New York Giants: Adoree’ Jackson wouldn’t turn down trick plays at RB

new york giants, adoree jackson

The New York Giants made a solid addition to their secondary when they picked up Adoree’ Jackson in free agency, but they might have gotten a bit more than that with the player.

The Titans have sparingly used Jackson at positions other than cornerback and in an interview with the New York Post, Jackson says he wouldn’t turn down the chance to try that out again if Giants coach Joe Judge asked it of him.

“I’m like, “Yeah yeah, I’ll go play it, don’t worry about it!” I’m not gonna turn it down. Did it when I was at Tennessee, I played running back for a couple of plays, which is cool, that was fun to do that,” Jackson told the Post’s Steve Serby.

From the looks of things, the Giants are getting their hands on a player that enjoys a chance to get physical – whether in pass coverage or not.

“I just like being on the field with my guys. I remember one time at Tennessee, they had me play the blocker for the gunner one play, and I’m over there trying to knock somebody’s chin loose, we’re trying to get in the end zone. Whatever it is they ask, I’m gonna go out there and do.”

These kind of trick plays probably aren’t something that’s going to come up often, but it’s nice to have some options in that department. The Giants, after all, were heavily criticized last season for having a stale offense that failed to shake things up and keep the opponent guessing regularly.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett likely has his job on the line this season. Could that push him to come up with some new plays that might even see the Giants shuffle some players around from their usual positions? We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s far from out of the question.

Report: Knicks looking to package 19, 21st overall picks to move up in draft

knicks, sharife cooper

With the NBA draft just four days away, the New York Knicks are looking to package selections together to move up into the late lottery, giving them a shot at several prospects who would otherwise be off the board by the 19th overall pick.

Recently, the team has been connected to prospects like James Bouknight, Davion Mitchell, and Sharife Cooper, all of which could be off the board before New York has a chance to strike.

With that being said, it was always an expectation the front office would be looking to trade up and snag an impact player who could contribute immediately as a rookie. Whether that be an elite defender like Mitchell or facilitator like Cooper is yet to be seen, but whoever it is, they will play a prominent role in next year’s strategy.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the Knicks are looking to package two first-rounders to move up in the draft:

The Knicks are having discussions to try to trade picks Nos. 19 and 21 to move up in the draft, sources said.

With plenty of funds and capital to maneuver this free agency period, things are looking up for a team trying to build upon a postseason appearance. Finding a solution a point guard for the long-haul is a priority, and drafting a young prospect to pair with a potential veteran like Derrick Rose could be their preference.

August is gearing up to be an awesome month full of action for the Knicks, so strap in your seatbelt and get ready for the ride.

New York Yankees Recap: Domingo German pitches great in stunning loss for the Yankees

New York Yankees, Domingo German

The New York Yankees entered yesterday’s game after losing two straight to the Red Sox. In the seventh inning, it looked as though this would be another loss with only four outs left in the game. However, the Yankees erupted in the eighth with 5 straight hits and the 4-3 win. The Yankees now had a chance at splitting the series today with Domingo German on the mound for the Yankees. He was to face the Red Sox’ Martin Perez. Then, the rain stopped, and it was time for baseball at Fenway Park in Boston. Domingo German had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning, but Jonathan Loaisiga and Zack Britton gave the game away to the Sox. Final score Boston Red Sox 5, New York Yankees 4.

DJ LeMahieu led off the first inning against Perez and led off with a standup double to the green monster. Giancarlo Stanton went down on strikes. Rougie Odor struck out swinging. Gary Sanchez hit a long one, but right at Verdugo in left. At the bottom, against Domingo, German Enrique Hernandez hit to Urshela at third for the first out. Jerran Duran struck out. Xander Bogaerts flew out to Gardner in center to end the scoreless inning.

Gleyber Torres led off the second inning with a strikeout. Then, Brett Gardner flew out to Bogaerts. Next, Gio Urshela ground out to third for a 1-2-3 inning for Perez. At the bottom, Rafael Devers, who had a .133 batting average off German, flew out to Torres. Then, JT Martinez flew out to Gardner. Finally, Verdugo struck out for the second 1-2-3 inning for German.

At the top of the third, Ryan LaMarre led off for the Yankees and struck out. Greg Allen walked. LeMahieu struck out on a terrible call. Stanton walked. Odor ignited again with a single, with Allen easily scoring as the Yankees struck first. Sanchez went down on strikes, but the Yankees went ahead in the game, leaving two on base. At the bottom, Hunter Renfroe led off by walking. Christian Vazquez flew out to Allen in right. Frenchy Cordero struck out. Hernandez ground out to second. New York Yankees 1 Red Sox 0.

The fourth inning was led off by Gleyber Torres, who hit one over the head of Devers; the ball rolled all the way to the green monster for a double. Brett Gardner got a push bunt out, moving Torres to third. Gio Urshela hit one off the monster holding him to a single, but Torres scored for the second run for the Yankees. LaMarre hit into a double play to end the half. At the bottom, Duran struck out, Bogaerts ground out, and Devers stuck out for another 1-2-3 inning for German.

Greg Allen led off the fifth inning by singling to left field. LeMahieu hit into a double play clearing the bases. Stanton chopped to first to end the half. Martinez led off the bottom by grounding out to left, with Urshela making a great throw to first. Verdugo flew out to Gardner. Renfroe ground out to Torres as the Red Sox went down in order with German dealing. New York Yankees 2  Red Sox 0.

Rougie Odor led off the sixth inning with a monster home run to far center, his 12th of the season. Gary Sanchez ground out to short. Torres lined out directly to the second baseman. Gardner slapped on right to Verdugo to end the half, but the Yankees tacked on another run. At the bottom, Vazquez ground out on a German assist. Cordero struck out. Hernandez struck out to end the inning. New York Yankees 3 Boston Red Sox 0.

At the top of the seventh, Urshela walked. LaMarre popped out to second. Allen got hit by a pitch, and Urshela advanced to second. LeMahieu walked to load the bases. With the bases loaded and Stanton coming to the plate, Cora called for new pitcher Josh Taylor. Stanton went down on strikes. Odor flew out to center to leave the bases loaded. At the bottom with German that had no-hit, the Sox through six was back out on the mound. Duran struck out for German’s seventh struck out of the game. Bogaerts struck out but reached on a passed ball that Sanchez only jogged after. Devers struck out on a German curveball. Martinez stuck out for the fourth strikeout in the inning. Yankees 3 Red Sox 0.

At the top of the eighth, Gary Sanchez hit a triple to left-center. Torres followed with a single driving in Sanchez. Torres stole second for his 10th steal of the season. Gardner walked. Torres made a base running mistake to get caught, but it allowed Gardner to second. Urshela ground out. LaMarre ground out. At the bottom with 90 pitches, German was back out on the mound. Verdugo got double, and that was the day for Domingo German, who pitched brilliantly. Yankees 4 Red Sox 0.

Jonathan Loaisiga took over. Renfroe hit an RBI double for the first run for the Red Sox. Vazquez singled driving in Renfroe. Cordero hit one right down the middle as Loaisiga allowed three straight hits. Hernandez doubled as Loaisiga couldn’t get a Red Sox out finishing his outing. Zack Britton took over with only a one-run lead. He faced a pinch-hitter Kevin Plawecki who ground out, but it tied the score at 4. Bogaerts flew out, but another Red Sox run came across home plate for the Boston lead in the game. Devers ground out. The Yankee relievers failed miserably, and they allowed 5 Red Sox runs in the inning. Boston Red Sox 5 New York Yankees 4.

At the top of the ninth, Matt Barnes took the mound to close it out for the Red Sox. Greg Allen led off the ninth and flew out to left. LeMahieu ground out to second. Then, Giancarlo Stanton hit a hard single to center. Wade was called in to pinch-run for Stanton. Wade stole second. Rougie Odor popped out to end the game. This was a crushing loss for the Yankees.

Final score Boston Red Sox 5 the New York Yankees 4. The winning pitcher was Brandon Workman; the loser was Jonathan Loaisiga. The save went to Matt Barnes.

 

 

 

New York Jets 2021 opponent report: New England Patriots

There would be, perhaps, no better way for the New York Jets to open a new era than by ending their losing streak against the Patriots.

The Opponent: New England Patriots
The Dates: Week 2, September 19, 1 p.m. ET, CBS (@ NY)/Week 7, October 24, 1 p.m. ET, CBS (@ NE)*
The Series: New England leads 69-54-1 (last meeting: 2020, 28-14 NE)

*-(subject to flexible scheduling)

Year one of the post-Tom Brady era was a merciless kick back to reality for the New England Patriots. Yet, one tradition lingered from Brady’s historic tenure: beating the New York Jets.

For all the Patriots’ faults in 2020, they managed to keep their winning streak against the Jets alive, sweeping the annual pair for a fifth straight season. The Jets haven’t earned a sweep against New England since 2000…one year before Mo Lewis’ hit on Drew Bledsoe inadvertently shifted the course of NFL history. New England’s ten-game winning streak is the longest in the series that dates back to the days of the AFL, breaking a nine-game tally the Jets had between 1966 and 1970.

The Jets came close to ending the streak last season in a Monday night showdown in November at MetLife Stadium. New York, in fact, owned a two-possession lead entering the final quarter, but surrendered 13 points over the final six-plus minutes en route to a 30-27 defeat.

New York and New England also met in the final week of the season. Meaningless finales between the Jets and Patriots have been nothing new since the NFL instituted an all-divisional matchup slate for the last week, as New England would often rest starters going into the playoffs. This time, though, mere pride was on the line and the Patriots sent the Adam Gase era note out on an appropriate thud, topping the Jets 28-14.

Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Skinny on the Patriots

Bill Belichick is burdened with a load he hasn’t had to deal with in a long, long time: something to prove.

Few can question the impact and legacy…more a path of destruction…that Belichick has left behind. But last season created the closest thing to a smear one can make on Belichick’s New England ledger: Brady moved on to Tampa Bay and immediately won another Super Bowl with Belichick over 1,300 miles away.

Belichick isn’t like Michael Jordan: he won’t publicly declare that he “took that personally”. But Brady’s instant success in a new locale has to be eating at him a little. Every eye in the football world will turn to Foxboro on October 3, when Brady and the Buccaneers arrive for a Sunday night visit. But the Patriots will have a spotlight on them all season after last season’s flop.

Despite the departure Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and recent retiree Julian Edelman, the Patriots still have leftovers from their most recent glory days. Sony Michel’s third season was cut short by bouts on the COVID-19 list and injured reserve, but he performed well over the final three games of last season (287 yards on 40 touches). Devin McCourty returns for his 12th season, flanked by cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson (the latter earning nine interceptions last season).

New York Jets, Hunter Henry
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

What’s New in New England?

Belichick did what any supposed villain would do after getting wronged: he spent a lot of money in an attempt to get revenge. 

New England spent over $316 million in free agency endeavors this offseason, a project headlined by swiping the top two available tight ends. The post-Gronkowski situation was even more garish, as Ryan Izzo and Devin Asiasi united for only 238 yards on 15 receptions last year.

New England remedied this issue by brining in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, dedicating over $12 million in 2021 cap space to the former AFC foes. The Patriots have never been hesitant to use two tight ends, routinely pairing Gronkowski with names like Brandon LaFell, Martellus Bennett, and Aaron Hernandez. Expect to see them reemploy more 12 personnel sets with two elite names in tow.

On defense, the Patriots brought in two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Matthew Judon. He’ll join  returnees Kyle Van Noy and Donte Hightower will re-don the Flying Elvis after one-year absences. Van Noy returns after one year with divisional rival Miami while Hightower opted out of last season in the midst of the health crisis. Speaking of front seven additions, the Patriots also added former Jet Henry Anderson, who never lived up to the $25 million extension granted to him in 2019.

No discussion about the post-Brady Patriots would be complete without looking at the quarterback situation. Cam Newton got off to a hot start but was never the same after missing an October game in Kansas City on the COVID-19 list. The 32-year-old Newton is projected to be the opening day starter but the Patriots used April’s 15th overall selection on Alabama thrower Mac Jones.

When it comes to the quarterback’s targets, the Patriots appear to be moving on from first-rounder N’Keal Harry. Jakobi Meyers returns for his third season after a breakthrough year in the slot (729 yards), while team added Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor from the west cost.

(Photo By Streeter Lecka)

How to Beat Them

-Wow, What a (Pass) Rush 

The home opener against the Patriots will be an early test for the Jets’ revamped pass rush.

Even Brady finds himself flustered by a strong backfield invasion; if not for that of the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, for example, he might have a Super Bowl ring for every finger. The Jets played a rare role in a Brady denial during their most recent playoff triumph: on that magical evening in January 2011, the Jets took down the arguable GOAT five times.

No matter whom the Jets face under center, they have to up the pressure. Newton can still move around as he gets deeper into his 30s…he scored two on the ground in the first meeting last season…but this isn’t the same Newton we saw during his Carolina heyday. New England was 3-6 when teams blitzed on at least 25 percent of Newton’s snaps last season. The pressure situation should only increase with Jones in tow, as there would probably be no better way to welcome the national champion to the NFL than a relentless rush.

The Jets know just how important pressure will be. Their most impactful 2021 contract is Carl Lawson’s three-year, $45 million deal that lured him away from Cincinnati. Enough has been written about how Lawson has made a defensive impact despite pedestrian sack totals. The early showdown with the Patriots will give him a perfect opportunity to back the early praise up.

-Push the Patriots off the Pedestal 

The horrors that the Patriots have subjected the Jets to could qualify as the stuff of urban legends at this point. November’s aforementioned Monday night loss, for example, was a positive in mere sense that it was the Jets’ first one-possession loss since the infamous Austin Seferian-Jenkins incident in 2017.

Nothing would symbolize a new era of Jets football better than taking down the hated Patriots. So desperate is the metropolitan area for a sports celebration…the Canyon of Heroes has been vacant to local affairs since the Giants’ parade in 2011 (the United States’ World Cup champion women’s soccer team in 2015 and 2019 notwithstanding)…that plans for a Robert Saleh statue could be submitted if the Jets take that Week 2 tilt. The fact that fans will be welcomed back to MetLife Stadium for an NFL regular season game for the first time since December 2019 only adds to how much the Patriots’ will mean.

But the Jets can’t go in with that mindset. A win is a win, no matter who it comes against. The Patriots are the Patriots…they’re a football team not a boogeyman. New York shouldn’t buy into the increased hype just because it’s been a while since they’ve enjoyed a win over a certain divisional rival.

Saleh walked through MetLife Stadium for the first time in June. Unlike, say, Rex Ryan, the newly minted Jets boss wasn’t looking to create bulletin board material for the New England locker room. Instead, his focus lingered only what a win would mean for the New York area. He hoped to create a similar atmosphere seen during late spring’s postseason endeavors at Madison Square Garden and Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, where he witnessed the respective playoff runs of the New York Knicks and New York Islanders.

“I’m really excited to get it going and get that stadium filled where that thing becomes live again like it’s been in the past,” Saleh said in a report from team writer Eric Allen. “New York fans are extremely passionate. They love their home teams, they’re rabid to a sense and it’s awesome. It comes from just absolute love for their teams. But like everything else in the world, you got to earn it.”

“We’re excited about all the work we’re putting in. We’re excited to get the opportunity to earn the same response at MetLife stadium and let the fans light that place up.”

How important is it for the Jets to end their losing streak against New England? Follow @GeoffJMags on Twitter and continue the conversation.

New York Yankees: Injury updates on all 18 Yankee players

Although not as bad as in 2019, the New York Yankees have certainly had their share of injuries this season. Those injuries were further exacerbated by six Yankees going on the Covid list. But it’s time for Yankees fans to sit back and relax; relief is on the way. Here are up-to-date injury updates on all the Yankee players.

Luis Severino (elbow)

One of the most important injuries the Yankee fans have been watching for is the return of Luis Severino from his Tommy John surgery. Severino was 33-14 between 2017 and 2018 before the surgery in 2019. The good news is that his return will be coming sooner than later. Aaron Boone reported that Sevi pitched a simulated two innings with 38 pitches yesterday at Fenway Park.  Next week he may start a rehab game in Somerset.  Projected return late August.

Corey Kluber (shoulder)

Another starter being closely watched is Corey Kluber. Kluber finally found his form with a no-hitter complete game on May 19th before leaving his May 25th game with shoulder tightness. Kluber never stopped throwing. Brian Hock of MLB.com reports that Kluber threw 20 pitches off the mound at Fenway on Friday as he draws closer to an early September return.

Michael King (finger)

Starter/reliever Michael King who was the primary fill-in for Corey Kluber, injured his finger when he jammed it between weights in the weight room. He hasn’t pitched since July 3rd against the Mets. Aaron Boone says his return is still a bit away. CBS Sports reports that he may start to throw this week. Nevertheless, he will need time to ramp back up. Projected return mid to late August.

Clarke Schmidt (elbow)

Clarke Schmidt has been out all of the season with an elbow injury. He hasn’t pitched since September 27, 2020. He suffered a flexor tendon strain. Although a common injury rehab can be long, and it has been. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Schmidt would take part in a rehab game next Wednesday. Schmidt could return to the big team before the end of the season.

T.J.Sikkema (lat injury)

Sikkema is a minor league starting pitcher that has not pitched this season due to a lat injury suffered in spring training. Little information is available on his progress, But if and when he returns, it will probably be for the Renegades. He is presently on the 60 day.

Darren O’Day (hamstring)

The sidearm reliever Darren O’Day was put on the 60 day IL a week ago on Friday. After a setback, O’Day is likely out for the season. After missing the start of the season with a shoulder issue, it now appears that he will only have 10 appearances for the Yankees this season.

Wandy Peralta (Covid)

Wandy Peralta was one of the first Yankees to go on the Covid list. He could be back in the bullpen next week.

Luke Voit (knee)

First baseman Luke Voit has been the bad luck kid this season. Voit missed the start of the season. He returned to the team on May 15, but after 10 days, he was back on the IL. He returned on June 22nd. But his last game would be on July 11th after suffering a bruised knee that impeded his running. Aaron Boone has reported that he is doing significantly better and may return to the team during the first week of August.

Aaron Hicks (wrist)

Centerfielder Aaron Hicks underwent wrist surgery and likely will not return this season.

Clint Frazier (vision)

Frazier has had a strange vision problem that was first described as dizziness. As a result, he hasn’t played at all during July. He has visited an eye specialist, but a clear diagnosis has been elusive. As a result, he is not taking part in any baseball activities. He has not been cleared to start playing again, per Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger. Return unknown.

Miguel Andujar (wrist)

Outfielder Miguel Andujar injured his wrist. The last game he played in was on July 6th. However, a recent setback in his rehab will cause him to be out longer than expected. Brian Hock of MLB.com reports that he will get another cortisone shot. With rehab still in progress, there is no projected return.

Gio Ushela (Covid)

Gio Ushela is back with the club in Boston. He is scheduled to be activated today and may be in today’s lineup after returning from the Covid list.

Aaron Judge (Covid)

Aaron Judge is another Yankee player that was put on the Covid list. However, Aaron Boone said on Thursday that Aaron Judge could rejoin the team this weekend and could be cleared to play early next week in the Rays series.

Kyle Higasioka (Covid)

Backup catcher Kyel Higasioka has been on the Covid list. Gary Sanchez came down with back spasms leaving only Rob Brantly, only Yankees catcher. If he were injured yesterday, that would make Roughie Odor the only real option. Luckily “Higgy” is expected to be back with the team for the Tampa Bay Rays series.

Gary Sanchez (back)

Gary Sanchez left the first game of the Boston Red Sox series with back spasms. With Higashioka on the Covid list, it left Rob Brantly as the only Yankee catcher. He is listed as day-to-day. So fans will have to wait for today’s lineup to see if he returns to the backstop.

Tim Locastro (Knee)

Tim Locastro was brought up because of a shortage of outfielders. Unfortunately, he injured his knee. The Associated Press has reported that he will undergo knee surgery next week, likely ending his season.

Trey Amburgey (Hamstring)

Amburgey was another player brought up to shore up the outfield. Unfortunately, he pulled a hamstring in his second game last Tuesday. He is on the ten-day; however, they could heal quickly with hamstring injuries or keep a player out for an extended time.

Chris Gittens (ankle)

First baseman Chris Gittens was taken out of the game yesterday when he collapsed running to first base. He is listed as day-to-day and will undergo an MRI today to see how serious the injury is.

Reliever/Stater Nestor Cortes Jr. and Jonathan Loaisiga have already returned from the Covid list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yankees News: Cashman trying to close trade for big slugging outfielder, Bombers snap Boston win-streak

yankees, joey gallo

The New York Yankees rolled out one of the most ridiculous starting lineups of the season this year on Saturday, considering all the talent they have on the roster. The outfield consisted of three depth options, including Brett Gardner, Estevan Florial, and Greg Allen. With Aaron Judge battling Covid and Clint Frazier still dealing with migraines, skipper Aaron Boone has had no choice but to rely on reserve pieces the supplement losses.

With that being said, the Yankees are in a position to buy at the trade deadline and could be eyeing Texas Ranger stand-out lefty Joey Gallo.

The Yankees have been intrigued by Gallo for quite some time, and at 27 years old, he offers a solid power bat in the middle of the lineup to contribute run support. He’s played in 93 games so far this season, indicating a full bill of health. The 6’5″, 250-pound outfielder is hitting .225 on the season, a less than adequate number that is elevated by his 24 homers and 52 RBIs. He is a strikeout machine, hitting 32.1% in that category, but we know Cashman loves his home run hitters.

However, it was reported that Texas and Gallo are conversing on a potential extension.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News stated that Texas and Gallo are discussing an extension, but I believe it’s a smokescreen to drive the price up:

According to multiple sources, (the Rangers) have become more aggressive in discussing contract extension discussions with (Gallo) and his representative Scott Boras. Boras declined comment Friday when asked if the Rangers had presented a contract offer. Earlier this week, Rangers President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels said he preferred to keep conversations with Gallo private but did state the obvious in saying Gallo’s future was “a big decision for us.”

I believe this is more of a stalling process and trying to create more value behind Gallo, considering the Rangers are dead last in the AL West with a 35-64 record. If anything, they should be begging for prospects, so the Yankees are undoubtedly in the ball game, just as they were against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday evening.

Down 0-3 in the 8th inning, the Bombers rallied, scoring four runs and stealing a victory to snap Boston’s four-game winning streak. Closer Aroldis Chapman did his best to blow the save but just barely squeaked out the win with runners at 2nd and 3rd.

New York has one final game of a four-game series against Boston on Sunday afternoon, a must-win contest. If they can string together a few big victories, adding a player like Gallo at the right time might give them the necessary spark to make a playoff push. They currently sit 8.0 games back in the AL East standings and 3.5 games back from the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card.

3 reasons the Knicks will likely trade up in the 2021 NBA Draft

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

With the NBA draft set to commence on Thursday, July 29, the New York Knicks are arranging all of their last preparation and research before they have to make a few big decisions. Trade rumors have been circulating for the past few months, and while it is possible a blockbuster deal for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal is on the table, it is more than likely that New York will end up trading their picks for a lottery selection.

According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks are actively looking to move up:

The Knicks have explored opportunities to move up in Thursday’s Draft. They currently have the No. 19 and No. 21 picks in the first round and the No. 32 and No. 58 picks in the second round.

With several impact players projected to go before the Knicks’ first-round pick at 19, moving up and landing a prospect who can contribute immediately would be ideal. Nonetheless, there are multiple reasons the team could be looking to move up in the draft, let’s take a look at what they are.

Three reasons the Knicks will likely trade up in the NBA Draft:

1.) They have been working out a number of players projected to go earlier than 19

If there’s any indication New York is seeking a trade to move up, it is that they have been researching and working out players that are projected to go before the 19th overall pick. For example, the team worked out Virginia swingman Trey Murphy III and Oregon’s Chris Duarte this week. In addition, reports have indicated that the team is doing a ton of research on Sharife Cooper out of Auburn, one of the most prolific facilitators in the draft class.

This would suggest the team well have a good visualization of players who could be available and if trading up is worthwhile.

2.) They don’t have the roster space for four new rookies

Ultimately, the Knicks simply don’t have the roster space to fit four new rookies on the team, especially with Tom Thibodeau’s looking to make a jump this upcoming season and a serious playoff push.

With five veterans expected to hit free agency, replacing them with rookies doesn’t exactly scream efficiency. That should be the biggest hint of all, especially with a deep free agency class at multiple positions.

3.) The Knicks can land an impact player in a trade-up

By moving up into the late lottery, the Knicks could target a player like Davion Mitchell out of Baylor, who could be hovering in the 8-10 range and offers elite defense. James Bouknight out of UConn also presents a solid shooting option, Jalen Johnson is another player who has been connected to New York in recent days, and Cooper is quickly climbing the draft board. The majority of players on their board and who have participated in workouts/interviews will likely be gone by 19.

Based on the impact that Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina had last year at point guard, finding a high upside player we can contribute in one above-average way would be ideal. If the team elects to retain Derrick Rose at PG, putting a young player behind him would be a good scenario, allowing him to help mentor and develop their long-term solution.

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from major Yankee comeback

The New York Yankees entered yesterday’s game after losing two straight to the Red Sox. In the seventh inning, it looked as though this would be another loss with only four outs left in the game. However, the Yankees erupted in the eighth with 5 straight hits and the 4-3 win. The Yankees now have a chance at splitting the series with Domingo German on the mound for the 1:05 pm game.

Jameson Taillon was economical

Last night Jameson Taillon set up the bullpen beautifully. He went seven innings, only giving on one earned run as he was economical from the start. Unfortunately, he was saddled with two unearned runs early. But that didn’t put him down; he remained aggressive, using all of his pitches mystifying the Red Sox hitters. The Red Sox remained scoreless after the third inning.

Taillon, who is still recovering from not pitching for nearly two years, has pitched really well during July, better than the stats show. Now that he is using his two-seamer and curve more, he is getting quality start after quality start. After going seven, Jonathan Loaisiga, who hadn’t pitched in two weeks, came in and pitched a scoreless eighth. Then, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman came in and closed it out for the Yankees.

Yankees explode in the eight

In the first seven innings of yesterday’s game, the New York Yankees could only get five meaningless hits off of Nathan Eovaldi; they seemed lifeless, almost like they were going through the motions. They went 0-7 with men in scoring position. The Yankee fans in the stands at Fenway Park were saying; here we go again. But in the eighth inning Estevan Florial and Brett Gardner sparked the lineup that would see the Yankees come back from 3 behind with 4 outs to go, for the first time since August 2020.

Estevan Florial led off the eighth inning and got a lead-off double. Brantly popped out to third. LeMahieu flew out to Duran in center. Gardner got an RBI single to easily drive in Florial the get the Yankees on the board. That hit knocked Eovaldi out of the game. The Yankees are now 10-71, with runners in scoring position this season against the Red Sox. Stanton faced another ex-Yankee in reliever Adam Ottavino, and he got a ground-rule double as the ball bounced into the right-field fans, moving Gardner to third base.

After Stanton’s double, Tyler Wade came in to pinch run for Stanton. Odor doubled off the green monster scoring two to tie up the game at 3. Torres singled, driving in Odor to give the Yankees the lead in the game for the first time. Torres stole second. Allen got plunked and went to first. Gittens tapped in front of the plate for the final out as the lineup turned over, but the Yankees picked up four runs in the half. New York Yankees 4 Boston Red Sox 3.

Sit tight; help is on the way

The New York Yankees have had their share of injuries this season. That was exacerbated recently by the Covid outbreak that put six Yankees players on the Covid list. Since then, the Yankees have had a ragtag lineup. But help is finally one the way. Yesterday Jonathan Loaisiga returned and played an integral part in holding back the Red Sox. Today star third baseman Gio Ushela is scheduled to be in the lineup.

Beyond that, for the Tampa Bay series next week, all of the remaining Covid list players should be returning. In addition, just days from August, the Yankees are also hoping for the return of two starting pitchers, Corey Kluber and Luis Severino. With the Yankees sit in the running for a wild card slot, these additions to the team will be significant.

Notes: Chris Gittens left the game with an ankle sprain. After one major league start, Asher Wojciechowski was immediately designated for assignment to make room for Jonathan Loaisiga on the roster. He rejected the assignment to Scranton and has elected for free agency.

Giants could catch big break against New Orleans in Week 4

michael thomas, giants

The New York Giants start the 2021 regular season against the Denver Broncos, a competitive match-up that will feature two of the league’s best secondaries. Big Blue will then take on Washington, Atlanta, and then a big game against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4, but this time Drew Brees won’t be featuring at quarterback for the opposition. Brees retired this off-season, leaving Jameis Winston to be the team’s starting quarterback, but Brees may not be the only player missing from this contest.

The Giants might avoid having to face off against Michael Thomas in their Week 4 matchup against New Orleans:

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that star receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the season after undergoing surgery to repair the ligaments in his ankle in June, per sources informed of the situation.

Thomas is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season with an ankle injury that recently commanded surgery. Thomas only played in seven games last year, starting in five. He posted 438 yards and zero touchdowns after coming off his best season to date, logging 1,725 yards and nine scores in an All-Pro caliber season.
With Thomas expected to miss the game, the Saints will have to rely heavily on Alvin Kamara to get the job done. In terms of their wide receivers, they will look to Tre’Quan Smith and a bevy of depth pieces to supplement the loss. Ultimately, their WR unit is rather thin, so without Thomas, they could struggle mightily if Kamara is locked down.
Big Blue has one of the best run-stopping games in the NFL, and after signing Adoree Jackson to a three-year, $39 million deal, the secondary also has top-5 potential. If the defense can stay healthy, they should give the offense plenty of opportunities and time of possession to work with next season.

Three reasons why the New York Jets can make the playoffs

new york jets, zach wilson

It won’t be easy…but it can happen. ESM has three ways the New York Jets can pull off the unthinkable in 2021.

The world was a different place the last time the New York Jets partook in an NFL playoff game. It was a freezing January evening in Pittsburgh, as the Jets fell one step short of their Super Bowl dream for the second consecutive season in the AFC championship contest.

At that time, MetLife Stadium didn’t exist…well, the building itself was there, but it was free of corporate sponsorship under the identity of New Meadowlands Stadium. A basketball team called the Nets was no longer stationed at the arena next door…then known as Izod Center…but they still played under a Garden State branding. At the cinema, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a mere three movies old and the idea of expanding the Star Wars galaxy was merely fanfiction.

In short…it’s been a while. The Jets’ playoff drought now stands at a decade, a record inherited when the Cleveland Browns clinched a spot last season. What’s scarier is that the second-most dire active drought has made to only five years, a dubious distinction shared by Arizona, Cincinnati, and Denver.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the trend isn’t ending any time soon. The Jets are trapped in a division where one reign of terror in New England gave way to another in Buffalo. Their conference’s wild card landscape isn’t any more forgiving, as established contenders pepper the other divisions. Even their own rivals in the East, Miami and New England, will be back with a vengeance. Combine that with a first-year head coach and franchise quarterback working with a mostly new cast and it’s difficult to see the Jets make major headway in the win/loss columns. Many observers agree that the Jets got better this offseason…but it comes with the caveat that the 2020 season was so brutal that there was nowhere to go but up.

But…ESM is going to look at things a little more optimistically. We have three ways the Jets’ improvements can lead to a long-awaited postseason revisit:

New York Giants, Corey Davis
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Not Sorry, Wilson

This time last year, the Jets were going into the 2020 season with an offensive cabinet that left much to be desired. Year three of the Sam Darnold era was expected to rely upon a first-round washout (Breshad Perriman), a Le’Veon Bell who was constantly denying that he was arguing with Adam Gase, and an assortment of veteran reserves in the skill positions. A rare silver lining of hope, Denzel Mims, missed almost all of the summer preparation with hamstring issues. Darnold was also working with his third different center in three NFL seasons. Needless to say, the Jets’ offense played a major role in their two-win downfall and Darnold posted the worst numbers of his career.

Granted the second overall pick in April for their troubles over the fall, the Jets opted to start from scratch (again). Before they used that premier pick on one of the touted quarterbacks of the draft…later revealed to be BYU’s Zach Wilson…management did all they could to retroactively atone for the mistakes of the Darnold era. What they’ve assembled for Wilson is, at least on paper, is better than anything Darnold had to work with.

Corey Davis, coming off a career-best year in Tennessee, is the projected top target. Free agency endeavors also brought in Keelan Cole, who tallied 2,242 yards over the last four seasons despite endless quarterback turnover in Jacksonville. They’ll welcome back Mims and reliable slot target Jamison Crowder and when Elijah Moore fell to their grasp with the second pick in the second round at the draft, they immediately pounced. At running back, they found a potential day three draft gem in Michael Carter and signed Tevin Coleman a two-time Super Bowl participant with something to prove, to a one-year deal. Though questions linger at tight end, vis a vis Chris Herndon, they did add red zone option Tyler Kroft to the fold as well.

Wilson will also be able to take in the benefits of a revamped offensive line. Mekhi Becton was well worth the risk of passing on several elite receiving talents last season. He’s now joined by USC protector Alijah Vera-Tucker, who indirectly comes from a pick used in the infamous Jamal Adams trade (a pick acquired from Seattle was traded to Minnesota to move up the board). New York enjoyed a late-offseason surprise in the form of the consistent tackle Morgan Moses, who is expected to take over on the right side.

The depths to which the Jets sank on offense last season (only six games over 300 yards, nine games with 14 points or less) should be impossible to reach at the NFL level. But those called upon are reliable names with championship panache. If the newcomers rise to their potential, the Jets could reopen the scoring floodgates and repopulate East Rutherford’s end zones.

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Pressure Treated

Perhaps no intermission interview during a hockey broadcast is complete without the phrase “pucks on net” being uttered, to the point it’s become a bit of a meme. The football equivalent could be “pressure the quarterback”.

The NFL is undoubtedly a league ruled by offense, evidenced by its inflated scoreboards. But, every so often, we’re reminded that defense wins championships. MetLife Stadium’s turf knows about the concept better than anyone, playing host to the Seattle Seahawks’ 43-8 dismantling of the historically explosive Denver Broncos offense in Super Bowl XLVIII. Even the might Patrick Mahomes isn’t immune to the dangers of a strong pass rush. The Kansas City Chiefs are 44-10 (including postseason) with Mahomes as their starter; half of those losses (a 7-5 mark overall) have come when he’s sacked at least three times. One of those losses came against Todd Bowles’ relentless rush in last year’s Big Game.

The Jets’ downfall has only been exacerbated by a lack of pressure. They’ve applied pressure on only 21.4 percent of opposing dropbacks over the past two seasons, ranking 25th in the league in the category last season…a bit perplexing for a unit overseen by Gregg Williams. When you’re trapped in a division that bestows you two guaranteed matchups with Josh Allen for the foreseeable future, having a fearsome pass rush will be vital.

New York plans to start from scratch again with head coach Robert Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich in tow. The team is set to run a 4-3 base for the first time since the Herm Edwards/Donnie Henderson days. They spent the offseason bolstering the front seven in an effort to prepare for the transition.

For better or worse, the Jets’ most impactful free agency signing for not only the coming season but for the next few years could likely become Carl Lawson. The narrative behind Lawson is that his on-field influence goes far beyond the number in his sack column (no more than 5.5 after 8.0 in his debut campaign out of Auburn in 2017) and he has the less conventional numbers to prove it.

Though the Jets recently announced some their defensive breakouts won’t be available for the start of training camp, it’ll be interesting to see what Quinnen Williams, Foley Fatukasi, and John Franklin-Myers can do for an encore with a little extra help. The transformation in the front seven further continued with the arrival of Jarrad Davis, whose finest gridiron hours have come in 4-3 sets with the Florida Gators and Detroit Lions. While Davis has struggled to live up to his first round billing since Teryl Austin and Jim Caldwell were dismissed from Detroit, he has kept his pressure numbers consistent. A return to a familiar 4-3 setting could help him up the ante not only as a backfield invader but as a a leader as well. Championship contenders Sheldon Rankins and Vinny Curry have likewise joined the fold.

Questions, of course, still linger in the secondary. For example, Marcus Maye and Ashtyn Davis (the latter recovering from surgery) are respectively on the Non-Football Injury and Physically Unable to Perform lists, further depleting a safeties group desperate for answers. But the Jets are going to make life a heck of a lot easier for themselves if they can make quarterbacks feel uncomfortable again.

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Meet the New Boss

Say what you will about the Todd Bowles era: its final chapters were penned in poignancy, as players were disappointed not for themselves, but that they let a strong football mind and a man of great character down. They sang of Bowles’ praises to the very end and many were upset to see him let go after the 2018 season.

Those warm feelings didn’t seem to translate to the ousting of Bowles’ successor. When the woebegone Gase was let go after two disastrous seasons, there was an aura of “good riddance”. The players’ relative silence on the matter spoke volumes, though fans were more than happy to chime in.

The hiring of Saleh, most recently the overseer of the lauded San Francisco 49ers’ defense, comes at an interesting time on the pro football timeline. It’s a move made as the league values offense, posting scoreboards that flirt with those from the defunct Arena Football League. One would also foresee an offensive mind coming in with a new franchise quarterback to mold and develop.

Yet, the players’ response to what Saleh is advertising could slowly signal the return of good vibes to Gang Green football.

Saleh had a tall task to deal with upon his arrival: convince outsiders and prospects that a two-win team that the internet turned into a football meme bank had something to work with, something that hinted at a championship climb. What he did was immediately get to work, adopt a catchy yet inspirational mantra that quickly caught on to players and fans alike, and slowly got momentum back on the green side of the New York football bridge.

What Saleh (along with general manager Joe Douglas) did this offseason was from a free agent unit of not exactly what the Jets were looking for, but finding parts that they needed. Lawson brings pressure, Davis brings knowledge of the 4-3. Saleh mostly avoided stocking up on former Bay Area pupils but the major holdover (running back Tevin Coleman) brings knowledge of offensive boss Mike LaFleur’s system and what it takes to compete for a championship. Wilson’s offensive cabinet is stocked with no true No. 1 receiver, but a series of skill players eager to proves themselves…which could well describe the state of the Jets as a whole in this point in time. Financials likely played a large role, but Saleh’s plan was apparently able to convince Jamison Crowder (by far the most consistent offensive weapon over the last two seasons) to stick around for at least one more season.

Saleh himself has admitted on several occasions that his New York restructure and tenets  are going to take some time to fully install. Votes for Coach of the Year might be more realistic at this point…after all, it won’t take much to improve upon the horrors of 2020. But faith in the right coach is capable of doing some incredible things.

Do you think the New York Jets can overcome the odds and end their postseason drought? If so, how can they do it? Follow @GeoffJMags on Twitter and continue the conversation.