Browsing Posts published in April, 2012

Forget about the game of basketball for a second. The New York Knicks are fit to join the circus. Following their 104-94 Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat, the Knicks had a lengthy closed door meeting. During the meeting, Amare Stoudemire put his fist through a glass door. While we don’t know what exactly happened during the meeting, we do know that the Knicks are in complete and utter disarray. Coming into the playoffs, the Knicks knew they needed to play perfect basketball to beat the Heat. So far, the Heat have had their way with the Knicks, averaging nearly 100 points per game while shooting 53% from the field. 

In light of their Game 3 match-up in The Garden, Miami knows the New York media will be all over them. The Heat answered the bell earlier this season, beating the Knicks in The World’s Most Famous Arena. Without a playoff win in 12 years, the Knicks will face even more pressure to pick up one win. Given the current state of the team, a win against Miami seems almost unfathomable. Amar’e, bad hand and all, looks old and slow. The Knicks can’t win with or without Carmelo scoring. The point guard play has been absolutely putrid. Now playing without Iman Shumpert, the Knicks lack a lock down defender.

Bottom line, the Knicks need leadership and need it fast. Unfortunately, no one wants to step up and take control. Another first round and an off-season full of questions seems more likely than not for these New York Knicks. 

I noted that the Jets needed to nail their first three selections and on the surface, they just didn’t do it. While they did address their three biggest needs, the players they selected make you scratch your head. Take first round pick, Quinton Coples. The Jets had their pick between Coples, Melvin Ingram, and Chandler Jones. Ingram and Jones were used to playing in 3-4 schemes while Copes comes from a 4-3 front at UNC. That didn’t slow the Jets down from selecting the much maligned Vernon Gholston 2.0. Outside of Coples, the Jets added 2 WRs, OLB, DB, RB, G, and S. I’ll go into more detail, but this Jet draft class isn’t anything special.

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Entering this season, the Yankees had seven viable arms for only five rotation spots. After Michael Pineda’s injury, Freddy Garcia’s demotion, and the erratic pitching of Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees have some serious questions. Outside of CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova, the Yankees don’t have any reliable options. Andy Pettitte is a week or so away from joining the rotation, but through 21 games, the Yankees’ pre-season strength has now become a concern. Entering Monday, the Yankees are 12-9 and current sit 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the East. Granted, the Orioles seem to start strong every season, but Yanks need some quality starts this week. David Phelps is set to join the rotation and will make his first start on Thursday.  

With 141 games to go, the Yankees will find a happy medium with their rotation and the Yankee offense will help offset any poor starts. The Yankees are currently third in baseball with 112 runs scored and the offense will continue to be this team’s strength. We all know that championship aspirations live and die in the post-season and those post-season runs start and end with starting pitching. The Yankee rotation will take form as the season goes, but so far, this team’s strength is now an apparent weakness. 

The Giants wrapped up their 2012 NFL Draft class on Saturday afternoon. Overall, the Giants added 1 RB, 1 WR, 1 CB, 1 TE, 2 OLs, and 1 DT. Given the departures of Brandon Jacobs, Aaron Ross, Mario Manningham, and the injury uncertainty surrounding the tight ends, the Giants had a nice draft. I highlighted the Giants first rounder, David Wilson on Saturday and today, I’ll touch on the other six players selected. 

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The Giants may have surprised a few people when they selected Virginia Tech RB, David Wilson in the first round. Wilson, a 5’9″, 200 pound running back, compiled over 1,700 yards for the Hokies last season. Of his 1,700 yards, 1,000 of those yards came after contact, the largest amount in college football. Wilson impressed the Giants by running a 4.49, 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Known and respected by many for gregarious demeanor at Virigina Tech, the Giants were impressed by his selflessness and professional attitude. Finally, Wilson can do backflips. Yes, he can do 13 more backflips than I have my entire life. It’ll be fun to see him square off against Jason Pierre-Paul in training camp.

Wilson’s arrival will help fill the void left by the departed Brandon Jacobs. Wilson will compete with DJ Ware, Da’Rel Scott, and other for reps behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Wilson may also play on special teams.

Overall, Wilson is a very intriguing prospect. He’s very explosive in the open field and he’s a tough running back. For the Giants to select him in the first round means they have very high hopes for him. I can’t wait to see him in action this fall.

The Jets used their first round pick to draft a big, extremely athletic defensive end who has been questioned about his work ethic and desire to play football. No, we aren’t talking about Vernon Gholston…we are talking about UNC defensive end, Quinton Coples. Coples is a very big man, checking in at 6’6″, 284 pounds. Coples has the prototypical 4-3 defensive end size which obviously doesn’t help the Jets’ 3-4 defensive scheme. Questions are already starting whether Coples has the ability to cover tight ends in Ryan’s scheme. Coples watched his sack total decline from 10 in his junior year to 7.5 in his senior year. 

There’s no doubt that the Jets needed an edge rusher. Coples was apparently the second rated defensive end on the Jet board behind Bruce Irvins who went to Seattle a pick earlier. With questions already starting about Coples’ characters, Jet defensive leaders must set-up and quickly acclimate him to their scheme. I don’t love this pick for the Jets and I preferred new Patriot defensive end, Chandler Jones. Only time will tell, but on the surface, this pick has a lot of comparability to Vernon Gholston–and that’s not a good thing. 

Just win, baby. The Rangers took care of business at home tonight as they disposed of the Senators, 2-1. The third period was a roller coaster ride with the Rangers clinging to a one goal lead. It felt like Senators took about 100 shots in the last ten minutes of the game as the Rangers were clearly playing defensive hockey. I can’t tell you how many times I saw Alfredsson, Spezza, Karlsson, and that jerk Neil take open looks at Henrik. Without fail, Henrik stopped all comers and the Rangers stymied the potent Ottawa attack. The Garden was rocking and the Rangers are advancing.

The Rangers won’t have much time to regroup as Game 1 against the Caps will be this weekend. The Caps impressed a lot of people with their play against the Bruins. The Rangers will need to figure out Braden Holtby and slow down the dangerous Alex Ovechkin. The Caps and Rangers split the season series at two games a piece which included a non-contest on April 7th that the Caps won, 4-1. None of that matters now and the Rangers must win another four games before advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

For the third straight year, we’ve done a lot of NFL Draft stuff. To summarize our thoughts, the links below will take you to appropriate page for each topic. Enjoy tonight’s NFL Draft!

Giants

Three Areas of Need For NYG

Prospect Profile: Coby Fleener

Prospect Profile: Dwayne Allen

Propsect Profile: Harrison Smith

Prospect Profile: Mike Adams

Prospect Profile: Zach Brown

Jets

Jets Should Move Up For Trent Richardson

Three Areas of Need For NYJ

Draft Success Is Imperative

Stealing the Giants’ famous ‘All In’ saying, the 2011-12 Rangers are putting all of their chips on the table for tonight’s Game 7. As we saw last night, home ice advantage has no impact on the outcome of the game. The Boston Bruins were pushed aside as the Washington Capitals shocked the world by eliminating the defending Stanley Cup Champions. A date with Mr. Ovechkin and the Caps awaits the Rangers if they can get by the Ottawa Senators tonight. 

Like I said before Game 6, the Rangers need to keep attacking the net and put the pressure on Senator goalie, Craig Anderson. Carl Hagelin’s return made a huge difference in Game 6 as he was the fastest man on the ice. Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan need to set the tone early. An early Ranger goal will create an absolute frenzy at The Garden. More importantly, an early lead will help Henrik Lundqvist relax and settle in. Lundqvist needs a Game 7 win in the worst way to silence his critics. 

The Ranger season comes down to sixty minutes in Game 7. Will this team spend Friday preparing for Ovechkin and the Caps? Or will this team be ripped to shreds by the New York media as it heads to the golf course? Tensions will be high and that’s the beauty of sudden death, playoff games. It all comes down to tonight. 

We learned tonight that Michael Pineda will have surgery on his right shoulder and will miss the entire 2012 season. Pineda suffered an anterior labral tear and will undergo surgery next week. Luckily for the Yanks, neither Pineda’s rotator cuff nor capsule was comprised.  

Brian Cashman spent a copious amount of time with the media explaining the injury. Cashman’s vehemently stated that Pineda’s physical and injury history checked out before dealing slugger Jesus Montero to the Mariners. Seattle GM, Jack Zduriencik stated that he was ‘shocked’ to learn about Pineda’s injury. 

On the surface, I don’t believe Seattle traded the Yanks damaged goods. It’s been well-documented that despite an overall poor showing in the second half of last season, Pineda’s average fastball velocity never dipped below 94.2 MPH. However, Pineda was struggling to break 92 MPH this spring and now we know why. It doesn’t help either that Pineda showed up to camp twenty pounds overweight, causing an obvious setback in his development. 

It’s difficult to find a silver lining in this situation. If anything, Jose Campos, the second player the Yankees acquired in the deal, is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in Single A Charleston. The 19-year-old is obviously years away from making the big team, but we’ve heard he has a lot of upside. As for Pineda, we can only hope he has a successful surgery and regains the All-Star talent he showed last season. 

For now, most of the naysayers will knock Cashman for giving up his prized prospect for the next ‘Mark Prior’. If anything, Cashman and the Yankees should have done their homework on Pineda’s workout habits. Showing up to camp overweight is never excusable and Pineda likely comprised his mechanics in order to generate more velocity. Now, the Yanks must move forward with their starting rotation and hope Andy Pettitte is ready to go. Speaking of Pettitte, he tossed six innings of three run ball tonight for the Trenton Thunder. Pettitte’s return will hopefully make Yankee fans forget about the failed Michael Pineda Year 1 experiment.