New York Giants manage to avoid ending up on Hard Knocks in 2021

new york giants, nyg

Amid 4th of July celebrations and other news stories surrounding the New York Giants, you may have missed one bit of information that came out a couple of days ago – the Giants won’t be the team covered on HBO’s Hard Knocks, as the Dallas Cowboys have been selected.

This will bring a sigh of relief for many Giants fans that don’t want more distractions for the team during an offseason which is already high pressure for a number of reasons. The Giants are integrating a number of new players and Daniel Jones is about to embark on his most pressure-filled season yet. The last thing the team needs in that climate is a camera crew following the biggest narratives during training camp.

As the Giants haven’t been to the playoffs recently and don’t have a rookie head coach this year, the league could have made them appear on the show regardless of the organization’s willingness. It didn’t come to that, as it seems Cowboys owner Jerry Jones couldn’t resist the chance to keep his team in the spotlight by having them show up on a nationally televised show.

The show, of course, follows one team through training camp. But due to the distractions it brings, fans of the chosen team are often annoyed at their team being chosen. Due to their interesting offseason circumstances, it looked like the Giants were a candidate to end up on the show. The Jacksonville Jaguars, of course, were considered the top candidate by many – but thanks to having a rookie head coach, they held the right to refuse.

Because of the way things panned out, it’s an NFC East rival that will have to deal with the distraction. Not a bad outcome for the Giants, although with the amount of media attention the Cowboys already receive, their players are likely more or less used to it already.

New York Yankees Recap: Cortes Jr. and Green masterful for the Yankees as they salvage last game against the Mets

The New York Yankees entered the night game of a day-night doubleheader against the New York Mets after a devastating loss to the Mets (10-5) in the day game. The Yankees also lost the first game of the three-game series at Yankees Stadium. However, the Yankees salvaged the last game with excellent pitching. Yankees 4 Mets 2.

Brandon Nimmo led off against the Yankees Nestor Cortes Jr., who had his first nationally televised major league start. Brandon Nimmo struck out. Francisco Lindor lined out to Rougie Odor. Dominic Smith went down looking as Cortes had a 1-2-3 inning for his first start. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu faced Corey Oswalt and singled. Aaron Judge reached on a force out. Gary Sanchez flew out to Nimmo in center. Giancarlo Stanton ground out for a no-score inning for both teams.

In the second, Pete Alonso led off by popping out. James McCann singled out in front of Gardner in center. Michael Conforto flew out to Gardner. Kevin Pillar lined out to end the half. At the bottom, Luke Voit led off by doubling to center. Rougie Odor avoided the shift and reached. Gio Urshela homered for the Yankee three-run lead. Miguel Andujar walked. Brett Gardner flew out to center field. Andujar was caught stealing. LeMahieu struck out swinging. New York Yankees 3 Mets 0.

The top of the third saw Jonathan Villar at the plate; he struck out. Peraza was out on strikes. Nimmo struck out for another quick inning for Cortes Jr. At the bottom Aaron Judge hit a long out to center. Gary Sanchez went striking out swinging. Finally, Giancarlo Stanton struck out on a foul tip. Yankees 3 Mets 0.

Fransisco Lindor led off the fourth by popping out to Judge. Smith had a one-out double fielded by Aaron Judge, but not in time. Cortes Jr. pitched great and had the longest outing of his season but was replaced by Darren O’Day, who faced Alonso, who two-run homered to the short porch at the Stadium. McCann walked. Conforto back to back walked. Pillar reached on a great catch by Voit but not in time. Villar struck out, but the Mets picked up two runs in the half. At the bottom of the fourth, Luke Voit led off and was called out on strikes. Odor popped out to right-field foul territory. Urshela popped out to first for Oswald’s nine in a row. New York Yankees 3 Mets 2.

Behind one run Jose Peraza led off by striking out swinging to new Yankee pitcher Chad Green. Nimmo struck out for back-to-back strikeouts for Green. Lindor popped back to catcher Sanchez for the final out of the half and gave Green a 1-2-3 inning. Miguel Andujar led off the bottom of the fifth against new pitcher Aaron Loup by grounding out to second base. Gardner walked for the first Yankee baserunner since the second inning. LeMahieu also walked, and that was it for Loup. Judge faced the new Mets pitcher Miguel Castro and ground out to first, but the runners moved up. Gardner scored on a wild pitch. Sanchez struck out on a heater. New York Yankees 4 Mets 2.

The sixth inning was lead off by Smith, who against Chad Green ground out to Odor. Alonso popped out to a charging Luke Voit. McCann, with two outs, struck out as Green puts done six Mets in a row. The bottom was led off by Stanton, who flew out to center. Voit went down on strikes. Odor also struck out. New York Yankees 4 Mets 2.

With last licks on the line for the Mets, Aaron Boone decided to bypass Aroldis Chapman, chose Chad Green to close out the game in the seventh. Michael Conforto was Green’s seventh put-out. Kevin Pillar was his fifth strikeout. Jonathan Villar ended it as Green struck out the side for the save. The final score was the New York Yankees 4 and the Mets 2. The winning pitcher was Chad Green, and the loser was Corey Oswalt.

The Yankees take the red-eye tonight as they fly out to Seattle for a three-game set against the Mariners after a day off tomorrow.

Four New York Jets poised to make fantasy football fireworks

jets, michael carter

As fireworks go off across the country, ESM has four New York Jets to keep an eye on for your fantasy drafts next month.

Fantasy football fans know what Independence Day weekend means: they’re one step closer to draft day.

As America celebrates its birthday with, as President John Adams himself predicted, with games and explosives, ESM looks ahead to determined which New York Jets could provide a similar effect and have the biggest impact on your 2021 fantasy prospects…

jets, michael carter

RB Michael Carter

Drafting rookie is always a bit of a gamble, but Carter’s offseason surge makes him an interesting late pick.

Conventional wisdom perhaps suggests that users could take Tevin Coleman if they plan on partaking in the Jets’ rushing antics. After all, Coleman will probably start off as the Jets’ top rusher, if only due to his familiarity with Mike LaFleur’s offense.

But uncertainty lingers around Coleman after an injury-plagued 2021. Some believe that the rookie Carter could earn the primary duties sooner rather than later. His speedy abilities fit in well with what LaFleur is trying to build and he should be especially valuable in PPR leagues (82 receptions over four seasons at North Carolina). Owners may have to be patient, but Carter could emerge as a late-round diamond in the rough. 

New York Giants, Corey Davis
Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (84) in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

WR Corey Davis

The Jets’ offseason splurging on the receivers’ spot produced several developing receivers that could well earn the top duties. Davis was overshadowed by the rise of A.J. Brown in Tennessee, but the stage is set for Davis to emerge as Zach Wilson’s top target. It’s easy to forget that a brief bout with COVID-19 probably kept Davis from emerging with his first four-digit yardage season.

Those who are reluctant of trusting big play receiving duties duties to rookie Elijah Moore would be wise to take a waiver on Davis. But the latter your draft, the better. One may want to see how Davis fares in the preseason after missing some of minicamp with a shoulder ailment.

carl lawson, new york jets

Defense

Per NFL.com’s scoring, Robert Saleh’s 2019 defense in San Francisco ranked third before making their run to the Super Bowl. They were tied for third in defensive scores (5) and fifth in sacks (48). Injuries prevented them from building on that momentum, but there’s plenty to be excited about in the current green group.

Questions can be raised about the Jets’ experience in the secondary, so interceptions may be hard to come by. But the upgrades made to the pass rush could make the Jets’ defense the perfect unit to use as a second option in the early going.

The biggest difference for this group from a fantasy perspective will be Carl Lawson. Some have complained that his Cincinnati sack numbers leave much to be desired, but advanced statistics hint at his impact. According to ESPN’s “sacks created” category, Lawson (10.5) was one of only 11 defender to finish with double figures. In more conventional stats, he finished fourth among EDGE rushers with 64 pressures and set a career-best in quarterback hits (32).

While the advanced stats mean nothing for your fantasy games, the increased pressure could become a windfall for a front-seven that not only welcomes back homegrown breakouts (Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, John Franklin-Myers) but also welcomed in some talented veteran outsiders (Sheldon Rankins, Jarrad Davis). One should also keep an eye on C.J. Mosley, who is due to return to the field in 2021 after medical absences.

Oct 1, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets kicker Sam Ficken (9) celebrates his field goal with teammates during the first half against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

K Sam Ficken

We’ve spoken ad nauseam about the Jets’ kicking woes. It seems so small in the long run, but a reliable kicker would prove so beneficial to the development they seek in 2021. Nothing boosts the confidence of a newly minted franchise quarterback like ending possessions with points. A good kicker can obviously help provide such security.

Though the Jets added rookie free agent Chris Naggar to start a camp competition, the tenured Ficken appeared to having things trending in the right direction. He successfully converted each of his first nine field goal attempts, headlined by a perfect performance (5-for-5) in a nationally televised tilt against Denver in October. A groin injury marred the rest of his 2020 season, leading to struggles over three more games after a perfect start in the first five (6-of-9 on extra points, 4-of-6 on triples).

Provided Ficken beats out Naggar and shows no long-term effects from last year’s ailment, he could be an interesting choice for those who opt to wait until the final rounds, or even the initial stages of free agency, to grab a boot. Those who took Miami’s Jason Sanders (36-of-39 FG, including 8-of-9 from at least 50) reaped the benefits of getting opportunities while working with a rookie quarterback.

Which New York Jets will you target next month? Continue the conversation on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants should roll into 2021 season with young starting offensive tackle duo

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart

The New York Giants tried their hardest to rebuild their offensive line last offseason. They drafted three hog mollies in the 2020 NFL Draft, including offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the first round. Despite these efforts, the Giants’ offensive line was still one of the worst in the league last season.

The New York Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below.

Entering 2021, the team has not made many positive changes to the line to improve the unit. They cut their best lineman, veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler, and failed to replace him. Not a single offensive lineman was drafted by the Giants in the 2021 NFL Draft, and the only lineman they signed in free agency was a replacement-level starter in Zack Fulton. However, the team is getting Nate Solder back this year after he opted out of the 2020 season.

Most fans and analysts have a bleak outlook on the Giants’ offensive line heading into this season. But there are reasons for optimism. In particular, the Giants’ young duo of offensive tackles from the 2020 NFL Draft should bring the team some hope as they potentially take over as starters this year and improve the unit’s performance level.

Andrew Thomas solidified at left tackle

The Giants have a serious breakout candidate for the 2021 NFL season in their second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas. There was a lot to like in Thomas’s 2020 rookie campaign, however, there were plenty of struggles throughout the year that held him back. Andrew Thomas allowed 10 sacks, the most of any tackle in the league last season. But after allowing three or more pressures in eight of the Giants’ first eight games in 2020, Andrew Thomas allowed three or more pressures in only three of the Giants’ last eight games (PFF).

Could Nate Solder return as right tackle?

Andrew Thomas is the Giants’ starting left tackle this season, no question. What has been questioned, though, is who will start at right tackle? Some fans think veteran Nate Solder should return to the starting lineup. The Giants signed Solder to a record-breaking contract in 2018. He started at left tackle for two seasons before opting out last year. Solder never really lived up to the expectations of his contract, giving the Giants below-average play at left tackle for two years.

Solder could potentially bounce back at right tackle this season. But there are factors working against that situation becoming a reality. Firstly, Nate Solder is 33-years-old and has not played football in over a year. Secondly, Nate Solder played right tackle for one year as a rookie in 2011. Since then he has played left tackle every year. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Why Matt Peart should be the Giants’ starting right tackle

For these reasons, many fans believe the Giants should roll into 2021 with a young starting offensive tackle duo. That is where second-year tackle Matt Peart comes into the equation. Peart was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the second tackle that the Giants selected in his class. Peart was limited playing time in 2020, but he did impress when he was on the field.

Matt Peart was meant to finish the season as the Giants’ starting right tackle, but injuries kept him off the field as a starter. Instead, the Giants rotated Peart onto the field to give him some game experience.

According to Paul Schwartz of the NY Post, the New York Giants coaching staff “is high on Matt Peart, who will be given the first shot at the starting right tackle job.” Matt Peart was impressive as a rookie, albeit in a small sample size. Peart played 150 snaps for the Giants’ offense in 2020. Ten of those snaps came in jumbo formations where Peart lined up as a tight end. 37 of those snaps came at left tackle. The other 103 snaps came at right tackle.

Ultimately, New York decided that Matt Peart is their right tackle of the future. Peart posted a 69.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade as a rookie, allowing only 9 pressures on 84 pass-blocking snaps. He did not see any time as a full-time starter in 2020, but that will change in 2021 as Matt Peart assumes the starting right tackle position. The Giants are confident in what they have at both right and left tackle. The young duo of Matt Peart and Andrew Thomas should be the bookends on the Giants’ offensive line for a long time.

NASCAR: Chase Elliott reclaims road course crown at Road America

Elliott’s seventh road course win is good for sole possession of third place in NASCAR Cup Series history.

It had been a long time since the NASCAR Cup Series descended upon Elkhart Lake’s Road America road course in Wisconsin. Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, made sure the uniqueness was kept to a minimum.

As the Cup Series held its first event at Road America since 1956, Elliott reclaimed his road course crown by passing Kyle Busch on lap 46 of 62 to take home the Jockey Made in America 250. Christopher Bell got by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to finish second while Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin, another Gibbs Toyota, rounded out the top five at the 4.048-mile circuit.

The defending NASCAR Cup Series champion has now won seven races on road courses, good for sole possession of third place in the circuit’s history. Only Jeff Gordon (9) and Tony Stewart (8) have won more. Elliott previously won in May at the rain-shortened event at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. HMS Chevys also returned to victory lane after a one-race pause at Pocono last Sunday, having now won seven of the last eight points-paying events.

Elliott’s latest road course triumph was an uphill battle. During Sunday morning’s qualifying session, the No. 9 failed to finish a full-speed lap in the allotted window, forcing him to start in the 34th position. He was able to move up to 10th by the end of the first 14-lap stage (won by HMS teammate William Byron), assisted by some teams that pitted late for strategy purposes. The No. 9 led its first laps at the onset of the third and final segment, passing Matt DiBenedetto at lap 38.

Kyle Busch briefly got back out front when a majority of the field made its final pit stop under caution at lap 44, a sequence initiated by Anthony Alfredo’s spin into the gravel in Turn 1. Elliott quickly resecured the lead and coasted over the final 17 laps of green flag racing, beating out Bell by a 5.7-second margin.

At over four miles, Road America is one of the most daunting visits on the NASCAR circuit. But the only time the distance affected Elliott’s No. 9 group was through his celebration. Eager to greet the fans at every turn, Elliott indulged those in Turn 5 with a victorious burnout, one that wound up tearing up his tires to the point he not only needed a push from the track’s safety crew but an impromptu pit stop at the stop finish line so his winning vehicle could make it to victory lane. The joyous reactions from his crew, however, were more than enough proof that the extra work was completely worth it.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 500 presented by Walmart (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

For full Sunday results, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Six-Run Seventh Inning Propels Mets to 10-5 Win Over Yankees

The New York Mets offense was dead in the water heading into Yankee Stadium, but New York Yankees pitching has revived them. Their overpriced combination of Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman struggled mightily once again as the Mets pulled off a gutsy 10-5 win.

The Mets should also thank Yankees manager Aaron Boone for pulling Chad Green after just two pitches for Chapman. He ended up allowing a leadoff home run on a questionable slider after three straight fastballs. Jose Peraza gave the Mets a lead with his fan interference double, Brandon Nimmo added two more, and Francisco Lindor finished it with another single.

Stroman looked like he would have another terrific start after an 11-pitch first inning. Lindor’s botched double play led to a three-run second inning which gave momentum to a dead offense. The Mets tried to nurse Stroman through one more inning, but a shrinking strike zone and a wild pitch gave the Yankees the final run they needed. Stroman finished with five innings pitched, five runs (three earned), and failed to record a strikeout.

Get The Sticky Tack

Cole struggled once again without the use of Spider Tack on the baseball. Dominic Smith stayed hot with a first-inning, short porch home run off Cole’s curveball. He worked through tough jams in the second and third inning but completely fell off the rails. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Tomas Nido, who made it a 4-2 game with his single. After a strikeout, Nimmo’s single made it a one-run game, and Lindor tied it with his own single. They went silent on offense until their huge seventh inning.

The win was the team-oriented win they have been searching for and allowed them to extend their division lead. Game two of the doubleheader is at 7:08 p.m. ET, where Corey Oswalt will face Nestor Cortes from Yankee Stadium.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees pitching completely implodes in Yankee’s second loss to the Mets

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees met up with the New York Mets for a day-night doubleheader caused by a Friday night rainout. The Mets bowled over the Yankees 8-3 in the opening game yesterday. The day game today pit the Yankee ace Gerrit Cole against the Met’s Marcus Stroman. Both games were to go seven innings. The night game was slated to start reliever Nestor Cortes Jr. in his first major league start for the Yankees. The Yankees lost the game 10-5.

Cole, in the first game, faced the Met’s Brandon Nimmo, who struck out. Francisco Lindor flew out to center. Dominic Smith homered to center field as the Mets struck first. Pete Alonso flew out to Gardner to end the half, but the Mets picked up a one-run lead. DJ LeMahieu led off for the Yankees and flew out to right. Aaron Judge lined out to left. Luke Voit ground out to short for a 1-2-3 inning for Stroman. Mets 1 Yankees 0.

The top of the second was led off by Michael Conforto who struck out. Jeff McNeil reached on a reviewed call. Billy McKinney went down swinging. Tomas Nido flew out to Judge in the right to end the half and a scoreless inning for Cole. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton led off by singling to center. Gio Urshela singled to second, but Lindor bobbled the ball, and Stanton was safe at second. Gleyber Torres reached on the fielder’s choice, Stanton to third. Brett Gardner advanced on a hit by pitch. Kyle Higashioka, with the bases loaded and only one out, doubled down the left-field line to bring in two Yankee runs. With two still on, Tim Locastro (fastest major league runner) hit a sac fly to score Gardner. LeMahieu few out to end the inning, but the Yankees took the lead. New York Yankees 3 Mets 1.

The third inning was led off by Luis Guillorme, who doubled on a slow roller that Urshela airmailed into the camera well. Nimmo was out on a reviewed play, with Guillorme moving to third. Lindor walked. With men on the corners and one out, Smith struck out on a perfect change-up from Cole as Higashio didn’t have to move his glove. Lindor stole second. Alonso struck out on a 100mph fastball. At the bottom, Aaron Judge singled on a line drive to left. Voit singled on a liner, with Judge reaching third. Stanton hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Judge scored. Urshela tapped out to first. Yankees 4 Mets 1.

Michael Conforto led off the fourth inning and walked. McNeil singled, and Conforto held at second as Judge fired in. With two on and no outs, McKinney walked to load the bases prompting a mound visit from Yankee pitching coach Matt Blake. Nido singled driving in Conforto. Guillorme, with the bases, still loaded, and no outs, struck out for the first out of the inning. Nimmo got an RBI single, and that was the end of the day for Cole.

Jonathan Loaisiga entered the game with the bases loaded and only one out, facing Lindor, who singled in front of Judge. Judge fired in and got the Nimmo returning to second, but McKinney scored. Smith walked to reload the bases. Alonso hit back to Loaisiga for the last out, leaving the bases loaded, but the Mets tied the game at 4 apiece. The Yankees failed to score at the bottom, with the Yankees making another base running mistake.

The top of the fifth was led off by Conforto, who flew out to left. McNeil struck out. McKinney also struck out for a quick inning for Loaisiga. Locastro led off the bottom by grounding out. LeMahieu singled to center. Judge had a soft ground ball single with LeMahieu moving to third base. Voit with men on the corners and one out, Stroman had a wild ball allowing LeMahieu to get the Yankees back to the lead. Voit flew out to center. Stanton flew out to right, but the Yankees regained the lead. New York Yankees 5 Mets 4.

The sixth inning was led off by Nido, who struck out. Guillorme singled on a line drive to left. Nimmo was called out on strikes. Lindor was hit by a pitch, and Loaisgia was replaced by Chad Green, who faced Smith, who flew out to Gardner in center. Gio Urshela led off the bottom of the inning by singling to center with Jeurys Familia on the mound. Torres went down swinging. Gardner popped out to shallow center for out number two. Higashioka struck out swinging. Yankees 5 Mets 4.

With last licks on the line for the Mets in the top of the seventh, Pete Alonso with closer, Aroldis Chapman on the mound hit a home run to the visitor’s bullpen, tying the game. That was followed by Chapman hitting Conforto in the shoulder. McNeil walked, and Chapman was pulled from the game. Luetge replaced him, trying to right the ship facing Keven Pillar singled loading the bases. James McCann, pinch-hitting, stuck out for the first out of the inning. Peraza pinch-hitting for Guillorme hit a two-run double that looked like a Grand Slam, but a fan interfered. Nimmo singled, driving in another run. Lindor singled, driving in another run. Smith, still with only one out and one on, popped out to Torres, who dropped the ball, but the infield fly rule was called. Alonso went down on strikes to finally end the inning. Yankee pitching gave up five runs in the half. New York Mets 10 Yankees 5.

After the Mets turned the tables on the New York Yankees at the top of the inning, the Yankees were five runs behind. Seth Lugo took the mound for the Mets, facing pinch hitter Rougie Odor who ground out. LeMahieu struck out. Aaron Judge lined out to Alonso for the final out of the game and one of the Yankee’s worst games of the already disappointing season.

The final score was the New York Mets 10 and the Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Juerys Familia and the loser Aroldis Chapman.

 

New York Jets 2021 offseason recap: Offensive line

alijah vera-tucker, jets

The continued renovations to the offensive line got off to a slow start, but the New York Jets recovered with a big gain on draft day.

Following the conclusion of minicamp activities, the NFL offseason is officially over. The next time the New York Jets convene in Florham Park, they’ll be getting ready for preseason and regular season action for the 2021 campaign. 

With the offseason in the rearview mirror, ESM looks back on the green offseason that was, position-by-position. This next segment centers on the revamped blocking program…

New York Jets, Mekhi Becton
Credit: Joe McManus

How It Started

By this point, everyone knows that Jets general manager Joe Douglas is at least trying to make things right on the offensive line after the negligence of the Mike Maccagnan era. That plan was rather obvious last offseason when the Jets spent a majority of their offseason capital on blocking help.

New York missed out on top names like Jack Conklin and Joe Thuney but dispensed over $34 million guaranteed to George Fant, Connor McGovern, and Greg Van Roten. With their first-round pick, the Jets passed on premier receiving talents to draft Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton instead. It marked the first time the Jets used their opening pick on a blocker since the iconic D’Brickashaw Ferguson/Nick Mangold pairing in 2006.

When the Jets took the field for Week 1 action in Buffalo, it was completely different from the five that opened the prior campaign at the Meadowlands in 2019. But despite Douglas’ financial enthusiasm, the splurge did not have the intended effect. The Jets’ line ranked 29th in Pro Football Focus’ final unit grades, marred by inconsistency. Advanced stats dictated the Jets averaged only 2.5 seconds before allowing pressure and quarterback Sam Darnold was dropped on 8.3 percent of his dropbacks, the third-worst rate in the league (behind Carson Wentz and Daniel Jones).

The Jets did enjoy a huge silver lining in the form of Becton, who lived up to his first-round billing and then some, offering the Jets serenity in passing on names big box score names like Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs, and Jerry Jeudy.

morgan moses, new york jets

How It’s Going

Gifted with a cap space surplus, many expected the Jets to hit the ground running. But New York got off to another slow start on the free agency front, watching their top targets and revered blocking names like Thuney and Corey Linsley sign elsewhere.

This time around, the Jets instead opted to spend the early portions upgrading their box score weaponry through receiving and rushing help. Depth-based consolation prizes awaited in Dan Feeney and Corey Levin from the Los Angeles Chargers and the New England practice squad respectively. Levin hasn’t appeared in a regular season game since 2019 while Feeney was an average blocker whose profile was amplified through a lively, larger-than-life personality that quickly won over Jets and Islanders fans alike.

Douglas and the Jets changed the narrative on draft night, boldly sending away draft picks (one of which was obtained in Jamal Adams’ Seattle deal) up north to Minnesota to draft USC blocker Alijah Vera-Tucker. Known primarily as a Trojan guard, Vera-Tucker spent the shortened 2020 season as a tackle, showcasing his versatility. It was a costly endeavor…the Jets had no Friday picks beyond Elijah Moore at 34th overall…but Douglas’ dedication to this renovation can’t be denied. Vera-Tucker is expected to take over the primary left guard role previously occupied by Alex Lewis, who struggled last season in starting duties but is nonetheless back as a depth option.

The Jets enjoyed an extra boost to the line in the late stages of the offseason, negotiating a one-year deal for Morgan Moses, formerly of the Washington Football Team, shortly after minicamp. Moses has been one of the most effective blockers in the league and is coming off a career-best campaign. He brings the championship feeling desired by the Jets in other acquisitions, having played a strong role in Washington’s run to the division title last season. His reliability, having started every game since 2015, made him an attractive late gem as well.

Along for the ride is newly minted offensive line coach John Benton, who will also serve as the run game coordinator. Benton reprises the former role he held for four seasons alongside Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur in San Francisco.

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; The New England Patriots and the New York Jets at the line of scrimmage for the snap during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Are They Better Off?

Maybe Jets fans have been so desperate for any semblance of doing the right thing. But Douglas’ dedication to the unit from the minute he took office has been refreshing. The struggles of last year’s haul did nothing to deter his quest to build a wall in front of his new passing and rushing units.

Douglas faced a bit of an uphill battle in luring free agents to New York. Even though players both domestically and abroad were hyped by Robert Saleh’s hiring, asking marquee free agents to join up with a two-win squad was going to be a bit difficult. It was tough, though, for the Jets to watch Thuney sign a long-term deal in Kansas City without much of a fight.

Having said that, Douglas put his draft money where his mouth was in the latter stages of the offseason, trading some of his valuable draft capital to find a mid-first round gem. At the literal last minute, he was able to convince the serviceable Moses to sign up for the year.

The gestures are great. But no it’s about the success translating on the field.

Douglas’ appreciated offensive line makeover began when he traded a late pick to Baltimore for Lewis and convinced Carolina Pro Bowler Matt Kalil to come out of retirement. It was great to see him take initiative…but now it’s time for results. Getting that desired effect may have been a bit easier if Douglas was able to add an elite name.

Final Offseason Grade: B-

How important will a revamped offensive line be to the Jets’ success? Continue the conversation on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees News, 7/4: Veteran opts out of deal with Bombers, Aaron Judge calls team meeting

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees faced off against the Mets on Saturday for the first time this season, falling 8-3. Another loss for the Yankees has set them back tremendously, as they have won just one of their last seven games, indicating a serious cold streak.

With the team struggling, slugger Aaron Judge called a players only meeting to discuss how the team can turn things around quickly. Judge is having himself an adequate season, sitting with a .284 average, 19 home runs, and 43 runs batted in, leading the team in all three categories.

Considering how well Judge is playing, it is easy for him to work out the kinks in his armor, but the remainder of the team continues the struggle considerably. Against the Mets, Tijuana Walker lasted 5.2 innings and gave up two earned runs before handing it over to the bullpen. Walker was solid in his outing, as Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs over 4.1 innings, elevating his ERA to 4.17. The relief didn’t fare much better, as Justin Wilson allowed five earned runs without recording an out.

The Yankees are affectively imploding, and it only gets worse with every passing game. Despite Francisco Lindor struggles this year, he recorded two hits and two walks in the first game of the series.

Prior to the Yankees lost, Judge spoke to the media regarding the players only meeting:

“It was a good time for a lot of us to be honest with each other. Maybe say some things on our mind, some things that guys have been hearing, some things that guys have been thinking, and just kind of have the chance to open the floor for everybody,” Judge said. “When you’re in a clubhouse, we’re all brothers in there, we’re family. All the best teams I’ve been on, you’re able to say what you need to say to somebody and not let somebody’s feelings get hurt. It was a good meeting. There was a lot of emotion but I think overall it was great for the team.”

It seems as if Judge’s words weren’t really harnessed by his teammates, as their lack of effort and discipline showed once again.

Derek Dietrich opts out of deal with Yankees:

When the Yankees originally signed Derek Dietrich, they imagined he would play a reserve role and supplement injuries this year. The 31-year-old infielder has yet to be called up to the majors, which led him to opt out of his deal and pursue work with another team. With Triple-A, Dietrich was hitting just .215 with four doubles and five homers, so the Yankees clearly didn’t see the offensive production they hoped after signing him to a minor league deal this spring.

New York Yankees to play day-night today, takeaways from loss to the Mets

new york yankees, justin wilson

Today will be a huge day for both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. Yesterday the Yankees lost game one against their cross-town rivals 8-3. The Yankees were almost embarrassed by the Mets, as they couldn’t get a single hit off Taijuan Walker until the sixth inning. In the end, they could only muster up three hits, all in that sixth inning.

Today they will play a dual day-night doubleheader starting at 2:05 pm; the two games will be seven-inning contests. The day game will be started by Yankee ace Gerrit Cole that has struggled recently. The night game will be started by Nestor Cortes Jr., who has been lights out for the Yankees in relief; his ERA is 1.02. For Cortes, it will be his first nationally televised game in the Major Leagues. The 7:05 pm game will be televised on ESPN. To save face, the Yankees will need to win both of these games and take the series from the Mets.

New York Yankees couldn’t perform in game

The New York Yankees struggled mightily in game one yesterday. The pitching wasn’t there, and the hitting was almost absent. Jordan Montgomery only lasted 4.1 innings giving up three earned runs. Montgomery, although the Yankee’s second-best pitcher, couldn’t find control over his secondary pitches. Taijuan Walker mowed down every Yankee hitter he saw through five innings as the Yankees couldn’t garner up a hit against him to add insult to injury.

Montgomery was bailed out in the fifth as Lucas Luetge replaced him and stopped the bleeding. Then bad turned worse when Justin Wilson came in sixth, not recording an out and giving up five more runs. The only bright spot in the game was when Michael King replaced him and pitched four scoreless innings shutting down the Mets rest of the way.

Also, Aaron Judge hit his 19th home run of the season on the plus side as he continues his hot streak. The Yankees only left one man on base, but there is not much to be said about that; if you don’t get hits, you can’t leave men on base.

Torres/Frazier continue to disappoint

After an abysmal season last year for Gleyber Torres, he started this season out pretty good, showing up in better shape and with improved defense. But near the end of April, he crashed and was hitting just .186. By the end of May, he had improved, hitting his second home run of the season and batting .274. However, during the whole month of June, it has been all downhill for the young shortstop.  He has only hit one more home run, and his batting average has dropped to .240. Yesterday he went hitless in the Mets game and earned his 12th error of the season. His signature has become airmailing throws to first base.

What makes this so disappointing is that the Yankees still have faith in Torres. He had a stellar season in 2019 when he led the team in home runs with 38 and batted .278. So far this season, he is on track to hit 6 or 7 long balls.

Possibly the biggest disappointment hitting-wise is that halfway through the season, Clint Frazier has still not found his stroke, hitting just .186. In the last month, he hasn’t hit a home run, and for the month of June, he has only ten hits. The is the longest slide of his up and down career.

Now he is on the IL with vertigo. He has gone under several tests, but no cause has been revealed. It could result from his 2018 head-first smash into the wall that caused him to have a concussion and miss some of 2018 and 19. The only talk about Frazier is that he may end up on the trading block.

Gerrit Cole will start today. Hal has faith in him

Gerrit Cole will start game one today of a day-night doubleheader. Cole’s performance has fallen off dramatically since Josh Donaldson of the Indians named him in a conversation on using illegal substances to improve grip. Once MLB announced that they would be regularly checking and suspending for the use of any kind of sticky stuff, Cole’s spin rate affecting ball movement has been off. In June, the New York Yankees have lost three of his five starts. During April, his ERA was 1.43 near the top for pitchers. Now at the end of June, it’s 2.66.

Cole’s last start against the Boston Red Sox was one of the worst of his career. He gave up five runs in five innings, three of them home runs. The Yankees have now lost eight of his sixteen starts, making many wonder if Hal Steinbrenner spent $324 million on an average pitcher that can’t be good unless using illegal substances. However, this week when addressing the team’s woes, managing partner Hal Steinbrenner has reaffirmed his faith in Cole, saying that he is not worried about Cole in a post sticky baseball world.

Cole has a game score of 33. However, 50 is average in the metrics system created by Bill James to measure the pitcher’s effectiveness in a single game.