New York Giants raise questions by continuing to leave out Matt Peart

New York Giants, Matt Peart

Even after a win against Philadelphia, it’s clear that the New York Giants need to rebuild most of the offensive line. In fact, it’s clear that the Giants could have won the game by a much safer margin if they had even an average o-line. It’s a problem that has often influenced the outcome on crucial plays this season. When the Giants had a chance to close Sunday’s game out without giving the ball back, it was the play up front that had a role in their inability to do so.

The current state of affairs makes it even stranger that the Giants are continuing to include Nate Solder in the starting lineup over rival Matt Peart. Solder played one hundred percent of the offensive snaps against the Eagles, and hasn’t gone anywhere now that Andrew Thomas is healthy.

Solder’s play with the Giants has been underwhelming from the beginning, but his performance this season has drawn even more attention and even brought names such as Lawrence Tynes to comment on Solder’s continued playing time.

Still, if the team isn’t playing Peart over Solder, it’s hard to imagine there’s no reason for it. Even the Giants, whose coaching quality has been dubious this season, have coaches that want to win and protect their own jobs.

From that perspective, we’re left with one question: what makes the coaching staff believe Nate Solder gives the best chance at winning?

Why Nate Solder may remain in the lineup

The calls for Peart to play instead of Solder are understandable, but it’s still worth looking at both sides of the issue to understand why the Giants are making the decisions that they have.

At the heart of it, Joe Judge and the others on the coaching staff must see something in Solder that they don’t see in Peart. Based on Solder’s overall play in recent games, it’s safe to say that thing probably isn’t physical. Solder looks like he’s been in the league a bit too long, and that’s more apparent than ever in recent outings where Solder frequently let his man past him, reacted late, or ended up out of position.

That leaves us with other factors to consider. One of the few advantages Solder has on younger players is more veteran experience, and that may have something to do with the team’s decision making.

Blocking in the NFL is not just a physical game, but also a tactical one. Scheme matters a lot, and older players often have an advantage in sticking to and executing a scheme compared to more experienced ones.

The Giants have also had an unstable offensive line this season due to injuries. The current starting lineup isn’t one the Giants were prepared to field based on the outlook on paper going into the year, and the staff may want Solder on the field as a stabilizing presence who may be able to aid the rest of the line in staying with the scheme.

Should the Giants start Matt Peart going forward?

Even if Solder is a veteran presence, any benefits gained from that have a diminishing return thanks to his poor blocking.

The experiment of playing Solder this season has run its course and, at this point, it’s clear the Giants aren’t going to gain anything from continuing to play him. Even if the staff believes there’s justifications for starting him over Peart before, that should change for the rest of the season.

The fact of the matter is that Solder is already playing like a replacement level player and there’s little room to fall by giving Peart a chance. Despite technically being in the running, it’s highly unlikely that the Giants are actually going to the playoffs this year. Rather than making conservative decisions, it would be better for the team’s long-term prospects to use the rest of this season for evaluation and experimentation.

Peart may have something to offer for the future, or he may not. At this point, it’s unclear. The Giants should use the rest of this season to get a clear answer, headed into an offseason where a rebuild of the offensive line will be a major point of interest.

Chicago Bears: Week 12 takeaways, quick tidbits, and more

Trevis Gipson, bears

After a Turkey Day snoozefest that resulted in a win for the Chicago Bears, it’s time to recap week 12 for the Bears.

1) A win is a win, no matter what circumstances surround a team in the NFL. The Bears got the job done against the worst team in the NFL, which is clearly positive, and at the end of the day, the Bears snapped a five-game losing streak. After the game, head coach Matt Nagy did sound relieved but also thanked players and coaches for what was a tumultuous week at Halas Hall. The Bears battled hard for Nagy in this game, despite what you believe.

2) Darnell Mooney continues to emerge as a big playmaker for the Bears’ offense. The second-year wide receiver had five receptions for 123 yards, averaging 24.6 yards per reception. During Allen Robinson’s absence, Mooney’s emergence is a positive for the Bears, who will revamp the wide receiver in 2022 with Mooney being the face of the position.

3) Staying with Mooney, the Bears 2020 draft class made an impact in this game. Tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Jaylon Johnson both had big games, while pass rusher Trevis Gipson had two tackles, and a forced fumble. This draft class is quietly forming the foundation for the Bears roster for years to come, which is big for the Bears, who had no first-round picks in 2020.

4) The Lions have little to no pass rush but the Bears did a good job of keeping Andy Dalton upright all afternoon. Dalton was sacked just once and while Chicago’s offensive line did just enough to give Dalton time to make something happen. Overall, this was a game where the Bears OL made some progress, especially rookie fifth-round pick Larry Borom, who’s solidified his job as the starting right tackle.

5) The Bears running game wasn’t successful. Chicago averaged just 2.3 yards per attempt while David Montgomery had just 46 rushing yards. Overall, this wasn’t an encouraging performance for the Bears, with rookie Khalil Herbert falling to make any sort of significant impact for the second straight game. For the rest of the season, Nagy has one job: Figure out how to utilize Montgomery and Herbert to keep defenses guessing.

6) Give the Lions some credit. Sure Dan Campbell’s squad is winless but on the field, the Lions played and battled till the very end, something you always appreciate about any NFL team. It may not be pretty right now but Campbell’s passion and competitive spirit is prevalent every single game. Not saying the Lions are about to be an immediate threat anytime soon but a head coach always needs to sell his vision and get the players buy-in to begin building a successful program.

7) Let’s talk about injuries for the Bears. The Bears walked away from what you could consider a meaningless game banged up. Linebacker Roquan Smith (hamstring) and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin (foot) left the game and did not return. While the Bears have not yet released any information about Smith or Goodwin, linebacker and wide receiver are incredibly thin when it comes to depth. Chicago will need to rely on players like Christian Jones and Isaiah Coulter to pick up the slack.

8) Quarterback Andy Dalton wasn’t bad but wasn’t great either. Dalton was about as middle-of-the-pack as it could get but throwing for 317 yards should be considered a positive. With Justin Fields’ status for week 13 uncertain, Dalton will need to prepare to face a tough Arizona Cardinals team that’s looking to rebound big that’s gone .500 over the last four weeks.

9) Veteran Jimmy Graham played 20 percent of the Bears snaps on offense. Graham has been an afterthought for the Bears this season but considering how involved he was against the Lions, it’s clear the Bears are using the veteran tight end at will. Graham won’t be on the Bears roster in 2022, his days are numbered despite his usage being wildly inconsistent.

10) Final point here but it’s clear the Bears are who they are at this point. This team doesn’t have the makings of being able to make a run in December, nor at least continue to remain competitive. Hopefully, the Bears do have some December magic in them but it may be time to start looking ahead to 2022 and this game was a major indication of that.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones still playing conservative despite OC change

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants earned a clutch victory over the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. The Giants improved to a 4-7 record with the 13-7 win at home against their division rivals. This was the Giants’ first game of the season without Jason Garrett, as they fired the offensive coordinator earlier that week. Freddie Kitchens assumed play-calling duties for the Giants, calling a winning game with Daniel Jones under center.

New York has been extremely conservative on offense this season. The expectation was that Freddie Kitchens would push the Giants’ offense downfield with more vertical passing concepts. However, that expectation did not become reality on Sunday, despite the Giants’ win.

Daniel Jones conservative on Sunday

Sunday’s victory against Philadelphia was huge. This big win kept the Giants in the playoff race. But it was not the offense that propelled the Giants to victory. No, there were no explosive, downfield passing plays that gave the Giants a competitive advantage. It was very much the defense that propelled New York to victory.

Daniel Jones has not thrown the ball downfield much this season. Entering this week’s game, Daniel Jones had attempted 331 passes so far this season. Only 23 of those passes had traveled 20+ yards downfield. That is only 6.9% of Jones’s attempts, ranking 36th in the NFL. Comparatively, 13% of Jones’s passes had been thrown targeted behind the line of scrimmage. The Giants are throwing the ball backwards more often than they are throwing the ball deep.

That trend continued this weekend. Daniel Jones attempted 30 passes against the Eagles on Sunday. Only 1 of those passes traveled 20+ yards downfield. Six of his attempts (20%) were thrown behind the lines of scrimmage.

So, despite the change at offensive coordinator, the Giants are still dealing with the same struggles. They scored only 13 points on Sunday and almost never threw the ball downfield. As great as New York’s defense is, it will never be enough to take them deep in the playoff without getting some help from the team’s offense. The New York Giants need to start getting more aggressive on offense.

Yankees News: Cashman could let Gary Sanchez go, a starting pitcher the Yankees should target

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

At some point, the New York Yankees are going to have to make a decision on catcher Gary Sanchez, who has regressed over the past few seasons. This past year, Sanchez finished with a .204 batting average, including 23 homers and 54 RBIs. While his slugging percentage finished at .423, his best since 2019, he still failed to propel himself to long-term solution status.

General manager Brian Cashman would love for him to be the future catcher, but at this point, he has to consider alternative options with just one year of arbitration left on his contract. The team isn’t confident they can rely on Kyle Higashioka, and Sanchez saw his defensive metrics struggle in some areas. In 2021, the 28-year-old played in 879 innings, recording a 17% caught stealing rate, the lowest of his career by more than 10%. While he was far better at stopping passed balls, allowing just 8 to get by him, he hasn’t become a balanced player that can hit and defend consistently.

With that being said, there is a chance the Yankees non-tender him, trading for an option like Pirates’ Jacob Stallings.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal believes that the Yankees could non-tender Gary Sanchez, trading for a replacement:

The Athletics’ Sean Murphy and Pirates’ Jacob Stallings are among the catchers available in trade, and the Cubs’ Willson Contreras might be, too, if he does not agree to a contract extension. Among the remaining free agents, Yan Gomes, 34, and Roberto Pérez, who turns 33 on Dec. 23, are perhaps the leading options. The shortage of quality catching might prompt the Yankees to again offer a contract to Gary Sánchez, who is projected to earn $7.9 million in arbitration. A trade for say, Stallings, could lead to a non-tender of Sánchez, who then would be a strong candidate to join the exodus of former Yankees to the Marlins.

Stallings is an interesting option at 32-years-old. This past season, he recorded a .246 average with eight homers and 53 RBIs. He serves more as a contact hitter, but he’s also a stellar defender, recording a .995 fielding percentage with zero passed balls in 892 innings. Earning his first Gold Glove, he would offer a significant upgrade behind the plate compared to Sanchez but doesn’t have the power to supplement his home run totals.

The Yankees should shift their focus to Robbie Ray:

With Max Scherzer signing a $130 million, three-year deal, the Yankees may shift their attention to lefty ace Robbie Ray. After winning the Cy Young award this past season, Ray is looking for a long-term contract with a new team. He posted a career-best 2.84 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays this past year, earning an 11.54 strikeout per nine rate. He also logged a career-best 90.1% left on-base percentage and 37.2% ground ball rate.

Overall, Ray represents arguably the best starting pitcher on the market currently, but natural regression is a concern. Looking at his statistics, his fastball hovered around 95 mph, the highest it’s ever been. He stopped using his curveball as frequently and relied heavily on his fastball and slider, which did him well.

Considering the Yankees just presented $25 million for Justin Verlander, there is a chance they enter the fold for Ray, who will likely land at a slightly lower price point.

Yankees lose out on another top shortstop, market continues to dwindle

yankees, corey seager

The New York Yankees may end up missing out on every top shortstop free agent this off-season, in a year where there was an unprecedented number of talents waiting to be scooped up off the market.

General manager Brian Cashman is undoubtedly taking a more patient approach, but his strategy may end up biting him in the butt if he misses out on Carlos Correa, the last of the top-tier shortstops available.

On Monday evening, Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that Corey Seager, one of the Yankees’ top targets to replace Gleyber Torres at shortstop, signed a 10 year, $325 million deal with the Texas Rangers. The Rangers landed both Seager and Marcus Semien.

Seager is coming off a stellar campaign with the Los Angeles Dodgers, hitting .306 with 16 homers and 57 RBIs. With a lefty bat, the idea was that Seager would bring a bit of diversity to the batting order and quality defending at shortstop. However, his flexibility in the infield and potential to move over to third base was also attractive, as the team waits for Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to reach the majors.

Now, the market has boiled down to Correa, who is taking his time finding a new team this off-season. Correa is coming off arguably an even better campaign than Seager, hitting .279 with 26 homers and 92 RBIs. Correa isn’t only a fantastic hitter with a healthy balance of power and contact, but he’s also a tremendous defender.

After seeing Corey’s contract, averaging $32.5 million per season, Correa will likely end up earning $35 million per year. This past season, Carlos recorded a .981 fielding percentage with 11 errors over 1,300 innings.

Correa is a long-term solution at SS, so moving him to the hot corner may not be advisable for the Yankees. However, he’s currently the best option on the market, and once he’s gone, the Yankees’ targets will start to dwindle quickly. Reports indicated that Cashman met with Andrelton Simmons’s representatives recently, so he could also be a potential option for the Bombers.

Knicks assign Miles McBride to Westchester for the second time

After the New York Knicks dropped Kemba Walker from the rotation, the team also made another point guard move.

The Knicks sent rookie point guard Miles McBride to play for Westchester on Monday night’s game against the Maine Celtics.

The game is set at 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

It will mark the second time McBride will play in the G League. Earlier this month, McBride was sensational in his G League debut. The seldom-used Knicks rookie point guard took the most out of the opportunity.

McBride came one assist shy of a double-double providing the jolt for the Westchester Knicks to pick up their first win of the season — a 104-98 victory over Long Island Nets on Nov. 18. He shot 10 of 24 from the field in 41 minutes and only committed three turnovers.

McBride will team up anew with the Knicks’ other two-way player Luka Samanic, the G League’s second-leading scorer. Samanic averages 26.8 points on an efficient 56.9 percent shooting from the floor, including a 39-percent clip from downtown in 30.3 minutes. The 6-10 Croatian forward also norms 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists (against 4.0 turnovers), and 1.5 blocks.

The Westchester Knicks currently hold a 2-5 record in the East.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

The Mets get their star and pair Max Scherzer with Jacob deGrom at the top of the rotation

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

The New York Mets secured one of their top targets in the 2021-22 offseason. Max Scherzer, the star pitcher who snubbed everybody in the East coast at the deadline, saying he preferred to go to the West coast, is now in agreement with the Mets on a three-year, $130 million contract that breaks all kinds of records.

It represents the largest average annual value for any player in MLB history, at $43.3 million. The Mets are also giving Scherzer the opportunity to opt out after 2023, the second season, and a full no-trade clause as part of the deal.

The Mets had taken the market by storm on Friday, signing three players to bolster their lineup: Starling Marte, Mark Canha, and Eduardo Escobar. However, their pitching remained a clear weakness, not so much in quality but in depth.

They had only five viable starters under contract and healthy enough to pitch, presumably, in 2022 spring training: Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, David Peterson, and Tylor Megill. They lost Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman to free agency.

The Mets are banking on Scherzer

Having Scherzer paired with deGrom at the top of the lineup will be huge for the Mets, especially if they get to the postseason. That one-two punch us unparalleled in today’s game.

Scherzer, even at 37, is coming off an excellent season for the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched 179.1 innings of a 2.46 ERA, a 2.97 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and 11.84 strikeouts per nine frames.

He finished 2021 with 5.4 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, according to FanGraphs, a really solid number. The Mets are taking a chance on his health and his ability to maintain elite performance for three years, but it was a gamble they needed to make considering the circumstances.

It is believed that New York will keep monitoring the market, as they still need to add a pitcher or two. The trade market is also a possibility, with Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas as potential targets.

Knicks: Tom Thibodeau explains why he pulled the plug on Kemba Walker experiment

kemba walker, knicks

Former four-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker has been dropped from the New York Knicks‘ rotation.

In a stunning development, New York coach Tom Thibodeau pulled the plug on the Walker experiment two nights after the Knicks put together one of their best defensive efforts this season in Atlanta without their erstwhile starting point guard. Walker rested on the second night of a back-to-back schedule, the second time it happened this season.

“We’re gonna make a change. Alec (Burks) will gonna be the starter. I like the way we played like that,” Thibodeau told reporters on Monday. “I’d just don’t like the way we’ve been trending, the inconsistency of our team. We’re gonna make a change. I want to get bigger, our defense to be more intact. So, basically, that was it. We got to do something different.”

Burks was an instant hit in his first start this season. He gave a jolt to the starting lineup that has been floundering more than often in a roller-coaster start.

The bigger Burks, a 6-5 versatile guard with a 6-10 wingspan, dropped a season-high 23 points and collected seven rebounds, three assists, and two steals against only three turnovers in 39 minutes.

More importantly, Burks’ comfort level playing either on or off the ball has created synergy with the rest of the starters.

RJ Barrett broke out of his 10-game slump with 15 points on 6 of 11 shots. Evan Fournier waxed hot with 20 points on an efficient 7 of 13 shooting and 4 for 6 from downtown. Though he missed some good looks in the early goings, Julius Randle looked more comfortable on the floor after adjusting in the second half.

Thibodeau was effusive in his praise after the Knicks’ impressive win over Hawks and hinted at a permanent starting role for Burks.

“What Alec gives us is size and his ability to contain the ball and also his playmaking ability and shooting. When you add all that up, it adds a lot,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks held the Hawks to a season-low 90 points on 35.5 percent shooting.

On Monday, Thibodeau once again drilled that concept as the primary consideration to his decision.

“The size is the big thing. He makes us bigger,” Thibodeau said.

With the 6-foot-1 Walker as the starter, the Knicks have been outscored by a staggering 122 points, the worst plus-minus by any player on a winning team. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 24.5 minutes, all career-lows.

Thibodeau sounded like he had been contemplating this decision, with the Knicks’ win against the Hawks serving as the last straw.

“I want to tighten up the rotation. I like the way the team functions so it will be similar to what we did in the Atlanta game,” he explained. “It’s a tough decision to make but you always have to do what you think is best for the team.”

Perhaps this stunning decision to drop Kemba Walker out of rotation is another proof that Thibodeau is evolving and has learned from his past mistakes. Last year, he was stubborn about keeping Elfrid Payton as a starter until the playoffs rear its ugly head. Now, he’s dropping the dead weight that has been keeping the team from taking off.

Thibodeau said he’d told Walker of the tough decision he made.

“I view Kemba as a starter. It will be tough to play three small guards together. I give it consideration. And I’ve got great respect for who Kemba is as a person, No. 1, and all that he’s accomplished in this league. But I have to do what is best for the team.”

Burks was previously part of a three-guard lineup in the second unit alongside Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley. With Walker dropped from the rotation, rookie Quentin Grimes, who played a season-high 14 minutes in Atlanta, has an opportunity to carve a meaningful role with the second group.

As for Walker’s future, it is unclear if he will seek a buyout or if the Knicks plan to deal him to another team.

Burks will start on his new role against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

Knicks making Alec Burks full-time point guard, what will he bring to starting five?

The New York Knicks announced a massive change on Monday regarding the starting point guard position, formally held by Kemba Walker, their free-agent acquisition. Walker has struggled considerably in recent days, recording double-digit points just once in his last five games. In fact, the month of November has treated him poorly, shooting 39% from the field and a measly 29.6% from three-point range.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau announced that Alec Burks will be taking over the starting point guard job, as Kemba walker was dropped from the rotation, making him a depth piece.

What does Alec Burks offer the Knicks’ starting team?

Burks is an intriguing player, having experience at guard and forward. At 30-years-old, Alec signed a three-year, $30 million deal this past off-season with New York, after averaging 12.7 points and 2.2 assists during the 2020-21 season. He shot 42% from the field and 41.5% from three-point range, and he’s finishing even more consistently this year.

Over 20 games this season, Burks is averaging 10.5 points over 22.3 minutes, slightly less than his statistics a year ago, but he’s more efficient shooting. He’s connecting on 42.6% of his shots from the field and 45% of the shots from deep, giving him far superior numbers compared to Walker.

In the month of November, Burks is shooting 47% from three-point range and 43.9% from the field, recording double-digit points in five of his last six games, including 23 points in the team’s most recent victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

The biggest difference between Burks and Walker is the defensive effort. Burks is a bit taller at 6’6″ and 214 pounds, playing more resilient defense and offering more energy. When Walker is failing to score efficiently, he’s virtually useless on the court, which disrupts the flow of the team, especially with power forward Julius Randle.

In Burks’s first game as the starting PG, three of the Knicks’ starters recorded double-digit points, including 20 from Evan Fournier and 15 from RJ Barrett. Randle finished with just eight points, but contributed 11 rebounds and played adequate defense.

The efficiency and production of Burks allow the second team to feature in a normal role, whereas they were forced to pick up the slack in recent days due to the starting team’s deficiencies.

While this change comes as a surprise, Thibodeau had to make a move, with Kemba struggling so much to develop chemistry with his new teammates. In addition, the Knicks are dead last in fast-break points when Walker is on the court and an unsustainable statistic that has significantly burdened the team.

2021 New York Mets Player Evaluations: Second Baseman Jeff McNeil

Jeff McNeil‘s 2021 season for the New York Mets featured plenty more frustration than success as it was his first rough season in the big leagues. From helmet slams to Francisco Lindor wrapping his hands around McNeil’s throat, it was indeed a year to forget for the former all-star.

McNeil had a very streaky season and started very slow out of the gate. In April, he batted .203 with only four extra-base hits. He followed the theme of a majority of Mets hitters who dragged their way through the opening month. McNeil’s shining moment was an early April game-tying home run in the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins. It was his first hit of the season and helped lead the Mets to a walk-off victory.

Despite the home run, McNeil never got into a consistent groove at the plate. McNeil and Francisco Lindor got into their infamous “rat-coon” debate in the clubhouse in the middle of May. The “debate” was a building conflict from their disagreement on their fielding alignment. Lindor ended up choking McNeil and pinning him up against the wall in the clubhouse. The details of the altercation did not come out until the offseason, but it was clear that both players struggled to get along.

Hot and Cold

Even with the clubhouse distraction, McNeil batted over .300 in May but suffered a hamstring injury which halted his momentum. Once McNeil returned in June, he hit .206 and failed to record a walk. After his rough stretch of games, he got going once the calendar flipped to July. McNeil hit .351 with 27 hits which were his most in any month. The terrific July was not enough to convince the front office that they did not need another second baseman. The Mets acquired Javier Baez at the trade deadline, who took McNeil’s position and was Lindor’s best friend.

McNeil’s offense went into a tailspin for the final two months of the season. He batted just .220 and started only one game at second base once Lindor returned from the injured list on August 24. McNeil transitioned to left field and did not bat above sixth once in the order at any point in September. The combination of his .360 slugging percentage and .170 batting average with runners in scoring position exemplified his ineffectiveness at the plate.

Defensive Strength

McNeil had an excellent defensive season despite his reluctance to the Mets increased defensive shifting. In late April, he was benched for his stubbornness to follow directions from the coaching staff. Through it all, McNeil had an OAA and DRS of 4 at second base. His solid defense also showed in his small sample size in left field. The combination of his fearlessness and baseball IQ makes him an outstanding defensive player at most positions.

McNeil’s role in 2021 is a mystery because of the uncertainty of what new GM Billy Eppler wants to do. With money invested in Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar, it guarantees he will not have a chance to play left or right field. The colossal contract of Max Scherzer can give him hope that Robinson Cano will be his second base competition instead of Baez.

2021 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2022 Projection)

Hitting: 45 (55), The average decrease is hard to overlook, but the decreased strikeout rate gives hope he can return to the .300 range.

Power: 35 (45), Exit velocity remains typical to his career and should return into double digits.

Run: 50 (50)

Arm: 65 (65), Always very accurate no matter where he plays.

Field: 60 (60)

Overall: 45 (50), McNeil has the track record to show he will bounce back, but he has to prove it big time in 2022.