New York Giants: An NFC East best offense in 2021?

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants had one of the worst offenses in the league in 2020 – but that might have changed around quickly based on how things have gone so far during the offseason. The Giants were already expected to see a boost to their offense going into the next season with a healthy Saquon Barkley, but that boost is greatly expanded by adding a receiver that has the potential to finish as one of the top ten in the league: Kenny Golladay.

The Golladay deal gives the Giants the number one receiver they haven’t had since they moved on from Odell Beckham Jr. Sterling Shepard never quite rose to that role, and Darius Slayton hasn’t been consistent enough to seize it either. Now, the Giants have what they’re looking for.

But the Giants still have other, less consistent but still dangerous talents in their back pocket. With a number one threat for defenses to focus on, these talents might be able to shine more. They include Evan Engram, whose receiving potential the Giants have continued to bet on each season as calls to trade the tight end go unheard. And Darius Slayton, who was still an 8 touchdown receiver in 2019 despite his lesser performance in 2020.

The Giants added another depth player to the receiving game with tight end Kyle Rudolph, who himself is only one year removed from a 6 touchdown season in 2019. If Saquon Barkley can stay healthy this entire season, the Giants will also have one of the most dynamic weapons in the running game this year.

It’s a bit early to start crowning the best offense in the division, and the last Giants teams to be crowned early have underperformed big time. But if there’s one season when the Giants will avoid that fate, it seems like this one.

After all, with the team finally getting a number one receiver, and other talents returning and having less pressure on them to take on the entire load for the offense, we might just see more than one player blossom from the move the Giants have made.

New York Rangers: different night, different result

The New York Rangers “flipped the script” in defeating the Washington Capitals 3-1. Coming off last night’s disappointing loss, Mika Zibanejad broke a tie with 2:32 remaining in the third period to lead the Rangers to the victory.

Brett Howden scored into an empty net with 28 seconds left for the final Rangers goal.

Adam Fox continues his solid play for the Rangers. Fox made an excellent pass to Pavel Buchnevich on the Ranger’s first goal. Per NYR StatsandInfo, Fox recorded his 50th career assist and 60th career point in his 99th career NHL game. The only Ranger defensemen who recorded more assists and points than Fox has within their first 100 career NHL games are Brian Leetch, Sergei Zubov, and Reijo Ruotsalainen. Also, ten of Fox’s 16 assists this season have been primary assists, and he is tied for seventh among NHL defensemen in primary assists in 2020-21.

The New York Rangers will be without Quinn for a few more games, Johnson for the season.

Jack Johnson will miss the remainder of the campaign after undergoing core muscle repair surgery, the team announced Saturday.  Johnson had a limited role with the Rangers, averaging a career-low 16:58 per game while only finding his way into the lineup 13 times. He finishes the season with one goal and no assists.

Head Coach David Quinn will probably miss at least two more games, based on the NHL’s Positive Test Protocol as speculated by the NY Post’s Larry Brooks. The protocol states that “Upon the passage of 10 days since the first positive test, provided the individual has remained asymptomatic during the entire period of their self-isolation; and Satisfaction of the Additional Criteria in 4.3 [that mandates the team physician and infectious disease expert must conclude the individual, ‘no longer presents a risk of infection to others.’”

There is also the condition that pertains to persons with symptoms at the time of testing or thereafter states that quarantine may end, “If at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

All of this points to a possible return next Friday or Saturday for Quinn.

Keith Kinkaid talked about how important this win was after last night’s loss. “It was basically the same script but I guess you would say that we flipped the script,” Kinkaid said in his post-game Zoom conference. Our attention to detail and our blocking shots at the end of the game were huge.”

Kinkaid stopped 28 of 29 shots faced, including 11 in the third period.

The Rangers will be back in action on Monday night when they host the struggling Buffalo Sabres.

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees Recaps: Gio Urshela homers in Yankees loss to the Orioles

The New York Yankees went with their “B” lineup last night in their match-up with the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida. The skies were sunny, and the game-time temperature was in the mid-sixties. Michael King took the mound for the Yankees and Matt Harvey for the Baltimore Orioles.

DJ LeMahieu dropped his spring training average down to .258 when he struck out in the first inning.  Shortstop Gleyber Torres walked. Jay Bruce ground out, and Gary Sanchez struck out swinging to end the half. With King on the mound, Mullins and Mancini both struck out swinging, and Santander flew out to the left-field for a quick inning for King.

At the top of the second inning, Gio Urshela hit a monster home run to centerfield, his first of the spring training for the Yankees 1-0 lead. Derrick Dietrich reached on a hit by a pitch, but Ford, Tauchman, and Brito all struck out or flew out to end the inning, but the Yankees picked up a run. At the bottom of the inning, Ruiz struck out, and Galvis flew out, two away. Hays grounded out to LeMahieu to end the inning. Yankees 1 Orioles 0. At the bottom of the third inning Ramon Urias grounded out, but Sisco, who was on second, scored to tie up the game a 1 apiece. Michael King finished up three innings allowing one earned run and an ERA of 3.85 on spring training.

The New York Yankees had a scoreless fourth inning. The Orioles were also scoreless,b but in the bottom of the fifth inning, Pat Valaika hit a solo homer off Jonathan Loaisiga on a line drive to center field for his second home of spring training. Orioles 2 Yankees 1. It was Jonathan Loaisiga’s first home run allowed and second hit allowed of spring training.

The game remained 2-1 Baltimore Orioles through the top of the ninth inning. Luis Cessa pitched two quality inning for the New York Yankees while striking out three Orioles. The Yankee’s lineup again remained quiet except for Urshela’s home run way back in the second inning. Gary Sanchez struck out twice going 0-3 while his batting average dropped to .193. The final score was the Baltimore Orioles 2 and the New York Yankees 1. The winning pitcher was Mac Sceroler.  The Loser was Jonathan Loaisiga, who allowed the second Baltimore run in the fifth inning.

Tomorrow the New York Yankees play the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida. Gerrit Cole will get the start against the Jays. The 1:05 pm game will be televised on MLBN. Stay with EmpireSportsMedia. Com for all the Yankee updates.

BREAKING: Alexander Volkanovski – Brian Ortega off UFC 261

On the night where everyone should be excited to watch Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson at UFC Vegas 22, the promotion announced some tough news this evening. The UFC announced that the featherweight title fight between Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Brian Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) is off.

The fight was scheduled to be the co-main event of UFC 261 next weekend. According to the promotion, Volkanovski was pulled from the card due to COVID-19 protocol. As of now, the promotion will move forward with the card as is and the featherweight title fight will be booked for a later date.

However, at this time, there’s no word on exactly when the fight will take place. While the news just came out, one of the best targets to watch out for is UFC 262. That event will be held in Houston and is currently scheduled to be headlined by Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC flyweight title.

What’s the UFC’s plan?

As mentioned there is no target date at this time. Given the fact that both men are healthy and ready to go, you’d have to think that the UFC will look to turn this around as soon as possible. I cannot see a situation where this fight gets beyond the date of UFC 262 if both men are healthy.

Volkanovski was looking to defend his featherweight title for the second time. Last July at UFC 251, Volkanovski won a razor thin split decision over Max Holloway. The win was the second straight for Volkanovski over Holloway.

A few months after that title defense for Volkanovski, Brian Ortega made his UFC return. He dominated Chan Sung Jung over the course of five rounds. That win showed everyone the amount he had improved during his time off. Injuries had kept Ortega out of the octagon since his title defeat to Holloway a couple of years prior.

This story is still developing and my guess is that we should get a new date for this fight sometime this week. If I was to put money on it, I would strongly lean towards UFC 262 considering 261 already has three title fights on the card.

BREAKING: New York Giants land top free agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with top free-agent wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay landed a four-year, $72 million deal with a max of $76 million and $40 million Gauranteed. This is New York’s big splash signing as Golladay was the top free agent on the open market. After days of “mutual interest” and an official in-person signing, Golladay and the Giants were able to finalize a deal with the stud wide receiver.

New York is addressing a huge need with this signing, getting Daniel Jones a new primary receiving threat. Golladay is the big-body outside receiving threat that the Giants desperately needed. He’s a 6 foot 4, 214-pound wide receiver. Golladay spent the first four seasons of his career with the Detroit Lions. Now, he will join the New York Giants as their top receiving threat.

Kenny Golladay was the top receiving option for the Detroit Lions. Detroit elected not to place the franchise tag on Kenny after failing to agree to a long-term contract extension. Now, Golladay walks away from Detroit and marches into New York as the Giants’ new alpha dog wide receiver.

Kenny Golladay was a Pro Bowl selection in 2019 after he led the NFL with 11 receiving touchdowns to go along with an impressive 1,190 receiving yards on 65 receptions. Golladay topped one thousand receiving yards in back-to-back seasons (2018-2019), establishing himself as one of the top receivers in the league. “Babytron” has shades of his game similar to former Detroit Lions great Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, hence Kenny’s nickname.

The only concern with Kenny Golladay is his injury history. Golladay played in only 5 games in 2020 before suffering a season-ending hip injury. Kenny is presumably healthy again and ready to get to work in Jason Garrett’s offense. Similar to the Buffalo Bills adding Stefon Diggs last offseason, Giants fans will hope that the acquisition of Kenny Golladay will lead Daniel Jones to have a Josh Allen-like breakout campaign in his third season.

Knicks center Mitchell Robinson cleared to play, says he’s ready to return

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

Mitchell Robinson could return as early as Sunday when the New York Knicks host the Philadelphia 76ers at the Madison Square Garden.

Robinson, who has missed the New York Knicks’ last 15 games, has been upgraded to questionable.

Tom Thibodeau said the 23-year old center is close to returning.

“[Mitchell] is getting close. He’s been cleared. He’s done more, so we’ll see how he responds to contact,” Thibodeau told reportersThibodeau told reporters after Saturday’s practice. “You know, the conditioning piece is important as well. But he’s been cleared from a physical standpoint.”

Robinson underwent surgery last Feb. 16 to repair a fracture on his right hand, which he sustained against the Washington Wizards last Feb. 12. He was initially diagnosed to miss four to six weeks. This is already his fifth week of recovery.

The Knicks went 9-6 in his absence, with Nerlens Noel admirably filling in his spot in the starting unit. They currently sit at the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference with a .500 record (21-21) entering Sunday’s game.

Robinson tweeted that he’s ready to go shortly after the Knicks announced his upgraded status.

Thibodeau was non-committal if he’ll play Robinson tomorrow. He’s expected to be eased into the rotation and eventually return to his usual starting role.

”I want to see how that [return] goes. There’s great versatility there [at his position]. But eventually, he’ll get back to starting, whether that happens right away or down the road. But I’m reallly comfortable with both guys (Robinson and Noel) in that role and with Taj (Gibson) as well. That gives us great depth in that position,” Thibodeau said.

The Knicks are looking to avenge their 99-96 loss against the 76ers in Philadelphia earlier this week.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

What are the New York Jets getting in TE Tyler Kroft?

The New York Jets have added another offensive playmaker to the fold. This time in the form of 28-year-old former Bills tight end Tyler Kroft. Kroft has been with Buffalo as part of their tight end room for the past two seasons totaling 18 receptions for 190 yards and 4 TDs. Kroft now joins the Jets, where he will likely walk into a decent-sized role.

What does this mean?

The former Rutgers product joins the green and white after two seasons in Buffalo, where he did not play as well as he did in his original home of Cincinnati. After being selected with the 85th pick in the 2015 Draft, Kroft spent four years in Cincinnati.

In that time, Kroft played some pretty good football, but his best year came in 2017, his lone year as a starter. In that season, Kroft started all 16 games putting up 42 receptions for 404 yards and 7 scores. Kroft was an animal in the red zone and provided a key threat to that Bengals offense. When given a chance to show what he can do, Kroft has shown flashes of starting-level talent.

Now, as the Jets enter a new season with a new offense and potential new quarterback, the tight end position is all the more important. The Jets will hope for a resurgence from former breakout star Chris Herndon, but they will now have Kroft in the mix to compliment him. Kroft will bring another good red zone threat into the fold while also providing some experience for Herndon to lean on. Kroft will be a nice addition for gang green as it is a one-year deal.

Mets reportedly think they can have Carrasco back by Memorial Day

The New York Mets will be without one of their best starters, Carlos Carrasco, for at least a few weeks. He began experiencing mild elbow soreness early last week and had to stop his throwing program, but after a few days of rest, he had progressed all the way to live batting practice a couple of days ago.

Everything went fine when Carrasco, who the Mets acquired together with shortstop Francisco Lindor in January, threw to live hitters. However, it was a running drill afterward the one that took away the first few weeks of his season, as he suffered a right hamstring tear.

It was diagnosed as a high-grade tear, meaning that the Mets will have to be careful not to rush him back or he could aggravate the injury.

Yet, the Mets are optimistic that their top starter can be back on the mound soon. In fact, they hope they can get their pitcher back by Memorial Day (which is on May 31.)

The Mets are optimistic

Andy Martino of SNY reported that the Mets are confident Carrasco can be back before that date, despite the initial timetable of 6-8 weeks before he could ramp up to being game-ready.

If Martino is correct, the Mets could potentially have Carrasco locked and loaded, fully stretched out and ready to be on a major league mound in about 10 weeks.

With Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard out, the Mets will likely bump David Peterson into the rotation and have one of Joey Lucchesi and Jordan Yamamoto join Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, and Taijuan Walker.

“We have pretty good depth,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said Thursday. “Not only that but having a guy like [Jacob deGrom] and Marcus [Stroman] and [David] Peterson and guys that also have experience starting games for the last few years in camp definitely gives us a relief when something like this can happen.”

Yankees’ Deivi Garcia proves one major skill in interesting outing vs Phillies

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees feel very good about their starting rotation, especially with both Deivi Garcia and Domingo German dominating the spring. García earned the start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday evening, 4-1. However, García had an up and down performance but showed off one major skill that is necessary for an MLB starter.

Garcia allowed four walks, including getting himself into a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, but managed to strike out Andrew Knapp to get himself out of trouble. García currently hosts a 1.64 ERA this spring with 12 strikeouts and five hits allowed over 11.0 innings.

There is no question that Garcia is capable of being a starter this upcoming season, and the Yankees could elect to go with a six-man rotation, giving Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon a bit more time to heal up following major injuries. I feel as though this is a positive move for skipper Aaron Boone, as he can mitigate fatigue and make sure his two new acquisitions this offseason are 100% healthy before making them more prominent pieces in the rotation.

Garcia can be a phenomenal sixth man, with Domingo German all about locking up the fifth spot in the rotation.

The Yankees bet on German, and he’s paying off:

German has looked absolutely phenomenal the spring, securing a 0.00 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 9.0 innings. He’s allowed five hits but has revitalized his form following an 81 game suspension due to a domestic violence case. Having two young pitchers making significant leaps is exactly what the Yankees needed, and they always have Luis Severino later in the summer when he makes his return from Tommy John surgery. This starting unit is picking up steam at the right time ahead of the regular season, and this is the most optimistic I felt about them in quite some time.

The reinforcements that Severino provides later on in the season will likely be significant, but García showing off his talents in the spring is what I’m excited about now. Hopefully, he can take care of some of those nagging problems, like excessive walks, allowing four against Philadelphia. He has now walked six batters this spring, but I don’t see that as a significant issue.

Knicks Mock Trade: Acquiring Lonzo Ball and a sharpshooter from the Pelicans

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

The New York Knicks could use a bit more firepower on offense, and with continued interest ahead of the March 27 trade deadline, a deal could occur at any moment. Head coach Tom Thibodeau likes his current squad, simply based on their incredible defensive prowess. The Knicks currently have the number one ranked defense in the NBA in points allowed per game with 104.9. Immediately behind them is the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

With good defense, the Knicks remain competitive in most contests, but their lack of offense has hurt them at times. Bringing in a few more solid pieces in that category could push them over the edge, especially against some playoff-caliber teams. The Knicks most recently lost two consecutive games to the Nets and 76ers, two playoff-bound squads. Losing by five points to the Nets and three points of the 76ers was disappointing, but it proved that New York has what it takes to remain competitive against winning teams.

Let’s take a look at a deal that would send Lonzo Ball and a sharpshooter to the Knicks, providing them with some support.

Mock trade between the Knicks and Pelicans, proposed by B/Rs Greg Swartz:

Knicks receive:

Lonzo Ball

JJ Redick

Pelicans Get:

Kevin Knox, Frank Ntilikina

Elfrid Payton

2021 first-round pick (via Dal)

2021 second-round pick (via Det)

This is an intriguing mock trade, as Ball is averaging 14.2 points over 31.7 minutes per game. He’s also averaging 5.6 assists, and 1.3 steals this season. He would immediately become the most offensively productive point guard on the team, with Derrick Rose close behind. The problem is, the Knicks will have to part with Frank Ntilikina, their defensive gem, who doesn’t offer much support on offense but is a solid backup who can hold a team’s top scorer down.

Loop in the first and second-round pick, plus Kevin Knox and Elfrid Payton, New York, walks away with Ball and JJ Redick, who is averaging just 8.7 points at 36 years old. He’s having a down season, but he has family in Brooklyn and would likely rejuvenate given a move to New York.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this trade, simply based on the fact that JJ Redick is far too old to rely on consistently, and Ball is only averaging 14.2 points per game. However, you can justify it based on Lonzo’s potential, since at 23 years old, he’s just scratching the surface of his abilities.
If the Knicks like Ball that much, this is a solid deal that nets them a point guard ready to take a big developmental jump. With great coaching, I believe they can unlock his potential, but they would have to give up a nice haul in the process.