New York Giants receivers only had one catch in week 17’s blowout loss

david sills, new york giants

The New York Giants offense is seemingly facing a perfect storm. Daniel Jones is out for the rest of the season, and the receiving corps is banged up enough that pulling from the practice squad was necessary before the Bears game. When that game actually came around, the result in the passing department was worse than anyone could have expected.

Mike Glennon finished the game with only 4 completions, 25 yards, a pair of interceptions, and a costly fumble. To his credit, the Giants were missing a number of receivers and any quarterback would have lower numbers in a situation like this. Darius Slayton, Collin Johnson, Kadarius Toney, and John Ross all missed the game. Sterling Shepard is on the injured reserve. But to say that Glennon made the most of this bad situation would be flat out wrong.

One thing that shows just how bad the passing offense in this game was is the fact that only one Giants receiver actually caught the ball. One reception went to David Sills, but the rest of Glennon’s completions were to Evan Engram and Devontae Booker.

The performance leaves the question of why Jake Fromm remained on the bench, but considering Fromm’s own 25 yard performance in his first start, it’s unlikely that bringing in the younger alternative would have done much.

“It’s embarrassing. You know, not something that, you know, we work hard all week. We got to have a better product.” Glennon told reporters postgame.

With that being said, the Giants have one game remaining before focus shifts to the offseason and rebuilding. This season, perhaps more than in recent years past, interest has already largely shifted to those offseason decisions. With how the team has been playing, it’s hard to blame anyone for looking ahead.

Rangers, minus Panarin, shutout Lightning 4-0

The New York Rangers shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning led by a 38 save shutout by Igor Shesterkin 4-0 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon.

The New York Rangers began 2022 the same way it concluded 2021, be defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 sparked by a Mike Zibaenjad hat trick and a 38 save performance by Igor Shesterkin.

Chris Kreider had three assists, Ryan Strome tallied his seventh of the season and Adam Fox added two assists as the Rangers swept the Lightning in their home and home contest.

The Blueshirts were forced to play without Artemi Panarin who was placed in Covid Protocol prior to the start of the matinee game.  Alexis Lafreniere took Panarin’s spot on the right side of Strome and Barclay Goodrow.

Speaking of the absence of Panarin, Zibanejad said to Corey Long of NHL.Com,

“When he’s been out a couple games here and there … you’ve got to step up,” Zibanejad said. “He scores goals and makes a lot of things in the offensive zone happen. When a guy like that is out, you just want everyone to chip in a little bit more.”

The Rangers scored on their first two power plays (both by Zbanejad) to take a 2-0 lead and never looked back ending the first period up 3-0.

Zibanejad completed his hat trick off of a beautiful goal mouth pass from Chris Kreider. Kreider collected three assists/points in the win and has notched nine points (2G-7A) in his last five games, including two three-assist/point games in that span. Two of Kreider’s three assists came on the power-play, giving him 16 power-play points on the year which is the third-most in the NHL.

Shesterkin recorded the fourth shutout of his career and the second of the season. Shesterkin improved to 9-0-0 when making 38 or more saves. Shesterkin earned his 15th win of 2021-22 (21 GP). He required the second-fewest games in a season to reach the mark with the Rangers behind only Gilles Villemure (20 GP in 1971-72). Shesterkin has won six of his last seven starts and nine of his last 11 starts.

The Rangers will take on the Edmonton Oilers Monday night at the Garden.

2 former Giants players rip into GM Dave Gettleman on social media after blowout loss to Chicago

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

As if things couldn’t get any worse for the New York Giants, two former players publicly stated on Twitter their contempt for general manager Dave Gettleman and what he’s done to a once illustrious franchise.

Just this past week, a former Giant scout and current employee went at it via Twitter, airing dirty laundry that wasn’t meant for the public eye.

Every week things seem to get even worse for upper management, and wholesale changes might be on the horizon with the pressure mounting.

Former Giants TE Scott Simonson had some pretty harsh words for the Giants’ GM, who’s likely on his way out in just a few days:

“Dave Gettleman is an atrocious GM and not a good person IMO. The fact he’s had this much time to not be good at his job, while deciding others’ fates, and indebting one of the most historically respected franchises is embarrassing, and also a strong example of karma existing.”

Big decision loom for the Giants after the season ends:

The Giants have a long off-season ahead as they try to find a general manager who can lead them into the future.

Reports have indicated that ownership is keen on retaining head coach Joe Judge, but after five consecutive blowouts and regression compared to last season, it is possible they move on from him after just two years with the team.

The Giants lost their most recent game to the Chicago Bears by 26 points, as the offense tallied -10 passing yards and four turnovers. Saquon Barkley was a lone bright spot with 102 yards on 21 carries, but his efforts were moot given the lack of discipline and passion from the team as a whole.

After the game, Judge went on a lengthy tirade regarding his team’s effort and the general state of the franchise moving forward. He indicated that things behind the scenes are positive and heading in the right direction, but everything on the field says they are far away from being a competent team capable of pushing for a postseason appearance.

Aside from Judge, moving on from Gettleman should be the first point on a long laundry list ready for the cleaners. The former Carolina Panthers GM will leave the Giants in a state of darkness, leaving four years of inapt and lackluster drafting in his wake.

At this point, an entire rebuild might be necessary given the state of the roster, and while there are a few keepers, there are too many holes the team needs to fix before fans can feel appreciative of the product they are putting on the field every given Sunday.

Knicks sorely miss Julius Randle in second straight blowout

rj barrett, knicks

If it wasn’t obvious after the Oklahoma City Thunder blew out the New York Knicks on Friday night, they desperately missed Julius Randle and his impact. On Sunday afternoon, the Knicks dropped their second consecutive game against the Toronto Raptors, losing by 15 points and barely walking away with many positives.

The Knicks had embarked on a lengthy streak against teams that are below .500 on the season but have struggled considerably to walk away with wins. They have won three of their last five games, but they look like an entirely different team, demoralized and void of offensive production without Randle.

Against Toronto, Tom Thibodeau started rookie Miles McBride and third-string center Taj Gibson, to supplement injuries. McBride finished with just two points over 15 minutes, as he was quickly substituted for Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley, who combined for 20 points over 55 minutes.

The Knicks shot just 34.3% from deep in the game, while the Raptors shot 38.2%. Toronto’s starting five were electric, as Fred VanVleet posted 35 points on 7 of 13 shooting from three-point range and 11 of 17 from the field. All five starters contributed a positive +/-.

The Knicks have given a bigger opportunity to Obi Toppin with Randle on the NBA’s health and safety protocols list. Toppin contributed 19 points, two blocks, six assists, and six rebounds in the loss. He shot 7 of 12 from the field over 45 minutes.

Despite Toppin’s adequate offensive performance, the team had little to no energy and played porous defense. Allowing 120 points to a Raptors team that has struggled as of late is simply unacceptable.

The Knicks turned the ball over 17 times and committed 26 fouls. Even more mesmerizing, they picked up just 30 rebounds compared to 44 from Toronto. Despite having a small lineup, the Knicks were outmuscled and outpaced throughout the game.

Thibodeau will now look ahead to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night, but they will still be without several key players.

New York Giants get blown out by Chicago Bears in Week 17

saquon barkley, giants

The New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears on Sunday with a score of 29-3. This leaves New York with a 4-12 record and only one game remaining this season. The Giants finished the 2020 season with a record of 6-10. Expecting improvement heading into 2021, the Giants have regressed, now being unable to match their win total from last season.

The Giants were already eliminated from the playoffs entering this game. With a loss today, New York Giants fans’ sights are set on the 2022 NFL Draft. More exciting than the regular season is the speculation around the Giants’ front office. The team is likely moving on from General Manager Dave Gettleman after this season and looking to replace him with new blood.

However, though that might be the focus of Giants fans, Head Coach Joe Judge and the team want to convince everyone they are focused on finishing the season strong with a win in Washington next Sunday. It is hard to believe the Giants will have any chance of winning though if they play like they did today.

Key stats and takeaways

  • QB Mike Glennon: 4/11 24 yds, 2 INT, 4 FUM 2 LST, 0 TD
  • RB Saquon Barkley: 21 CAR, 102 yds
  • LB Lorenzo Carter: 6 TAK, 1 SAK, 2 TFL

The New York Giants’ inability to protect the quarterback cost them this game. Mike Glennon was constantly under pressure, being berated by Chicago’s pass-rushers. Glennon had no time to throw and, eventually, the Giants just stopped trying to throw the ball. They stuck to the ground and gained some yardage, but seldom enough for a first down and never enough for a touchdown.

Offense has been a struggle for the New York Giants all season long. The team has one struggle match left before they can focus on the offseason and rebuild their team for the future.

The case for Canton: Should Devin Hester be a first ballot hall of famer?

devin hester, bears

Ask Chicago Bears fans to name one player who impacted the game as a special teams returner and most will point to WR/KR Devin Hester as the most notable example. Dubbed the “Windy City Flyer,” Hester suited up for the Bears from 2006-2013 and quickly become a beloved figure among Bears fans and one that will be remembered forever.

On Thursday, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that Hester was selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022, leading to an intriguing question: Should Hester be inducted into Canton on his first try?

Hester’s career is surely storied. Playing in 156 career games, Hester spent 12 seasons with four different franchises, averaging 11.7 yards per punt return and 24.9 yards per kick return. Surely, much of Hester’s career took off while playing with the Bears, meaning when he does eventually get inducted into Canton, it’ll likely be as a member of the Bears, as Hester currently holds the Bears franchise record for average yards per punt return, which is set at 17.1.

Playing wide receiver certainly wasn’t the strongest aspect of Hester’s game and with just 255 career receptions and 16 total touchdowns, it’s clear that Hester’s time playing wide receiver could work against him when the Hall of Fame committee does decide who to enshrine. Much of Hester’s success as a receiver did come with the Bears, yet another reason he’ll likely be enshrined as a member of the Chicago Bears.

Overall, when looking at Hester’s career, it’s clear that he’ll continue making a strong case to be inducted into the Hall of Fame over the next few years and while there is a strong chance that he’s inducted on his first try, the committee could surely see his time as a wide receiver as working against him but ultimately decide that his time a return specialist could be the decided factor that he’s enshrined in 2022.

New York Rangers begin 2022 with matinee against Tampa Bay, Panarin in Covid protocol

The New York Rangers kick-off 2022 with an afternoon game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at MSG on Sunday without the services of Artemi Panarin.

New York Rangers: 20-8-4
Tampa Bay Lightning: 21-7-5
Venue: Madison Square Garden
Television: MSG Networks

The New York Rangers look to continue their surprising season with a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a matinee contest at the GArden starting at 12:30 p.m.

They will have to play without the services of their best player, Artemi Panarin as he is in COvid protocol and will be unavailable for today’s game.

With a win over Tampa Bay on New Year’s Eve, the Blueshirts won their 20th of the season and it was their 12t road win of the year.

Last game at Tampa Bay

New York Rangers 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3 – SHOOTOUT – Dec. 31, 2021 (Amalie Arena)

NYR Goals: A. Lafreniére (7), B. Goodrow (5, 6), M. Zibanejad (SOW)
TBL Goals: S. Stamkos (16), R. Colton (4), C. Perry (8)
NYR Goalie: I. Shesterkin (W – 25/28)
TBL Goalie: B. Elliott (OTL – 20/23)
NYR Shots: 23
TBL Shots: 28
NYR PP: 0/4
NYR PK: 3/4

New York closed out 2021 with a shootout win in Tampa Bay, earning its 20
win of the season. It was a back-and-forth battle in Tampa as the Lightning took a 1-0 lead into the second where the Rangers took hold of 2-1 lead 15 minutes into the frame. The two teams exchanged
goals and eventually went to a shootout where Mika Zibanejad scored the lone goal. On the night he received his Stanley Cup ring from last season, Barclay Goodrow scored two goals, including one shorthanded.

Today’s Matchup

• The Blueshirts begin their seventh back-to-back of the season with a game tomorrow night against Edmonton. This season, the Rangers are 3-2-1 in the first game and 3-2-1 in the second game of a back-to-back.
• The Rangers are 9-2-0 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.

Lineup

Kreider – Zibanejad – Kakko
Lafreniere – Strome – Goodrow
Hunt – Chytil – Gauthier
Gettinger – McKegg – Reaves

 
Miller – Trouba
Hajek – Fox
Jones – Lundkvist

Shesterkin

 

Injuries/Covid Protocol

As of this morning Artemi Panarin,  Ryan Lindgren, Jeff Tinoridi, and Kevin Rooney remain in Covid protocol. Sammy Blais is out for the season with an LBI.

 

Recent Transactions

Jan. 1 – Alexandar Georgiev cleared Covid protocol. Keith Kinkaid was re-assigned to the taxi squad. Adam Huska was re-assigned to Hartford. Morgan Barron recalled from Taxi Squad.
Dec. 28 – Zac Jones and Tim Gettinger were recalled from the Taxi Squad.
Dec. 28 – Morgan Barron, Jonny Brodzinski, Tim Gettinger, Zac Jones, Matthew Robertson, Adam Huska assigned to the taxi squad.

UFC: Who will face Tony Ferguson next?

Tony Ferguson, UFC

For years, there was one man who was the boogey man of the UFC‘s lightweight division. That man was “El Cucuy” Tony Ferguson (25-6). Ferguson has been a staple of the lightweight division for years and he’s constantly been near the very top of the lightweight division.

We were first introduced to Ferguson on The Ultimate Fighter. El Cucuy won the show and earned himself a contract with the UFC after he knocked out Ramsey Nijem. Ferguson then went on to go 11-1 in his next 12 fights inside the octagon.

That stretch included a nine-fight win streak which included a win over former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. That streak led him to a fight with Kevin Lee for the interim lightweight title. Ferguson won that fight and became champion. However, Ferguson didn’t keep the interim title long as it was taken away following knee injuries.

Ferguson was considered by many to be the best lightweight in the world. However, that’s not the narrative anymore. After capturing UFC gold and going on an incredible 12-fight win streak, Ferguson has lost three in a row. He’s not just lost three in a row, but he’s been dominated in those three fights.

Who will the UFC pair him with next?

Since being on this recent skid, many have wondered what would be next for El Cucuy. Recently, Dana White came out and said that the UFC has a fight for Ferguson but he didn’t elaborate on who the opponent would be. Well, thanks to Twitter, we might have some insight.

Rafael Dos Anjos took to Twitter and tweeted at Ferguson asking him about a UFC Fight Night on February 19th. RDA said that he asked the promotion for a fight with Ferguson, and Ferguson seemed to brush him off. It appears that Ferguson would like the UFC to set him up against Michael Chandler.

Chandler was tweeting about a potential fight with Conor McGregor when Ferguson chimed in. Ferguson said that the UFC had relayed a message saying that Chandler would be ready for a fight in the spring. Chandler responded saying he would beat Ferguson bell-to-bell in a hypothetical matchup.

In looking at the UFC’s lightweight division, those two matchups do make sense for Ferguson. Another opponent to watch out for would be Dan Hooker. My guess is that we will find out sooner rather than later who will be fighting El Cucuy next.

Remembering the Yankees players we lost in 2021

The New York Yankees have been blessed with many great players over the past 100 plus years. Some were among the best players to play the game we all love. With a past as glorious as the Yankees’, we as fans deal with the reality that, as in life, none of these players escape the end of their time on this earth. Each year players die, and all we have are the memories they created for us. Unfortunately, this past year was no different. Today we remember those Yankees that passed away and other notables.

Dr. Bobby Brown 1924 – 2021:

Brown the Yankees’ “Golden Boy” passed away at the age of 96. Up until the coronavirus, Bobby Brown was a fixture at every Old Timer’s Day celebration. He won four championships with a batting average of .439 across 17 World Series games in his time with the Yankees. Yankee owner and general partner Hal Steinbrenner had this to say upon learning of his passing:

Few people who have worn the pinstripes have lived such an accomplished, fulfilled, and wide-ranging life as Dr. Bobby Brown, who was beloved by our organization for his warmth, kindness, and character; he represented the pinstripes with elegance throughout his playing career and in subsequent decades as a frequent, welcome guest at Old Timers Day. We also hold the utmost respect for the myriad of other accomplishments in his life, from service to our country, his stewardship of the American League, and his longtime career as a cardiologist. The Yankees extend their deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones as we reflect on his incredible life.

The “Golden boy” of the Yankees was an excellent defender at third base. Many that recall his play say he was as good as Graig Nettles. He wasn’t a home run hitter, but he was a lifetime .279 hitter with 22 home runs in his career. He would have had better stats, but he only played in half of the games, as he shared the third base with Billy Johnson. It was common during the period for managers to platoon players. He played with the likes of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Joe DiMaggio. Bobby and DiMaggio went to the same high school together.

After Bobby Brown left baseball, he opened his Cardiology practice in Forth Worth, Texas. He took a leave from heart surgery in 1974 to become President of the Texas Rangers for a year before returning to his practice. At the age of 60, he retired from medicine and became President of the American League, which he held until he was 70. Since then, he has been a regular at Yankee Old Timer’s Day celebrations. Unfortunately, this amazing Yankee passed away at 96. He was the last New York Yankee survivor of the 1947 and 1949 World Champion Series.

Bill Virdon 1932 – 2021

Virdon attended an open tryout held by the New York Yankees in Branson, Missouri. A Yankee scout was impressed with Virdon, and the Yankees signed him. Virdon made his professional debut in 1950 with the Independence Yankees. Virdon played for the Norfolk Tars of the Class B Piedmont League in 1951 and the Binghamton Triplets of the Class A Eastern League in 1952. The Yankees assigned him to Kansas City in 1953, but he struggled, batting .233. Finally, the Yankees demoted Virdon to the Birmingham Barrons. In 42 games for Birmingham, Virdon had a .317 batting average.

Virdon remained stuck behind Mickey Mantle on the Yankees’ depth chart for center field, while Bauer and Woodling played the corner positions. The Yankees traded Virdon to the St. Louis Cardinals before the 1954 season. But that would not be the last time he would work for the Yankees.

After he retired from baseball, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he went on to be a manager for 11 more seasons. Two of those positions were with the Yankees. He managed the Yankees from 1974 to 1975. He won 142 games for the Yankees for a .532 winning record. On August 2, 1975, Virdon would be fired by the Yankees when they hired Billy Martin to guide the team.

Virdon passed away at the age of 90.

Other MLB notables:

A few of the other greats lost across MLB are Hank Aaron, possibly one of the best players to ever play the game. Hammerin’ Hank Aaron was one of the greatest and most important players in baseball. Aaron signed by the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro League at the age of 18; he would end up integrating the Sally League — at much personal turmoil — before debuting with the Milwaukee Braves just a couple of months past his 20th birthday. He then was one of the best five players in baseball for the next, 22 years. He was the all-time leader in home runs for several decades, of course, but he was far from just a slugger: He had a .305 career average and remained the all-time leader in RBIs and total bases. His book “I Had a Hammer” is a must-read. There has never been another Hank Aaron. There has never been anyone particularly close.

One of the best managers in baseball, Tommy Lasorda, passed away this year. There is no question that he was one of the most colorful characters in baseball up to his death. He was with the Los Angeles Dodgers for an unprecedented 40 years. He went from throwing three wild pitches in his only ever start with the Brooklyn Dodgers team to managing the team for 21 years, winning two World Series in the process. His final game as manager was interrupted because he had a heart attack; he drove himself to the hospital. (The Dodgers won.) He returned to win a gold medal with Team USA in 2000.

The pitching great Don Sutton was a rookie member of a rotation that included Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. For over a decade, Sutton was a star pitcher for the Dodgers. He was a four-time All-Star and was the 1977 MVP of the All-Star game. His career lasted over 20 years; he pitched in the ’74, ’77, ’78, and ’82 World Series, though his team didn’t win any of them. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1998, the only player selected that year. After retiring from baseball, he had a long career as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves.

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

 

Early predictions for the New York Yankees 2022 season

carlos rodon, yankees

The New York Yankees fell short last season, only making it to the Wild Card game, which they lost to the Boston Red Sox. In the off-season, the Yankee front office has done next to nothing to improve the team for the 2022 season.

In post-season 1.0 before the lockout, the Yankees mostly sat on their hands, watching other teams make significant acquisitions to give them a better chance at reaching the post-season. All the Yankees did was firm up a new coaching staff and hire a few minor leaguers.

Considering that they have done little, it makes it significantly challenging to make any predictions for the 2022 season, but as of this point, with the holes they have to fill, it is not looking good for the team that has won 27 World Championships. But today, just for fun, we will try to do just that.

The 2022 team:

If the New York Yankees are genuinely committed to improving the team for 2022 by filling the holes with quality players, the Yankees should do well. With an active off-season last year, they made it all the way to the wild card game that they lost to the Boston Red Sox. It wouldn’t take much to at least take the division and beyond.

New Yankee shortstop:

The Yankees will probably not sign Carlos Correa, the leading free agent still available. It is more likely they will go the way of a stop-gap measure while waiting for Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza to develop fully. Don’t be surprised if you see Gio Urshela staffing the shortstop position at the season’s start. This is more likely if the Yankees trade for Matt Chapman, who would replace Urshela at third base.

Yankees will have an everyday first baseman:

If the Yankees come out swinging when a new CBA is signed, and if they are aggressive in making a blockbuster trade with the Athletics, you will see Matt Chapman at third base and Matt Olson as the new Yankees first baseman. If not, it appears they will resign Anthony Rizzo, who is an upgrade to the oft-injured Luke Voit. Voit will likely be part of a trade package.

Yankees still lacking strength in center field?:

The Yankees, with other important things to do, will likely rely on Aaron Hicks to be their everyday center fielder. They probably will not be willing to spend any money in center, depending on call-ups if Hicks is injured. Center fielder Brett Gardner has probably seen his last days in pinstripes. Don’t be surprised if the Yankees take a long hard look at Odúbel Herrera. If perchance the Yankees decide to go big, look for them to import Seiya Suzuki.

Yankees finally round out starting rotation:

The Yankees will likely depend upon the minors, more than in past seasons, to shore up a less than perfect starting rotation. It may not be until right before spring training, but they will secure a number two starting pitcher. The most logical out there is Carlos Rodon. But with the Yankees’ history of searching out under-the-radar players, they may put a package together to entice Derek Jeter to let go of Elieser Hernandez, who thrived during the 2020 playoffs. Also in the mix of possibilities is Caleb Smith of the Diamondbacks and Yuseil Kikuchi of the Mariners. With the Yankees offering Justin Verlander $25 million on a one-year deal, it seems the Yankees are willing to spend.

Gerrit Cole is again in the Cy Young race:

Gerrit Cole has fallen short in his two seasons with the Yankees by not getting them to a World Series and a 28th World Championship. He will most likely pitch well during 2022 and be in the running for another Cy Young Award, something he has never won. But the Yankees need him to be better, more Astros-like, where he pitched better than he has as a Yankee. Certainly, some run support would help.

Aaron Judge to be a Yankee for life?

Unless the Yankees are just plain stupid, before the end of the 2022 season, the Yankees will finally make slugger and right fielder Aaron Judge a Yankee for life. He is the glue that holds the team together, he is a leader, and he is the franchise’s face. The only question that could hold this short is if he doesn’t have a healthy season. He has only had two healthy seasons with the Yankees, 2017 and 2021. If his health is again an issue, that extension is in question. On the other hand, if he has a year like last year, he can probably count on a five or six-year extension that will net him somewhere between $180 and $210 million.

Players that may shine in 2022:

Under the category of underperformers, there is no reason to believe that Gary Sanchez or Gleyber Torres will turn a page and become stars again. However, there could be some surprises. Joey Gallo could lead the team in home runs. Aaron Hick, as unlikely as it seems, could stay a healthy and robust force behind the plate. Gio Urshela, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton will again shine in 2022. In addition, we may see some other shining stars should the Yankees put their pocketbook where their mouth is.

As I said earlier, this is very early to be making 2022 predictions. However, I, along with many other writers, will again make predictions once we see what the Yankees will or will not do before the start of the season.