New York Giants bringing back third round QB pick Davis Webb

It’s a known fact that the New York Giants need a backup quarterback, but that role could be filled by an unexpected name. That name is Davis Webb, who was taken in the draft by the Giants in 2017 to study behind Eli Manning. Of course, Webb ended up being far from an heir apparent to Manning. He was waived the next year, making room for the Giants to select Kyle Lauletta.

Both picks have been criticized as examples of the Giants drafting players only to end up cutting them. However, Webb was able to find a new home after the Giants. He was with the Jets in 2018 and then spent the next seasons with the Bills. The Bills connection likely has something to do with the Giants picking him up again.

The contract is a reserve/futures contract, and Webb was on and off the practice squad in Buffalo – so don’t write him in as the new backup just yet. However, it’s clear that Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll see something in him if they’re already moving to sign him now that his Bills contract expired.

Despite Webb’s years in the league, he’s only appeared once in a regular season game. That came during last season, when he played four snaps against the Jets in garbage time but didn’t pass the football.

It’s unclear if Webb will have a larger role in the Giants backup competition, but it’s easy to see why the team is looking for fresh blood in that area after Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm’s performances in 2021.

Giants: Stephen A. Smith goes nuts over Tiki Barber comments, threatens to air dirty laundry

New York Giants, Tiki Barber

The New York Giants haven’t exactly had the most positive bout of media attention over the past few weeks, ranging from Brian Flores indicting the organization in a lawsuit to rock bottom on the football field.

Flores’s comments spurred an uproar from analysts and talking heads across the sports-scape, one of which was former Giants running back, Tiki Barber.

Barber came to the defense of ownership, indicating that they would never disrespect a minority candidate in the way Flores brought to light.

“The fact that the Maras, and I always say this with the Tisches as well, they embraced me like I was family, you know what I mean? And so, I know them intimately, so when I say that I don’t believe they’re racist — I know they’re not,” Barber told Brandon Tierney on their WFAN Sports Radio show “Tiki & Tierney.”

Barber went on to target Stephen A. Smith for his comments regarding the organization:

“I can’t sit here, with conviction, like Stephen A. [Smith], who doesn’t know anybody in the Giants’ organization and claim that they’re a racist organization. I would never do that. The only reason I would do that is because I’m trying to make a point, and my point is that Brian Flores is trying to make a point,” said Barber.

“Tiki Barber took the liberty of sounding off about me [on Feb. 2], talking how about I called the New York Giants racist and how I don’t know anybody there … First of all, I don’t recall calling the Giants racist. I brought to the attention that you got a guy like [team owner] John Mara on the [NFL’s] Diversity Committee and this man has never hired a black coach in the history of the franchise — one of only six franchises to do it,” Smith said.

“Tiki, you don’t know who the hell I know. I’ve been a journalist for almost 30 years, I know a few people within the Giants organization,” Smith said, before making he matter a bit more personal

“I know a lot of stuff about you, my brother, that I would never say because I have the decency not to say those things.”

There’s no telling with Smith knows about Barber, but this was a clear threat from a media member that makes a living sensationalizing stories for entertainment.

New York Yankees: Bronx native pitcher draws comparisons to Randy Johnson

In recent years, the New York Yankees have been very active in the International Free Agency market. In 2019 they signed the phenom Jasson Dominguez, this year, they latched onto the number one prospect Rodrick Rias. But in 2021, they signed a very good pitcher in Henry Lalane, a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic that has received very little publicity.

Some of the other international prospects that the Yankees hired are Bernie Williams, Robinson Cano, and the only player to be unanimously selected to the Hall of Fame, Mariano Rivera. This year, other international signings include SS Luis Suarez, catchers Diomedes Hernandez, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Enyer Urena. Add to that right-handing pitcher Xabier Marte and Omar Gonzalez.

Today, we delve into the now 17-year old that has been compared to the likes of Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. Henry Lalane is a lefty pitcher in the Yankees farm system. He is 6′ 7″ weighing in at 211 pounds. Signed out of the Dominican, he pitched in twelve games for the rookie-level Dominican Summer League when he posted a 3.70 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched. When asked about his resemblance to the Hall of Famer Johnson, he had this to say:

“Since I started pitching, everybody would say ‘look, it’s Randy Johnson,’” Lalane explained via translator. “Then I started watching videos of (him) and tried to imitate and be like him because I liked the way he was very potent on the mound and very aggressive.”

The now 17-year-old Lalane throws a fastball in the low-90’s, a change-up, and a devastatingly severe curveball which he considers his best pitch. Fellow player Manuel Palenca said he has great execution with pitches that he exactly knows where to throw and is near impossible to hit. His fastball has sink and late-life. He also has a great curveball.

Lalane, also born in the shadow of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, has lived both in the Bronx and in the Dominican Republic at different times while growing up. His father played Division l basketball at St. Francis College in New York and went on to play for the Dominican Republic National Team. His sister also played for the same league and today currently plays Volleyball at Indian Hills College in Iowa.

In one of his returns to the Bronx at the age of six, he became a strong Yankee fan. He frequently attended games with his grandfather. At eight, he returned to the republic and played little league baseball at the Javillla Academy in Santo Domingo. in his early years, he was an outfielder, but when he turned 14, he began pitching. It wasn’t long before he realized pitching was his game.

They put him against more challenging and tougher teams as he advanced pitching. Lalane said that that was when he gained more confidence and started to feel better about his pitching abilities. He took advantage of his dual citizenship by playing in several tournaments and showcases in the United States. That’s when Yankee scouts and others first noticed him. He traveled to America, and the New York Yankees signed Lalane on May 4, 2021; it was the first day he was eligible. Lalane had this to say:

“It means the world to me since I dreamed (as) a little child to play for the Yankees one day,” Lalane said. “I’m super happy and ecstatic that my dream is coming true to pitch in a Yankees uniform.”

This season when the rookie-level Florida Complex League begins its season that is scheduled to start in late June, he is expected to show off his pitching skills. It will be fun to watch this young player, that has been compared to Randy Johnson develop and hopefully advance in the minor leagues and start to fulfill his dream of playing at Yankee Stadium sometime after the 2025 season.

3 reasons the New York Giants should hire “Wink” Martindale to be their new defensive coordinator

Don Martindale

New head coach Brian Daboll and the New York Giants are putting together an impressive coaching staff. Brian Daboll was hired as the next head coach of the Giants this offseason and has already filled two of his three coordinator positions. At offensive coordinator, Mike Kafka takes over. Special teams coordinator, Thomas McGaughey remains. But trouble arose when defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left for Las Vegas. Now, the Giants are searching for Graham’s successor. Among the most exciting candidates is a name familiar to Giants fans: Don “Wink” Martindale.

Don “Wink” Martindale interviewed in person with the New York Giants yesterday, per sources. Giants fans should remember Don Martindale as one of the finalists to land the Giants’ head coaching position the last time it was on the market. In 2020, Joe Judge got the job, but Martindale was interviewed and made it deep in the running. Now, two years later, “Wink” could be in line to join the New York Giants as a defensive coordinator.

Experience coaching a top defense

Don Martindale was recently let go by the Baltimore Ravens after spending 2018-2021 as the team’s defensive coordinator. This move came as a surprise since “Wink” has led Baltimore’s defense to the top of the NFL over the past three seasons. Martindale was with the Ravens from 2012 to 2021, serving as the linebackers coach from 2012-2017.

The Baltimore Ravens defense has been one of the best in the NFL over the last decade. Under Martindale’s leadership as DC, the Ravens ranked in the top-three defenses in the NFL for three of the four seasons. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, Don Martindale’s defenses ranked second, third, and second in the NFL.

An aggressive scheme that matches NYG’s personnel

The New York Giants have been running a 3-4 defensive scheme for years now. Patrick Graham utilized a base 3-4 with a variety of unique blitz packages. A blitz-heavy 3-4 defense is exactly what Don Martindale would bring to the Big Apple.

Continuing with a scheme like this will provide at least some continuity for the Giants’ defensive players. But there is a chance that Martindale’s scheme would provide New York with a major upgrade.

The Ravens had the sixth-highest blitz percentage in 2021 (31.1%). In 2020, Martindale’s Ravens blitzed 44.1% of the time, the highest percentage in the NFL. They also ranked 2nd in the NFL in total defense last season. 2019 was Martindale’s most impressive and most aggressive season as defensive coordinator. That year, the Ravens blitzed a league-high 54.9% of the time and only allowed 15 total touchdowns.

Excellent run defenses

The Baltimore Ravens possessed a top-ten run defense in each of the four years that Don Martindale was the team’s defensive coordinator. This past season, the Ravens’ run defense ranked first in the NFL. The Ravens’ banged-up defense allowed only 1,436 yards on the ground in 2021. Head coach John Harbaugh expressed gratitude to Martindale for the great defenses he ran during his time with the team:

“We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done.” – Ravens HC John Harbaugh on Don Martindale

For comparison, the New York Giants ranked 25th in the NFL in rushing defense. The Giants allowed 2,193 rushing yards this season. If hired as the next defensive coordinator of the Giants, Don “Wink” Martindale would instantly improve the team’s rush defense while installing an uber-aggressive 3-4 defense that has proven to be greatly successful.

WATCH: Julius Randle in heated moment with Knicks video coordinator

New York Knicks star Julius Randle finds himself in another controversy following a heartbreaking 21-point collapse in Los Angeles.

In a viral video that has garnered over 1 million views as of posting time, Randle is seen in a heated confrontation with Knicks video coordinator Scott King.

New York coach Tom Thibodeau brushed it aside when he talked to reporters following its Monday shootaround in Utah. Thibodeau labeled the confrontation as a ‘heat of the moment’ episode between two competitive individuals trying to win.

King joined the Knicks in the 2019-20 season as an assistant video coordinator after working as a video intern with the Detroit Pistons (208-19) and basketball operations personnel at Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana Pacers’ affiliate team, in the G League (2017-18).

While cooler heads (assistant coaches Johnnie Bryant and Kenny Payne) prevailed and prevented a full-blown physical altercation between Randle and King, it was another black eye on Randle, who is in the midst of a disappointing season marred by his statistical regression and exacerbated by his earlier media boycott, poor body language and a run-in with the referees and fans.

Randle’s name has recently come up in trade rumors as the Knicks are reportedly interested in Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Portland’s CJ McCollum. With just four days left before the trade deadline, Randle’s performance and behavior bear watching as the Knicks (24-29) continue their tough West Coast trip that will culminate in Portland on Saturday.

The Knicks are currently two games behind 10th seed Atlanta Hawks (25-28) in the competitive Eastern Conference.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks emerge as legitimate trade suitor for CJ McCollum

New York Knicks, CJ McCollum

With four days left before the trade deadline, the New York Knicks appear to be pivoting from seller’s mode and scrambling to salvage this season.

The Knicks have reportedly shown strong interest to acquire Portland’s CJ McCollum, viewed as a win-now move.

“Two rival teams say that the Knicks are emerging as a legitimate trade suitor for Portland’s CJ McCollum. The Pelicans, until now, have been most frequently mentioned as the leaders of the McCollum chase if another trade materializes for the Trail Blazers after their Friday deal with the LA Clippers to send out Norman Powell and Robert Covington,” Stein wrote on his substack newsletter Monday.

The 30-year old McCollum has successfully recovered from a collapsed lung and is averaging 20.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists with a 44/39/71 shooting split over 36 games so far this season. But his scoring average is his lowest since his sophomore season and the emergence of Anfernee Simons has made him expendable.

The Trail Blazers have traded away veterans Norman Powell and Robert Covington to put them under the luxury tax. Trading away McCollum for expiring salaries and future assets will give them cap flexibility to reshape their roster around Damian Lillard and Simons.

The Knicks have veterans on team-friendly contracts and assets to lure Portland. But they have a strong competition in the Pelicans who are willing to move their most attractive asset Josh Hart, a young and emerging two-way player who is on a current three-year deal worth $37.9 million with the last year as a club option.

McCollum is on the first year of a three-year, $100-million extension. But at 30 years old, the scoring guard might be on a decline with several injuries — from sprains in both knees and multiple left foot injuries — hampered his availability over the last few years. He also played through a fracture in his spine during the NBA’s truncated Orlando bubble.

The Knicks seem desperate to salvage this season. They are five games out of .500 but still in the running for a play-in spot in the competitive Eastern Conference. 

It will be interesting to watch how this plays out, especially with the Knicks visiting Portland two days after the trade deadline.

Another important thing to note on Stein’s report is Toronto’s willingness to attach a draft pick to Goran Dragic’s expiring salary. This is the kind of deal that this present Knicks front office had leveraged in the past. The Cavaliers’ package to acquire Caris LeVert from Indiana has inspired the Raptors to structure a similar deal around Dragic’s expiring salary.

“League sources say Toronto is exploring its trade options with the similar base offer of a first-round pick attached to Goran Dragic’s $19.4 million expiring deal,” Stein wrote.

The Raptors are reportedly seeking a center to fortify their Pascal Siakam-OG Anunoby-Fred VanVleet-Gary Trent Jr.-Scottie Barnes core. They have also been linked to Atlanta Hawks’ Danilo Gallinari, meaning the Raptors are also in the market for scoring punch off the bench.

The Knicks have a slew of veterans on team-friendly contracts, including Nerlens Noel, to dangle. Noel is averaging 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals this season and appears to have shaken off the injury bug that slowed him down. Last season, Noel averaged 2.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals as the Knicks’ primary center that catapulted them to a surprising playoff appearance.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Former Mets’ pitcher has some harsh criticism for Rob Manfred

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

MLB and the Players Association are still negotiating with the hope of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) without putting the start of the 2022 season in jeopardy. At this point, it’s highly unlikely that spring training starts on time. A current MLB pitcher, one who played for the New York Mets recently, had some strong words for Commissioner Rob Manfred for being in front of what could be the league’s darkest time and for failing to come up with fair solutions in the conflict.

Stroman, who was traded to the Mets in 2019 and pitched there until last season, slammed Manfred and expressed his disappointment because of the slow pace of negotiations.

“Manclown and his boys need to figure it out and stop ruining the game of baseball,” the pitcher, now a member of the Chicago Cubs, tweeted Sunday as a reply to a Sports Illustrated story about the 2022 campaign potentially not starting on time.

Several Mets have also criticized the league

Players such as current member of the New York Mets Max Scherzer (who is a strong voice in the union) recently expressed their displeasure with the current situation. The league, which is the side who started the current lockout, now wants a federal mediator, but the union refuses to have any third parties “helping” the negotiations.

It’s not the first time Stroman tweets words of support for his fellow players, and he also made it clear recently that he feels for fans, who can also be considered losers in this whole charade.

Another current member of the Mets’ roster, Trevor May, said the Commissioner is not negotiating in good faith, per The Score.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to training camps on February 14, and the first spring training games are scheduled for February 26. At this point, unless something drastic and unexpected happens, it’s safe to say neither will happen on time. The baseball community is patiently waiting for a quick resolution, but MLB isn’t helping matters with its refusal to acknowledge the players’ needs.

One underrated offensive tackle the Giants could target in trade-back scenario

trevor penning, giants

In a perfect world, the New York Giants would walk away from the 2022 NFL draft with a top offensive tackle prospect and more draft capital to work with in a prospective trade-back scenario. Giving new general manager Joe Schoen more opportunities to hit on his evaluations is ideal.

One prospect who elevated his stock tremendously during the Senior Bowl is Northern Iowa tackle, Trevor Penning.

Penning dominated during the Senior Bowl week, putting multiple defenders on the ground and showcasing his athleticism at 6-foot-7, 321 pounds.

Right off the bat, you can see Penning stand up a pass rusher and bury him in the dirt, representing the type of hostility and aggression teams love in tackle prospects.

Penning was previously considered a second-round pick, but he might’ve catapulted himself into the first round, where the Giants could move back and still grab his services while adding more assets for Schoen to utilize.

The Draft Network had great things to say about Trevor Penning, indicating he’s an incredibly powerful tackle who dominates in the run game:

Trevor Penning is a redshirt senior who aligns at Left Tackle for the Panther offense. good athlete with good explosion and agility to get out on the perimeter. In the run game, he is a nasty and physical player. He has a savage temperament and has finished several plays with the defender on the ground. He is extremely powerful at the point of attack and gets consistent vertical movement in the run game. However, due to his size and inability to bend extremely well, leverage issues are of slight concern against smaller edge defenders.

The aggressiveness Penning brings to the field is unmatched, always finding a way to demoralize opponents by putting them on the ground and offering a few words of encouragement after the play.

Jets general manager Joe Douglas was seen speaking with Trevor for prolonged periods of time, so there is obvious interest from other teams, but anything is possible in the draft.

Penning can be a bit heavy-footed in pass protection and his hand placement is inconsistent at times, especially against smaller pass rushers who offer more quickness off the edge. If he can find a way to balance out speed rushers, he will become a solid tackle in the NFL, but he doesn’t have any experience on the right side — many prospects make the transition.

The Northern Iowa stand-out spent time at both guard spots and left tackle at the Senior Bowl, so there’s no question he is used to moving around from the outside to the interior.

There is a connection between Schoen and Penning, considering the Buffalo Bills drafted his teammate, Spencer Brown in the third round last year. There’s no doubt Buffalo had already done their evaluations on Penning as well, so Schoen might have a bit more knowledge on him as a prospect.

With the Giants trying to take a more modernized approach to their offense, establishing the run with a healthy scheme is essential. Penning is considered one of the best run-blocking tackles in the draft class, which is undoubtedly an attractive part of his game.

Yankees’ Jasson Dominguez autographed card sells for unbelievable amount at auction

New York Yankees, Jasson Dominguez

New York Yankees star prospect Jasson Dominguez is already one of the most hyped players in minor-league baseball, despite the fact he hasn’t featured above Single-A ball just yet.

Dominguez has been compared to players like Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout, and the Yankees believe he can reach that astronomical comparison given the proper development. At just 19 years old, Dominguez stands at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, containing unparalleled power and athleticism for a player of his size and age.

In fact, he’s already helping fans cash in on his likeness.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reported that an autographed card of Dominguez sold for an insane amount:

Nicknamed “The Martian” for his otherworldly on-field abilities, Dominguez received a $5.1 million signing bonus in 2019. One of Dominguez’s autographed baseball cards sold at auction this week for $474,000, a staggering haul for a player who has yet to log an at-bat above Low-A.

MLB.com has high praises for Jasson, mentioning his incredible tools:

Dominguez not only has the potential for well above-average tools across the board, but he also has the advanced instincts and skills to get the most of them. A switch-hitter, he exhibits a smooth stroke, tremendous bat speed and strength from both sides of the plate. With precocious feel for the barrel and a mature, disciplined approach, he should hit for power and average.

With Low-A Tampa, Dominguez slashed .252/.353/.379 across 56 games. He tallied five homers, nine doubles, 19 RBIs, and stole nine bases. He also generator 27 walks and struck out 73 times.

Kevin Reese, the Yankees’ vice president of player development, raved about Dominguez and his ability to connect with people and perform at an extremely high level on the field.

“Everywhere he goes, he’s turning heads,” Reese said. “His ability to connect with people, his ability to lead at such a young age, the exit velo, the speed. Some of the measurables that we do on our performance science side, it’s all off the charts. We just want to get him to play more baseball; I think all of the skill is there, all of the ability is there.”

If all goes well, Jasson will be one of the biggest Yankee players ever to play the game, but he has a long way to go before he accomplishes that feat.

One starting point guard the Knicks could target at the trade deadline

Spencer Dinwiddie, knicks, wizards

It is no secret that the New York Knicks have been eyeing potential point guard targets at the trade deadline, but one name has gone under the radar over the past few weeks. Washington Wizards PG Spencer Dinwiddie presents an intriguing option for New York after passing on him during free agency this past off-season.

Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $54 million contract, set to earn $18 million next season. The Knicks are trying to get rid of several big contracts, so a prospective trade for Dinwiddie shouldn’t be out of the picture.

The reality is simple, Kemba Walker isn’t a proper fit for Tom Thibodeau’s style. He needs a more physically imposing PG with better court vision. Walker hasn’t scored double-digit points since January 18, seven consecutive games. He scored zero points in two of his last three outings, recording just seven against the Los Angeles Lakers in an overtime loss on Saturday night against the Lakers.

If Thibodeau had Derrick Rose available, Walker might not even see the floor again this season, which seemed to be the consensus before a myriad of injuries plagued the position. Alec Burks, unfortunately, isn’t the facilitator the Knicks need. The team has relied on Julius Randle to pick up the slack in the assists category.

However, Dinwiddie is averaging 12.8 points 5.8 assists and is shooting 37% from the field this year. His scoring production has been rocky, but he is still a solid player who has far better vision and youth compared to Walker.

Defensively, Dinwiddie currently hosts a 114.5 rating, which is quite poor. Walker sits at 112.8 with a -9.2 net rating overall. Nonetheless, unless the Knicks are willing to part ways with youth talent to acquire Jalen Brunson from Dallas or De’Aaron Fox from Sacramento, Spencer might be their best option.

The situation in Washington does not promote Dinwiddie’s future success. Earlier this season, Spencer tried to speak up as a leader but wasn’t received well, which may indicate his teammates don’t necessarily respect him in that regard.

If Washington is simply trying to get his contract off the books, the Knicks could look to swap players with the Wizards, potentially including Evan Fournier and Walker in a deal.