New York Giants: PFN makes bold QB claim in early 2022 mock draft

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

This season might be the one where the New York Giants decide the verdict on Daniel Jones. Both team ownership and the Giants fanbase is tired of losing, and this season, the Giants have made many additions to help the offense win games.

Those additions also bring more pressure. If Jones doesn’t see a large improvement with added help in the receiving game and a healthy Saquon Barkley, there’s going to be a lot more questions about his job – and that of GM Dave Gettleman.

Pro Football Network, an outlet that isn’t high on Daniel Jones and has previously criticized him, isn’t optimistic when it comes to forecasting his future with the Giants. According to their early mock draft of 2022, the Giants are set to take a quarterback in the top 10.

7. New York Giants: Carson Strong, QB, Nevada

New York’s roster isn’t bad. So if they end up having the seventh overall pick, one has to deduce that Daniel Jones didn’t take a step up in his third NFL season. Ideally, Jones proves himself to be a franchise quarterback. If he doesn’t, the Giants might have a chance to replace him in the coming offseason. Malik Willis and Desmond Ridder both make sense here, but Carson Strong is another QB who needs more respect.

Strong isn’t quite the dual-threat player that Willis and Ridder are, but he’s still fairly athletic for his pocket-passer mold. The Nevada signal-caller has an excellent arm — one that can generate velocity even without maximum hip rotation. His throwing motion is crisp and compact, but at the same time, he’s exceptional at navigating the pocket. Additionally, his situational awareness is stellar for his age.

What are the chances of it happening?

The Giants have been very publicly supportive of the idea that Daniel Jones is their quarterback. Throughout the offseason, there’s been statements of support for Jones from all levels of the organization ranging from the ownership to Joe Judge to the other players.

However, it’s worth looking back a few years to when Eli Manning held the starting job. The Giants also showed plenty of commitment to Manning during his last offseason as a Giant, affirming that he was their starter and that bringing Daniel Jones into the lineup wasn’t in the plans.

But a couple of weeks into the season, when the Giants started off on the wrong foot, the Giants made a surprise change and brought in Jones as the starter. They haven’t looked back since then, despite their initial denials of Jones being the starter.

Could the same thing happen to Jones? It’s not certain, and the organization is showing a lot of support now, but if things go bad next season, we can’t rule out the possibility. Especially if Dave Gettleman, the man that brought Jones in, loses his job.

It’s hard to imagine a new GM joining the front office and keeping Jones around as his starting quarterback, unless Jones sees a big improvement but Gettleman ends up on the chopping block regardless.

So don’t count this one out just yet. Whether or not the Giants go for a quarterback in next year’s draft could very much have something to do with where they finish in 2021 and how Jones plays during the campaign.

Mets Game Preview: (6/9/21) @ Baltimore Orioles (22-38)

After an ugly blowout loss on Tuesday, the New York Mets look to rebound against the Baltimore Orioles in the final game of their short two-game series. Rain could creep into Baltimore later in the game, but it could hold off until its conclusion. The first pitch is once again scheduled for another 7:05 p.m. ET start from Oriole Park.

Pete Alonso has been scorching hot since he returned from the injured list. He is 10-for-30 (.333) with three homers, including two last night. Mason Williams returns to center field and has struggled after earning a call-up from Syracuse. After hitting .373 in Triple-A, he is 3-for-16 over eight games in the big leagues.

The Orioles had everything working with their offense in their ten runs, 16 hit output. Maikel Franco continued his notorious Mets killing with a double, home run, and three runs batted in. Over his career, Franco has 20 home runs against the Mets, which are his most against any team. Cedric Mullins has been an all of baseball killer this year and is the hottest hitter in the sport. He is in the middle of an eight-game hitting streak where he is 17-for-32 (.531), and nine of the hits have gone for extra bases.

Pitching Matchup

Taijuan Walker had a rare lackluster start his last time out against the San Diego Padres. Walker pitched five innings allowing seven hits, four runs (three earned), and walked four batters. His line could have been cleaner if Williams secured the Fernando Tatis Jr. home run that popped out of his glove early in the start. Walker is still sixth in all of baseball with his 2.17 ERA.

Matt Harvey gets to face his old team again and is looking to rebound from an ugly May. Over six starts, Harvey had a 9.64 ERA, allowed more runs than strikeouts, and only had one start where he pitched past the fifth inning. He started June better by holding the Minnesota Twins to one run in three innings pitched.

Matchup To Lookout For

Taijuan Walker vs. Ryan Mountcastle: 0-for-7 (.000)

Knicks expected to showcase young core in NBA Summer League return

Imagine Obi Toppin slamming an alley-oop pass from the New York Knicks’ new point guard prospect.

That could be a recurring highlight in August when the NBA Summer League makes its much-anticipated return.

Argentinian point guard Luca Vildoza and the duo of Immanuel Quickley and Toppin are expected to banner the Knicks in the NBA’s summer showcase that will feature the league’s draft picks and young prospects.

The 16th annual MGM Resorts NBA Summer League will take place Aug. 8-17 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the league announced on Wednesday.

All 30 teams will play five games apiece during the 10-day, 75-game event. After every team plays four games, the two teams with the best records from the first four games will meet in the finals on Aug. 17.

It will be Quickley and Toppin’s first NBA Summer League after the event was scrapped last year due to the pandemic. On the other hand, Vildoza will be fresh from his stint with the Argentina national team in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo which will run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

The Summer League will give Tom Thibodeau’s staff time to further evaluate the 25-year old Vildoza before they fully guarantee his 2021-22 salary by the start of next season.

“There’s a whole process that [Luca’s] going to have to go through so it’s going to be more of a summer thing. He’s got to go through a number of things to get cleared. That’s going to take time. We’ll take it step by step,” Thibodeau earlier said.

Unless they are moved in a package for a superstar, Quickley and Toppin are expected to play heavy minutes for the Knicks in the Summer League to fast-track their development.

The team’s draft picks will also be included in their Summer League roster. But the Knicks are not expected to have four rookies. New York Post’s Marc Berman earlier reported that the team is looking to bundle some, if not all, of their picks (Nos. 19 and 21, Nos. 32 and 58) to move up in the top-heavy Draft.

“Normally the Summer League is a dry run for training camp,” Thibodeau said back in December. “So it gives the guys an idea of what training camp looks like.”

Tickets for the NBA Summer League will go on sale on June 23 and the complete game and broadcast schedules will be announced at a later date.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

UFC books headliner between Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith and Ryan Spann

Anthony Smith

The UFC has booked a pivotal headliner in the light heavyweight division for September. Anthony ‘Lionheart’ Smith (35-16) is going to be taking on Ryan Spann (19-6). This fight is scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night on September 18th.

Smith first dropped the news this past weekend on UFC programming and has since confirmed on Twitter. Lionheart will once again be taking on a hungry up-and-comer who will be looking to use him as a stepping stone.

Ryan Spann has been close to perfect since he made his UFC debut. Spann earned himself a contract with the world’s premier MMA organization when he appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018.

He submitted his opponent in just 26 seconds to earn himself a contract. Once in the UFC, Spann won his first four fights including a submission win over Devin Clark. The highlight of his first four fights was a knockout win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Brazil.

After starting 4-0, the UFC gave him a shot against Johnny Walker. The fight was back-and-forth and ultimately Walker got the first round stoppage. However, Spann bounced back well when he stopped the tough Misha Cirkunov in the first round back in March.

Lionheart = UFC Gate Keeper?

As for Lionheart, he will be looking to pick up his third straight victory. The last time we saw Smith he was taking on the surging Jimmy Crute at UFC 261. Lionheart looked better than ever that night. Smith used his jab to really do some damage throughout the first round.

Then, Lionheart landed a beautiful leg kick that completely messed up the knee of Jimmy Crute. Crute tried to fight through it but the doctor called a stop to the action in between rounds and Smith picked up the TKO win at UFC 261.

That was the second straight victory for Smith who looks more motivated than ever. Last year, Smith suffered a really tough defeat at the hands of Glover Teixeira. After that loss, he was dominated by Aleksandar Rakic and Smith looked like a shell of himself in that fight.

Many were questioning the UFC future of Smith. However, Lionheart found his motivation and scored back-to-back wins by stoppage. Taking this fight against a guy like Ryan Spann shows that Smith is simply ready to take on all comers and that Lionheart is a dangerous Lionheart.

Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter and the 2020 class will have Hall induction ceremony in September with ‘limited’ crowds

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

The Hall of Fame Class of 2020, led by New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter, couldn’t enjoy an induction ceremony last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, fans who want to see their idols immortalized will have their chance to do it in person this year.

Jane Forbes Clark, the Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, announced today that this summer’s Induction Ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 8. According to a note published in the Baseball Hall of Fame website, the event will be ‘in front of limited crowds as an outdoor ticketed event’.

For those who want to see it in TV, the ceremony will be broadcast live exclusively on MLB Network.

The Yankees’ longtime shortstop is set for immortality

The Yankees’ legendary shortstop was elected to the Hall in early 2020, and was a vote shy of unanimity. Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker will also be inducted to the Hall this summer as part of the 2020 class. No players were selected in 2021.

“On behalf of our Board of Directors and our Staff, we are thrilled to be able to welcome our Hall of Famers – the living legends – and fans back to Cooperstown to celebrate the Induction of the Class of 2020,” Clark said. “Returning the Induction Ceremony to an outdoor event will provide the baseball community with the opportunity to visit Cooperstown and celebrate the Induction of four of the game’s Greats.”

In the past, lawn seating was unrestricted, but this time it will require tickets. Those tickets will be made available starting on July 12.

Roughly 55,000 fans attended the 2019 induction ceremony, but that is unrealistic under the current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent health and safety guidelines.

Yankees fans who want to see Jeter, a five-time World Series champion with the Bombers, enter the Hall of Fame right at the venue will have their opportunity.

New York Jets’ Dan Feeney unveils charitable shirt in support of Islanders

The game day antics of the newly minted New York Jets blocker during the Islanders’ playoff run will now move toward a good cause.

If the New York Islanders’ ongoing playoff run ends with a hoist of the Stanley Cup, the team may have to put Dan Feeney’s No. 67 sweater in rafters at UBS Arena next season.

Feeney, signed by the New York Jets as an offensive line free agent, has gone viral for his raucous celebrations of Islander goals. He and his new offensive teammates have been frequent guests at Nassau Coliseum as the Islanders sit nine wins away from their fifth championship.

Feeney’s fandom has hit a new, charitable level as the Islanders attempt to close out their quarterfinal matchup against the Boston Bruins tonight in Uniondale (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN). The former Los Angeles Charger has teamed with Isles Lab, an NYI fansite and store, to sell t-shirts bearing Feeney’s likeness from a minimalist view. Bearing the Islanders’ circular logo on the back, Feeney’s mullet and mustache are prominently displayed. New York holds a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series after a 5-4 win on Monday in Boston.

The description for the shirt makes sure to note that a “can of refreshing beverage (is) not included”, referencing Feeney’s propensity to down his beer in ecstasy after New York goals. It also unites the scoring celebrations for both the Jets and Islanders, declaring “Yes! Yes! Yes! Jets! Jets! Jets!”.

At Feeney’s request, proceeds from the shirt will benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, a New York City-based non-profit. Feeney has previously supported the organization through the NFL’s “My Cleats, My Cause” movement.

Feeney, a third-round pick of the Chargers in 2017, has mostly been used as a depth option but has gained a strong reputation for his lively personality, one only bolstered by his now-iconic appearance. He is expected to compete for one of the primary roles on the interior of the Jets’ offensive line.

The winner of the Islanders-Bruins series will take on the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning for a berth in the final round. Tampa Bay previously ousted the Islanders in six games in the semifinal round en route to their second Cup triumph in the Edmonton bubble last fall.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The New York Yankees can’t repeat history at the 2021 deadline

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, Brian Cashman

The New York Yankees bats came alive last night and they finally picked up a win. The bombers defeated the Twins 8-4 in a night where we saw the offense collect 14 hits and they slugged two home runs.

It was a much needed boost for the Yankees who came into the game limping after losing four straight. Not too mention the drama involving Gerrit Cole and sticky stuff that came around yesterday.

Simply put, this year for the Yankees has been a disaster. They entered the year on the shortlist of favorites to contend for a World Series. Now, they are sitting 6.5 games back of first place in the division just three games over 500.

If the season ended today, the Yankees would miss the playoffs. Aaron Boone has been a complete nightmare, the offense has been non-existent, and the pitching has been very up and down. There is no consistency with this team.

The Yankees need a boost in the worst way right now. With that in mind, a lot of people have been talking about the approaching trade deadline. Will Brian Cashman make any moves to upgrade the club? Well, if this team wants to contend, the Yankees cannot repeat recent history in 2021.

Yankees Must Do Something

The trade deadline brings excitement to the game of baseball in the month of July. Fans across the nation gather around the hot stove as they wonder whether or not their team will make that move that pushes them over the top.

However, for Yankees fans, the trade deadline has provided more annoyance than anything else over the past couple of seasons. Back in 2018, Brian Cashman made some moves to try and upgrade the pitching staff. This involved acquiring JA Happ, Lance Lynn, and Zach Britton. 

Obviously, the moves didn’t help as the Yankees were sent home in the first round of the playoffs. The last two seasons, the Yankees needed to make some moves to improve the roster for their postseason push, yet Brian Cashman did nothing outside of acquiring a pitcher named Alfredo.

Shockingly, the Yankees didn’t win anything either of the last two seasons. Now more than ever, the Yankees need to do something. They’ve been atrocious offensively from the left side of the plate. There are a ton of question marks surrounding the rotation and this team is awful at baseball fundamentals.

The bombers have to make a deal at the deadline. This is not a recommendation of something they should do, I’m saying they need to. If Brian Cashman sits on his hands like he has the last two deadlines, you might as well kiss the season goodbye.

The Yankees have been too complacent in depending on their current resources. This team cannot afford to hope the rotation stays in tact or hope the offense picks up. If things are slow, they must move. Enough of the hope, it’s time for action.

Anthony Pettis out of PFL 4

PFL 4 has seen a big shakeup. Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (24-11) was set to take on Alex Martinez (8-0, 1 NC) in the co-main event tomorrow night. However, that fight has now been called off.

AG.Fight was the first to report this morning that Pettis was forced to withdrawal from the fight. Pettis has come down with an illness that will keep him from competing tomorrow night. This was set to be Pettis’ second appearance with PFL.

The former lightweight champion lost to Clay Collard in his promotion debut back in April. Pettis had some highlight moments, but also almost got finished during that contest. This fight with Alex Martinez was set to be an opportunity to bounce back.

Pettis has now been moved to PFL‘s card on June 25th and he’s received a new opponent. Showtime will now be taking on Raush Manfio (12-3) on June 25th. Manfio won by split decision at PFL‘s first event of the 2021 season in April.

PFL 4 Updated Card

With Anthony Pettis off the card and out of the co-main event slot, there’s been some shifting around with tomorrow night’s card. Obviously, the main event between Claressa Shields and Brittney Elkin is still on. 

However, we have a new co-main event of the evening. Alex Martinez keeps his spot in the co-main event, but he will now be taking on former PFL lightweight champion Natan Schulte (20-4-1) tomorrow night.

Entering PFL 1 back in April, Natan Schulte had been almost perfect inside the Professional Fight League cage. In ten career fights with the promotion, Schulte was an impressive 9-0-1 and he won the title in both 2018 and 2019.

However, Schulte lost by unanimous decision to Marcin Held back in April in a big upset. Now, the former two-time PFL champion will look to bounce back against the undefeated Alex Martinez tomorrow night.

Rangers’ Adam Fox named Norris Trophy finalist

The NHL anounced New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox has been named a Norris Trophy finalist along with Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman and Colorado Avalanche Cale Makar.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox was named a Norris Trophy Finalist on Wednesday morning. The award is given annually to the defenseman voted to have demonstrated throughout the season the greatest all-around ability at the position.

 

The 23-year-old finished second among defensemen in scoring with 47 points (five goals, 42 assists) and was plus-19 in 55 games. He led the New York Rangers in average ice time per game (24:42) and was first among Rangers skaters in power-play ice time per game (3:45) and shorthanded ice time per game (2:36).

Fox has been compared to former Stanley Cup Champion Brian Leetch throughout his young career so it is no surprise to read that he would be the team’s first Norris Trophy winner since Leetch won the award in the 1996-’97 season.

The NHL has not set a definitive date as to when the winner will be announced other than to say it will happen during the semi-finals or Stankey Cup Finals.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi won the Norris Trophy last season.

Tonight could be a defining moment for Islanders’ Mathew Barzal

Games like the ones the Islanders have tonight don’t come around often.

A chance to make it to the third round for the second consecutive season. A chance to knock off the mighty Boston Bruins in a series where they came in as the less-talented team and a true underdog. A chance for the team to celebrate a moment with their fans they deserved to have last summer.

But even with all of those possibilities, it’s a chance for a defining moment for the face of the franchise.

Mathew Barzal was drafted by the Islanders back in 2015 with the sole purpose of thriving for nights like this evening. When he arrived on the scene, Barzal was in the shadow of the team’s most notorious name, John Tavares. Once Tavares bolted for Toronto in 2018, all eyes shifted to the 20-year-old at the time after he won the Calder Trophy that season.

Many believed that Barzal could become the team’s next star; they were right. Barry Trotz, who was hired that summer, did too. “He wants to be one of the leaders of the team,” Trotz said three years ago. “I think obviously with Johnny moving on to Toronto, he feels that he has to fill a bigger void.”

Fast forward to now, this is Barzal’s squad. He might not wear the “C” on his sweater — that honor belongs to Anders Lee respectively — but he’s the Isles’ most important player. And it took him some time these playoffs, but he’s finally showing it in droves.

Barzal’s been the anchor for the Isles in this series since his breakout performance in game two. He’s recorded six points in his last four games, including back-to-back multi-point contests in games four and five.

“Honestly, it’s the playoffs,” Barzal said following Game 4. “As much as I’d love to produce every night, just it’s so tight out there, and sometimes it just doesn’t come that easy. It’s more so, when it’s not coming offensively that night, just make sure I’m not on the ice for any goals against or making that block or just trying to get the puck out. Just playing sound hockey, a lot of shifts are just 50-50, and you just got to grind it out.”

That quote on its own shows Barzal has taken on a leadership role in this round, if not for his emphatic gesture to the Nassau Coliseum crowd after he was named the first star of game four.

The Islanders have gone through a lot to get to this point tonight. They’ve done it as a collective unit. The head coach will say that and so will the the players. Barzal though has been at the forefront of it all from the moment he became “the guy”.

“There’s no give in that kid,” teammate Casey Cizikas has said.

A potential clinching Game 6 at home tonight is another chance for Barzal and the Isles to do something special. The lights will be shining again on him. It’s could be his defining moment.

If you think Barzal and his mates are going to be revved up for tonight, then the crowd inside the Coliseum will be on an even different level. Bruins’ coach Bruce Cassidy’s “New York Saints” comment after Game 5 stoked the flames for the fanbase who were already going to create an insane atmosphere.

You wouldn’t hear Trotz say the same thing — as he showed by his reaction in his own postgame presser — but he knows the fans will bring it.

“Probably like it has been the last couple of games…crazy and loud,” he said yesterday.  “They’re fun games.  The fans make a big difference.”