New York Giants: David Sills V being signed back to practice squad

david sills, new york giants

It looked like the New York Giants were parting ways with wide receiver David Sills, but more recent news indicates the team will stay with the player. This comes after Sills was initially waived in some of the most recent roster cuts. Despite that fact, it looks like he will remain with the organization in some way as the Giants sign him to the practice squad.

Ending up on the practice squad instead of becoming a free agent is the reward that Sills receives for putting on a good preseason performance where he was one of the leading receivers through the first two games. The Giants chose to rest most of their starters for those games, and Sills was one of the backup players who received significant time to play and undergo evaluation by the coaches.

While Sills was the most promising receiver of the preseason, it’s not hard to see why that performance only carried him to the practice squad. This is a season when the Giants have a number of additions at the position, as well as returning talent.

The Giants added Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, and John Ross – and they bring back Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, top names from previous seasons. On a crowded roster like this, there’s just not much room for players like Sills who might have a spot further down the rotation on shallower teams.

While the practice squad isn’t a prestigious spot, Sills might not be there for long. The Giants are dealing with injuries at receiver right now, and if they lose any more players or if these injuries extend into the regular season, they may have a need at the position.

If that happens, Sills will almost certainly be on the shortlist of players to call up.

New York Yankees Recap: Cole brilliant, stops the skid with 15 strikeouts

yankees, gerrit cole

After losing four games in a row, the New York Yankees were desperate to win a game. Tonight was the final game against the Los Angeles Angels. The Yankees already had lost the first series since they lost a series against the Red Sox in July. Tonight they hoped to salvage the last game of the series with Yankee Ace Gerrit Cole on the mound against the inexperienced Packy Naughton. Naughton had only pitched 5 innings in the majors, two games both lost by the Angels. The  Yankees won the game 4-1, with a brilliant 15 strikeout night for Gerrit Cole.

In the first inning, Naughton faced DJ LeMahieu leading off for the Yankees; he had a lead-off single up the middle. Anthony Rizzo hit into a double play after the Yankees had five hits into double plays last night. Aaron Judge singled to left. Luke Voit flew out to Judge in right. Gerrit Cole took the mound at the bottom, David Fletcher tapped back to Cole. Shohei Ohtani stuck out swinging. Phil Gosselin struck out for the 1-2-3 inning for Cole. No score.

In the second inning, Joey Gallo led off by towering out to second. Kyle Higashioka struck out. Rougie Odor struck out swinging to end the half. Jared Walsh led off the bottom by doubling to the center-field wall. Justin Upton struck out. Brandon Marsh ground out with Walsh moving to third. Max Stassi ground out to short to end the inning. No score.

Andrew Velazquez led off the third by grounding out to second. Brett Gardner ground out to first. LeMahieu walked. Rizzo up with two outs singled, moving LeMahieu to third base. Judge walked, loading the bases. Voit singled, driving in two Yankees runs. Gallo ground out. Adell in the bottom ground out to third. Jack Mayfield struck out swinging. Fletcher got a single to center. Ohtani struck out on a Cole fastball. New York Yankees 2 Angels 0.

The fourth inning was led off by Higashioka, who struck out. Odor got on base with a drag bunt. Velazquez ground out with Odor taking second base. Gardner singled to center, driving in Odor for another Yankee run. LeMahieu faced new Angels pitcher Andrew Wantz and ground out to short, but the Yankees picked up a run. At the bottom, Gosselin stuck out. Walsh struck out. Upton struck out for a strikeout of the side for Cole. Yankees 3 Angels 0.

Anthony Rizzo led off the fifth by flying out to left field. Judge struck out swinging. A pitch hit Voit. Gallo faced the new Angels pitcher Jose Quijada ground out to first. In the bottom, Marsh struck out for Cole’s fifth straight strikeout. Stassi struck out. Adell flew out to Gardner in center. New York Yankees 3 Angels 0.

Kyle Higashioka led off the sixth inning by going down on strikes. Odor ground out to short. Velazquez went down swinging. At the bottom Mayfield single just out of the reach of Gallo in left. Fletcher doubled to left-center, driving in Mayfield for the first Angel run. Ohtani, with a man on second and no outs, struck out swinging. Gosselin struck out. Walsh struck out. Yankees 3 Angels 1. Fletcher drove in the only Angel run.

The seven-inning was scoreless for both teams. The Yankees Gerrit Cole went a full seven-inning with 116 pitches. He allowed four hits, and one earned run with a season-high 15 strikeouts in the game and no walks. At the top of the eighth inning, Aaron Judge led off with a monster solo home run into the left-field stands. New York Yankees 4 Los Angeles Angels 1.

Andrew Velazquez led off the ninth inning by grounding out to second base. Gardner flew way out to the left-center at the wall. DJ LeMahieu ground out to short, going down in order. At the bottom, Ohtani led off against the New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and flew out to shallow center for the first out of the inning. Gosselin ground out to second. With the last licks on the line for the Angels, Walsh ground out softly to short to end the game and stop the Yankee’s skid.

The final score was the New York Yankees 4 and the Los Angeles Angels 1. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, his 14th of the season. The loser was Packy Naughton. Aroldis Chapman got his 25th save of the season. This game was all about Gerrit Cole and his dominant performance and 15 strikeouts in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unvaccinated Knicks players won’t be allowed to play home games or practice at MSG

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets may experience something rather odd next season if they have any unvaccinated players from COVID-19. In fact, if their players aren’t vaccinated, they won’t be able to play at home games, theoretically making them useless or decreasing their value exponentially.

Sham Charania of The Athletic reported that teams with vaccination requirements in their home cities will have to abide by the rules:

Sources: Unvaccinated NBA players in markets with local requirements — such as NYC (Knicks, Nets) and SF (Warriors) — will not be allowed to enter home arenas or facilities for games or team activities conducted there unless there’s approved medical or religious exemption.
This is definitely a peculiar rule but necessary during a pandemic that has taken so many lives and continues to rage throughout the world. Nonetheless, we can assume the entire Knicks roster will get vaccinated unless they would rather watch from the sidelines next season.
The only players that are exempt are ones that have a medical or religious exemption, which will then be determined by the NBA for legitimacy. If players fail to uphold the requirements, they will be fined or suspended by the league.

New York Giants: Who should start at left guard in Week One?

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2020. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Despite this, the team made no major moves to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason until just this week.

The Giants made a couple of key moves on the offensive line this week. They traded for two interior offensive linemen in Billy Price and Ben Bredeson. It was extra important that the Giants add depth to the interior after Shane Lemieux suffered a knee injury during training camp. Two Giants offensive guards also retired this summer.

Shane Lemieux is working back from an injury but is still the projected starter for Week One. The second-year left guard out of Oregon started eight games last season. But, with his injury in consideration, the case could be made for newly-acquired Ben Bredeson to start ahead of Lemieux.

The cases for and against Shane Lemieux

Shane Lemieux started the final eight games of the 2020 season for the New York Giants as a rookie. The Giants would like to keep some continuity across the offensive line this season. Starting Lemieux would allow the team to accomplish that goal.

Shane Lemieux is a young, developing player. He worked extremely hard this summer, sometimes showing up to the facility prior to 6 am to prepare for practice. An improved version of Lemieux was expected to hit the field this season after he struggled in 2020.

In 2020, Shane Lemieux earned a 32.2 overall PFF grade. He was a liability in pass protection, allowing 25 pressures and 5 sacks in eight games.

Shane Lemieux has worked hard to improve his game this offseason and the Giants want to keep that continuity. However, Lemieux is dealing with a partially torn patellar tendon. The team could consider giving Shane some extra time to heal and starting one of their newly-acquired linemen instead.

The cases for and against Ben Bredeson

If the Giants are going to start one of their newly acquired offensive linemen, Ben Bredeson is far more likely to start than Billy Price. Billy Price is mainly a center and the Giants feel comfortable with Nick Gates at that position.

Ben Bredeson, however, is traditionally an offensive guard. He is also coming off of an impressive 2021 preseason. Ben Bredeson was the 11th highest graded guard of the preseason (80.8), per PFF. Bredeson actually played the most snaps (182) among all guards this preseason.

It might be a bit short notice for Ben Bredeson to start for the Giants. They acquired him with under two weeks to go until the start of the regular season. Bredeson is not going to have the same level of chemistry with his teammates or the same depth of knowledge in the playbook that Shane Lemieux has.

Ben Bredeson might be the better, more established, and healthier player between the two. However, it might be a bit short notice for him to start a game for his new team. The New York Giants offensive line struggled greatly in the preseason and is a cause for major concern as the regular season begins. The Giants are going to have to make a confident decision and hope for the best at the left guard position.

UFC targeting December for Charles Oliveira – Dustin Poirier

It looks like we will finally find out who the best lightweight in the UFC is in December. MMA Fighting reported this afternoon that the promotion is zeroing in on a date for the proposed lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira (31-8) and Dustin Poirier (28-6, 1 NC).

That date is December 11th and the event is UFC 269. Worth noting that the UFC has not finalized this and contracts have not been signed. That said, the promotion is moving in that direction and is scheduled to have meetings over the next couple of days to get things finalized.

Finally, Dustin Poirier is going to get another crack at the undisputed UFC lightweight title. After Khabib Nurmagomedov retired and vacated the lightweight title, many thought that Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira should have fought for the vacated title.

However, Poirier decided to secure a money fight instead. Poirier had defeated Conor McGregor back in January and the UFC offered Poirier a title shot or the trilogy with McGregor. Poirier opted for the trilogy fight which was the second highest selling UFC PPV in history.

The Diamond defeated McGregor again in July and his gamble paid off. He secured his big bag of money and now he’s getting the title shot that he deserved all along.

First UFC title defense for Oliveira

Oliveira was in the UFC’s plans for the interim title regardless of what happened with Poirier. Again, Poirier opted to go after the trilogy with McGregor which left Oliveira without an opponent.

Ultimately, the UFC booked Oliveira against Michael Chandler for the vacant undisputed lightweight title. Chandler dominated the first round of the fight and looked moments away from getting the stoppage and becoming UFC champion.

However, Oliveira stayed in the fight and held on until the end of the round. Just seconds into the second round, Oliveira dropped Chandler and went on to finish him to become the UFC lightweight champion.

Now, we are going to get the fight we should’ve had months ago. Make no mistake about it, Oliveira and Poirier are the two best lightweights in the UFC. Now, we will truly find out who is the king at 155 pounds.

Islanders “family business” all finally settled in one fell swoop

The summer has been slow and quiet for the Islanders. But when there’s been any news, it’s always been loud and reverberated the notion that their general manager Lou Lamoriello is on another level.

Lamoriello was at it again, continuing to put on a masterclass, after settling all the “family business” this morning with the announced signings of Casey Cizikas, Anthony Beauvillier, Kyle Palmieri and Ilya Sorokin.

Cizikas’ contract is six years at $2.5M AAV per year. Beauvillier’s is a three-year agreement worth $12.3M. Sorokin’s deal is three years worth $12M. And Palmieri’s is four years, $5M AAV.

Each deal comes with excellent value and was done with the future of the organization particularly in mind. Cizikas’s cap hit comes in $1M lower than his previous deal from 2017, plus the Isles keep the player considered the heart and soul of the team with how he plays during the window they have to win.

“I’m going to die an Islander,” Cizikas told the media. “That’s how you can put it.”

What’s more encouraging is the latter years of Cizikas’ contract, the Isles will have more flexibility with the league’s projected salary cap expected to be much higher than it is now.

Beauvillier’s latest contract takes away a year of him being an unrestricted free agent, as The Athletic’s Arthur Staple pointed out. It’s also a solid compromise between the team and player, as Beauvillier was looking for close to $4.5M while the Isles were more inclined to offer more term.

By the time Beauvillier’s contract is set to expire, he’ll be 27. This means the Quebec native wouldn’t have even reached the prime years of his career yet. If Beauvillier turns into the consistent offensive performer many are hoping through the duration of the contract, that hit will look even more in the Islanders’ favor.

Sorokin and Palmieri’s commitments both come at a very fair price as well and put them in a spot to live up or exceed what they are being paid. Just like Beauvillier, the Russian goaltender’s deal will take him up till age 29, where he will be entering his prime and will most likely be the presumed franchise goalie. Sorokin shared the net with fellow countrymen Semyon Varlamov in his rookie year last season and was solid. He is only expected to get better in 2021-22 and not long thereafter take the starter role from Varlamov. The latter’s deal with the organization ends in two years.

Palmieri is projected to be on Mathew Barzal’s wing this season and does have potential to be a solid scoring threat. He showed in the postseason how impactful of a player he can be when the games matter. “The goal of our team is no secret, We want to win a Stanley Cup,” said Palmieri.

With today’s barrage of signings and the Adam Pelech extension a month ago, the Islanders are now near completion from a roster standpoint now with these transactions complete. All that’s left is the formal announcement and contract of forward Zach Parise (a deal has been in place for sometime now) and the possibility of another d-man with Nick Leddy traded to Detroit prior to the expansion draft. That could also be coming soon.

Now, if Lamoriello is able to get those two tasks done the same way he was able to navigate the difficult waters this offseason, Islander fans will be very happy. That said, they should be ectastic about the developments from today. All the business that needed to get done is. The pieces that need to be in place for another run towards a Stanley Cup are here for the long haul.

 

New York Jets release CB Bless Austin, add three defenders

New York Jets, Bless Austin

The New York Jets wasted no time getting to work in the post-cutdown roster landscape and bid farewell to their most experienced cornerback.

Their first 53-man roster only came out yesterday, but the 2021 New York Jets already look different.

Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Jets are releasing cornerback Bless Austin. The Rutgers alum and Queens native was projected to be one of the team’s defensive starters in his third NFL season. With Austin gone, the Jets wasted no time in adding defensive reinforcements, picking up defensive lineman Tim Ward, linebacker Quincy Williams (per waiver claims released by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network), and safety Sheldrick Redwine (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter). Each defender was released as part of Tuesday’s cutdown to 53-man rosters across the league.

Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed the departure of Austin shortly after Garafolo’s report. Per DJ Bien-Aime of the New York Daily News, Saleh was “appreciative” of what the 25-year-old Austin brought to the team but wanted to work with some of their even fresher talents. Sophomore Bryce Hall is now the most experienced cornerback on the roster, while the Jets also kept drafted rookies Michael Carter II, Jason Pinnock, and Brandin Echols. New York also opted to keep undrafted freshman Isaiah Dunn.

Despite an injury-plagued career in Piscataway, Austin was chosen in the sixth round (196th overall) by the Jets in the 2019 draft. He developed a reputation as a strong hitter but struggled in coverage. His New York career ends with 88 tackles (three for a loss) over 18 career games in green.

The Jets’ new additions continue to work toward the goal of bolstering the top defensive unit after the medical departures of Carl Lawson and Jarrad Davis. Ward, formerly of the Kansas City Chiefs, had three sacks this preseason while Williams (the older brother of Jets defenders and fellow 2019 draftee Quinnen) is an experienced option that can help the defense tread water until Davis returns. Redwine has worked as a free safety and slot defender during two seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

New York’s 2021 regular season opens in Charlotte against the Panthers on Sept. 12 (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

New York Giants claim 3 players off waivers, what do they bring?

quincy roche, new york giants

The New York Giants made several waiver claims on Wednesday afternoon, adding two defensive players and one of the tallest wide receivers in the NFL. Not a single Giants that was released was picked up by another team, indicating how weak their depth was at specific positions, notably on the offensive line. In addition, the players they cut at wide receiver were also passed on, which means David Sills could end up back on the practice squad. The Giants have already resigned multiple players, including Niko Lalos, Brett Heggie, Matt Cole, and Damion Willis.

New York Giants claim three players off waivers:

1.) LB: Quincy Roche

Quincy Roche finished the preseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six total tackles and two sacks. At 6’3″ and 245 pounds, Roche has a few physical limitations but posted solid grades this preseason.

Per Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:

Roche has packed the stat sheets for the better part of four years, but he’s very average athletically and doesn’t have the mass to consistently hold up at the point of attack. He’s tight in his lower half, which limits his ability to corner sharply when attacking the pocket. However, he’s limber in his upper body, which creates opportunities to slide off of blocks and make plays at awkward angles. His production should matter, but the athletic profile might push him down the board.
Roche can be a solid developmental player on the back end of the roster, and with a great defensive coaching staff, they could unlock some hidden talent. However, the Giants must be preparing to move a player to the injured list, which will likely be Elerson Smith.

2.) WR: Collin Johnson

The Giants also claimed former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Collin Johnson, who was a fifth-round draft pick in 2020 out of Texas. Johnson is a big 6’6″ receiver who closely mirrors Kenny Golladay’s frame and skill set. The Johnson pick-up is a solid move in the instance that Kenney suffers an injury, and they need to supplement his loss with a similar style of player. While Johnson is nowhere near the quality that Golladay provides, he is known for his 50/50 balls and red-zone catch radius.

Per The Draft Network:

Big physical WR that displays good overall athleticism for the position. He uses excellent length and excellent catch radius in contested catch situations. He shows sufficient play speed on 8 and 9 routes while also displaying good tracking ability to locate the football in the air. He will use his big body to catch a 6 route and absorb contact. Displays good willingness and courage to give up his body to secure off targeted throws. Very good competitiveness to make difficult catches at critical moments in the game. He will be a red-zone nightmare for defenders due to his big body and ability to go get the football anywhere on the field.

3.) LB: Justin Hilliard

Another player with a solid off-season was former Ohio State linebacker, Justin Hilliard. As an undrafted free agent this year, Hilliard picked up 15 tackles and eight stops over 110 total snaps this preseason with the San Francisco 49ers. Clearly, the Giants view him as a potential developmental piece at LB and considering their lack of depth there, this is a solid pick-up that could pay off in dividends down the road.

Hilliard is also known for his coverage abilities and versatility, which is a major bonus for a team that doesn’t have a traditional coverage-based linebacker.

NASCAR Report: StarCom Racing to sell charter, cease operations following 2021

Sources have told Catchfence.com’s Chris Knight that StarCom Racing has sold its NASCAR Cup Series charter and that the team will cease operations following the 2021 season.

StarCom Racing fields the No. 00 entry in the Cup Series, driven by Quin Houff. The team has had control of a charter since the beginning of the 2018 season when they rented one from Richard Childress Racing. Following the 2018 season, the organization bought the charter outright from RCR.

Houff is currently in his second season with the team. Landon Cassill drove the car full-time in 2019 after a variety of drivers raced the car in 2018. StarCom Racing made two entries late in the 2017 season.

Houff currently sits 32nd in Cup Series points. His best finish with the team is 13th in last fall’s Talladega race.

While nothing is confirmed, Spire Motorsports is reportedly interested in purchasing another charter. The organization currently owns three charters but is selling two of them to Kaulig Racing following the 2021 season. Spire Motorsports operates just two cars with their third charter being rented by TrackHouse Racing this season. TrackHouse won’t need to rent a charter beyond 2021 as they are purchasing Chip Ganassi Racing.

23XI Racing is also searching for a new charter as they are expanding to a two-car team in 2022 with Kurt Busch as the second driver. The Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan-owned team has purchased a $3.7 million plot of land in Huntersville, North Carolina for a new race shop to house multiple cars. The team, however, is in serious talks with Front Row Motorsports on acquiring one of its two charters.

This is a developing story.

 

How Knicks’ Derrick Rose could be the catalyst for Mitchell Robinson taking his game to the next level

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks are clearly confident in young center Mitchell Robinson, given the fact that they didn’t utilize him as a trade piece this off-season. Preparing to earn just $1.8 million, Robinson is looking to elevate his game and win Defensive Player of the Year. Robinson stated on social media that he is bigger and stronger, and when healthy, he is one of the best defenders on the team, if not in the NBA.

As a long, lanky center who is capable of guarding the perimeter, Robinson’s defense was sorely missed during the postseason. Rolling with Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson, the team missed a physical presence inside who could also run the floor with ease in transition. Noel is a serviceable shot blocker but offers little on offense and doesn’t have the frame to body out bigger scorers and box out centers like Clint Capela.

Luckily, Robinson suffered two fluke injuries, which don’t suggest any ligament damage. Having fractured his hand and foot, Robinson is looking to make a full recovery and leave his mark on the 2021-22 season.

Last year, he played in just 31 games, averaging 8.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and shot 65% from the field. However, with poor point guard play the past three seasons since Robinson entered the NBA, he’s been looking for a catalyst to help increase his efficiency around the rim.

During his rookie campaign, Robinson enjoyed the likes of Frank Ntilikina, Trey Burke, Ron Baker, and Emmanuel Mudiay. None of these players represented a high octane PG to help him increase his efficiency in the scoring department. Fast forward to the present day, and the Knicks have Derrick Rose and Kemba Walker as their point guards.

Rose proved last season, and he’s more than capable of leading an offense and elevating the players around him. He averaged 15 points, 4.2 assists, and shot nearly 49% from the field. However, with his veteran savviness and vision, Robinson should be a direct benefactor from his capabilities.

Ultimately, remaining healthy is Robinson‘s primary goal, but his offensive production shouldn’t be forgotten about. He came close to averaging double-digit points in 2019, landing at 9.7. During his 31 game sample size last year, he posted a career-high 27.5 minutes per game but still fell short of the double-digit scoring mark, thanks to Elfred Payton serving as the team’s primary point guard before Tom Thibodeau forced a trade for Rose at the deadline.

Executing the pick-and-roll with Mitchell will be far different than in the past when he lacked chemistry with his point guards, and they simply couldn’t execute at a high level. Both Rose and Walker are capable of elevating his game tremendously. Specifically, Rose looks to facilitate instead of force shots, which Walker can sometimes get stuck doing.

If Robinson has, in fact, increases his strength and size this off-season, he is a great breakout candidate alongside a fantastic point guard like Rose. That combination could end up being a godsend for a Knicks team that has had a disconnect at the C and PG positions over the past few seasons.