Giants’ co-owner John Mara makes bold Daniel Jones claim

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have spent frivolously in free agency this off-season trying to bolster their offense around quarterback Daniel Jones. Jones is entering his third year in the NFL but took a massive step backward without weapons to utilize in the passing game in 2020.

Luckily, he will be going into a second year and the same offensive scheme, but with more talent around him, including wide receivers Kenny Golladay and John Ross. He will also be gaining running back Saquon Barkley back from an ACL tear, and there’s always the possibility they draft a receiver with the 11th overall pick.

On paper, the Giants have a better team on both sides of the ball, and hopefully, they can utilize the draft to plug a few holes and add playmakers. There is no question that ownership is behind Jones, considering the new contract they signed matches up perfectly with his rookie contract. Leonard Williams, Golladay, and Adoree’ Jackson have expiring contracts in 2023, which is exactly when Jones’ fifth-year option concludes.

Ian O’Connor of the New York Post interview John Mara, asking him:

Q: “Do you believe Daniel Jones looks like a quarterback who will ultimately win a Super Bowl?”

A: “Yes he does,” Mara responded. “I can say that without any hesitation.”

Q: “Good enough to win multiple Super Bowls like his predecessor, Eli Manning?”

A: “I don’t see why not,” the Giants CEO said, “if we put the right pieces around him.”

Management has been extremely vocal about Daniel‘s future with Big Blue and their commitments to him. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on upgrades should justify their confidence, but Jones needs to take a significant step forward in 2021 to justify their backing. He only threw 11 touchdowns last year, tossing 10 interceptions and fumbling 11 times. While his pocket awareness improved and his ball security took a step in the right direction, he still has a long way to go before we can feel confident in his abilities.

Hopefully, the offensive scheme changes around him, utilizing a more vertical style to capitalize on his downfield accuracy. Jones has all the physical tools to be a fantastic quarterback at the NFL level, including solid accuracy, mobility, and intelligence. If he can put all of these attributes together and grow confident in his system, I have no doubt that DJ can run the Giants’ offense at a high-level.

Yankees News: Aaron Judge illness update, Mike Tauchman trade calls

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees are currently ironing out their active roster, and injuries have forced them into a difficult situation. With starting first baseman Luke Voit hitting the injured list after receiving surgery to fix a partially torn meniscus, the Yanks elected to retain Jay Bruce, who will supplement the Voit’s loss over the next few weeks.

Bruce is also capable of playing in right field, as the Yankees currently have a dearth of outfield depth, including Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman. In fact, teams were inquiring about Tauchman’s availability, but general manager Brian Cashman fended them off, asking him for value that matches Mike’s 2019 production.

Mike Tauchman had plenty of suitors:

As for Mike Tauchman, Cashman said the outfielder “was never leaving unless I found a deal that made sense for him to leave.”

This spring, Tauchman is hitting .250 with three homers and four RBIs after struggling in 2020, failing to hit a HR, and recording a .242 average.

Aaron Judge update:

One potential concern was regarding slugger Aaron Judge, who has been feeling ill the last few days, missing several games. Judge is expected to be on the Opening Day roster, though, but fans certainly experienced a worry after missing the last two spring training games. Thankfully, Judge is simply under the weather, after testing negative for COVID-19, according to Cashman.

“Judge is going through the normal … [COVID-19] environment,” Cashman said during a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “Any little issue that is conveyed, you kind of react [as if it is an emergency]. We just sent him through the protocols and thankfully, we eliminated all the stuff other than the fact that every now and then, you could come up with not feeling really well. But he is fine.”

Judge is looking to bounce back after a tough 2020 campaign, hitting .257 with nine homers and 22 RBIs. He only played in about half the available games, struggling with injury once again. The Yankees completely overhauled their strength and conditioning staff this off-season, hiring Erika Cressey to lead the way. Hopefully, he can mitigate significant injuries and keep the sluggers healthy by utilizing a more refined workout focusing on stamina rather than heavy weight lifting.

New York Rangers may have to sit and watch as NHL reschedules key games

The NHL will extend the end of the regular season from May 8 to May 11 which could impact a trip to the post-season for the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers and Boston Bruins were supposed to conclude their regular season in a two-game set in Boston on May 6 and May 8. The NHL was forced to reschedule several games due to the pandemic which could force the Blueshirts to sit and watch the Bruins play their final two games in hopes of making the playoffs.

In an announcement made by the National Hockey League on Sunday, 19 games were rescheduled extending the season’s conclusion by three days.

Rescheduled Games

NEW YORK (March 28, 2021) – The National Hockey League today announced the following updates to the 2020-21 regular-season schedule:

Game 498, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 22, is now scheduled for March 30 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 714, Washington at Boston, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for April 11 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 686, Calgary at Montreal, scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m. ET, will now start at 6 p.m. ET

Game 546, Ottawa at Montreal, scheduled for March 28, is now scheduled for April 17 at 4 p.m. ET

Game 483, Boston at Buffalo, scheduled for March 20, is now scheduled for April 20 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 726, Toronto at Winnipeg, scheduled for April 21 at 8 p.m. ET, will now start at 7 p.m. ET

Game 721, Montreal at Edmonton, scheduled for April 20, is now scheduled for April 21 at 10 p.m. ET

Game 736, Montreal at Calgary, scheduled for April 22, is now scheduled for April 23 at 9 p.m. ET

Game 761, Montreal at Calgary, scheduled for April 26 at 10 p.m. ET, will now start at 6:30 p.m. ET

Game 760, Edmonton at Winnipeg scheduled for April 26 at 8 p.m. ET, will now start at 9 p.m. ET

Game 564, Montreal at Ottawa, scheduled for March 30, is now scheduled for May 5 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 847, Montreal at Toronto, scheduled for May 7, is now scheduled for May 6 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 510, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 24, is now scheduled for May 10 at 5:30 p.m. ET

Game 841, Tampa Bay at Florida, scheduled for May 6, is now scheduled for May 10 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 529: NY Islanders at Boston, scheduled for March 23, is now scheduled for May 10 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 833, Toronto at Ottawa, scheduled for May 5, is now scheduled for May 10 at 8 p.m. ET

Game 456, St. Louis at Los Angeles, scheduled for March 15, is now scheduled for May 10 at 10 p.m. ET

Game 526, Edmonton at Montreal, scheduled for March 26, is now scheduled for May 11 at 7 p.m. ET

Game 653, Boston at Washington, scheduled for April 11, is now scheduled for May 11 at 7 p.m. ET

*Schedule via NHL Media

The two games that most affect the Rangers will take place on May 10 and May 11. The two games would be against the division leaders (as of now) with four valuable points up for grabs.

As of Monday night, the Rangers sit in sixth place in the MassMutual East Division five points behind the fourth-place Bruins who also have three games in hand.

With 22 games remaining in the season, The Rangers can ill afford to lose many games along the way to wrap up the 2020-2021 season. With the three games in hand now plus the two late makeup games, the Blueshirts are potentially looking at a 10 point differential which may be too much to overcome.

Follow Frank on Twitter at @RangerProud.

Butler takes over as Heat snaps Knicks’ win streak

The New York Knicks had no answer for Jimmy Butler.

Butler, one of Tom Thibodeau’s favorite former players, took over in the third quarter and led the Miami Heat to a season sweep of the Knicks, 98-88, Monday night at The Garden.

Butler scored 27 points, including 15 in the pivotal third quarter, as the Knicks defense collapsed.

Miami was red-hot in the third quarter. The Heat shot a scorching 68.4 percent en route to 39 third-quarter points after only scoring 36 in the first half.

New York’s seven-point halftime lead quickly evaporated inside the first three minutes of the third quarter. Butler strung up seven straight points and tied the game at 47.

Duncan Robinson added 11 of his 14 points as he went hot from long distance, helping Miami in the 18-point turnaround.

The Heat grabbed an 11-point lead heading into the final quarter, and the Knicks never recovered.

“We knew that they would come in with that type of intensity, and we gotta play the same way, and we didn’t,” Thibodeau lamented.

Miami snapped its six-game losing skid and ended New York’s three-game winning streak.

Julius Randle returned from a one-game absence but struggled against the Heat’s double-teaming schemes. He still led the Knicks with 22 points but only shot 7-for-17 and padded his score during garbage time.

Miami led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.

The Knicks tried to wage a rally and came within eight, but a Nerlens Noel offensive interference on a Derrick Rose shot stopped their momentum.

Two straight baskets from Bam Adebayo put the game away.

Noel admirably tried to fill in Mitchell Robinson’s spot with eight points, 11 rebounds, and four-shot blocks. But he failed to keep Adebayo from the glass. The Heat big man was a dominant force scoring 20 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, seven of them came from the offensive glass.

Robinson had a successful surgery earlier in the day after fracturing his right foot in Milwaukee last Saturday night. The Knicks didn’t offer a timetable for his return, but he’s most likely done for the rest of the regular season.

The Knicks could have used him to shadow Adebayo.

“When you give the other team 13 offensive rebounds, you’re gonna pay for that,” Thibodeau said. “A lot of them were multiple effort-type of plays. They tipped the ball back, and we didn’t chase the ball down.”

The Heat, though, only had 12 offensive rebounds, but that resulted in 12 second-chance points and six more shot attempts from the field.

RJ Barrett and Alec Burks, who were on a hot streak coming into this game, were held to single digits.

Barrett scored only eight points on 4-for-12 shooting while Burks saw his five-game streak of at least 20 points got snapped with only six off the bench tonight.

Rose and Immanuel Quickley combined for 28 points off the bench, but the Knicks starters just did not have the lift.

The Heat starting unit heavily outscored their Knicks’ counterparts, 67-46. It was the biggest difference in the slow-scoring game that reeks of the 90s Miami-New York classic wars.

Despite the Knicks going scoreless in the first four minutes of the game and not having an assist until the second quarter, they scratched and clawed to get back into the game. A 16-0 run in the second quarter helped them build a seven-point halftime lead, 43-36.

But once Butler decided to take over, the Heat rekindled their Bubble form.

Miami remained at eight to seventh spots with a 23-24 record, tied with the Boston Celtics. The Knicks fell to fifth with a 24-23 slate. The Atlanta Hawks are breathing down their necks with a 23-23 record in the bunched-up Eastern Conference.

The Knicks hope to bounce back on Wednesday against Thibodeau’s old team, Minnesota Timberwolves, who pushed the Brooklyn Nets to the edge before dropping a 112-107 loss.

New York beat Minnesota, 103-99, last February 21 in what became the death knell of Ryan Saunders, who was fired after the game.

The Knicks will face a different Timberwolves team under Chris Finch.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo