New York Giants: Logan Ryan on Joe Judge bringing him to Giants

new york giants, logan ryan

The New York Giants didn’t swing and miss when they added Logan Ryan last season in free agency. They did so following an injury to expected starter Xavier McKinney, but Ryan turned out to perform better than most would have expected from a replacement for an injured prospect.

Ryan has made himself a core part of the current group of Giants safeties, and earned himself an extension through 2023 that was signed this offseason despite some predicting him ending up elsewhere.

But what was it that brought Ryan to the Giants in the first place, after starting the offseason as a free agent that could have ended up with any team in the league? It appears that, according to Ryan himself, head coach Joe Judge played a large role in setting the Giants apart.

Ryan spoke on Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and one of the subjects was his dedication to Joe Judge.

“He allowed me to put my imprint on this young team and really allowed me to shine and show my work ethic. I just try to come in with that first one in, first one out mentality and really try to earn my stripes on this team,” Ryan said about Judge.

He claims that it was a candid conversation with Judge that led him to the Giants. And also that Judge was a coach that believed in him during a time when other teams didn’t believe in what he could do.

“I am really grateful for those times last year vying for a job and telling people what I can do, but all I really needed was the respect from one coach and that honesty. I’ll run through a wall for [Judge],” Ryan continued.

Joe Judge a major influence on Giants free agency

If it wasn’t clear already, it should be even more clear right now that Joe Judge is a big part of the moves the Giants make during free agency.

Many have suspected since his rookie season that Dave Gettleman is being made to compromise more in his role as general manager, and interviews like this with players seem to support the theory. It’s not Gettleman’s name that keeps coming up with free agents, but Judge’s.

Considering this, it’s hard to argue that Judge doesn’t have a big influence on the direction the Giants take in free agency these days. It’s something that seems like a positive, given the team’s better acquisitions over the past couple of years while Judge has been at the helm.

New York Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp passes away at 58

New York Jets

Knapp, an NFL coaching staple since 1997, was set to be the New York Jets’ passing game coordinator after three years in Atlanta.

The New York Jets confirmed the passing of assistant coach Greg Knapp on Thursday afternoon. Knapp, 58, was critically injured when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike over the weekend in San Ramon, CA.

“Today at 11:32 am PST, Greg Knapp (aka Knapper) was called back home to Heaven, where he will be reunited with his Dad,” the Knapp family wrote in a statement on the Jets’ website. “Those of us who were so blessed to have known him, know that he would have wanted even this moment to be a teachable one. So this is it…”Live every day as if it’s your last, and love those around you like it won’t last!”

“Greg’s infectious personality is most people’s first and lasting memory of him. The phrase “He never met a stranger” encapsulates Knapper’s zest for life. He had a unique gift to make everyone feel special, and to Knapper, they all were. While his family, friends, and players still had so much to learn from him and desperately wished they had more time with him, God called an audible and wanted to go over the game plan directly with him. It will certainly be a masterpiece, just like Greg!”

Knapp was set to join the Jets after three seasons with the Atlanta Falcons as the quarterbacks coach. He had been a staple on NFL coaching staffs since 1997 after a record-breaking career as a passer at Sacramento State. His time in the league included offensive coordinator stints in San Francisco (2001-03), Atlanta (2004-06), Oakland (2007-08, 2012), and Seattle (2009).

Through his coaching endeavors, Knapp is perhaps best known for his time as the Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks coach, working with Peyton Manning during one of the most illustrious statistical seasons in NFL history (5,477 yards and 55 touchdown passes during the 2013 campaign). Two years later, he became a Super Bowl champion, partaking in the Broncos’ triumph over Carolina in the game’s 50th edition. Other quarterbacks who worked under Knapp included Steve Young, Jeff Garcia, Michael Vick, and Matt Ryan.

Tributes poured in from both the Jets spectrum and across the league after news of Knapp’s passing broke.

“In his short time with us, Greg had an immediate influence on those who had the pleasure of spending the smallest amount of time with him,” Jets chairman Woody Johnson said. “His legacy is not only working with some of the brightest quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but the countless others across this world he has had an indelibly positive influence on.”

“He lived life in a loving way that helped him connect with people from all walks of life in a unique way,” head coach Robert Saleh added. “Greg had such an inner peace about him that people always seemed to gravitate towards.”

Knapp is survived by his wife Charlotte and their three daughters Jordan, Natalie, and Camille. Well-wishers are encouraged to post here.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Report: Yankees have checked in on star shortstop, could move Gleyber Torres back to 2B

trevor story, new york yankees

As the New York Yankees consider making a move at the trade deadline, one name that has bubbled to the surface is Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. The 28-year-old right-handed batter stands at 6’2″ and 213 pounds, and currently has two years left on his contract, totaling $27.5 million. Averaging $13.8 million per season, the star defender is struggling this season in the batter’s box (by his own standards), hitting .243 with 11 homers and 43 RBIs. However, during the 2020 campaign, he hit .289 over 59 games, recording 11 homers and 28 RBIs.

There is no question he would bring a fantastic defensive element to a position that is currently a liability with Gleyber Torres featuring. While Torres has begun to hit more effectively, he has allowed 13 errors this season with a .956 fielding percentage, well below the league average of .973.

The Yankees have reportedly checked in on Story, and with big-time slugger Nelson Cruz being dealt to the Tampa Bay Rays, I wouldn’t rule out a potential deal between the Yankees and Rockies.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees have checked in on Trevor Story as a potential trade target:

The Yankees are among the teams that have checked in on Trevor Story. Presumably, if they followed through, they’d move Gleyber Torres back to second base.
Reports have also indicated that the Bombers and general manager Brian Cashman are intrigued by Texas’ Joey Gallo, a player they have been keeping an eye on for quite some time. He offers more depth in the outfield and a big slugger to work with, but he primarily plays right field, where Aaron Judge resides. Solving the infield woes should be a priority, especially at the most important position, shortstop. Compared to Torres, Story has eight errors this season with a .976 fielding percentage, making him above average in the category.
The Yankees have a bit of time to spare as they seek reinforcements, and luckily, their depth players and minor-league affiliates have produced a spark with the starters struggling to remain healthy.

Report: Knicks a potential suitor if Suns and Chris Paul reach a stalemate

New York Knicks, chris paul

New York Knicks president Leon Rose has a past connection with point guard Chris Paul as his former agent, which could lead to the organization targeting him in free agency if he elects to leave Phoenix. Having just lost in the NBA Finals, Paul could feel as if there’s unfinished business with the Suns and star teammate Devin Booker, but if he is seeking a new challenge and a bigger payday, the Knicks could represent potential destination.

Coming off one of his best seasons to date and showcasing his quality at 36 years old, Paul has the leverage in the situation, and he’s seeking a multi-year contract.

Phoenix will try to bring him back on a substantial deal, but if Paul demands more, a stalemate could ensue.

“And if there’s a stalemate [with the Suns], keep an eye on the New York Knicks as a potential suitor for Chris Paul,” Bobby Marks of ESPN stated regarding the situation.

Marks also mentioned that the Knicks are one of the only teams with enough money to realistically acquire Paul on the off chance he leaves Pheonix:

If Paul declines the option, that is an indication a new contract is waiting from Phoenix or there is a secondary option with a team that has cap space. The Suns could offer a contract for up to four seasons, and a team such as the New York Knicks that projects to have more than $50 million in room can sign him to a three-year deal. In the unlikely scenario that Paul does leave, Phoenix would have $27 million in cap space.

Paul has a player option for $44 million next season, and if he declines, it will open up the flood gates for him to explore free agency, which would only drive up his price tag. Phoenix would like to avoid any potential bidding war for Paul, and he will likely try to complete a deal before things get crazy during August — he will only benefit from that reality.

This past season, he averaged 16.4 points, 8.9 assists, and shot 50% from the field, including 39.5% from three, over 3.7 attempts per game. As one of the league’s best facilitators on offense, he helped carry Phoenix to the Finals but was simply overshadowed by Giannis Antetokoumpo. If he’s looking for a new challenge, MSG would give him the platform to elevate not only the team but also the city.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard an underutilized red-zone weapon

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants have completely overhauled their red-zone offense this offseason. In 2020, the Giants had the second-worst ranked offense in the NFL. New York averaged only 17.5 points per game last season, a truly putrid number.

One of the reasons why the Giants struggled so badly to put points up on the scoreboard was their inefficiency in the red zone. Their red zone scoring percentage ranked 31st in the league in 2020 at 46.34%. Time and time again, the Giants got into scoring range and failed to convert. NFL teams will not find great success without a competent red zone offense.

When the Giants did convert in the red zone last season, more often than not it was thanks to one receiver: Sterling Shepard. Many think of Shepard as a scrappy slot receiver that runs exquisite routes in the intermediate range of the line of scrimmage. But Sterling Shepard is actually a tremendous, yet underutilized red-zone weapon, too.

Sterling Shepard red zone stats

One big criticism of the Giants’ offensive personnel last season was the lack of a dependable red zone threat. The signings of Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph obviously change that narrative. The Giants now have two big-time red-zone threats in Golladay and Rudolph. But don’t sleep on Sterling Shepard as a viable option in scoring range.

Sterling Shepard was as reliable in the red zone as he possibly could have been in 2020. According to Pro Football Focus’s 2021 QB Annual, Daniel Jones’s top red-zone receiver by far was Sterling Shepard. Check out how purely efficient Shep was in the red zone in 2020:

  • 9/9 (100% completion), 3 Touchdowns, 56% First down conversion

Every time Daniel Jones targeted Sterling Shepard in the red zone last season, it resulted in a completion. Daniel Jones only threw 11 touchdowns in 2020. Three of those eleven scores (27%) went to Shepard in the red zone. All three of Sterling Shepard’s touchdown receptions in 2020 were scored in the red zone.

The Giants’ red zone offense will improve drastically in 2021. Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph give Daniel Jones two big-bodied receivers that excel in making contested catches. Sterling Shepard gives his quarterback reliable route running and high IQ that allows him to expose the soft spot in the defense and capitalize with points on the board. The New York Giants’ offense will get a lot more points on the board this season with this new and improved group of playmakers.

Giants’ Kadarius Toney placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of training camp

new york giants, kadarius toney

With training camp starting next Tuesday and rookies filtering in, the New York Giants anticipated the entire team to return in full health and ready to work as the 2021 regular season approaches in a little over a month.

However, one rookie will have to wait a few weeks before taking the field with the remainder of the team.

According to the Giants, rookie Kadarius Toney was placed on the Reserve/Covid019 list on Thursday ahead of training camp:

Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, the Giants’ first selection in the 2021 NFL draft, has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Giants’ rookies reported yesterday for training camp. Toney is following the NFL protocols by isolating and participating in meetings remotely.

Ever since Toney joined the Giants, he has faced issues that have impacted his ability to stay on the field, ranging from equipment mishaps and minor injuries. While these issues are undoubtedly a source of concern, Covid remains a serious liability, and unless a player is vaccinated, they will have to endure the potential consequences. Even so, the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t contract the virus but rather mitigate serious symptoms. Toney will have to present two negative tests before he can rejoin the team.

The Florida product is coming off a solid 2020 campaign, totaling 984 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns through the air, including a rushing touchdown. The Giants view him as a unique player who can contribute in multiple phases of the game, and they expect him to be a focal point on offense.

Report: Knicks extend GM Scott Perry

New York Knicks

New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry had been extended, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ian Begley of SNY added that Perry signed a multi-year deal to stay in New York.

Perry started last season on shaky ground as a holdover of the Steve Mills regime, but he proved his worth with some of his past moves contributing to the Knicks’ successful turnaround.

Perry was responsible for the Knicks’ core that developed into a playoff contender under coach Tom Thibodeau’s first season.

After Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving spurned them in the 2018 free agency, Perry signed Julius Randle to a team-friendly contract. He was one of three power forwards he signed. Bobby Portis and Marcus Morris were the other two.

Portis went to the Milwaukee Bucks last summer and is now an NBA champion. Perry flipped Morris into a first-round pick that became Immanuel Quickley.

Randle stayed and keyed the Knicks’ surprising playoff run this past season. He blossomed into an All-Star and an All-NBA player and was named the Most Improved Player league.

Perry also stuck his guns during the 2019 NBA Draft as the Knicks stood pat with the third overall pick despite offers to trade down for multiple assets. He selected RJ Barrett out of Duke.

After a mixed rookie year where he was snubbed from the All-Rookie Team, Barrett bounced back with a strong sophomore season.

Perry also drafted Mitchell Robinson, a second-round pick that proved to be a steal. He also signed Reggie Bullock, who had a solid run last season. But he also had his shares of misses, like picking Kevin Knox over Mikal Bridges, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Michael Porter, Jr, and hiring Dave Fizdale over Mike Budenholzer.

ESPN NBA Insider Brian Windhorst reported last May that Perry would likely remain with the Knicks beyond this season.

Perry was initially hired in 2017. He remained with the Knicks when Leon Rose took over for just a one-year extension. It was a move viewed around the league as a stop-gap measure to ease the team’s transition to the Rose regime.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Recapping The New York Mets 2021 Draft Picks (Rounds 16-20)

Simeon Woods-Richardson

Round 16 Selection: RHP Trey McLoughlin (Fairfield)

McLoughlin is a 6’2″, 210-pound pitcher who was a very interesting late-round selection for the New York Mets. Injuries and a COVID shortened 2020 have held him to just eight starts in his final two seasons, but he has been productive when he has been on the field. McLoughlin made five starts with a 4.94 ERA and struck out 32 while allowing just four walks. He has a good fastball, but his power slider is what gets him his strikeouts.

Round 17 Selection: LHP Nick Swack (Xavier)

Swack is coming off a very dominant season where he had a 3.15 ERA over 80 innings pitched and allowed just four home runs. He also contributed three complete games and even picked up a save in his only relief outing of the season. Swack does not bring much velocity as he throws in the mid-80s with his fastball but has a good 12-6 curveball and a change-up which still needs to be refined.

Round 18 Selection: RHP Kolby Kubichek (Texas)

Kubichek is a 6’0″, 180 pound redshirt sophomore who had a very impressive 2021 season. Over 12 starts, he had a 3.86 ERA in 51.1 innings and allowed just three home runs. Kubichek has plenty of growth to do as a pitcher, allowing him to add speed to his low-90s fastball. He struggled towards the end of the season, but it is an enticing project for any farm system to take a chance in developing further.

Round 19 Selection: C Drake Osborn (Louisiana Lafayette) 

Osborn was the only catcher the Mets took and is 5’11”, 195 pounds with a solid 2021 campaign. He slashed .339/.417/.497 with three home runs and 24 runs batted in. Osborn was terrific behind the plate, throwing out 19 of 40 base stealers and allowing four passed balls. Reports from Osborn rising through the ranks show his natural leading ability, and he is a good catcher for the Mets young prospects to work with.

Round 20 Selection: SS Justin Guerrera (Fairfield)

The final pick for the Mets was another Fairfield University product in Guerrera. He is a 5’9″, 185-pound shortstop who broke out in the power department during 2021. In 43 games, Guerrera slashed .340/.409/.685, with 13 home runs, 45 RBIs, and eight stolen bases. Scouts are very pleased with his ability to play the middle infield and continue playing there in the Mets farm system. Guerrera is an excellent final pick of a good 2021 draft for the Mets.

Christine Ferea returns to headline BKFC in September

While Paige VanZant and Britain Hart headline a stacked women’s card in the BKFC 19, Christine “Misfit” Ferea‘s time is coming soon.

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship President David Feldman bared that Ferea will headline a BKFC event in September in Florida.

“She’ll face an undefeated professional boxer. We’re gonna announce that [Thursday]. She has a good test in front of her,” Feldman told Empire Sports Media ahead of the BKFC 19 this Friday.

“[Christine] is certainly in the mix for that 125 lb belt. She’s been here for a long time. She has always fought very well and dominated a lot of her opponents.”

Ferea hadn’t fought since September 11 last year, when she won over Callie Cutler via TKO in the second round. Ferea has a 3-1 record in the BKFC, with her only loss coming at the hands of former women’s champion Helen Peralta.

Feldman said that a BKFC women’s championship is in the works down the line. If Ferea makes a successful comeback, she will be a strong contender to take the belt.

“We have a lot of different girls that could really compete in that little tournament for a championship. We’re gonna go over that next week. We want to see the results first of the Paige VanZant-Rachael Ostovich and the Britain Hart-Jenny Paige fights,” Feldman said.

Ferea beat Hart in BKFC in 2019, while she defeated Ostovich at Invicta back in 2017.

Meanwhile, VanZant hopes for a knockout win against Ostovich Friday to redeem herself from a disappointing BKFC debut loss to Hart. A VanZant and Hart win at BKFC 19 will make the women’s division more interesting, with Ferea returning to the picture. A Ferea-Hart or Ferea-Ostovich rematch is also an intriguing possibility.

The BKFC 19 will air on FITE.TV (8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT) in addition to the BKTV APP for existing subscribers.

Advance tickets starting at $65 are now on sale through BKFC.com. The Expo Hall at the Florida State Fairgrounds is located at 4800 US-301, Tampa, FL 33610. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. ET, with the first bell at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Yankees: Trade deadline – buy, sell, or stay?

The New York Yankees and general Brian Cashman have some big decisions to make in the next eight days as the trade deadline approaches on July 30th. With the Yankees’ recent success, I believe the selling idea is out the window. Instead, tInstead, the Yankees will either be buying or staying. If Cashman believes the Yankees will be okay once key players return off the Covid list and from injuries, the Yankees will mostly stay with what they have. Cashman will be taking a hard look at someone permanent that is a lefty hitter for center field.

On the pitching front,, at some point, the New York Yankees are expecting the return of Luis Severino and Corey Kluber. This will enter into Cashman’s decision to go out and get another starting pitcher,, which is lacking right now. Cashman is already talking to several teams about several players. The last two years,, Cashman has done little at the trade deadline. Only time will tell how much excitement he will create if any.

Here are some of the possible trade targets:

Joel Sherman of the New York Post has reported that Cashman talks with the Minnesota Twins about several players. The Twins are 41-55 this season,, 17 games behind in the AL Central. Several of the players that are being talked about are lefty outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler,, in 62 games,, has 12 home runs and a .217 batting average. Kepler has a good arm, is a good defender, and can play any outfield position well. The Yankees are also looking at Twins pitchers Jose Berrios and ex-Yankee Michael Pineda.

The Yankees have a lot of options with the Twins; they also have abundant lefties. Sherman also reports that he has heard the Yankees are also interested in  Luis Arraez, Alex Kirilloff, and switch-hitting Jorge Polanco. The Yankees have also inquired about center field Byron Buxton and shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

The Chicago Cubs also has an outfielder that the Yankees may be interested in. Kris Bryant a 29-year old that can also play third base. He is a righty that is in the last year of his contract. His relationship with the Cubs has soured after losing a grievance and will likely not return to the Cubs.

The Miami Marlins have also entered the picture with Starling Marte. He is a 32-year-old outfielder that has apparently lost out on negotiations with the Marlins to extend his contract. Marte is having a great season this year with a losing team. He is an All-Star centerfielder that is a contact hitter who is batting .293 this season. The Yankees have deep ties with Derek Jeter and the Marlins and have worked together before.

Earlier in the year,, the New York Yankees successfully traded for Rougie Odor of the Texas Rangers. Now they may be looking at outfielder Joey Gallo. Gallo is a lefty bat that has 24 home runs this season. Although an outfielder by trade,, he can also play 1st and 3rd base,, making him versatile. The problem for the Yankees here is the San Diego Padres are also in hot pursuit of Gallo.

There are several less attractive options for the Yankees to consider that are either too expensive or don’t really fit the Yankees. One example is Steven Duggar,, a lefty outfield arm for the San Francisio Giants. The 27 years old would be an excellent target for the Yankees, but the Yankees would have to give up a lot, even if they could pry him away from the NL West leading team.

If the New Yankees want to go for a high reward low risk deal the can go for Colorado Rockies’ Sam Hilliard, hes a 27 year old that has not been tested against Major League pitchers. He is a lefty batter that is hitting for Triple-A Albuquerque. Bernie Pleskoff who is a professional scout and writer for Forbes feels his is a diamond in the rough just waiting to burst out.

In the next week we will know alot more about Cashman’s plans for the team.