New York Jets reacquire QB Joe Flacco

In the aftermath of Zach Wilson’s injury, the New York Jets have brought back Flacco, last year’s backup who was stationed in Philadelphia.

The New York Jets have welcomed back quarterback Joe Flacco through a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Flacco, 36, was the Jets’ backup quarterback last season before moving on through free agency.

This Monday deal was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who says that the Jets sent over a sixth-round draft pick that could become a fifth depending on Flacco’s playing time.

Flacco’s return comes in the wake of a Zach Wilson injury suffered in Sunday’s 54-13 loss at the hands of the New England Patriots. The second overall pick of last year’s draft underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a PCL sprain. Head coach Robert Saleh confirmed that Wilson will miss two-to-four weeks during his Monday statements, per notes from the Jets. Mike White finished out the game, completing 20-of-32 passes for 202 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. The Jets also have well-traveled veteran Josh Johnson on their practice squad.

The Super Bowl XLVII MVP and Audubon, NJ native now returns to the tri-state area. Partly brought in for his potential as a veteran mentor, Flacco appeared in five games for the Jets (1-5) and made four starts after Sam Darnold missed time with a shoulder injury. He served in a similar capacity in Philadelphia (2-5) as he was listed as the top backup for Jalen Hurts, though he did not appear in any games. Garner Minshew will likely take over that role in Flacco’s place while the team also signed Reid Sinnett off waivers from Miami. Flacco was Denver’s opening day starter in 2019 after 11 years as the Baltimore Ravens’ franchise quarterback.

Flacco posted respectable numbers in New York after coming off neck surgery, tallying 864 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions. That included a 262-yard, three-touchdown performance in a Monday night contest against the New England Patriots in November.

It remains to be seen if Flacco will be able to start for the Jets’ next contest, as they battle the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS). A Thursday night tilt in Indianapolis awaits after the Bengals’ visit.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The New York Giants seem to have a starter in Matt Peart

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants pulled out a surprising blowout victory against the Carolina Panthers yesterday. The Giants’ offense had a solid performance against Carolina’s defense, thanks in part to a job well done by the offensive line. Second-year offensive tackle Matt Peart stood out on Sunday.

After being projected as the starting right tackle all offseason, Matt Peart was listed as the backup right tackle for start of the 2021 regular season. But after Andrew Thomas went down with an injury, Peart stepped in as the team’s starting left tackle while Nate Solder remained the starter at right tackle. Since taking over for Thomas, Peart seems to have turned a corner and etablished himself as a starting-caliber player.

Matt Peart vs the Carolina Panthers

In Week Six, Matt Peart was the Giants’ starting left tackle against the Los Angeles Rams. He struggled mightily, allowing 4 pressures and giving up 2 sacks. But Peart bounced back against the Panthers in Week Seven.

Against the Panthers, Peart was a drastically improved player. Peart saw the field for 69 offensive snaps on Sunday. On 38 pass-blocking snaps, Matt Peart allowed 0 total pressures versus Brian Burns and the Carolina Panthers defense.

This is not Matt Peart’s first good performance of the season, but it is his first good performance this season at left tackle. In Week Five, Matt Peart started at right tackle against the Dallas Cowboys in place of the injured Nate Solder. Peart allowed only one pressure on 44 pass-blocking snaps in that contest.

Once Andrew Thomas is healthy again, he will be activated off injured reserve and placed back into the starting lineup at left tackle. This will likely move Matt Peart back to the bench. However, considering the improvements Peart has made in his game, he may have earned a role as a starter. The Giants would be wise to give Matt Peart another chance to start at right tackle when Andrew Thomas returns to the lineup.

Rangers send down Morgan Barron as they make way for return of Ryan Strome

ryan strome, rangers

The New York Rangers are preparing to take on the Calgary Flames at 7 PM on Monday evening, and they will be getting back one of their more prominent players, Ryan Strome.

On Monday afternoon, the team announced they had sent Morgan Barron down to the AHL. He will spend time with the Hartford Wolf Pack until the Rangers require his services once again, and it was clear he needs more time developing before he can take on a more serious role in the NHL. Over two games, Barron averaged 8:28 of ice time, picking up two penalties.

In Barron’s place, Strome, who recently returned to practice after entering COVID-19 protocol, will play against Calgary. The 28-Year-old center cleared isolation protocol, leaving Kaapo Kakko as the last piece to the puzzle waiting to return.

Strome is an important part of the Rangers’ strategy and plan, playing in 56 games last year and contributing 14 goals and 35 assists. He spent 18:16 on the ice per game, contributing three power-play goals and 321 face-off wins.

Replacing Barron will give the Rangers an advantage against Calgary, as their opponent has lost two of the first four games. The Rangers, on the other hand, are coming off a stellar four-game road winning streak, scoring three goals in the third period against the Ottawa Senators to escape with a victory over the weekend.

New York Jets QB Zach Wilson set to miss 2-4 weeks (Report)

zach wilson, jets

The New York Jets have reportedly avoided a major catastrophe when it comes to Zach Wilson’s injury, but another rookie isn’t so fortunate.

Reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter had good news and bad news when it came to New York Jets-based medical news stemming from Sunday’s disastrous 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots.

The team has appeared to have avoided a major disaster when it comes to franchise quarterback Zach Wilson, as a sprained PCL diagnosed through an MRI is projected to keep him out for the next 2-4 weeks. Safety and fellow rookie Jamien Sherwood, however, isn’t as fortunate: a torn Achilles has been reported to end Sherwood’s season, further devastating a unit that has seen several regulars fall to injury.

Wilson endured several low hits during first half action on Sunday and was diagnosed with a knee injury after he was victimized by Matt Judon in the latter stages of the second quarter. He was initially labeled questionable to return but Mike White played out the remainder of the defeat, throwing for 202 yards and a score in his regular season debut. White, a 2018 draft pick in Dallas, is the only other active quarterback on the Jets’ roster, though tenured veteran Josh Johnson lingers on the practice squad.

Meanwhile, Sherwood’s rookie season is set to end early after the Jets chose him in the fifth round of last spring’s draft. He was a safety at Auburn but the Jets immediately made plans to shift him to linebacker. Sherwood mostly worked on special teams in the early stages of the season but earned sizable responsibilities when he was granted the “green dot” in place of the likewise injured C.J. Mosley. The wearer of the green sticker is the player who communicates with the coaches on the sidelines. Sherwood played a career-high 52 snaps in Sunday’s loss, earning two tackles.

The remaining Jets will look to move forward when they battle the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Yankees: Reports indicate this slugger wants to come back to the Bronx

anthony rizzo, yankees

It’s still early in the offseason for the New York Yankees. The World Series will begin on Tuesday, between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves, and the Bombers, once again, have to see it on TV. But that doesn’t mean they can’t start to make some preliminary plans with the 2022 campaign in mind.

They have already announced that manager Aaron Boone will be back under a three-year contract with an option for the 2025 season. Additionally, coaches Phil Nevin, Marcus Thames, PJ Pillitere, and Reggie Willits won’t be back with the Yankees.

As far as players go, however, it’s still too early to make decisions. However, one slugger who came to the Yankees via trade in late July is reportedly open to the idea of coming back to New York.

Are the Yankees willing to re-sign Rizzo?

According to what a family member told Bob Klapisch, first baseman Anthony Rizzo “is quite eager to return to Yankees in 2022. That’s an important first step, assuming NYY want him back. Have to assume they do,” he wrote in his Twitter account.

Rizzo didn’t have a particularly good showing with the Yankees when it comes to offense. He slashed .249/.340/.428, with eight home runs and a .768 OPS. He wasn’t particularly good with the Chicago Cubs, either, but does add a nice on-base threat to the lineup and elite defense at the cold corner.

The problem with the Yankees committing long-term to Rizzo would be his age and seemingly declining skills. The left-handed hitter is already 32 and his best years are seemingly behind him, unless he makes some changes in the batter’s box.

Rizzo’s last season with an OPS over .800 was 2019, when he slashed .293/.405/.520 with a .924 OPS. The Yankees would be paying for a declining asset at the plate, and it remains to be seen if they are willing to do so.

Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley falling out of favor with Tom Thibodeau

immanuel quickley, knicks

The New York Knicks fell to the Orlando Magic on Sunday night to mark their first loss of the season. After the game, Tom Thibodeau indicated how when you take shortcuts, nothing good happens.

Against a young Orlando team that was blown out at home against the Knicks just days prior, Thibodeau and the squad now have to reevaluate as they prepare for a bigger matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday evening.

However, some of their more prominent players have started off the season slow, including second-year guard Immanuel Quickley.

To open the season against Boston, Quickley earned just eight minutes of playing time, connecting on 1-of-4 shots from the field. He missed all three attempts from beyond the arc, picking up one assist.

“Right after that Celtics game I went straight to the gym,” Quickley said, via the NY Post. “I expect to stay ready throughout the season whether my name is called, whether it’s not called. That’s something I learned from a lot of players in this league is always stay ready, always wait for your opportunity and when you get your opportunity go and play hard and have fun. I think that’s one of the biggest things I’ve learned in this league.”

Quickley is the first to admit he needs to work on a few things regarding his game, specifically hitting on defense and increased strength. In the most recent loss to the Magic, Quickley played 12 minutes, despite the majority of the team struggling on offense. He missed all four of his attempts.

“I tried to get a lot stronger in the offseason,” Quickley said. “I got done lifting [after the Orlando game]. Just trying to improve every facet of my game. Just watching film, trying to get better whether I’m off the ball, on the ball, just trying to make the right reads and playing multiple positions. Defense. That’ll always get you on the floor with coach Thibs, so I’m trying to improve on that as well.’’

Statistics don’t display the quality player the Knicks enjoyed during his rookie campaign when he hit nearly 39% from three and 40% from the field. On the season, Quickley is averaging 6.0 points and shooting 33% from the field and 30.8% from three-point range. However, the Kentucky product struggled shooting during Summer League play, too, potentially indicating natural regression or a lack of confidence.

Quickley is capable of being a fantastic shooter and offensive threat, but it seems he might be a bit in his head and losing confidence with every inefficient performance. He will turn things around at some point, but an emphasis on defense will be Thibodeau’s strategy, and Quickley struggles in that area, which could see him experience reduced minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more Quentin Grimes in the coming days if Immanuel continues to come up short with his shooting.

Fedor turned back the clock at Bellator 269

Fedor Emelianenko

This past Saturday in the main event of Bellator 269, Fedor Emelianenko (40-6) returned home to Russia to take on the tough Tim Johnson (15-8). Despite fighting in his homeland, many considered Fedor to be the underdog on Saturday night.

Johnson had a sensational 2020 that led him to an interim Bellator heavyweight title fight earlier this year. Meanwhile Fedor has struggled with Bellator heavyweights having gone just 3-2 leading up to Saturday night.

That said, there was still some mystique surrounding The Last Emperor as he walked to the cage on Saturday. The Russian crowd all on their feet with their eyes glued on their national hero who put Russian MMA on the map.

The fight started out with Fedor bouncing on his toes with his hands low. He looked good and was still looking to fight with the same style he had been fighting with his entire career. There were a few exchanges between him and Johnson where it looked like either man could’ve won by knockout had they landed.

Then, just a few minutes into the first at Bellator 269, Fedor turned back the clock. A beautiful left hook followed by a blistering right flattened Tim Johnson. No follow up shots were needed as Fedor picked up the KO win as the Russian crowd erupted.

What’s next after Bellator 269?

Scott Coker said last week that Saturday night was the first leg of a two-fight retirement tour for Fedor. Fedor is wrapping up his historic career with Bellator, but there is no word yet on who Fedor will fight in his next matchup.

Coker told the media on Saturday that Fedor will likely fight early next year or in the spring. That is when we will see Fedor compete for the final time in the Bellator cage. Fedor told the media afterwards that he needs to discuss his fighting future with his family.

To me, it’s going to be interesting to see who Bellator pairs him with. Honestly, Saturday night would’ve been the perfect fight to walk away on. A huge knockout win over a top contender in his home country. However, that doesn’t appear to be the plan and we should know sooner than later when we’ll see Fedor for the final time.

New York Rangers host the Calgary Flames Monday night at MSG

The New York Rangers, on a four-game winning streak, host the Calgary Flames at the Garden on Monday night.

New York Rangers– 4-1-1 (9 Pts.)

Calgary Flames– 2-1-1 (5 Pts.)

Venue: MSG

Television: MSG Network, 7:00 P.M.

The New York Rangers return to Madison Square Garden on Monday night as they welcome the Calgary Flames. This will be just the second home game of the season for the Blueshirts who dropped their home opener to the Dallas Stars on Oct. 14.

The Blueshirts are in first place in the Metropolitan Division and are third in the NHL behind the Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers ( both with 10 Pts.).

Streaks

Barclay Goodrowhas has scored a goal in each of the past two games.

Sammy Blais has recorded three assists in the past two games

Adam Fox has an assist in each of the past two games.

The Blueshirts are a perfect 3-0 when they score the first goal of the game and have a 1-1-1 record when the opposition scores the first goal of the game.

Special Teams

The Rangers are still looking for the first power-play goal at home this year. They are 0-4 with the man advantage at MSG and overall are 3-24 on the power-play. Currently, they are ranked 28th in the NHL with a success rate of 18.5%.

The penalty Killing is only slightly better than their power-play. The rangers have been short-handed 21 times this season allowing four goals. That is good for 18th in the NHL (81%).

Projected Lineup

Ryan Strome (Covid Protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (UBI-IR) were both on the ice for practice on Sunday. It is anticipated that Strome will return to the lineup on Monday night.

The lines used during practice;

Lafreniere – Zibanejad – Kreider

Panarin – Strome – Goodrow

Blais – Chytil – Gauthier

Hunt – Rooney – Blais

Defense

Fox-Lindgren

Trouba-Miller

Nemeth-Lundkvist

Power Play

PP1 – Fox, Zibanejad, Strome, Panarin and Kreider

PP2- Trouba, Lundkvist, Lafreniere, Chytil and Blais

Shesterkin should get the start in net.

LAST GAME


New York Rangers 3, Ottawa Senators 2 – Oct. 23, 2021 (Canadian Tire Centre) 
NYR Goals: C. Kreider (4), R. Lindgren (1), B. Goodrow (2)
OTT Goals: N. Paul (2), J. Norris (2)
NYR Goalie: A. Georgiev (W) – 26 Saves
OTT Goalie: A. Forsberg (L) – 1 save, M. Murray (ND) – 22 saves
NYR Shots: 26
OTT Shots: 28
NYR PP: 1/4
NYR PK: 4/4

Next Five Games

UPCOMING GAMES (All Times ET)

Mon, Oct. 25 – vs. CGY – 7:00 PM (TV: MSG – Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM)
Fri, Oct. 29 – vs. CBJ – 7:00 PM (TV: MSG – Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM)
Sun, Oct. 31 – at SEA – 9:00 PM (TV: MSG, NHL Network – Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM) Tue, Nov. 2 – at VAN – 10:00 PM (TV: MSG – Radio: ESPN 98.7 FM)
Fri, Nov. 5 – at EDM – 9:00 PM (TV: MSG+ – Radio: TBD)

New York Yankee Top 10’s: The Yankees top base stealers

In my latest installment of the New York Yankee Top 10’s, we examine the best base stealers the Yankees have been blessed with in modern history. In my other top 10 articles, I have covered everything from top position players, pitchers, catchers, and more obscure top 10’s such as memorable moments in Yankees history and top 10 best seasons. Today we examine those unique players that run like the wind and become base stealing specialists.

Some players that were fast on the bases never became great base stealers. A good example is Billy Martin; he only stole 19 bases over seven years of play during his playing days with the Yankees. Other players that weren’t so fast on the base, like catcher Yogi Berra weren’t expected to steal many bases and didn’t. In his 19 years with the Yankees, he stole only 30 bases. Compare that to Derek Jeter; in his 20 years with the Yankees, he stole 358 bases. Fans don’t even like to hear the name of Jacoby Ellsbury, but in his short time with the Yankees, he stole 108 bases. An honorable mention has to go to Alfonso Soriano, who stole 130 bases for the Yankees, Bernie Williams for his 147 stolen bags. The “Scooter” Phil Rizzuto’s 149.

10. Horace Clarke– 151. Clark was a second baseman who probably is not known to many young Yankees fans, but he would steal 151 bases; he was only caught 58 times. Clarke had speed on the bases and was a decent player. However, he also has the distinction of never reaching the postseason in his ten-year career.

9. Roberto Kelly– 151. Kelly did not spend his entire career with the New York Yankees, but he stole 151 bases while a Yankee. In 1990 he stole his career-high 42 stolen bases. Unfortunately, he was with the Yankees for only four whole years. He was an All-Star in 1992. He was then traded to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Paul O’Neill. Over the life of his baseball career, he would steal 235 bases. He was lucky enough to be back with the Yankees in 2000, where he finished out his career playing ten games that year.

8. Alex Rodriguez – 152. Rodriguez was one of the best baseball players ever to play the game. He was a brilliant hitter and defender and continued that trend when he came to the New York Yankees, being just as good a hot corner defender when he changed from being a career-long shortstop. What many present-day Yankee fans don’t know is that he was an excellent base stealer. Few were ever more successful; he had an 84% success rate. While with the Yankees, he stole 152 bases. An 84-percent success rate is second for the Yankees all time. After hip surgery and as his time in the game waned, he was 24 for his last 27 attempts. A-Rod was one of the smartest Yankees base stealers ever. In his career with the Seattle Mariners, the Rangers, and the Yankees, he stole 329 bases and fell four home runs short of 700.

7. Mickey Mantle– 153. Mantle was known as a player that played through many injures and still hit 536 long balls. Many only know him from his 1961 race with Roger Maris for the most home runs of the season. Maris finally won with 61. But, not only was Mantle one of the best switch hitters over his career, but he was also an excellent base runner. In this Yankee career, he stole 153 bases. Many think the total would have been much higher if he hadn’t spent so much time trotting his home run trot. He was caught just 38 times.

6. Roy White 233. While playing and still today, Roy White is often overlooked for the fine baseball player he was, primarily due to some of the star players he played with. But White was a giant in his own right. Even though he didn’t hit many home runs, he was a consistent contact hitter with a career .271 batting average over his 15 years, all with the Yankees. He also was an excellent base runner, stealing 233 bases for the Yankees.

5. Hal Chase – 248. For most New York Yankee fans, Hal Chase is one of the more obscure Yankee players even though he played 15 years in the majors, mainly because it was 1905 to 1919. Chase stole an excellent 248 bases for the Yankees when base stealing was not widely known. He had a .291 career batting average, playing his best with the New York Yankees in the nine years.

4. Willie Randolph – 251. Willie Randolph hasn’t played for the Yankees in years, but you still hear his name frequently, mostly being in consideration for managing the Yankees. But, it is doubtful the talented second baseman ever will, being that he has been passed by twice already. The ever-popular Randolph had a career batting average in his 13 years with the Yankees of .275. He was a great contact hitter and drove in six short of 500 RBIs. He also was one of the best Yankee base stealers, stealing 251. That’s an average of about 20 per year.

3. Brett Gardner– 274. Of present-day New York Yankees, veteran Brett Gardner is the hands-down best Yankee base stealer, even though his stealing has waned in the last few years. He is still the best stealer over the previous six seasons. During his base-stealing prime between 2010 and 2011, he stole 96 bases. Even at age 38, few in the major league can compete with his wheels around the bases, and his 274 career stolen bases.

2. Ricky Henderson- 326. Whether to put Henderson or Jeter as the best Yankee base stealer was somewhat of a dilemma for me, but I decided to go with career stats with the Yankees and not most productive years. That said, know this, Ricky Henderson is the major league’s record holder for the most career bases stolen (1406). No one in baseball comes close to that and likely never will. However often overlooked is that during his four years with the Yankees, he was the most dominant base stealers the Yankees have ever seen. He had his best stealing years with the Yankees. Pitchers feared him as they knew if he got on base, he would probably steal.

1. Derek Jeter – 358. In his Yankee career, Derek Jeter broke many records; one of the most overlooked was he was one of the most consistent base stealers throughout his career. He stole 358 bases for the Yankees over his 20-year career. The Hall of Famer stole a career-high 32 bases in 2002 while only being caught three times. Well past his prime and in his last year in baseball in 2014, he stole ten bases, only being caught twice. Over his career, he had a 79% stealing success. Throughout his career, the Captain was one of the most reliable base stealers for the Yankees.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow him on Twitter @parleewilliam.

Yankees’ Gerrit Cole reportedly blew up at Brett Gardner for mocking spider tack crackdown

yankees, gerrit cole

New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is an intense player who takes the game extremely seriously. That intensity is part of the reason Cole has become one of the best pitchers in baseball and is currently in the running for a Cy Young Award.

However, sometimes that serious approach can rub him the wrong way with some of his teammates, as it did with outfielder Brett Gardner after the MLB crackdown on spider tack.

NJ Advance Media’s Bob Klapisch stated that Gerrit Cole shot back at Brett Gardner after the veteran captain was joking around in the clubhouse:

Losing Spider Tack was obviously a setback to Cole and other pitchers who considered it indispensable. (Hint: that means most every hard thrower in the game). To soften the blow and lighten the moment, Gardner paraded around the clubhouse with pine tar on his hat. He was trying to get a laugh out of Cole. Apparently it had just the opposite effect.

Cole did not respond well to Gardner’s attempt at a playful joke, instead unleashing the best within the ace:

According to the source, Cole, in full view of his teammates, got in Gardner’s face and told him to knock it off. Mind you, Gardner was the Yankees’ senior-ranking member and the last remaining connection to the 2009 championship club. If anyone knows about winning – and the clubhouse chemistry that goes with it – it’s Gardner.

Cole finished the season with a 3.23 ERA, 12.06 strikeouts per nine, and 16 wins. Cole hadn’t finished a season with over a 3.00 ERA since 2017 when he featured with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Obviously, the loss of spider tack hurt his velocity and spin rate significantly, making him mortal once again. His team desperately needed him to perform against the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card game, but he failed to get the job done and sent the team home packing early as they watched the postseason from their couches.

Hopefully, Cole can find a way to replicate the positive effects of spider tack without the usage of the material, but it is easier said than done. Cole wasn’t the only one to be affected on the team, as Aroldis Chapman saw major decreases in velocity, putting him through a tough streak immediately after the MLB banned the substance.

Gardner’s attempt to make light of the decision wasn’t intended to do any harm, but walking around with pine tar on his hat seems a bit insensitive.