Daniel Jones most underrated player on New York Giants, says PFF

daniel jones, new york giants

The New York Giants are entering the 2022 NFL season with many question marks surrounding their quarterback. Daniel Jones was a shocking selection with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Since then, his career has been filled with inconsistency and injuries as he enters a pivotal fourth season. This is Jones’s make-or-break year as the team opted not to pick up his fifth-year option, meaning he has this one last season to establish himself as a franchise quarterback. Many fans and analysts are disbelievers in Daniel Jones, but one outlet suggests he is being underrated. Pro Football Focus listed the most underrated player on each NFL team entering this season, and Daniel Jones was their selection for the New York Giants.

Is Daniel Jones the Giants’ most underrated player?

Some might view Pro Football Focus’s opinion of Daniel Jones as a hot take. The Giants quarterback threw 10 touchdown passes in 11 games last season. He missed time with injuries and failed to produce wins. With DJ as a starter, New York went 4-7 in 2021. For his career, the Giants are a miserable 12-25.

Granted, Daniel Jones has been playing with a putrid supporting cast for his entire career. The situation surrounding Daniel has been far from ideal, causing many of the losses in which he participated. He has also thrown only 21 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions over the last two years. But Jones’s failure to produce statistical numbers does not seem to concern PFF.

PFF recognizes that Daniel Jones is no star, but they explain that he “has played better in a bad situation than people give him credit for.” Looking ahead to the 2022 NFL season, PFF views the Giants’ recent roster upgrades as a reason to believe his play will significantly improve. Jones recorded a 71.6 overall PFF grade last season. PFF will not be surprised if they see a “significant bump in Jones’ PFF grade from the 70.0s into the 80.0s.”

The Giants improved the offensive line in front of Daniel Jones significantly this offseason. They also added a couple of extra rotational playmakers into the mix. Jones has flashed potential with solid performances in the past, but the good has outweighed the bad thus far. Under Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka’s new offensive scheme, Daniel Jones could finally let the good outshine the shadows of bad and have a breakout season as the New York Giants quarterback.

Kyrie Irving’s future in Brooklyn in limbo after Nets GM sends stern warning

Following an embarrassing sweep at the hands of his former team Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving immediately committed long-term to the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving wanted to run it back with Kevin Durant and declared that he wanted to ‘co-manage’ the team.

But it seems the feeling isn’t mutual.

During Wednesday’s end-of-season press conference, Nets general manager Sean Marks was non-committal on Irving’s future with the team.

“That’s something we’ve been discussing, and we will continue to debrief on and discuss throughout this offseason,” Marks said. “We haven’t had any of those discussions yet, so it’d be unfair for me to comment on how it looks with Kyrie and us because, to be quite frank, he has some decisions to make on his own. He has to look at what he’s going to do with his player option.”

Irving has a $36.9 million player option which he will likely decline to become an unrestricted free agent. He is eligible to extend for up to four years, $183.6 million, or up to five years, $247.6 million with the Nets.

Considering how Irving played a significant role in wasting a championship window with the second-highest luxury tax bill in addition to a net loss amounting to $50-100 million — giving Nets owner Joe Tsai the worst financial losses in the NBA — they are carefully weighing handing out a max extension to a player who only played 103 regular-season games in three years.

Marks did not mince words and sent out a stern warning to Irving.

“We know what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball and be available. That goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here,” Marks said.

The Durant-Irving partnership has only brought one postseason win in three years. It’s not the ‘Nets Level’ jump they expected from the previous era, which overachieved for one playoff appearance, that attracted the superstars to come over.

Marks indirectly acknowledged their mistake of selling their culture in exchange for mercurial stars such as Irving and James Harden.

“There’s been far too much debate, discussion, scuttlebutt — whatever you want to call it — about distractions and about things that are outside of basketball, whereas we’d like to focus on doing the things that got us here in the first place,” Marks said. “That’s focusing on the grit, the resilience and putting a team together that encompasses that and the borough of Brooklyn can be proud of.”

“It starts with roster construction, starts with our preparation, and starts with the summertime. We’ve prided ourselves in the past on finding players with a chip on their shoulder, with resilience, with something to prove. We’re going to have to go back to that. We’re going to have to go back to looking more in their development, more at finding the right characteristics of a player that fits here.”

The Nets want to right the ship that sailed away. Does that mean cutting off the anchor that delivered them Durant but also the deadweight that pulled them down in the last three years?

Toward the end of the press conference, Marks curiously left out Irving when he mentioned the team’s key stakeholders.

“At the right time, talking to all stakeholders, obviously myself, Joe (Tsai), Steve (Nash) and Kevin (Durant), we’ll all be talking about whatever free agent that comes in here. That’s how that all works,” Marks said, “but at the end of the day, more often than not, it’s myself making those decisions.”

If this was posturing ahead of new contract negotiations, the Nets don’t have the leverage. Irving can walk away from the Nets if he declines the player option. Marks can’t replace a player of Irving’s caliber without cap space.

The Los Angeles Lakers thought about trading for Irving and pairing him again with LeBron James during his exile after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. They can revisit that as they try to move on from a failed Russell Westbrook experiment.

Will the Nets do a sign-and-trade with Irving for Westbrook or a package from other teams that will net them complementary pieces around Durant and Ben Simmons to have the size and depth they sorely lacked in the playoffs?

Asked specifically if Marks consider going away from a Big 3 and instead build around a two-star team to get their culture back, he was again non-committal.

“I’d be foolish to say yes or no because you just never know,” Marks said. “Three years ago, I couldn’t have predicted that Kevin and Kyrie were going to say, ‘hey, we want to sign up and play in Brooklyn.’ So you just never know. We wouldn’t have predicted that James harden would have come about.”

“Obviously, we knew we were moving James to a certain extent, but you just never know what’s around the corner, and comes July, things could look quite different or things could look a little bit similar. What I can tell you that will look different is how we approach it and the processes that are involved here.”

Perhaps Marks just wanted to nudge Irving. But by publicly admonishing his star guard, it might blow up in his face again like the way last season unraveled.

Sometimes, things are better left unsaid or much better discussed privately.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Yankees’ star prospect finally hitting his stride after awful start

New York Yankees, Jasson Dominguez

One of the New York Yankees’ top young prospects is Jasson Dominguez, who finally started his journey in the minor-league system this year. Enjoying his first action with single-A Tampa, Dominguez hosts a .252 average over 107 at-bats. He’s recorded 27 hits, three homers, and 14 RBIs.

To start the year, though, Dominguez struggled considerably, striking out 25 times in the month of April, including nine games in which he had two or more strikeouts. Dominguez struggled early to get a hang of the next level of baseball but has been far more effective in the month of May, despite a scout leaving an extremely pessimistic review.

“It’s certainly not a prospect to get excited about in terms of a surefire thing in the major leagues, which I think is really what he was being touted,” the scout said, via Randy Miller of NJ.com. “Dominguez looks considerably worse than last year.”

However, over 36 at-bats in May, Dominguez has tallied 11 hits and two homers, including eight RBIs. He has only struck out 10 times in that span, indicating far more patience at the plate. Ultimately, more experience and seeing more pitches have benefited him extremely, go figure.

Since April 24, Dominguez is hitting .302/.373/.566 with five doubles, three homers, and a 169 wRC+. In other words, he’s been an absolute monster in the batter’s box to go with his stout speed. This is a player the Bombers invested $5.1 million in last year, making sure he would be a Yankee for a very long time.

It is fair to mention that Dominguez is also a switch hitter, meaning he has to split reps on both sides of the batter’s box. That ultimately will require him to take more time adjusting and finding the proper flow at the next level.

Nonetheless, it’s nice to see that Dominguez is finally hitting his stride and quieting the doubters after receiving extraordinary comparisons last year based on his tangible attributes.

UFC booking Vicente Luque – Geoff Neal

The UFC is close to finalizing a big time matchup between top welterweight contenders for a card in August. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this afternoon that the promotion was close to finalizing Vicente Luque (21-8-1) and Geoff Neal (14-4).

The matchup will take place at a UFC Fight Night on August 6th. For Geoff Neal, he’s going to be searching for his second straight win. The last time we saw him was back at UFC 269 when he took on Santiago Ponzinibbio.

It was a close fight, but Neal was able to pick up the split decision victory. That win snapped a two-fight losing streak for Neal that saw him drop fights to Wonderboy Thompson and Neil Magny.

Handz of Steel started out strong in the UFC winning his first five fights which included a win over Belal Muhammad. However, things stalled between 2020 and 2021. Now, Neal is looking to regain his hype and get back to the top of the welterweight division.

UFC Welterweight Showdown

When Vicente Luque enters the octagon to face off against Geoff Neal, he’s going to be looking to bounce back. We just saw Luque headline a UFC Fight Night against Belal Muhammad and he lost a unanimous decision.

That loss snapped a four-fight winning streak for Luque. During that winning streak, he scored first round finishes over top contender Michael Chiesa and former UFC champion Tyron Woodley.

This is a huge fight for both men with both looking to stay relevant near the middle of the top ten at welterweight. With a dominant champion like Kamaru Usman, the UFC is constantly looking at guys he’s never fought.

Luque and Neal both fall into that category. Whoever wins this fight is going to be in a good position to start making a run towards a title shot in the future.

New York Giants’ 2022 Schedule Released: Dates, times, networks

Brian Daboll, giants

The New York Giants’ 2022 regular season schedule was released on Thursday prematurely. They will open against the Tennessee Titans on September 11 at 4:25 PM in Nashville before hosting their home opener against the Carolina Panthers.

The Giants have one of the easiest schedules based on winning percentage from 2021, but teams take dramatic steps forward and backward in the NFL, so there’s no telling how difficult it could end up being based on injuries and other important variables.

Via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post:

New York Giants’ 2022 NFL Schedule:

Week 1 – Sept. 11:  at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Week 2 – Sept. 18:  vs. Panthers, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 3 – Sept. 26:  vs. Cowboys, (Monday Night Football), 8:15 p.m., ESPN/ABC

Week 4 – Oct. 2:  vs. Bears, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 5 – Oct. 9: vs. Packers (London), 9:30 a.m., NFLN

Week 6 – Oct. 16:  vs. Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 7 – Oct. 23: at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 8 – Oct. 30:  at Seattle, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Week 9 – BYE

Week 10 – Nov. 13:  vs. Texans, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 11 – Nov. 20:  vs. Lions, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 12 – Nov. 24:  at Dallas (Thanksgiving), 4:25 p.m., FOX

Week 13 – Dec. 4: vs. Commanders, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 14 – Dec. 11: vs. Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 15 – Dec. 17 or 18:  at Washington, TBD

Week 16 – Dec. 24:  at Minnesota, 1 p.m., FOX

Week 17 – Jan. 1:  vs. Colts, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 18 –  Jan. 7 or 8: at Philadelphia, TBD

The Giants taking on Dallas on Thanksgiving afternoon is going to be a fun game to watch. In fact, Big Blue has four consecutive games against NFC East opponents from November 24 to December 17. Those are must-win games for the Giants since they have different values being in their division.

If the Giants are in a spot to make a playoff push, winning those games will be even more essential if the NFC East is once again a muddied division.

Yankees News: Former Mets coach helping Yanks correct huge problem, Gil on the mound for Thursday

luis rojas, yankees

The New York Yankees currently host the top record in Major League Baseball. Sitting at 22–8, 1st in the AL East by four games and 1.5 games above the Los Angeles Dodgers, the squad has definitely found solutions to their problems.

Ranging from questionable starting pitching to an imbalanced hitting approach, the Yankees had plenty of issues heading into the 2022 season that were proposed as problems. However, they have exceeded all expectations up to this point, even focusing on the minor details.

One of the team’s major weaknesses from 2021 was opposing stolen bases. The Yankees have improved tremendously this season in that category, thanks to former Mets head coach Luis Rojas. Rojas joined the Yankees late last year as part of a major coaching overhaul.

Skipper Aaron Boone saw just how important limiting opposing base runners was last year against the Boston Red Sox, who went 6-for-6 in stolen bases in September against the Yanks.

“It was one of those things where something bad happening turned out to be one of the best things that happened to us,” Boone said, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. “It was right before the playoffs. It wasn’t just us saying it. It was like, ‘I see it now.’ You had that instant buy-in from players, commitment to it.”

Rojas has completely turned around those metrics to open the year, holding runners at their individual bases and allocating more attention toward specific details.

“We’ve just been more situationally aware: ‘These are the guys that are running. Here’s how they’re running. Here are the things you need to do it when they’re on base.’’’ Pitching coach Matt Blake said. “It doesn’t have to be picking guys off. We have picked guys off. But you’re not trying to pick them off. You’re trying to control them. It’s more managing the attempts against us.”

The Yankees have executed a more instrumental strategy to contain runners and keep them still on the base paths. Rojas has played a huge role in that, which has been a quiet catalyst for the Bombers’ recent pitching dominance.

“I take it really seriously. I take it personal. I tell the catchers that. I tell the pitchers that,” Rojas said.

Luis Gil gets the start for the Yankees on Thursday:

On Thursday, the Yankees are preparing to face off against the Chicago White Sox with Luis Gil on the mound. Gil has struggled this season, hosting a 9.53 ERA with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Gil did look a bit better against Rochester and his most recent start, tossing 78 pitches over five innings, striking out nine batters, and giving up one homer and two earned runs. His outing would’ve been far more productive if not for one questionable pitch. Nonetheless, he features top-end velocity with his fastball, which the Yankees are extremely excited about.

Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin named finalist for Hart Trophy

The accolades for New York Rangers goalie Igor Shgesterkin are impressive with the announcement that he is a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin has been named a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the award presented annually “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”

The Moscow, Russia native posted historic numbers in 2021-22, becoming the third goaltender in NHL history (min. 50 appearances) to post a save percentage of .935 or higher in a single season. He joined Tim Thomas (2010-11 – .938) and Dominik Hasek (1998-99 – .937) in reaching the feat. Shesterkin went 36-13-4 and led the league with a 2.07 goals-against-average and .935 save percentage. It is the 39th time since the league began tracking save percentage in 1955-56, that a goaltender has led the NHL in both save percentage and GAA.

Shesterkin, 26, is the second Ranger in the past three seasons to be named a finalist for the Hart Trophy (Artemi Panarin – 2019-20) and the fifth Rangers goaltender in team history to be named a finalist for the award.

Igor Shesterkin eyes to become the second Ranger goaltender to capture the Hart Memorial Trophy (Chuck Rayner in 1949-50) and just the third netminder on any team to do so this century, following Carey Price in 2014-15 and Jose Theodore in 2001-02.

Past Ranger Goalies Named Finalists for the Hart Trophy;

          2021-22 – Igor Shesterkin

          2011-12 – Henrik Lundqvist

          1966-67 – Ed Giacomin

          1955-56 – Gump Worsley

          1949-50 – Chuck Rayner* Won award in 1949-1950

 

Austin Mathews of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Connor Mcdaid of the Edmonton Oilers were also named finalists for the Hart Trophy.

Matthews led the NHL in goals (60), the most ever in a season by a Toronto Maple Leafs player and most by a United-States-born player in a season.

McDavid led the NHL in scoring for the second straight season with 123 points (44 goals, 79 assists) in 80 games for the Edmonton Oilers and is a two-time winner of the award.

Shersterkin was also named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy last week.

The winners of the 2022 NHL Awards will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.

Follow Frank Curto on Twitter at @RangerProud

Yankees: The date for Aaron Judge’s arbitration hearing is set

New York Yankees, NYY, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton

As of Thursday morning, neither the New York Yankees or Aaron Judge know how much the outfielder is going to make this season. As the two sides exchanged figures several weeks ago, they couldn’t agree on a 2022 salary, so they need to go to salary arbitration.

As the Yankees know perhaps too well (remember the Dellin Betances arbitration case?) these hearings can get nasty. It’s not natural, or pleasant, for a player to have his own team looking at weaknesses and deficiencies in order to try and reduce his potential earnings.

The Yankees offered to pay Judge $17 million in his final season of arbitration eligibility; while the player filed for $21 million. In the hearing, the arbitrator will side with one of the two parties: it will be either $21 million or $17 million, with no middle point.

The Yankees wanted to extend Judge but he decided to wait for free agency

As a reminder, the Yankees offered Judge a $213 million contract extension right before the start of the regular season, but he turned it down, betting on himself and become a free agent after the campaign. So far, that bet is paying off, as he is having one of the best seasons of his career: .288/.352/.613 with a league-leading 10 home runs, including an impressive walk-off blast a couple of days ago.

The date for Judge’s arbitration hearing is now set: it will be, according to the New York Post, on June 22. As a rule, his 2022 numbers can’t be used as an argument in any way for the hearing, so his performance up until 2021 will be evaluated.

Still, he was brilliant last year, too, with 39 homers, 98 RBI, and a .916 OPS. There is still a chance that Judge and the Yankees agree on a one-year deal before the hearing, but the star outfielder does not want to negotiate a long-term pact during the season.

Why the New York Giants would be better off with a tough 2022 schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The NFL is preparing to drop the 2022 schedule, and the New York Giants are expected to have a bit of a lighter group of opponents compared to 2021.

HOME:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Football Team
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Baltimore Ravens

AWAY:

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Washington Football Team
  • Green Bay Packers (London)
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Seattle Seahawks

On paper, the Giants have a fairly light schedule given their opponents. Facing off against multiple rebuilding squads, including the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Seattle Seahawks, would suggest that Big Blue has a good chance at walking away with some wins in 2022.

However, having a tougher schedule would be more beneficial for the Giants, allowing them to properly evaluate Daniel Jones and the progress he can make. Having Jones dominate against lesser squads does not suggest he can win in a playoff atmosphere against teams that are considered above average. Gaining false hope he can develop into an elite quarterback could hurt the Giants significantly in the financial department.

A tough schedule would not only give the team more information on Jones’s potential ceiling, but if he fails, it would likely guarantee GM Joe Schoen a top pick in the 2023 NFL draft, which could end up becoming their next quarterback.

There are always a few surprise teams that make significant strides in the second year of a rebuild, and while the Giants have plenty of easy teams on the schedule, I wouldn’t underestimate them just yet.

The Lions could end up becoming a decent team, having shown signs of development last year. There’s no telling how much better Justin fields could look in his second season, and the Bears have a stout defensive unit. The NFC East is always competitive with one another; the Giants have struggled considerably to overcome them in the past.

Another variable to consider is that the Giants still have an unproven roster and team, so any schedule, no matter what it looks like on paper, should be considered difficult until proven otherwise.

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane takes shot at Yankees GM Brian Cashman over sign-stealing scandal

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

It is no secret the New York Yankees were involved in some sort of cheating several years ago during the infamous sign-stealing scandal. However, the Houston Astros lead the charge, utilizing a unique strategy that included banging on trash cans to relay deciphered pitches to batters in the box.

Houston set the standard for what not to do in baseball as the image of the game took a significant hit. The Yankees, however, believe they were cheated out of a World Series because of Houston’s wrongdoing. The fact they were able to retain the World Series title might go down as one of the worst decisions in history. That essentially confirms that cheating is OK, and you can walk away with minimal consequences and a championship trophy.

Houston owner Jim Crane took offense to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s comments, indicating that the Astros executed illegal and horrific strategies to steal signs.

“I found his comments to be extremely strange,” Crane said, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “There’s the letter, and you were doing it, too. You were there, dude. What are you talking about?”

“If I was one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it [cheating], I’d keep my mouth shut and just go about our business,” Crane added. “But listen, I can only control what’s going on here. I can’t control what the other guys do.”

At this point, Crane should just walk into the sunset instead of bringing unnecessary attention to his club. Judging Cashman for his comments is completely out of line, even if the Yankees GM is in the wrong.

In the commissioner’s letter that revealed what the Yankees were doing, they had utilized YES Network television cameras to decipher catches and relay them to runners on second base, who then sent signals to batters. This was far different than what the Astros were doing, utilizing their technique when there were no runners on base and in high-leverage situations.

Despite Houston being fined $5 million and stripped of its first and second-round picks for 2020 and 2021, retaining the championship will remain a stain on the league’s legacy.