New York Giants: Is it safe to say Dave Gettleman has improved?

When the New York Giants moved on from Pat Shurmur, much of the fanbase wanted to see Dave Gettleman gone as GM too.

And understandably so. Sure. he’d made some moves like drafting Saquon Barkley, the team’s best weapon. But Barkley’s injuries have held back his progress and kept him from being as much of a slam dunk pick as he would have been healthy. Also, Barkley was the obvious pick – it doesn’t take a genius to take the best player on the board.

Gettleman also drafted Daniel Jones. And the verdict isn’t out yet on whether Jones is for real or a stepping stone. The pick didn’t do much to endear him to many, especially when neither the selection nor the free agency class would save the Giants from another bad year.

Many attributed Gettleman keeping his job to the Giants simply being a patient franchise, rather than skill. But has the situation changed since then?

A high level offseason

It’s hard to say things are the same as before. After all, the Giants are doing something they haven’t done in the past few years and welcoming a top free agent at a premier position, with wide receiver Kenny Golladay. They were counted out in the race for him earlier in the offseason, but the team management was able to make it happen and, while it’s said the Giants overpaid, they were still able to bring in another big addition to help the team.

That other big addition is Adoree’ Jackson, who looks like the team’s second corner and will finally fill the big gap left when the Giants moved on from DeAndre Baker. Also, Baker had a shaky track record when he was a Giant and Jackson represents an upgrade from the previous standard.

On the other hand, there’s decisions that some won’t agree with. Giving a big deal to Leonard Williams, most notably, overpaying Golladay, and watching Dalvin Tomlinson walk because of these decisions.

And it’s not quite possible to say yet, before we’ve seen just how well Gettleman’s judgement is here, whether these are good decisions or not.

So really, at the end of the day, the question of whether Gettleman has improved or not depends on how much you trust his view of things in this offseason’s biggest flashpoints.

Has he become savvy, adding premier free agents the Giants need for a quicker turn around after a sluggish rebuilding process? Or simply out of touch and throwing big money at players that don’t deserve it?

We’ll find out the answer this season – but the fanbase will likely be divided about that until then, and even going into it.

New York Giants well-represented, scouting Miami’s star-studded Pro Day

New York Giants, Gregory Rousseau

The 2021 NFL Draft is one month away. The New York Giants are preparing for an important draft to complete an impressive offseason that saw them knock the free agency period out of the park. New York signed multiple big-name free agents to address positions of need. But one position of need that the Giants did not address with a big splash in free agency was edge rusher.

The Giants signed a couple of low-cost, rotational edge rushers in free agency. Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ryan Anderson will contribute in 2021, but they are not dominant presences off the edge. It is possible that New York is still looking for that dominant edge rusher, though.

Today, the University of Miami had its Pro Day. It is officially Pro Day season, as all of the biggest schools in the country have been hosting Pro Days to show off their top draft prospects. Miami’s Pro Day drew a lot of attention today as they presented the NFL with their star pass-rushers. The New York Giants were in attendance as head coach Joe Judge stood next to Bill Belichick, keeping a close eye on Miami’s prospects. The assumption is that Joe Judge and the Giants made the trip to South Florida to get a closer look at Miami’s top pass rushers.

Miami’s edge rusher prospects

The top of the 2021 NFL Draft class features two impressive Miami edge rushers. Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau are both expected to be drafted in the first round of April’s draft. But outside of those top two edge rushers is another impressive Miami prospect. Quincy Roche is an intriguing name to keep an eye on outside of round one.

Gregory Rousseau

Gregory Rousseau had insane measurements at his Pro Day. He stands tall at 6 foot 6 and a half inches. But this lanky edge defender has some of the longest arms and biggest hands in the class. Rousseau’s hands measured in at a crazy 11 inches and his wingspan was 83 and 1/4 inches. These rare traits make Gregory an interesting prospect that has all the physical traits that could help mold him into a terrifying pass-rusher in the NFL.

Rousseau ran a solid 40-yard dash considering his size and weight. Gregory clocked in at 4.71/4.69s in the 40-yard dash. But it was his teammate, Jaelan Phillips, who really impressed scouts with his athletic testing.

Jaelan Phillips

Jaelan Phillips looked like an athletic freak at his Pro Day today. He ran a blazing fast 4.56s 40-yard-dash at 6 foot 5, 260 pounds. His agility drills were also impressive, as he posted a crazy 7.01s three-cone and 4.12s short shuttle. For reference, Nick Bosa’s 4.14s short shuttle tested in the 96th percentile. Phillips’s agility at his size is an extremely rare trait.

Phillips’s and Rousseau’s workouts are being compared as scouts, analysts, and fans alike debate who the better Miami edge rusher in this class is. Jaelan Phillips’s athletic testing was undeniably better than Rousseau’s and could propel Jaelan ahead of his teammate on draft boards. Many are disappointed by Gregory Rousseau’s testing numbers, which could cause him to slip in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Quincy Roche

Quincy Roche is Miami’s mid-round NFL Draft edge rusher that could be a solid value selection for the Giants to consider. Roche out-performed first-round prospect Gregory Rousseau in about every athletic test during today’s Pro Day. Quincy demonstrated surprisingly impressive athleticism and solid measurements as well. Quincy Roche ran an impressive 4.66s 40-yard dash today, just as fast as speedy Miami tight end Brevin Jordan.

Quincy Roche turned a lot of heads at his Pro Day. Roche, formerly considered to be a mid-round project, could rise up draft boards within the next month. Keep an eye on him as a potential target for the New York Giants as they look to bolster their edge rusher position.

NASCAR: Joey Logano wins historic dirt race at Bristol

Joey Logano held off off a final push from Denny Hamlin to win the NASCAR Cup Series first race on dirt in over five decades.

Joey Logano came out clean at the end of the first NASCAR Cup Series run on dirt in 51 years.

The No. 22 Team Penske Ford led the final 61 laps en route to victory at the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Monday. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, while Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez, and Ryan Newman rounded out the top five.

Bristol’s dirt endeavor, the first NASCAR Cup Series event held on dirt since 1970, was pushed back from Sunday to Monday after inclement weather flooded the parking lot and rendered the track inoperable. Thanks to a strong effort from the BMS crew, both the Cup and Camping World Truck Series were able to run their full events without issues.

Unlike several of his Cup peers, Logano did not run the Trucks race, instead calling the race for Fox Sports 1. Despite limited dirt experience, he was able to stay toward the front for a good portion of the day after starting 10th. He took care of business after the first 100-lap stage through a sixth-place finish while the Truck race winner Martin Truex Jr. dominated.

Logano first took the lead at lap 170 of 250, passing the upstart Suarez in the No. 99 Trackhouse Racing Team Chevrolet. He would go on to beat out Suarez for the stage two win before a ten-minute break commenced. By then, the middle stage of the race had thrown a new obstacle for the drivers: the return of single-file restarts, which hadn’t been seen on the Cup circuit since 2009. Early runs in the second stage were quickly stopped by multi-car get-togethers that damaged the cars of several contenders, including Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Chase Briscoe, Alex Bowman, and Ryan Blaney.

With the track moistened for the final 50-lap stage, Logano held the lead despite a strong push from Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Mike Marlar’s spin just five laps from the checkered flag set up a two-lap overtime finish, but Logano was able to keep Hamlin and a charging Stenhouse behind him. Stenhouse had worked his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet up from eighth over the final 30 laps to secure his fifth career runner-up finish at Bristol.

Logano is the seventh different winner in seven different events to open the 2021 season, the first time the Cup Series has had seven unique winners to start since 2014. The series will go on hiatus during Easter weekend before returning for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 10 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1).

Race Notes

  • Dirt track veterans and Cup regulars Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell saw their days end on a wreck at lap 53, an incident that also took out Ross Chastain.

 

  • Truex dominated the Truck event earlier in the day, leading 105 of 150 laps and sweeping each stage in a Toyota Tundra owned by Kyle Busch. His No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was running in the top five at the end of the race, but lost a tire late and was relegated to 19th.

 

  • Another early incident involved Aric Almirola’s No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Almirola failed to finish for the third time this season, matching his DNF total from all of last year. That wreck also ended the days of Anthony Alfredo, Corey LaJoie, and Shane Golobic (a dirt veteran driving B.J. McLeod’s No. 78).

 

  • Bubba Wallace’s top ten run was ended after contact with Stenhouse created a tire rub that sent him spinning with 34 laps to go. Forced to pit road and unaided by a caution and finished 27th.

 

  • Suarez set a new career-high with 58 laps and earned his first top-five finish since November 2019 (Texas). Monday marked the seventh race for Trackhouse, which is led by owner, recording artist, and philanthropist Pitbull.

 

  • Newman survived an early spin (one that forced Kevin Harvick into rookie teammate Briscoe) to earn his first top five since October 2019 (Talladega).

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Mets Finish Spring Training With a 3-3 Tie Against the Cardinals

Taijuan Walker gave the New York Mets one final hope that he will be a key stabilizer in their rotation with his start against the St. Louis Cardinals. Walker went five strong innings with only two runs allowed in the 3-3 tie. Manager Luis Rojas played most of his regulars but did all he could to ensure their good health going into Opening Day.

The first inning provided half of the scoring in the game. Pete Alonso put the Mets up 2-0 with an RBI double to cap off a spring where he hit .340 to go along with his majestic power. Nolan Arenado responded with a solo home run in the bottom half, which made it a 2-1 game. The Cardinals got to Walker again with a Matt Carpenter RBI single to knot the game at two.

After Walker left the game, Miguel Castro took over and continued to dominate. Castro hurled a 1-2-3 inning on just eight pitches and recorded a strikeout. Robert Gsellman followed and had his best outing after finding out he will make the Opening Day roster. Gsellman pitched a scoreless seventh, and Jerry Blevins did the same in the eighth.

Late Inning Effort

Mallex Smith‘s double gave the Mets a 3-2 lead in the eight, which led to Trevor Hildenberger’s save opportunity. Edmundo Sosa‘s solo home run tied the game and forced it to finish in a tie. The tie left the Mets with an 11-11-2 spring training record, and Francisco Lindor led the way with a .370 average in March. The big question remains whether Lindor will sign his long-term extension before the season begins or test next season’s free-agent market.

Opening Day on Thursday is the next time the Mets play baseball. They will keep themselves ready in Washington D.C. before Jacob deGrom makes his third consecutive Opening Day start. Max Scherzer makes his sixth Opening Day start and four in a row for the Washington Nationals.

Possible New York Liberty jerseys discovered in White Plains store

As new WNBA uniforms start to trickle out, a White Plains woman discovered what could be the New York Liberty’s new duds.

The New York Liberty may be leaving White Plains behind, but a piece of their possible future was apparently found in Westchester County.

A White Plains-based Twitter user identified as “S. Janelle” took to the platform to share what appears to be new uniforms for the Liberty, who are set to celebrate their 25th anniversary season, along with the WNBA as a whole, this summer. S. Janelle, a junior varsity high school basketball coach for the Byram Hills High School Bobcats in Armonk, shared photos of the new look on Twitter, which plays on both the teal and copper perceptions of the Statue of Liberty that bears the team’s name. Of note, the jersey bears numerals on the front of the uniform, namely the No. 20 of Sabrina Ionescu.

Upon zooming in on the photos, the jersey’s teal variant (adorned with the label “Equality”, the i replaced by a Liberty torch) is labeled the “Rebel” edition, while the black edition bears the “Explorer” moniker.

S. Janelle told ESM that she was previously a season-ticket holder during the Liberty’s days at Madison Square Garden and continued to support the team during their two seasons in White Plains’ Westchester County Center. Much like the Liberty using seven rookies last season, S. Janelle learned how to play with freshmen. In a shortened season, the Bobcats went 6-3 on a team with six first-years and four upperclassmen.

As the Liberty prepare to embark on their landmark 25th anniversary season, the team also unveiled a new marketing campaign encouraging fans to use the tag “#OwnTheCrown” on their social media platforms. The Liberty also unveiled a video to commemorate their new campaign, with team legend and current New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon providing narration. WNBA All-Rookie team nominee Jazmine Jones makes an appearance along with numerous Brooklyn residents, starring alongside highlights from the Liberty’s most recent season in the Bradenton bubble.

“The #OwnTheCrown campaign pays homage to women who continue to break barriers like the women of the Liberty have done for the last 25 years,” Shana Stephenson, the Liberty’s Vice President of Marketing, said  “From on-and off-court legends of the franchise like T-Spoon, to local business owners, youth athletes, activists and artists, the team will celebrate the journey of women who are vital to not only the history of the organization, but the overall empowerment of women, and the diverse culture of New York City.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Yankees Recap: Luis Gil had a spectacular inning in Yankee loss

New York Yankees, luis gil

Today was the last game of spring training for the New York Yankees. The game will be at home at George M. Steinbrenner Field before they board a plane for Yankee Stadium. The game was started by the Yankees’ best pitcher in the spring, Domingo German; he faced the Detroit Tigers’ Jose Urena. On their last day in Tampa, they were blessed with an 81-degree game-time temperature, and the game was played under partly sunny skies.

With 13 strikeouts over 9 innings and not having allowed a run in the spring, German took to the mound. Victor Reyes singled off German. Daz Cameron flew out, Jeimer Candelario struck out on three pitches. Miguel Cabrera singled, moving Candelario to third base. The hit fell in no man’s land that couldn’t be caught by three Yankees that tried for. Jonathan Schoop ground out to Urshela to end the half and leave two Tigers on base.

At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu led off. He ended Urena’s season last year when he broke Urena’s wrist with a comebacker. DJ flow out to left. Gleyber Torres walked, and with Aaron Hicks at the plate, he took second on a wild pitch and then took third on a throwing error. Hicks ground out in the infield. Giancarlo Stanton had a rocket double off the left-field wall scoring Torres. Gio Urshela struck out, but the Yankees took the one-run lead.

It should be noted that number two in the lineup Aaron Judge has not been in the last few games. But when questioned, manager Aaron Boone said there is no reason to worry Judge is healthy are ready to start the season. However, it does make you wonder why he has been absent. Boone clarified during the game, saying that he was a bit under the weather but has cleared all the COVID protocols and will be ready.

German was back out in the second facing H.Castro, who popped out to Urshela. Wilson Ramos flew out to Hicks. A pitch hit Isaac Paredes. Akil Baddoo got a home run off German driving in two. That was the first run allowed by German in the spring. Reyes popped out to end the half. Jay Bruce at the bottom ground out to second. Frazier walked, Sanchez ground out into a double play. Detroit Tigers 2 New York Yankees 1.

Cameron led off the third and struck out. Candelario ground out first. Cabrera flew out to right with an excellent running catch by Frazier, giving German a quick 1-2-3 half. Brett Gardner, the Yankee batting average leader, led off the bottom and chopped out to first. LeMahieu was caught looking. Torres ground out for a 1-2-3 inning for Urena.

The fourth inning was led off by Schoop, who struck out on three pitches. H.Castro doubled on a ball that bounced into the stands. Ramos ground out, Castro went to third. Paredes struck out. Hicks walked to lead off the bottom. Stanton got a back-to-back walk, Urshela hit into a double play. Bruce walked, Frazier ground out to third, leaving men on the corners. Tigers 2 Yankees 1.

Baddoo struck out against reliever Chad Green. Reyes doubled to left. Cameron walked. Candelario ground out, but the runners advanced. Cabrera slammed a three-run home run knocking Green out of the game. Schoop faced sidearmer, Darren O’Day. Schoop popped out to Wade, but the Tigers picked up 3 more runs. At the bottom of the fifth, Sanchez struck out his third of the game. Gardner ground out. The Tigers had a pitching change bringing in Derek Holland to face Wade, who ground out. Tigers 5 Yankees 1.

Castro stuck out against Jonathan Loaisiga to start the sixth. Ramos ground out. Paredes ground out to short for a 1-2-3 half for Loaisiga. Estrada at the bottom was caught looking. Hicks had a long single to left and was replaced by Allen as a pinch-runner. Stanton struck out. Urshela struck out. Tigers 5 Yankees 1.

Michael King faced Baddoo at the seventh. Baddoo struck out. Greene struck out, and Cameron lined out. After the stretch, Alvarez struck out, Clint Frazier was called out on strikes, and Higashioka bounced back to Cisnero as the Yankee hitters remained quiet.

Luis Gil out for the eighth struck out Torkelson as he did Nunez. Dingler also stuck out for an impressive strikeout of the side for Luis Gil. At the bottom, LaMarre struck out; Wade bounced out. Estrada got his third home run of the spring. Allen also bounced out. Tigers 5 Yankees 2.

At the ninth, Reggie McClain, who was with the Phillies, last year took to the mound for the Yankees. Short made it to first as the ball got away from Brantly. Garneau at the plate Short stole second. Garneau walked. Paredes hit into a double play as Short went to third. Haase struck out to strand the runner. With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, sent Seigler to the plate, he hit a very long out to left. Duran singled up the middle. Alvarez followed with a long out to right field. Florial flew out to left to end the game. Final score 5-2 as the New York Yankees only garnered 4 hits. The winning pitcher was Urena, and the loser was German.

 

New York Giants find their Dalvin Tomlinson replacement, sign DT Danny Shelton

new york giants, danny shelton

Replacing Dalvin Tomlinson will be no easy feat for the New York Giants, as he commanded significant attention at nose tackle and was one of the most double-teamed interior defenders in football. The Giants re-signed Austin Johnson to a one-year, $3 million deal for the 2021 season, but they can’t expect him to be their bonafide starter at 0-tech.

Johnson was more of a rotational piece in 2020, accumulating 18 combined tackles and 1.0 sacks in 16 appearances. He only participated in 21% of defensive snaps, indicating he is a depth piece that can mitigate fatigue for the starters.

However, the Giants have found Tomlinson’s replacement, as they brought in former Detroit Lions DT Danny Shelton for a visit on Monday afternoon, agreeing to a one-year deal.

Shelton, it’s coming off a two-year, $8M deal with the Detroit Lions, but they released him due to a failed physical destination.

Shelton is a quality player who will fill a big need for the Giants in the interior. At 6’2” and 345 pounds, Shelton is nicknamed “feast mode,” collecting 37 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, and 1.0 sacks over 12 starts in 2020. Shelton spent time with the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, and Lions, giving him a bit of familiarity with the Giants’ coaching staff.

Ultimately, replacing Tomlinson’s production is impossible, even with a player like Shelton, who takes up space in the interior and can command double teams. He played 44% of snaps in 2020, while Dalvin featured in 60%, primarily due to the former missing four games.

This will likely be a cheap signing for the Giants, as nose tackle is probably the most replaceable position on the interior, let alone the defense. There is a possibility the Giants address the position in the draft with a youth prospect as well, who can develop in their scheme. I expect general manager Dave Gettleman to allocate a mid-round pick on a big interior defender with upside, someone like North Carolina State defender Alim McNeil.

Jon Jones to the UFC: “Just f**king let me go”

UFC, Jon Jones

It is safe to say that the relationship between Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) and the UFC is not in a good place. Last summer, there was a very public spat between Jones and the promotion regarding his pay.

Jones wanted more money to move up to heavyweight and the UFC wanted to keep him on his current deal. Jones said he would just sit out until he was given an offer that he was satisfied with.

Over the past few months, it appeared that Jones and the UFC had mended their issues. Dana White even said that he was on good speaking terms with Jones and that Jones was excited about his move to heavyweight.

In the buildup to UFC 260, White kept saying that Jones would be facing the winner. However, things drastically turned on Saturday night after the PPV. Jones tweeted out saying, “Show me the money,” and that didn’t sit well with Dana White.

At the post-fight press conference, White essentially said tweeting that is a way of saying you don’t want the fight. Of course, this didn’t sit well with the former UFC light heavyweight champion who fired back on Twitter.

Jones said yesterday that the UFC was going to send him an offer this week to face the new heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3). Bones took to Twitter today to voice his frustrations so it’s safe to say he’s not happy with the offer.

https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1376588604844122113

https://twitter.com/JonnyBones/status/1376588756556247041

What’s next for the UFC and Jones

As mentioned, this problem is the same thing that we were dealing with last summer with Jones and the UFC. There is clearly a problem with what the promotion is offering and what Jon Jones wants financially.

Jones has kept the same stance all along and I was under the impression that the offers were fixed given comments in recent months. However, it now appears that nothing has really changed.

From here, I’m anticipating there being more back and forth between Jones and the UFC. The UFC has already said that they would pivot to Derrick Lewis if they cannot finalize the matchup. This situation will definitely be one to watch over the next few days.

2019 Draft Pick Hunter Skinner Signs with the New York Rangers

The New York Rangers have announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Hunter Skinner on an entry-level contract. Skinner was selected by the Rangers in the fourth round, 112th overall, of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

The Rangers have stated that Skinner will join the Hartford Wolf Pack on an AHL contract for the remainder of the 2020-21 season, and his entry-level contract begins at the start of the 2021-22 season. His signing adds some right-handed defenseman depth for the Blueshirts organization.

The soon-to-be 20-year-old Skinner skated in 26 games with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL this season, registering seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, along with 19 penalty minutes. He ranks third among ECHL defensemen in goals and ranks 10th among ECHL defensemen in shots on goal (74) in 2020-21.

After playing with the Lincoln Stars and the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, Skinner played with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) in 2019-20, registering 32 points (six goals, 26 assists) and a plus-22 rating in 62 games.

Internationally, the Wyandotte, Michigan native helped the United States win a gold medal at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

 

 

 

 

Mets give roster spot to Robert Gsellman: ‘G’s stuff is there’

The New York Mets, valuing his ability to be a multi-inning reliever, decided to give one of their roster spots to right-handed reliever Robert Gsellman. He will join a talented unit that includes Edwin Diaz, Trevor May, Aaron Loup, Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia, and a rehabbing Seth Lugo.

The decision comes on the week of the Mets opting not to give a spot to fellow swingman Mike Montgomery. The team knows that Gsellman hasn’t had a particularly good spring training, but they like where he is currently at stuff-wise.

The righty, who has been with the Mets for his entire five-year MLB tenure and has a 4.67 career ERA, has allowed 14 hits and five earned runs in eight frames during Grapefruit League play, with a couple of walks, four strikeouts, and a 5.63 ERA.

The Mets like his versatility

During the shortened 2020 season, Gsellman was needed in the rotation due to the rash of injuries on the Mets’ roster. In six total games (four starts), the 27-year old was bad, with a 9.64 ERA and 7.55 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) in 14 innings. He had 5.79 strikeouts per nine frames, and 5.14 BB/9. Home runs were a problem, as he had a 2.57 HR/9.

“Robert Gsellman was complimented by Rojas for his ‘stuff.’ Mets like that Gsellman can throw multiple innings, which led to their decision to add him to the Opening Day roster,” Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News wrote on Monday.

“G’s stuff is there. He can come in and do something that he’s done in the past, to help us win some games,” Mets’ manager Luis Rojas said, according to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

The Mets also informed over the weekend that Jerry Blevins, a left-handed relief pitcher, didn’t make the team but will instead keep himself in shape at the team’s alternate training site.