave is in that next tier. The Giants could trade down in the draft and get Olave later, but should they?
Olave is 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, the perfect size for an outside receiver. The biggest issue with Olave is his route running, which the Giants’ biggest need is for the wideouts to get separation. Olave has the speed, strength, and athleticism to get a consistent receiver at the next level in the NFL.
Olave is expected to go in the late first round or top of the second round.
The final competing member of the original season of the UFC‘s Ultimate Fighter is about to call it a career. The season one winner, Diego Sanchez (30-13), announced on Twitter yesterday that his next fight will be his last in the octagon.
Sanchez has been competing in the UFC for almost sixteen years now. His official debut came back in 2005 when he defeated Kenny Florian to win the UFC‘s first six-figure contract that they handed out for the Ultimate Fighter.
Sanchez fought in the middleweight division during that tournament. His career inside the octagon has seen him compete in four different divisions. Most notably the lightweight division where he had his best run.
After starting taking off in the UFC‘s welterweight division, Sanchez decided to drop to 155 pounds. Sanchez looked like a monster when he moved down to lightweight in 2008. He had two standout wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida.
The Guida fight has actually been inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Following those two impressive wins, Sanchez got his lone shot at UFC gold against BJ Penn. Sanchez was completely dominated by Penn and decided to move back to welterweight after the loss.
Sanchez’s Incredible UFC Run
Since 2010, it’s really been a journey all over the map for Diego Sanchez inside the UFC. He’s competed at welterweight, lightweight, and even a one-fight stint at featherweight in the last decade.
The Nightmare has competed 19 times since 2010 and has gone 9-10 in those 19 fights. However, it’s worth noting that he won one of those fights by DQ in a fight that he was completely getting dominated in.
After all of the wars that he’s been in, the 39 year old Sanchez is ready to hang it up. Sanchez took to Twitter yesterday saying, “It’s time to heal not hurt! One more Nightmare to give!” He then stated it’s up to the UFC on who he will face.
There’s no telling on what the promotion will do for Sanchez’s final fight. There’s no secret that Dana White has a soft spot for the TUF one guys. He’s been very vocal about his love for Diego Sanchez over the last 15 years.
I’m honestly not sure what the UFC should do with Sanchez’s last fight. If he’s willing to cut to lightweight, it could be fun to see him in there with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (36-15-1, 2 NC). Winnable or not, Sanchez needs to go out with an entertaining opponent. He deserves that.
As the games keep on coming, the injury bug also keeps on hitting the New York Knicks.
Starter Reggie Bullock will not play Monday night in Charlotte due to a sore right hip, the Knicks announced.
Bullock has been averaging 28.7 minutes producing 8.5 points on 33.3 percent on threes, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.
His outside shooting and defense will be sorely missed as Tom Thibodeau’s wing rotation is getting thinner.
The timing couldn’t have come at the worst time with the Knicks in the midst of a two-game losing streak. They have their plate full this week with a four-game schedule, including Monday night’s match against the streaking Hornets.
Bullock joins the Knicks’ injury list that also includes rookie Obi Toppin (strained right calf), Frank Ntilikina (sprained right knee), Alec Burks (sprained left ankle), and new signee Taj Gibson who is still undergoing health protocols before joining the team.
The Knicks are expected to bring Austin Rivers up to the starting unit to replace Bullock. But there’s also a chance that Kevin Knox will get the starting nod if Thibodeau opts to have a veteran leader on the floor for his second unit.
Meanwhile, Toppin is making progress with his recovery, although he hasn’t been cleared for contact.
“Right now, it’s 1-on-0, with some movement, jumping, change of direction, and that sort of thing,” Thibodeau said last Sunday.
“Then he’ll progress to 2-on-2, 3-on-3, and get to the point where he can get to 5-on-5 and get through practice,” he continued.
Toppin hasn’t seen action since the season opener.
Burks, on the other hand, is closing to re-evaluation later this week. The veteran wingman had been on a walking boot since Wednesday last week. He was initially given a 7-10 day timetable before he can be re-evaluated.
A UFC lightweight who saw his stock soar in 2020 was “Do Bronx” Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC). Oliveira has flown under the radar in the premium division in the promotion despite the winning streak he’s on.
Heading into 2020, Oliveira was riding a six-fight winning streak. Not only that, but he had finished all six opponents in those UFC contests. He started out 2020 by taking on Kevin Lee (18-6) back in March.
This event was actually the UFC‘s last event before they shut down due to the pandemic. Oliveira impressed again as he was able to score a third round submission victory over Kevin Lee. His seventh straight stoppage win in the lightweight division.
Then, Oliveira got the biggest fight of his career. A co-main event slot against El Cucuy, Tony Ferguson (25-5) at UFC 256. Ferguson was looking to bounce back after he had lost to Justin Gaethje (22-3) back in May.
Oliveira completely dominated the former UFC interim lightweight champion. Had Ferguson not been so tough, Oliveira would have scored another first round stoppage. He locked in a deep armbar that had me tapping from my chair at home.
Instead, Ferguson gutted it out and fought through it. However, Oliveira still dominated every second of the fight to make it eight straight. Last week, Dana White said that the UFC was looking to book Oliveira against Gaethje. Well, Oliveira is not a fan of that.
Do Bronx isn’t down with the UFC’s plan
Oliveira’s manager told MMA Fighting, “With all due respect, Khabib ran over (Gaethje). That must count, and a lot. I believe Charles’ next fight has to be for the belt against the winner of Poirier and McGregor, not Justin Gaethje.”
It was also revealed that Oliveira’s next fight will be the final fight in his UFC contract. However, Oliveira’s manager made it clear that Do Bronx isn’t going anywhere and that they are working towards a new deal with the promotion.
I completely understand where Oliveira is coming from. He’s won eight fights in a row and seven have been stoppages in the toughest division in the sport. However, that still might not matter at the end of the day.
Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC) are fighting at UFC 257. The winner of that fight will be fighting for the lightweight title no matter what in their next fight. Should McGregor win, the UFC is going to push for the rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0).
While he’s certainly deserving, the promotion is also going to look at what’s the biggest fight they can make. McGregor – Oliveira doesn’t sell the way McGregor – Gaethje would. That said, I think Oliveira is going to have to settle for the UFC giving him Justin Gaethje.
If Do Bronx runs through Justin Gaethje, there’s no denying him. It’s a very tough position to be in, however, I don’t think he’s going to have another choice.