Knicks center Mitchell Robinson could return Friday against Wizards

mitchell robinson, knicks

There’s a good chance that Mitchell Robinson could return as early as Friday in New York Knicks‘ final preseason game.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said that Robinson is close to being clear for full contact, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

“Ideally, yes,” Thibodeau told reporters before Wednesday’s game against Detroit when asked if Robinson could play in their final preseason game. “Every day there’s more contact. There’s more to what he’s doing. And then you want to see how he responds the next day.”

Last week, Thibodeau said that Robison was cleared for some contact. But the Knicks have taken a cautious approach to avoid any setback in the 23-year old center’s recovery. Robinson’s physical activity has ramped up in the last week to get him into game shape.

“There’s still the conditioning element of it. And he’s done a lot. He’s come every night. He’s putting a lot of extra work in. So we feel good where he is,” Thibodeau said of Robinson.

It had been more than six months since Robinson underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot.

Meanwhile, Nerlens Noel will miss his third preseason game, but Thibodeau said he’s close to returning from a sore right knee injury. Noel has been a full participant in the Knicks’ practices since their road win in Washington over the weekend.

Noel earlier indicated that it’s more like a hamstring issue than his knee. Kemba Walker was given the night off as the Knicks will play the Pistons that are missing eight players, including top overall pick Cade Cunningham.

Derrick Rose will start in place of Walker.

The Knicks will wrap up their preseason campaign with a rematch against the Wizards on Friday in the Garden before opening their season against Boston Celtics next Wednesday.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka confirmed that Al Horford would be out against the Knicks after testing positive for COVID-19, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Jaylen Brown also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier, but his status on the opening night is unclear.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Giants should roll with young starting OT duo the rest of season

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart

The New York Giants have struggled to solidify their offensive line for years. Despite investing a fair amount of assets in the unit, the Giants still have one of the league’s worst front lines. Andrew Thomas seems to be a stud, but the Giants’ ultra-expensive right tackle Nate Solder has played poorly all season long. It is time for the Giants to get extra young on the offensive line and start another second-year player on the offensive line: right tackle Matt Peart.

Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart should be starting offensive tackles for the rest of the season. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is dealing with an injury, but the Giants feel confident that he will be able to bounce back and continue playing at a high level. On the right side, though, Nate Solder has struggled all season and had a pitiful performance playing left tackle in Week Five. It is time for Matt Peart to take over as the starter at right tackle.

Andrew Thomas stats and highlights

Through the first four games of the season, Andrew Thomas looked phenomenal. The Giants’ 2020 fourth overall pick struggled as a rookie, especially in the first quarter of the season.

Weeks 1-4 2020:

-3 QB hits

-13 hurries

-19 pressures

-3 sacks allowed

As a sophomore, Andrew Thomas looks far more polished. The Giants’ young left tackle has proven to be a true building block as a top-tier pass protector this season.

Weeks 1-4 2021:

-1 QB hit

-5 hurries

-6 pressure

-ZERO sacks

Matt Peart stats and highlights

It took him a while to put it together, but it seems like New York Giants offensive tackle Matt Peart has finally found his way in the NFL. After only 150 snaps in 2020, Peart was initially expected to be the Giants’ starting right tackle in 2021. Ultimately, Nate Solder won the job, but it seems like Matt Peart might have earned it back in Week Five.

Matt Peart allowed 1 pressure and 0 QB Hits on 68 snaps as the starter against the Cowboys. He significantly outperformed Nate Solder. As a second-year player, Peart is still developing. With increased playing time, he could turn into a viable option as a full-time starter for the Giants.

New York Giants among teams monitoring the cornerback market

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

Cornerback looked like one of the stronger positions for the New York Giants coming into 2021, but that hasn’t turned out the case. While the secondary was one of the key parts of a 2020 defense that finished in the top ten, the Giants have struggled more at the position this year. There’s multiple reasons, including James Bradberry looking a lot worse in coverage and Adoree’ Jackson not making as much of a splash as expected.

The Giants were also dealt a blow more recently when rookie corner Rodarius Williams joined the list of injured players. Unlike some of the other players that are only out for a matter of weeks, Williams is out for the season after tearing his ACL. Despite being drafted in the sixth round, Williams had upended other players with more experience such as Darnay Holmes in the fight for the third corner spot.

For all of these reasons, the Giants are said to be among the teams looking for another cornerback. The news was reported by Jeremy Fowler, who listed the Giants with multiple other teams that are currently monitoring the market.

Several teams have actively monitored the cornerback market in recent months, including the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets, Houston Texans and New York Giants. The position has only grown in importance because of injuries across the league.

With that being said, the Giants appear like more of a selling team than a buying team right now.

Despite a brief turnaround in week 4, injuries are only cementing the fact that the season looks over at this point in October. The Giants are unlikely to save their season by giving away resources in a trade, but GM Dave Gettleman may attempt it anyway knowing that his job is on the line right now.

As time runs out for the Giants to win with their current roster, it’s starting to look like shipping off players like Bradberry is more likely than bringing in help by giving more up – and the Giants might not be able to pay for it even if they wanted to, thanks to their rough salary cap situation.

Gettleman has hardly been easy to predict, however. If no one believes the Giants will make such a move, that may just be when they surprise us for better or worse.

Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets experts grade the pre-bye slate

zach wilson, jets

With the New York Jets off this week, ESM’s experts in green grade the season to date and showcase their picks for the rest of the league.

John Franklin-Myers, jets

Geoff Magliocchetti

The New York Jets have come to their annual bye week…the bye week is favored by a field goal.

Now that the obviously/tired joke is out of the way, fair assessment of the Jets’ season can begin. New York (1-4) has reached the landmark of their league-mandated open date, one that the naked positions them in dire straits: the playoffs already appear to be a pipe dream, Zach Wilson has thrown a league-worst nine interceptions, they’re trying to turn future weapons Denzel Mims and Elijah Moore into the past, another star safety might be disgruntled, and Joe Douglas’ offensive line additions of the veteran variety aren’t paying dividends.

And yet…have the Jets, in fact, exceeded expectations?

Granted, nobody is, nor should, expecting a post-bye run to the playoffs: this team had its share of issues that were never going to be solved in 2021 and that laundry list might’ve grown, in fact. But a 1-4 record masks some pleasant surprises, namely in what the defense has been able to accomplish.

Held together by the masking tape of draft weekend Saturday acquisitions, the unit has played well with the cards it has been dealt. The most impressive revolution has occurred in the pass rush: no one would’ve faulted the Jets for taking a step back after prized newcomer Carl Lawson was lost for the season. Instead, they’ve taken a step forward and have begun to establish a new defensive identity centered on pressure and backfield invasions.

John Franklin-Myers’ takeover has been rewarded with a new price tag ($30 million guaranteed over the next four years). Pairing Quincy and Quinnen Williams has worked wonders, while a young secondary has held its own after a renovation headlined by Bryce Hall and Michael Carter II in expanded roles. Considering how often the offense has left them to dry (average defensive possessions start 64 yards away from the end zone, an NFL-worst), it’s a downright miracle the Jets have remained in ball games. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so shocked after Robert Saleh posted respectable efforts when he lost his defensive studs in San Francisco last year, but coordinator Jeff Ulbrich has garnered some strong kudos as well.

It’s not like everything has been a disaster on offense: the Jets have been well justified in the selection of Alijah Vera-Tucker, for example. But, whether it’s fair or not…and it’s really not…this season will be judged on Wilson’s NFL comfort and adaptability. There have been ever-so-fleeting flashes of brilliance…few will forget his 53-yard strike to Corey Davis anytime soon…and not all of the interceptions have been his fault. But, through five games, there’s no guarantee that Wilson is the long-sought, long-term solution at quarterback.

The Jets have weathered several early storms thanks to some well-timed breakouts. This is a resilient bunch, but one can only hang his helmet on one-possessions losses for so long.

Bye Week Grade: C-

jets, zach wilson

Dylan Price

The Jets head into the much-needed bye week at an abysmal 1-4. This season, to this point, has been disappointing. We’ve seen the well-covered glimpses of potential, like the beautiful throws from Zach Wilson and the defense showing up in that win in the win over the Titans, as well as the tight loss in Carolina back in Week 1. But what we have yet to see yet is consistent flashes.

We’ve seen first halves where it looks like the team failed to show up to the game. The playcalling has been utterly atrocious on the offensive side. The Jets have one first-half touchdown over the first five games. Wilson has not looked comfortable given the way the offense is set up at times and the personnel usage of young guys like Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims has been bad. Their tight end snap distribution has also been rendered effectively useless once again. This offense is bad, and Mike LaFleur HAS to take a step forward over the next few weeks.

On the defensive side of the ball, my tone is much more positive. C.J. Mosley looks like a bonafide captain of the defense and he’s proved the last big investment Mike Maccganan made was actually a good one. The defensive line has been strongly anchored by John Franklin-Myers and Sheldon Rankins. The Williams brothers have been electric and the secondary has shown up when needed with cornerbacks Michael Carter II and Bryce Hall starting the season very strong. They haven’t been perfect, but for how much time they spend on the field and the youth on the team, Jeff Ulbrich has done a solid job.

This team is still one of the worst in football, arguably the worst. The defense has been strong and will only continue to grow, but the offense has been really bad. If the team can’t correct that, this season will be longer than it already feels like it’s been.

Bye Week Grade: C

Best of the Rest

Price Magliocchetti
Tampa Bay @ Philadelphia (Thu.) Buccaneers Buccaneers
Miami @ Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars
Cincinnati @ Detroit Lions Bengals
Green Bay @ Chicago Packers Packers
Houston @ Indianapolis Colts Colts
Kansas City @ Washington Chiefs Chiefs
LA Chargers @ Baltimore Chargers Ravens
LA Rams @ NY Giants Rams Rams
Minnesota @ Carolina Vikings Panthers
Arizona @ Cleveland Cardinals Browns
Dallas @ New England Cowboys Cowboys
Las Vegas @ Denver Broncos Broncos
Seattle @ Pittsburgh Seahawks Steelers
Buffalo @ Tennessee (Mon.) Bills Bills

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
Dylan Price is on Twitter @DylanPrice27

Knicks: 3 expectations in pre-season matchup Vs Detroit

knicks, derrick rose

The New York Knicks will play their 2nd to last preseason game on Wednesday evening before the regular season begins on October 20 against the Boston Celtics. Trying to get their players a bit more time on the court to build chemistry is essential, especially with the additions of Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. However, the team seems to be in solid form already, utilizing this off-season to train together and build connections.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau needs to take it easy with his starters, though, as several are coming back from injury and might be a bit vulnerable.

Three things the Knicks need to do in 2nd to last pre-season game:

1.) Don’t overplay Derrick Rose

Veteran PG Derrick Rose left the Knicks’ last preseason game against the Washington Wizards in the fourth quarter due to an ankle issue. After tweaking his ankle, Rose didn’t seem too worried about the injury, stating that it was “nothing serious at all.”

Despite his confidence, Thibodeau should be cautious with playing him in unnecessary minutes, giving that time to Immanuel Quickley and rookie Miles McBride instead.

2.) Get Nerlens Noel some action

Veterans center Nerlens Noel has yet to make an appearance during the preseason due to a knee injury he’s been rehabilitating from. Noel practiced in full on Monday, so he should be prepared to take the floor and get some action in before the regular season begins in a week.

With Mitchell Robinson still fighting to get back on the court and working with his teammates, Noel will likely get a ton of early action this upcoming season, so he needs to be prepared. Noel signed a three-year, $27.7 million deal this past off-season after posting encouraging statistics in his first year with the Knicks.

Over 64 appearances, Noel averaged 2.2 blocks, 6.4 rebounds and shot 61% from the field on 3.5 attempts per game. The Knicks are hoping he can add a shooting factor to his game, evolving with the rest of the big men in the NBA.

3.) Play the rookies!

This could be a great opportunity for Thibodeau to get the rookies more involved in case they are needed during the regular season. Against Washington, McBride enjoyed just three minutes on the floor, and Quentin Grimes earned two minutes. Both looked solid despite their small sample size, but we should expect to see more of them in the 2nd to last preseason game as the Knicks try to avoid any injuries to their primary starters.

Fighters lining up to face Sean Strickland at UFC 268

This week we learned that Luke Rockhold was out of UFC 268. The former middleweight champion was set to face Sean Strickland (24-3) in his return to the middleweight division. Strickland is currently ranked seventh in the division.

With Rockhold out of the fight, the UFC is starting the process of looking for replacements. At the moment, it doesn’t appear like they are going to have a lack of options in getting someone to take a fight against Strickland.

Strickland is someone who is not liked by many on the UFC roster. In fact, some would say he’s one of the more hated fighters on the roster. When Rockhold fell out of the fight, multiple big names started speaking up.

One of the biggest names is top welterweight contender and former title challenger Gilbert Burns (20-4). Burns is coming off of a victory over Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. He’s been trying to get a fight against someone near the top of the welterweight division.

However, most of the top guys are booked and he’s needing a fight. With that, he tweeted yesterday that he is definitely willing to move up to 185 pounds to face Strickland at UFC 268.

Will Strickland get a new fight at UFC 268?

Another top welterweight who’s been a little more vocal about getting the fight with Strickland is Belal Muhammad (19-3, 1 NC). Muhammad took to Twitter yesterday voicing his hatred for Strickland and his desire to fight him.

However, Strickland has shot down all of the potential callouts from the UFC welterweights and other middleweight fighters. Strickland took to Instagram last night to tell Muhammad that he would backhand him if he ever saw him and said he won’t be fighting unless it’s meaningful to his spot at 185.

He went on to talk about the fact that beating Luke Rockhold would mean something and put him in a great spot. None of the callouts thus far move the needle for the UFC’s seventh ranked middleweight contender.

Strickland has made it clear that he will wait it out until he gets a contender worth fighting. At this point, I would say the odds are in favor of Strickland not fighting at UFC 268.

Beane and Stearns at the top of the Mets’ wish list for the head of baseball operations position

New York Mets

The New York Mets didn’t have any luck with their general managers in 2021. Jared Porter lost his job amid a sexual harassment scandal, and acting GM Zack Scott had a DUI arrest. In any case, neither man could bring sustained success for the Mets, who did hold the first place on the NL East for months but crumbled late and finished third with a 77-85 record, far from the playoff spots.

That’s why it is a priority for the Mets to hire a president of baseball operations during the offseason, to take over baseball-related decisions and name a general manager who can lead the franchise to greener pastures.

At the moment, there are several candidates. Theo Epstein will reportedly not take over the Mets, but two successful, forward-thinking baseball guys remain a possibility to fulfil the role: Oakland A’s Billy Beane, and Milwaukee Brewers’ mastermind David Stearns.

Beane is, according to SNY, considering the role. According to two long-time friends of Billy Beane say that the A’s exec is “very much open to the idea” of joining the Mets as their head of baseball operations.

The other candidates to take over the Mets’ baseball operations

Stearns, on the other hand, seems a bit harder to pry away from the Brewers. They are an up-and-coming franchise that has made the playoffs four consecutive years, from 2018 to 2021, after he took over as general manager in 2015. He was promoted to president of baseball operations in 2019.

SNY also recently reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current assistant GM, Brandon Gomes, is a candidate to fill a front office position.

Both men are qualified to take over as the next Mets’ head of baseball operations, but getting them out of their current teams won’t be so easy. The fall is just starting, and the organization has some time to make the best decision.

The sooner the Mets can have their POBO, the better, as they can start planning the entire offseason, free agent acquisitions, and potential trades.

The Yankees might already have their future starting shortstop on the roster

gleyber torres, gio urshela, yankees

The New York Yankees are heading into the 2022 off-season with one goal in mind, finding a starting shortstop for the future. While they wait for young prospect Anthony Volpe to reach the major leagues, the Bombers must find a supplement with quality defense to fill a position that Gleyber Torres simply couldn’t hold down.

Torres struggled considerably during his two seasons at SS, earning a .952 fielding percentage this past season over 108 games. Torres picked up 18 errors on the year, falling well below the league average of .974% in the fielding efficiency category. At this time, we can expect Torres to shift over to second base, with DJ LeMahieu potentially filling in at first base depending on what the team does with Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit.

The infield could realistically endure a few changes this off-season, but one big piece of the puzzle is Gio Urshela.

“I played my entire minor leagues [and major leagues] at third base. Then, moving to shortstop, I kind of liked it,” Urshela said Tuesday, per the NY Post. “I really enjoyed playing shortstop because you get more involved in the game. Every play, you’re going to be involved. Third base, I just wait for the [ball] and that’s it. You don’t move that much. It feels a little bit different, like you get more tired probably after a game [at shortstop].

Urshela stated that he liked playing shortstop after Torres was moved, as he was able to be a more important part of the defense. The 29-year-old infielder posted a .970 fielding percentage and allowed just two errors over 28 games and 200 innings. Urshela clearly offers more sufficient defense compared to Torres, but should the Yankees give him the starting job without considering other options?

There is no question that Gio is an important part of the Yankees’ team, hitting .267 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs this season. He missed a handful of games, which hurt the team defensively at times. The front office could target bigger names like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, or even Javier Baez.

Depending on how much money management wants to spend on a potential supplement, they could stick with Urshela and reduce the cost exponentially, moving LeMahieu to third base and retaining Rizzo on an extension.

While fans would likely prefer to bring in a big-name free agent, general manager Brian Cashman is running out of opportunities to spend big in free agency, and ownership may not allow him to cross the $210 million luxury tax threshold this off-season.

With more starting pitching needed and a few supplemental options for the back end of the roster, the Yankees need to be extremely careful unless they’re willing to push beyond their comfort zone and spend aimlessly to build a winning team in 2022.

MLB News: Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Giants, forcing a game five

The New York Yankees postseason ended with the loss in the wild card game against the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox have conquered the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS and will face the Houston Astros for the second time in five years in the ALCS after the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 10-1 earlier today. The Atlanta Braves were up two games to one and reached the NLCS when they beat the Milwaukee Brewers today in Atlanta 5-4. The only Championship yet to be decided is the Dodgers Giants NLDS at Los Angeles. If the Dodgers could win, they would tie the Giants and force a game five.

When the Dodgers won the wild card from the St. Louis Cardinals, they created history by playing in the divisional series against the San Francisco Giants for the first time since they were the New York Giants in 1889. That year the Giants won the World Series by one game over the Boston Beaneaters.

Friday was Game one against these two western rivals. The Giants scored two runs off the Dodger’s starting pitcher Walker Buehler and the game was over; the Dodgers didn’t know it at the time, but they remained scoreless off of the Giants pitching; the Giants shut them out 4-0.

Game two was Saturday at Oracle Park in San Francisco, with an altogether different outcome. The Lost Angeles Dodgers piled on nine runs to the Giants two. Thus, tying up the five-game series at one apiece.

Game three Last night at Dodger’s Stadium, Game three was a pitcher’s duel with only one run scored on the night; it belonged to the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving them the two-game lead in the series.

Tonight was Game four Anthony DeSclafani was on the mound for the Giants and Walter Buehler for the Dodgers. The Dodgers got on board first with a Trey Turner RBI.  In the second, the Giants remained scoreless. At the bottom, the Dodgers put two on. With men on the corners, Chris Taylor doubled, putting the Dodgers up by two runs. That ended the night for DeSclafani. The Giants Alverez replaced him and shut down the Dodgers. Los Angeles 2 San Francisco 0.

In the third, Buehler put down the Giants in order. At the bottom, Kevin Castro took over for the Giants, and with two on and one out. He was replaced by Jarlin Garcia, who allowed the second walk in the inning, loading the bases. Chris Taylor flew out to end the inning, stranding three Dodgers.  At the top of the fourth, Buehler put down the Giants 1-2-3. At the bottom, one on Mookie Betts homered to right field, giving the Dodgers a four-run lead and ending Garcia’s night. Dodgers 4 Giants 0.

In the top of the fifth with two on Buehler’s (on three days rest) night was over replaced by Joe Kelly. Tommy La Stella, with two on and one out, singled, loading the bases with Giants. Darin Ruf ground out, scoring Evan Longoria. But Kelly got out of the jam, only allowing the one run. In the bottom, the Dodgers Gavin Lux walked, Cody Bellinger, singled moving Lux to third, Chris Taylor reached on a fielders choice with Lux getting caught in a run down. New pitcher Tyler Rogers faced Steven Sousa, who walked. Mookie Betts flew out as Bellinger scored. Corey Seager flew out to end a very long fifth inning. Dodgers 5 Giants 1.

At the sixth with 53,000 on hand at Dodgers Stadium, Busdar Graterol on the mound for the Dodgers put down the Giants in the sixth. Zack Littell allowed two runners to get out of the inning with the Dodgers scoreless. In the seventh, the Giants failed to score, as did the Dodgers. Dodgers 5 Giants 1.

Brandon Crawford led off with a double moved to third on a Buster Posey ground out in the eighth inning. Chris Byant gound out with Crawford scoring. That was it, but the Giants tacked on a run. At the bottom, Seager led off with a single. Then, Will Smith hit a two-run homer to the left-field stands to put the Dodgers up 7-2. In the top of the ninth with the last licks on the line for the Giants, they went down in order for the Dodgers win, forcing a game five on Thursday back in San Francisco.

Knicks’ RJ Barrett projects ultimate confidence in team ahead of regular season

new york knicks, rj barrett

The growth of RJ Barrett is extremely important to the New York Knicks’ plans during the 2021–22 season. Barrett took an astronomical leap in his sophomore campaign at just 20-years-old, averaging 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, and 5.8 rebounds. He posted a 44% field goal percentage and connected on 40% of his three-point shots. Most of his scoring statistics saw a fantastic uptick, and the Knicks are hoping he can continue to improve upon those numbers.

To start the pre-season, Barrett posted a healthy 17 points on 50% shooting from the field and 50% shooting from three-point range. Against the Washington Wizards this past Saturday, he tallied 18 points, connecting on 4-of-8 shots from beyond on the arc. He also contributed four assists, utilizing his vision as a facilitator to get his teammates the ball.

While some underrate a strong Knicks team with plenty of depth, RJ expressed confidence on Tuesday that everybody should see this team coming.

“Doesn’t matter, we’re all about the Knicks. The Knicks will never be a under the radar team.”
Despite Vegas having the Knicks below their 41 win mark from last year in 10 additional games, this team added more talent that will hopefully spread the floor and provide more efficient opportunities for their primary scorers.
Barrett expressed supreme faith that the additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier will provide him with even more clean looks at the basket, and that is in addition to Julius Randle, who commanded a ton of attention last season during his first All-Star performance.
“When you have Kemba driving the ball, people are going to pay attention. When you have Julius or Evan driving, people are going to pay attention. Oftentimes, they’re going to leave me out there.”
The Knicks are better off being the underdogs this season, emerging as a successful team built on disciplinary rules and passion. Considering how much effort the players put in this off-season to refining their craft and building chemistry, I would be surprised to see them struggle to open the year. The team seemed in midseason form against the Pacers and Wizards, but it is only preseason basketball, so not much can be derived.
If all goes to plan, the impact that Walker and Fournier will bring should give Barrett a chance to beat his sophomore statistics, which would firmly cement him as a long-term solution for the Knicks at shooting guard.