Giants’ DC Patrick Graham gives key hint in how defense will change in 2021

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

Based on the personnel decisions made this off-season by the New York Giants, it is clear the defense will be making a shift toward a more man-coverage-based scheme. In 2020, the Giants had a significant weakness at CB2, forcing them to supplement with zone coverage and additional help from the safety positions.

Big Blue quickly rotated through a variety of corners, including Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis, and Isaac Yiadom. The Giants traded a seventh-round pick for Denver Broncos’ former third-rounder, Yiadom, just before the start of the season, and he was asked to play a significant role despite lacking experience in the system and minimal in-person training.

However, the Giants recognized that void and found a key player to help upgrade the cornerbacks unit, signing former Tennessee Titan Adoree Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal.

The New York Giants added a specific play in Jackson to their DB unit:

While some may believe the Giants overpaid for Jackson, he fits a specific mold that provides them the ability to expose matchups during the 2021 season. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham stated that to win in the NFL, you have to play more man-coverage defense, which opens up the ability to send additional blitzers and get more creative with your packages.

When looking at the pairing of James Bradberry and Jackson, you see two different corners who can play against specific types of receivers. For example, Bradberry thrives in off-ball man coverage, walking down quality route runners that lack high-end speed. That doesn’t mean Bradberry lacks the makeup speed to keep up with faster players, but he simply plays with more finesse and relies on his fundamentals more than his athleticism. Bradberry has impeccable vision and spatial awareness, allowing him to capitalize on his fundamentals and stay on the hip of receivers.

Jackson is a bit different with his style, playing a more aggressive press coverage role. Against faster, more agile receivers on the outside, Jackson can use his quick-twitch abilities to jam and then trail adequately. Jackson has shown great makeup speed in the past, especially in scenarios where he falls behind by a step or two. He can quickly make up ground, which is a positive capability at the NFL level with some receivers capable of pulling away at any given moment — see Tyreek Hill.

With two corners capable of playing man coverage, it will open up the defense in their 3-4 scheme, giving Graham more flexibility with his outside linebackers and safeties. He can send additional blitzers to overwhelm offensive lines and put immediate pressure on quarterbacks, which will curate turnovers and mistakes.

Personally, I love this new style of defense that Graham intends to deploy, as it will rely heavily on a quality pass rush, which is why the Giants went out and added four new options to the unit. The additions of Azeez Ojulari, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Elerson Smith, and Ryan Anderson should all play a significant part in the season ahead. That is not even to mention the return of Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter.

The Knicks already have one untested point guard to unlock during 2021-22 season

Luca Vildoza, knicks

The idea of acquiring a star point guard like Damian Lillard or Chris Paul is undoubtedly exciting for the New York Knicks, but they have one untested option currently on the roster they have yet to unlock during a regular-season game.

Prior to the Knicks taking on the Atlanta Hawks in the postseason, the organization quietly landed Argentinian PG Luca Vildoza.

Vildoza previously played for the EuroLeague last season with Baskonia, averaging 10.1 points, 3.4 assists, and shot .410 from the field. He was an adequate player, showcasing stellar vision and scoring prowess, but he’s looking to take his talents to the NBA, where he can test his capabilities at a higher level.

The Argentinian native will feature during the Summer League with Obi Toppin and Immanuel Quickley, giving the three an opportunity to showcase their skillset and hopefully developed a bit of chemistry ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Vildoza will join the team after a stint with the Argentinian national squad during the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which will run from July 23 to August 8. This will give the Knicks a better opportunity to realize his abilities and how they can further deploy him next season.

However, he could be a factor that plays into their free agency plans, especially if the team is looking to acquire a star PG and potentially retain Derrick Rose. If the front office looks to keep Rose on a one-year deal, it could push Vildoza down the depth chart, especially with a Quickley looking to take a developmental step in his sophomore season.

However, the addition of Vildoz shouldn’t deter the Knicks from keeping Rose around for another year, nor should it damage their chances of landing Lillard or Paul. The Knicks are currently the favorites to land Lillard in a blockbuster trade.

Former Nick, Pablo Prigioni, who previously played for the squad back in 2012, had only great things to say about Luca and his qualities. Ranging from his adequate shot to court vision, Pablo believes he can be a solid player at the NBA level, and his transition will be interesting to watch.

“[Vildoza is] really, really good,’’ Prigioni told The Post in a phone interview. “I really like him. Very talented, got a great shot, and knows how to pass. I’m really excited to see Luca next season with the Knicks. Tom’s going to like him.’’

If the Knicks truly maximize Vildoza next season, they will have a deep PG position, given they add another playmaker to the equation. He is one player we shouldn’t overlook — he’s 100% is factored into their future plans.

New York Yankees Recap: Home runs power the Yankees to second win over the Twins

Tonight after a slight rain delay, the New York Yankees started game two of a 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees won the first game 8-4. The Yankee ace Gerrit Cole faced Randy Dobnak, with Donaldson making accusations the Gerrit Cole uses illegal substances. The final score was the Yankees 9 and the Twins 6.

In the first inning, DJ LeMahieu slowly ground out to short. Aaron Judge hit a homer, his 15th of the season, into the left-field stands. Gleyber Torres chopped out to third. Giancarlo Stanton cruised into second with a hit down the left-field line that went to the wall. Urshela ground out, but the Yankees went ahead in the game. At the bottom, Jorge Polanco led off, grounding out to second. Josh Donaldson struck out against Cole. Trevor Larnach singled over the head of Odor. Nelson Cruz struck out. New York Yankees 1 Twins 0.

In the second, Rougie Odor led off by grounding to short. Miguel Andujar popped to short. Kyle Higashioka that has been sliding lately, singled to left field. Brett Gardner doubled to left, scoring Higashioka for the two-run lead. LeMahieu was retired at first. At the bottom, Ryan Jeffers led off and was called out on strikes. Kirilloff singled. Sano popped out, and Simmons struck out. Yankees 1 Twins 0.

Aaron Judge led off the second by doubling into the stands. Torres walked out. Stanton hit a 3 run homer to left field for the Yankee 5 runs lead. Urshela walked, and Odor flew out to center for the first out. Andujar flew out to left. Higashioka ground out, but it was the 10th time in the season that Judge and Stanton homered in the same game. At the bottom, Gilberto Celestino ground out to short Polanco had a solo homer to right. Donaldson struck out for the second time against Cole. Larnach also struck out. Yankees 5 Twins 1.

Brett Gardner led off the fourth inning by singling to right for his second hit. LeMahieu flew out to right, and Gardner was doubled up for the second out. Judge with a homer and a double ground out to third base. Nelson Cruz led off the bottom by popping out to short. Jeffers popped out to first base. Kirilloff flew out to Gardner. Yankees 5 Twins 1.

Gleyber Torres led off the fifth, and he worked a walk. Stanton hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to center. Urshela singled to center. Odor hit into a double play. Andujar hit a home run for his 5th in just eight games. Higashioka singled, and that would finally do it for Dobnak. Gardner faced Griffin Jax and popped out to second. At the bottom, Sano faced Cole and homered. Simmons flew out to Andujar. Celestino flew out to Gardner. Polanco struck out to end the inning. New York Yankees 8 Twins 2.

At the top of the sixth, LeMahieu flew out. Judge ground out, and Torres flew out to center for the Yankees going down 1-2-3 for the first time. The bottom of the sixth was led off with Donaldson facing Cole for the third time; he flew out to right. Larnach struck out for Cole’s 8th strikeout of the game. Cruz singled to center. Jeffers struck out for number 9 on the night. Yankees 8 Twins 2.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the seventh after two home runs, and he popped out to foul territory in right. Urshela singled to left for his second hit of the night. Odor doubled down the right-field line moving Urshela to third. Andujar sac flew to left center, and Urshela scored. Higashioka popped out, but the Yankees tacked on another run. Luis Cessa at the bottom replaced Cole; he faced Kirilloff, who ground out to first. Sano singled in front of Gardner. Simmons lined to center for a single. Celestino ground to third. Polanco went down swinging to end the inning. New York Yankees 9 Twins 2.

Brett Gardner led the top of the eighth that doubled for a three-hit night and a second double. Chris Gittens in for LeMahieu, and he struck out looking. Clint Frazier in for Aaron Judge went down swinging. Torres hit to the warning track but was out to end the half. At the bottom, Donaldson, this time against Cessa, singled off the glove of Wade at third. Trevor Larnach hit into a fielder’s choice. Cruz hit into an inning-ending double play.

At the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees experienced a clean inning, but n  the bottom, the Twins tried to make a game of it, scoring four runs in the half against Yankee reliever Brooks Kriske. The final score was the New York Yankees 9 and the Minnesota Twins 6. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, and the loser Randy Dobnak.