New York Giants: Daniel Jones called “everything we want” by Dave Gettleman

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

In case you didn’t believe the New York Giants were committed to Daniel Jones going forward, GM Dave Gettleman would confirm that once again while speaking on Tuesday. The Giants have expressed that Jones is their future multiple times, but since this is the offseason when roster moves are being made, it needed to be said one more time. And if you believe Gettleman here, there’s really no chance we end up with a different QB anytime soon.

Gettleman claims there’s no need to look at QBs

“We’ve done the evaluation on him and we really believe he’s the guy. No reason to go look,” Gettleman said, denying that the Giants might look at free agent quarterbacks. “What we’re doing isn’t fantasy football, we’re not playing, we’re not doing that. We’ve got a conviction on him, he’s everything we want, he’s got all the physical skills and again I say this all the time, the kid just finished his second year of NFL football.”

Gettleman stressed that it takes time and that most aren’t the best at their job after two years. He reaffirmed once again that the team believes in Daniel Jones.

But it remains to be seen how far out this order of things will last if Jones doesn’t make the big step forward that many are hoping for in 2021. He’ll have some advantages compared to 2020 if the Giants can do what everyone is hoping, and add better weapons to the offense this year. But as we saw with the team’s losing streak in the first half of last season, patience will wear thin quickly if that doesn’t bring quick results.

Still, it really looks like the Giants are unlikely to change course anytime soon, and they’ve practically said it themselves on a number of occasions, both head coach Joe Judge and GM Dave Gettleman. We’re going to have Daniel Jones as the QB for the future, whether or not the fans believe the Giants can win down the line with him.

Ben Rothwell – Philipe Lins off UFC Vegas 21

Ben Rothwell

UFC Vegas 21 has lost one of it’s main card fights for this Saturday night. First reported by Fightful, the heavyweight clash between Ben Rothwell (38-13) and Philipe Lins (14-5) has been called off. The initial report has since been confirmed.

This was going to be a very interesting matchup in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Philipe Lins had a lot of momentum when he signed with the promotion. When Lins signed his contract with the UFC, he was coming off of being the PFL heavyweight champion in 2018.

Lins took a year and a half to make his debut and it wasn’t smooth sailing. Lins fought twice in 2020 losing both matchups to Andrei Arlovski and Tanner Boser. Given the way the UFC is doing business lately, Lins might be fighting for his job in this matchup.

Back in 2016, Ben Rothwell looked like he was on a run to the title. Rothwell had won four fights in a row and was taking on former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. JDS outstruck Rothwell over five rounds to pick up a decision.

A suspension hit Rothwell after that fight and he wouldn’t fight again for another three years. The heavyweight returned in May of 2019. Since making his return, Rothwell has gone 2-3. However, he’s 2-1 in his last three fights.

At this time, the current plan is for the UFC to rebook this fight for a later date. There is no word on what date that might be, but the promotion is planning on keeping these two heavyweights paired up.

UFC Vegas 21 Outlook

With the heavyweight fight off, UFC Vegas 21 is down to 13 fights. However, despite losing the heavyweight clash, the card still looks really good. Of course, the talk is all centered around the return of Leon Edwards (18-3).

Edwards if finally getting back into the octagon after a lengthy layoff. Belal Muhammad (18-3) has stepped up on short notice to welcome Edwards back to the UFC. This should be a fantastic matchup and it will tell us a lot about both contenders. Saturday night should still provide a lot of great action.

New York Rangers third period rally falls short in loss to Penguins

The New York Rangers played one of their better third periods of the season. However, it was not enough to overcome a two-goal deficit and the Blueshirts fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins by the score of 4-2.

The Rangers pulled goaltender Keith Kinkaid with just about two minutes left in the game. They had multiple chances to score the tying goal but were thwarted by Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry.

Ryan Strome scored early in the third period. The Rangers held the Penguins to no shots on goal until Sidney Crosby put a shot in the empty net with 32 seconds left in the game.

Former Penguin Jack Johnson opened the scoring for the Rangers with a deflected slap shot in the first period, his first goal as a Ranger. Chris Kreider and Julien Gauthier assisted on Johnson’s goal. Gauthier has now recorded three assists/points in the last three games and four assists/points in the last seven games. Following his assist on Jack Johnson’s goal, Kreider has now tallied 12 points in the last nine games. Since Feb. 24, Kreider’s eight goals are the most in the NHL and his 11 points are the third-most in the NHL, per NYR Stats&Info.

The Rangers also continue their trend of close games. Entering tonight’s action, 14 of the Rangers’ 23 games this season have been decided by two or fewer goals. Eleven of those games have been decided by one goal.

The New York Rangers are agitated by a close loss to the Penguins

Kreider was obviously not feeling too good about the loss in his post-game Zoom interview. “We put ourselves in that hole because of the two late goals. For 56 or 57 minutes we were doing a good job playing through and establishing a forecheck which we weren’t able to do the other night. We were playing good structured hockey then we start chasing our tails a little bit at the end of the second period.”

“There are lessons to be learned win or lose,” Kreider stated about whether there was anything good that came from this loss. We played this team four or five times, they have come from behind to beat us, they have beat us in close games. They punched us in the mouth the other night so in the end, we have to find a way to get those two points.”

Head coach David Quinn echoed many of those sentiments in his post-game Zoom conference. “I thought it was a tale of two games. I thought that for the first thirty minutes they completely took it to us and then I thought we started doing the things we needed to do.” Quinn said later in his conference that “We need to get back to playing sixty minutes of good hockey, and not sporadic good hockey.”

The road trip for the Rangers does not get any easier as they travel to Boston for back-to-back games with the Bruins. Thursday night’s contest is scheduled for 7 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Five Run Seventh Inning Gives New York Mets 5-3 Win Over Cardinals

The New York Mets took a while to get their offense going, but a combination of youth and veterans powered their comeback against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 5-3 victory, Taijuan Walker made his Mets debut in his trademark number 99 jersey.

The Mets were down 3-0 heading into the seventh, but a Brett Baty walk and Drew Ferguson single set them up with no one out. Kevin Pillar continued his good spring training with an RBI single to put the Mets on the board. Jose Peraza followed up with a fielder’s choice to drive in a run, and Pete Alonso walked to load the bases.

A wild pitch by Seth Elledge knotted the score at three, then Ronny Mauricio capped off the inning with a two-run single. Mauricio will likely start the year in the minors, but the top prospect has turned heads with a 5-for-11 spring with three RBIs.

Walker’s Debut

Taijuan Walker had an easy 1-2-3 first inning but ran into plenty of trouble in the second. A walk and two singles resulted in the first run for the Cards. Albert Almora‘s diving play saved the inning from blowing up as it only became a sacrifice fly. Walker got out of the inning after but allowed another walk and a couple of hard-hit balls. His velocity was good, sitting at 94, but he could not regain his control for the second inning.

Edwin Diaz followed Walker and has the best Mets outing of the spring. Diaz struck out Nolan Gorman and Yadier Molina with his high 90s fastball, then recorded a groundout from Austin Dean to finish off the outing. He looked in mid-season form with both his fastball and slider. Whether by accident or not, Diaz also showed the ability to change speeds on the slider. Miguel Castro was just as dominant with two strikeouts in an 11-pitch inning.

Trevor May struck out two but allowed a wind-guided home run to Justin Williams. Jeurys Familia walked on in one inning pitch but was far better than his past outings. Sam McWilliams made the ninth inning interesting with three consecutive walks but managed to escape without allowing any runs. The save was the McWilliams’ second of the spring.

The Mets take Wednesday off before heading back to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros. On Thursday, Jacob deGrom (1-0, 0.00) and Zack Greinke (0-1, 9.00) hook up for the second time at 6:05 p.m. ET.

BREAKING: UFC dropping women’s featherweight division

In a decision that does not come as a surprise, the UFC is getting rid of the women’s featherweight division. The news was revealed by Megan Anderson (11-5) this evening on her Twitch Live Stream.

Anderson said that the UFC has informed her that the promotion is getting rid of featherweight and they will not be retaining her. UFC 259 was Anderson’s final fight on her current contract with the promotion.

Of course, Anderson lost in her title fight to Amanda Nunes (21-4). Earlier today, we posted an article about what could be next for Megan Anderson. However, it was hard to find any options for Anderson given the lack of fighters at 145 pounds.

The UFC currently has one final featherweight bout already booked for May. That matchup will feature former title challenger Felicia Spencer and Danyelle Wolf. For now, this will be the final women’s featherweight fight in the UFC.

UFC’s next steps

The writing was on the wall for the featherweight division. The UFC only had a handful of fighters in the division and the only two viable challengers to the champion were completely dominated in their attempts at the title.

Keeping the division didn’t make much sense at this point. Amanda Nunes said after UFC 259 that she doesn’t want to give up her title and wants to keep her champ-champ status.

The promotion absolutely loves Nunes so my guess is they will let her keep the title of featherweight champion. However, the division as a whole will no longer exist until the promotion finds a challenger for Nunes.

Megan Anderson will now hit the open market as a free agent. After the fight in May, Felicia Spencer and Danyelle Wolf will also be released from their UFC contracts unless they can make 135 pounds. Amanda Nunes will now return exclusively to bantamweight to defend her 135 pound title.

Why the New York Giants should not even consider cutting Jabrill Peppers

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are in a tricky salary cap situation. The team placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams which will account for over $19 million in cap space. The Giants do not even have that much cap space, so they will need to make some cuts to fit Williams under.

New York has already starting making cuts to clear cap space. Golden Tate, David Mayo, and Cody Core were all cap casualties. Levine Toilolo’s contract was also restructered to free up some 2021 cap space. But the Giants have a lot more space to clear if they want to sign Leonard Williams and any other free agentss.

Rumors and speculation have begun regarding the many different players that could be cap casualties in the 2021 offseason. One surprising and confusing name that has been floated out there is starting safety Jabrill Peppers.

Why cutting Jabrill Peppers is a terrible idea

Cutting Jabrill Peppers would save the New York Giants roughly $6.7 million in salary cap space. That money could help the Giants re-sign Leonard Williams or pursue a top wide receiver like Kenny Golladay. That is the argument for cutting one of the Giants’ best defensive players. That is the argument for cutting a 25-year-old safety that is a captain on the Giants’ defense, coming off of his best season of his career that saw him total a combined 91 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 11 passes defended.

There are not many safeties in the NFL that can match Jabrill Peppers’s 2020 production. There are even less safeties in the NFL that can produce at that level for the price of only $6.7 million. Jabrill Peppers is on the fifth year of his contract (the Giants picked up his fifth-year option last offseason). He has spent two seasons with the team and truly came into his own this past year.

Jabrill Peppers fit seamlessly into the Giants’ new defensive scheme under Patrick Graham. The Giants have preached all year long that they want to set a solid foundation and develop their young players. Cutting a defensive captain that is 25-years-old would accomplish the exact opposite. Peppers is a player that strengthens the Giants’ culture and roster.

Of course, the Giants have depth at the safety position. Peppers did a phenomenal job starting at strong safety in 2020. Logan Ryan was excellent at free safety. And behind their two starters, the Giants have two quality players in Julian Love and Xavier McKinney. However, the same fans that complain about the Giants fans never having any depth are the same fans that will advocate for cutting Peppers in order to sign a big-name free agent.

Cutting Jabrill Peppers severely weakens the back end of the Giants’ defense. Starting in his place would be the electric Xavier McKinney entering only his second season after spending the majority of the 2020 season on injured reserve. Julian Love would also see more playing time, but not in his utility role that he has blossomed into. The Giants also love to run nickel and dime packages on defense that feature three, sometimes four safeties on the field. These packages would be eliminated from New York’s playbook if Jabrill Peppers is released to clear cap space.

Additionally, Jabrill Peppers is a true leader for the Giants. Jabrill has spent time training with slot cornerback Darnay Holmes, mentoring him and Xavier McKinney. The Giants are building something special in their secondary. They have an abundance of young, talented players. These players are all close to each other and enjoy playing together. It would be a grave mistake for the Giants to ruin the chemistry they have created by cutting one of their best defensive players in Jabrill Peppers.

The curious case of C.J. Mosley and the New York Jets

The New York Jets’ $85 million man has played in only two games in the past two seasons, but there’s hope that the investment will pay off.

From a human standpoint, C.J. Mosley’s tenure with the New York Jets, which began during the 2019 offseason, can’t realistically be called a bust. Medical calamities, exacerbated by the star-crossed nature of Jets football, have marred his two years in green, necessitating long layoffs. A groin injury limited him to two games in his debut year before he opted out of last season entirely in the wake of the ongoing health crisis.

Neither of Mosley’s absences can be registered as excuses. Football is a violent game and injuries happen. A whole separate conversation can be had over whether oft-injured names like Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, and Ki-Jana Carter can rightfully be labeled disappointments as well. As for 2020, Mosley was one of many throughout the world who simply chose not to go head-to-head with a disease lacking data, a decision he was well within his rights to make.

Nonetheless, these factors far beyond the Jets’ control have nonetheless placed Mosley’s contract on countless “worst of” lists through the football press. Mosley inked a five-year, $85 million deal in March 2019 and has partaken in only two games since. Only adding to the awkwardness of the situation is the idea that Mosley feels like a relic, a hand-me-down from a forgettable era of football as the last big contract Mike Maccagnan dealt.  But, despite a small sample size, it’s not hard to be seduced by Mosley’s potential The Jets have seen what Mosley is capable of at full strength, as his one shining moment in a green uniform saw him earn six tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception of Josh Allen taken back for a touchdown, opening scoring for the 2019 campaign. When Mosley left with the aforementioned groin ailment, the Jets blew a 16-0 to Buffalo and have won only nine games since then. 

Mosley’s status is a subplot that’s buried in an offseason rife with questions and one that’s likely going to end with the Jets’ roster looking drastically different. Cutting him would incur an $8-12 million cap penalty, while a trade would net back $1.5 million toward the cap (albeit with $6 million in dead money). But that doesn’t appear to be the approach the Jets plan on taking. There’s hope amongst the new Jets brass that one of the final big deals from the Maccagnan era can make an impact and live up to the hype of his deal.

When Robert Saleh took to the virtual podium for the first time since his hiring last week, he was sure to point out that Mosley does have a future in the organization after Mosley stopped by his office upon a visit to One Jets Drive.

“It was awesome to get to meet him…My expectation is no different than any other player that’s here,” Saleh said, per notes provided by the Jets. “For C.J., (the goal is) to continue to be the pro that he’s been since the day he was drafted and the leader that he’s been and find ways to get better every single day. C.J. definitely has that mindset and just a pleasure to have been able to have gotten a chance to meet him.”

During his time as the defensive overseer in San Francisco, Saleh gained a slight reputation as a coach that could provide redemption to aging name-brand veterans who have struggled to regain their elite status. Richard Sherman, for example, reintroduced himself to the national picture under Saleh’s watch and was among his hiring’s biggest praisers. Jason Verrett got his career back on track through a strong 2020 campaign after playing only two games over the prior couple of seasons due to injury. Their union could prove beneficial on both sides: Saleh has an accomplished, veteran lump of clay that can make an immediate impact in a desperate locale, particularly in a 4-3 set, while Mosley has a strong mentor that can help him reclaim the narrative on his New York career.

Mosley has kept mostly quiet as he continues to work his way back, with Saleh and fellow linebacker Blake Cashman keeping the green masses updated on his status. But those who feel like Mosley is content to take the money and run should recall his comments prior to his opt-out. Simply put, the former Baltimore Raven was sick of rehabbing.

“It’s been annoying, honestly,” Mosley said of sitting out, per team reporter Olivia Landis. “You set a timetable up and you’re not ready and you feel like you’ve had a setback. But you’ve just got to be patient. I just have to make sure I trust the process as far as therapy and training and take it one day at a time.”

“Mentally and physically, I feel great. It’s just a matter of getting on the field and doing it.”

With any luck, he’ll finally get that opportunity come the fall.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees’ Zack Britton suffers elbow injury, out weeks

New York Yankees, Zack BRitton

It was only a matter of time before the New York Yankees began dealing with injuries, and with Clarke Schmidt already missing multiple weeks, the latest to hit the injured list is Zack Britton. The 33-year-old relief pitcher will undergo surgery in the coming days to remove a bone chip from his left elbow. This is a significant blow, and the expectation is that he will miss at least six weeks.

With Opening Day on April 1, the Yankees will undoubtedly have to work without Britton for the first few weeks of the season.

Luckily, the Yankees have plenty of offensive firepower to supplement losses in the pitching rotation and bullpen. However, Britton is a significant one to lose, and it will take him a few weeks after recovery to get into the groove of things. The only silver lining is that the injury doesn’t require Tommy John surgery, which would’ve kept him out the entire 2021 season.

 

 

New York Yankees: 4 important takeaways from Tuesday’s loss against the Tigers

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees were topped by the Detroit Tigers 6×5 in the spring training’s Grapefruit League on Tuesday afternoon. It was the fourth Bombers’ loss in the spring, and it came despite a couple of power displays by Gary Sanchez and Jay Bruce.

In fact, the Bombers got to the bottom of the eighth inning winning 5×3, but a late rally by Detroit against Yankees’ hurler Luis Garcia turned the tables in favor of the Tigers.

Here are four takeaways from the Bombers’ triumph:

Jay Bruce and Gary Sanchez continue their power parade

Lefty-hitting outfielder Jay Bruce is determined to win a roster spot with the New York Yankees, and if Tuesday’s game is any indication, he is well on his way. He is limited with the glove at this point of his career, but boy, he has power.

In the top of the second inning, Bruce sent a ball to the bleachers, a rocket to left-center field that drove in Gleyber Torres and gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

It was the second home run of the spring for the hulking outfielder, who is now batting .455 in the spring training.

Catcher Gary Sanchez, who disappointed last season with a .147 average, a 68 wRC+ and a 36% strikeout rate, also joined the power party and belted his third long ball of the spring.

Gary made some mechanical adjustments during the offseason and reported in top shape, and his hard work seems to be paying off.

Deivi dazzled, and the Yankees are happy

After allowing a couple of home runs last week on his first spring appearance against the Phillies, Deivi Garcia was much better on Tuesday.

The Yankees’ youngster hurled three scoreless innings against the Tigers, allowing a couple of base hits and striking out five Tigers: three were caught looking at strike three, and three went down swinging through his power stuff.

The most important takeaway for Garcia was that he didn’t hand any bases on balls, which will be huge as he tries to secure a place in the rotation or at least be part of the Yankees’ pitching plans to start the 2021 campaign.

Clint Frazier with the injury scare

While trying to make a play in the outfield, Clint Frazier gave Yankees’ fans quite the scare, as he slammed into the wall and was in pain for a few moments.

He was going after what ended up being a home run by Tigers’ shortstop Willi Castro.

Flashbacks of the concussion Frazier sustained a few years ago surely appeared on fans’ minds, but the outfielder stayed in the game to take an at-bat and be replaced after that. He seems to be OK.

The Yankees’ bullpen falters

Garcia was lights out for the Yankees, but Luis Garcia and Luis Cessa, who is expected to be a piece in the big league bullpen once Opening Day rolls, allowed three runs apiece.

Nick Nelson, Nestor Cortes, and Tyler Lyons were immaculate in their outings, though.

Cessa’s spring training ERA is now 15.00.

What’s next for Megan Anderson after loss at UFC 259?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Megan Anderson (11-5) finally got her shot at the featherweight title. Anderson was originally supposed to get her title fight back in December, however, Amanda Nunes (21-4) had to push back the fight a couple of months.

When the UFC brought Megan Anderson in, many considered her to be a future title contender. Anderson was the Invicta featherweight champion and she had a lot of skills that made her a formattable opponent for anyone at 145 pounds.

Up until Saturday night, Anderson was 3-2 inside the octagon with losses to Holly Holm and Felicia Spencer. However, she was coming off of back-to-back first round stoppages which earned her the shot at the UFC‘s two-division champion.

Anderson had an extremely tall task on Saturday night. Amanda Nunes has looked unstoppable over her last eleven fights. The two-division champion also seems to do her best work at 145 pounds when she doesn’t have to cut extra weight.

Megan Anderson was a massive betting underdog entering UFC 259 and the fight played out that way. Anderson looked extremely nervous and tentative in the cage. As soon as Nunes hit her clean for the first time, you knew she was in trouble.

Anderson retreated and Nunes swarmed. The UFC champion pummeled Anderson with more shots that forced a desperate takedown attempt. Nunes easily defended and locked up a triangle armbar to get the first round submission and retain her title.

What’s next after UFC 259?

Unfortunately for Megan Anderson, there are not a lot of options for her at the moment in the UFC. The women’s featherweight division is extremely shallow and they don’t even have a rankings system due to the lack of fighters.

With that, it’s hard to tell what’s next for Anderson. Dana White’s Contender Series makes it’s return in June and perhaps the UFC will look to add more 145 pound women through the upcoming season. More talent means more options for Megan Anderson.

When it comes to current UFC options, one fighter to look at is Leah Letson (5-1). Letson was a semifinalist on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter. She hasn’t fought since her 2018 win over Julija Stoliarenko, but she’s gearing up for her return to the octagon.

However, the most likely option would be the winner of the Felicia Spencer – Danyelle Wolf fight. This matchup is expected to take place in May. Whoever wins won’t likely warrant a title shot so a fight with Anderson would make sense. No matter how you slice it, there aren’t a lot of options at featherweight.