Jacoby Ellsbury Actually Helped the Yankees In the Long Run

Jacoby Ellsbury

If you are a New York Yankees fan then the name Jacoby Ellsbury might make you shiver as it brings back bad memories and thoughts of an uncertain, and expensive, future. Right now, Ellsbury is on the disabled list for a hip issue. He also has managed to acquire two other injuries while rehabbing his hip. It has been revealed that Ellsbury also has an oblique issue and now plantar fasciitis.

Honestly, at this point it is hard to remember which injury came first. It also doesn’t matter at this point. Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $153 million deal prior to the 2014 season. He doesn’t come off the books until after the 2021 season. Unless of course he is traded but would any team really look to acquire an outfielder who can’t stay healthy, has always had injury issues, and is only getting older and more brittle?

Ellsbury went from potential offensive centerpiece (we all know he wouldn’t be but the Yankees thought that) to being the outfield version of Carl Pavano. Remember Pavano? He is the pitcher who the Yankees signed prior to 2005 to a four-year, $39.95 million contract. He would appear in only 26 games for the Yankees over the life of that contract, 17 of which came in 2005. He became the standard for a bad free agent signing.

Right now, Ellsbury is the cautionary tale for signing players on the wrong side of 30 to extensive contracts. Ellsbury will go down as one of Brian Cashman’s biggest mistakes, potentially outweighing his trade of third base prospect Mike Lowell to the then Florida Marlins for Ed Yarnall, Todd Noel, and Mark Johnson. In fact, signing Ellsbury might be the worst. All the signs were there. He had one career year with the Boston Red Sox. He had trouble staying healthy. The move reeked of desperation by Cashman who was trying to cover losing Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners.

As good as Cashman has been lately a lot of credit has to go to the Ellsbury deal. Yankees fans have to admit that having Ellsbury around, or on the DL, has actually helped the Yankees into their rebuild. If he was the player he was in 2011 for the Yankees then they probably don’t undergo the limited rebuild they initiated over the past couple of years.

Nobody wants to pile on Ellsbury. He knows how fans feel about him. He knows he hasn’t lived up to expectations. He would much rather be on the field than down in Florida dealing with the realization half of him is made of glass. He is a competitive ballplayer who has given his all on the field and I will always respect him for that. He didn’t slink like Pavano did. He never shrank from anything and he does deserve respect for that.

The Ellsbury deal might be a blunder but that free agent blunder helped convince Hal Steinbrenner you can’t rebuild through free agency. It helped convince him that the Yankees were sliding backwards and weren’t going to live up to the expectations the Yankees have had every year since the 1920s, at least seemingly. Prior to the 2016 season the Yankees literally signed zero MLB free agents. That doesn’t happen if Ellsbury is the 2011 version or even 2013 Ellsbury.

In the 2014 season, Ellsbury actually had a decent year for the Yankees. It was pretty similar to his 2013 season with the Red Sox the year before. However, in 2015, Ellsbury appeared in only 111 games and wasn’t very effective as he slashed just .257/.318/.345 with seven homers and 15 doubles. His base stealing days were few and far between. He wasn’t getting on base at the top of the lineup. He was seemingly always banged up. If that Ellsbury doesn’t show up the Yankees would most likely have continued down the path that was causing them pain and anguish. The culture wouldn’t have changed no matter how often Cashman asked Steinbrenner to rebuild.

The next time you curse Ellsbury remember, if Cashman didn’t make that mistake the Yankees most likely never get Gleyber Torres, Dillon Tate, Justus Sheffield, Billy McKinney and others that have helped team with draft picks to give the Yankees one of the best farm systems. In a way, the Ellsbury contract, as bad as it is, played a part in getting the Yankees to where they are right now. If he contributes on the field from here on out, well that is just gravy. Don’t hate on the guy. Sometimes the biggest mistakes are actually just painful learning processes that make you better.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc Review

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

France has become synonymous with wine over the years, obviously for good reason. However, France has a long tradition of brewing beer too. Kronenbourg 1664 traces its roots back to Geronimus Hatt who started the Canon Brewery in 1650. While Kronenbourg 1664’s Blanc doesn’t date back quite that far it is still steeped in tradition.

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc pours well. For an 11.2 ounce bottle it filled a pint glass nicely until the foam started to settle. It gave a nice pour, with an inviting head and rich golden hue. It has the color a white beer should have.

Aromatically it has a slightly earthy, sweet smell. It hints at the spices but it is different than almost every other white beer I’ve ever had. Upon first sip you will be in for a bit of a shock if you’re used to traditional lagers or white beers. This has a sweet, rich, smooth flavor. It isn’t a citrus flavor that many have become accustomed to with white beers. This has almost a hard cider sweetness before giving you the grainy, earthy flavors.

The carbonation is moderate and the beer feels very light in your mouth, almost as if you have taken a bite of a beer cloud. It is light, airy, crisp, sweet, and kind of delightful all at once. As the beer drinks it laces your glass and leaves a small reminder with each sip and gulp. It also has a floral note as you progress.

This is a beer you are either going to like or hate. My one true complaint is that after being poured into a glass it loses some carbonation as you drink whereas drinking from the bottle keeps the bubbles intact and offers a much more pleasant experience.

If you aren’t a huge fan of beer but like hard cider this might be a beer for you to try. It really doesn’t have much of the beer taste despite the 5% ABV. It is very crisp and sweet with floral undertones and really doesn’t have the citrus, wheat taste that white beers tend to have.

All in all this is a very drinkable beer. It plays well as a day beer during the summer, with its refreshing sweetness and floral notes. The one true drawback is the 11.2 ounce bottle. The shape of the bottle and label shape remind me of old-school Michelob but the flavor is definitely unique and worth a try. This was a refreshing beer that stands out among its peers. In the end, Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc is something I would come back to every now and again, especially in the summer.

Newburgh Brown Ale Review

Newburgh Brown Ale

The first impression of Newburgh Brown Ale from Newburgh Brewing Company is the color. It has the deep, dark, brown, almost black color that brown ales tend to offer. Well, if I am being honest, the first impression of this beer was the can which drew my attention to it on a crowded shelf. It is one of the busiest cans I have ever seen and it worked.

The pour was classic brown ale. The caramel hue it had coming out that ended up extremely dark in the glass. It had a mild aroma of roasted malt and a tease of chocolate and toffee. It is very pleasant and doesn’t overwhelm the sense.

Sadly, my picture didn’t do the head any justice. It was about a finger and half thick but settled fairly quickly and ended as a spotty foam on top throughout the glass. There was a nice carbonation that was present but smooth. Good brown ales tend to find this balance and Newburgh Brewing Company did a nice job walking that fine line.

You definitely taste the malt and there are hints of chocolate, toffee, and a nutty, earthy flavor. It can be described as medium bodied. Some brown ales tend to be either too heavy or too light but this was spot on. It does have an aftertaste that plays in the sweet and bitter areas of the taste bud map but it is mild and is typical with brown ales.

As the beer warms it takes on a smoother feel on the tongue so if you are a slow drinker you won’t lose flavor. There is almost no alcohol taste, just a smooth ride from start to finish that ends with your tongue being tickled slightly and whetting your appetite for another sip.

Overall this was a pleasant experience. I have never had anything from Newburgh Brewing Company and their Brown Ale has intrigued me to sample other offerings from this New York brewery. This is a beer I would definitely look for again. Right now this beer is only distributed in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Narragansett Del’s Summer Shandy Review

Narragansett Shandy

With summer right around the corner it felt like a good time to dive into some of the summer beers that are starting to make their way into stores. Narragansett Del’s Summer Shandy stood out among its peers in the refrigerated case tonight. It features two Rhode Island icons in Narragansett and Del’s Italian Ice.

It seems as if everyone is doing a Summer Shandy these days. However, the Del’s Shandy has a slightly different taste than other shandy’s I’ve tried. You definitely notice the lemon aroma when you first crack the can. You almost expect this beer to be a lemonade with beer mixed in rather than beer with the lemonade poured in. Then you notice the color of the pour. It retains the golden hue that a Narragansett Lager features. Most shandies has a slightly paler, cloudy hue.

As the beer rolls over your taste buds you notice this is a little sweeter than other shandies. It has the tart kick to it that you expect from a beer flavored with lemon but this definitely has a slightly sweeter, maybe even delicate taste.

The lemon in this shandy is nice but you almost want more of that lemon kick but the finish is smooth and similar to a typical Narragansett Lager. As you go through the glass and the beer warms the lemon taste actually dissipates. I have never experienced that in a beer. The foamy head also disappeared rather quickly and the lacing on the glass was almost nonexistent.

I expected much more from the Narragansett Del’s Summer Shandy. The can looked like an Italian ice stand and made me think of warm summer nights at the ballpark, county fair, or a day at the beach. While I could see myself drinking one of these in any of those situations I would need this beer to stay ice cold throughout.

The second beer was straight out of the can and that played better. I still was wanting more lemon tartness but the beer held up better in the can than poured in a glass. The issue with it needing to be ice cold was still there and the lemon flavor still dissipated over the course of drinking it but it was a notch above being poured so I highly recommend forgoing the glass and drinking from the can or bottle.

Overall this was a bit of a disappointment. It isn’t bad by any means. If you like shandies you might enjoy this one. At the very least it would be drinkable. I wouldn’t turn one of these down and might even buy one when out and about in the summer but I don’t think I would go out of my way for one at home.

Einstök Icelandic Wee Heavy Beer Review


Einstök Icelandic Wee Heavy is a fairly new offering from Einstök that stays true to its Viking roots but branches out just a bit and the result is an excellent brew that you will want to drink over and over again.

Wee Heavy is advertised as an “Icelandic Scotch Ale, brewed with locally farmed and smoked barley and spiced with native Icelandic angelica – a fabled herb ancient Vikings used as currency.” It definitely has the deep amber color of a Scotch Ale and it offers a smooth, smoky, and somewhat creamy taste. It is unique with its maltiness and isn’t overwhelmed by hops at all.

Like many Scotch Ales this Wee Heavy is not a very bubbly beer. You definitely feel the comfort of a Scotch Ale, the kind of beer you wouldn’t mind drinking all winter, but the smoked barley and Icelandic angelica offer a more complex flavor profile. As you sip you notice the flavor profile can change a bit. Some sips had a peaty undertone that was almost welcome against the sweet, smoky flavors that sometimes dominate.

This is a beer you can enjoy year round. It would pair well with smoked barbeque or a gourmet burger. I can almost taste the pulled pork and brisket that I would eat with this. This isn’t hot dog beer and at eight percent ABV it does pack a punch. However, there isn’t a strong alcohol aftertaste that can sometimes accompany beers with higher alcohol content.

Einstök has proven with its other offerings that it isn’t afraid to take risks and this was a risk that paid off. It is smooth as silk all the way down and definitely will reward you if you are feeling slightly adventurous. Einstök definitely has a winner here and this is worth the price. A six-pack can hover between $12-16 depending on your store.

Slap on your kilt and pick up your battle axe because this is one beer that unites the Scotch taste with a Viking twist and it is oh so good.

2018 NFL Mock Draft

NFL Draft

The 2018 NFL Draft is quickly approaching and everyone is putting out their mock drafts and debating which QB prospect is best and who will be a bust. Honestly, the talk gets tiresome and it seems the only reason we click on mock drafts at this point it to find out how you can point out how wrong the other person is. With that, here is The Sporting Brews’ first mock draft.

  1. Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold, QB, USC – The Browns need their quarterback and there is a lot of speculation Darnold is their guy. Other rumors have Josh Allen going first overall but Darnold doesn’t need as much seasoning.


  1. New York Giants – Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA – Rosen is probably the most polished of all of the QB prospects though a case can be made for others as well. Rosen should refine his game sitting behind Eli Manning and under Pat Shurmur. There is a lot of speculation Saquon Barkley will be the pick here but the Giants can’t afford not to draft a young quarterback here.


  1. New York Jets – Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma – Mayfield could be the best QB of the bunch. He certainly has the best, and most consistent game tape of any of the quarterbacks when all things are considered. The Jets need to get off the QB carousel and Mayfield might finally be the answer for them.


  1. Cleveland Browns – Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State – Barkley will be an option here but the Browns can add a potentially dominant defensive end to team with Myles Garrett and put fear into opposing quarterbacks. Passing on Chubb will be too hard for them to do.


  1. Denver Broncos – Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming – There is a very good chance the Broncos look elsewhere but given the need for a franchise quarterback it is also hard to see John Elway and company passing on Allen. There is physical talent there but Allen will need a lot of work in order to be a successful NFL quarterback. With Case Keenum in the mix the Broncos can afford to have Allen sit and learn.


  1. Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame – Andrew Luck needs protection. Nelson is the best offensive lineman in the draft and will be a cornerstone on the Colts’ line for years.


  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State – Some will call this a tumble for Barkley but almost every team picking before Tampa Bay has larger needs. Barkley will settle in perfectly with the Buccaneers. If Barkley is gone then Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James are in play here.


  1. Chicago Bears – Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech – Edmunds might be the best edge rusher in this draft. He would be a great fit with the Bears’ defense. Fitzpatrick and James could also be in play here but Edmunds would be hard to pass up.


  1. San Francisco 49ers – Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama – There are still holes in the 49ers’ secondary even after Richard Sherman entered the picture. Fitzpatrick can give the 49ers depth and can play in the slot or at free safety. He has a ton of potential and his versatility adds to his value.


  1. Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia – Judging by the Raiders’ offseason so far this pick is going to be hard to predict. It is easy to see Jon Gruden be a complete wild card here. However, it will be hard for Gruden to pass on the player that most resembles Derrick Brooks in this draft.


  1. Miami Dolphins – Vita Vea, DT, Washington – The Dolphins released Ndamukong Suh so there is a big hole in the middle of their line. Vea is one of the best athletes in this draft when you consider his size and could be one of the most dynamic defensive tackles in the NFL right off the bat.


  1. Buffalo Bills – Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama – The Bills really need a quarterback and some offensive line help. They also need help at WR and Ridley is the best in this group. He runs routes like a pro which will help any quarterback they decide to play. This might be a little early for Ridley but there is a chance he can become a star in this league and he fits a big need.


  1. Washington Redskins – Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State – The Redskins could go with a defensive tackle here. A quarterback could be in play as well if one tumbles. However, they have a glaring need at linebacker and Vander Esch is versatile and consistent.


  1. Green Bay Packers – Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State – Corner is a big need for the Packers and Ward is probably the best pure corner in this draft. He would immediately step in and have an impact on their defense.


  1. Arizona Cardinals – Derwin James, S, Florida State – It might be hard to see James falling this far but if he does he would be a great fit in the Cardinals’ secondary. It is too early to take Lamar Jackson here but it is a possibility.


  1. Baltimore Ravens – Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama – Evans fills a need for the Ravens who are probably hoping Ridley falls to them to fill their biggest need. Evans should step in right away and be a steady presence up the middle.


  1. Los Angeles Chargers – Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame – The biggest hole that last couple of seasons for the Chargers has been the offensive line. McGlinchey might not be a stud left tackle but he should develop into one of the better right tackles in the NFL and he is better than anyone on the roster right now.


  1. Seattle Seahawks – Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama – Taking a corner like Jaire Alexander here is a real possibility. The Seahawks are in a bit of a rebuild and have holes in several places but their secondary is especially glaring. Harrison might not be the next Earl Thomas but he has a ton of potential and fits a need with the ability to start right away.


  1. Dallas Cowboys – Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M – Kirk might be the most dynamic receiver in this draft. With Dez Bryant gone, Dallas has a glaring need for a playmaker at the position and Kirk has the potential to be just that. He will need some work and polish but Kirk could be what the Cowboys need moving forward.


  1. Detroit Lions – Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA – He might come from a small school but Davenport has big play ability and the Lions have a need for a playmaker at defensive end.


  1. Cincinnati Bengals – Will Hernandez, OG, UTEP – The Bengals need help on the interior of their line and Hernandez has shown he can be a very good run blocker, something the Bengals need desperately after averaging 3.6 YPC last year. Hernandez will push the pile.


  1. Buffalo Bills – Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – Never mind the chatter of him not being a QB at this level. Jackson is talented but is in need of polish. The Bills desperately need a QB and rumors have flown around that they are trying to trade up to land their guy. If there is no trade Jackson should be the pick. He has the potential to be a dynamic player at the next level.


  1. New England Patriots – Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville – There is a hole at corner and it is hard to imagine Bill Belichick drafting a QB here to sit behind Tom Brady. Alexander has the talent to step in and start from Day 1 and make an impact with his playmaking ability. He lacks ideal size but he has a nose for the ball.


  1. Carolina Panthers – D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland – Cam Newton needs a weapon on the outside and Moore is the best receiver on the board. He isn’t the most dynamic receiver but he does a lot of stuff really well and should emerge as a capable target for Newton and open up the offense a little.


  1. Tennessee Titans – Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU – Sutton could be the young, athletic playmaker the Titans need on the outside to finally see if Marcus Mariota can take this offense into another gear. They can really use an edge rusher but taking one now might be a reach and WR is a need for this team.


  1. Atlanta Falcons – Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama – Dontari Poe is gone and the Falcons have a need for a run stuffer up the middle. Payne falls to the Falcons here and it’s too good to pass up. He will be able to step in right away and have an immediate impact.


  1. New Orleans Saints – Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina – He might be old, he will be 25 after trying his hand at baseball, but he is extremely athletic and plays hard every down. He has the speed and size to become a force at the position but needs polish. Age isn’t a problem for the Saints who are looking to fill holes to win now and Hurst could have an immediate impact, especially with Drew Brees throwing him the ball.


  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, DE, Oklahoma – This might be a reach given his size of 6’1” and 242 lbs. but Okoronkwo has a great motor and tends to play beyond his size. Something about him screams Steelers and something about this pick here screams that he will play big in their defense off the edge.


  1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Connor Williams, OT, Texas – Williams is one of the best offensive tackles in this draft. However, he might need a little seasoning at the pro level but should be able to start right away. The Jags would love for a WR to fall to them and that is a real possibility but Williams is the pick here.


  1. Minnesota Vikings – Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia – The Vikings could use a little help on the offensive front at both guard and tackle. Wynn has the ability to be an outstanding guard in the NFL and could even develop into an All Pro. That potential gives him the nod over a tackle like Kolton Miller who is a possibility here if Wynn is off the board.


  1. New England Patriots – Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA – Miller might not have an immediate impact but he has loads of potential and the Patriots have a need on the offensive line. The Patriots could also use this spot to add a RB or even a QB to groom as Brady’s replacement but Miller could be a star at left tackle in this League.


  1. Philadelphia Eagles – Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa – The Eagles don’t have many holes but with Patrick Robinson gone they could refortify their secondary with Jackson who could be a shut down corner for the Eagles in a couple of years.

The 2018 New York Yankees Will Be Just Fine

Yankee Stadium

While its true the 2018 New York Yankees, who sit at 6-6 in the AL East, have started out the season somewhat overwhelmingly. In the end the New York Yankees will be just fine. Here are three reasons why Yankee fans should not worry about where the Yankees stand in the standings as of April 13th. First off, there are 149 games remaining, secondly, the Yankees offense, and third the Yankees bullpen.

With the Yankees sitting at 6-6 there seems to be quite a few fans on social media asking if Aaron Boone is the right man for the job or it this will end up a disaster hiring akin to the Giants hiring a head coach in Ben McAdoo with no experience.  This sounds oddly familiar to what Yankees fans said in 2008 when they hired Joe Girardi after only one season managing with the Miami Marlins. In the end, the New York Yankees won the World Series a year later in 2009 with Joe Girardi at the helm, he also did not have a losing season during the Yankees rebuild while attempting to compete mantra. Aaron Boone may be a first time manager but its pretty clear that Brian Cashman and the Yankees were blown away by his interview with them and his baseball acumen otherwise they would have never hired Boone coming off a season where they came one win shy of the World Series. Aaron Boone is still learning what its like to be a manager, but he has 149 games to go so there’s really no reason to panic about the Yankees record.

The second reason Yankee fans should not worry about the Yankees is their offensive firepower, through 12 games into the season, the Yankees are not getting much production at all from last years MVP Giancarlo Stanton or 2016 runner up Rookie of the year Gary Sanchez, they are missing 1st baseman Greg Bird whom the Yankees believe will be back in May, they have missed Aaron Hicks, as a matter of fact, I believe the Yankees have only had their expected 2018 lineup only 2 games so far in this early season. If you have followed the career of Giancarlo Stanton, you would know that as the weather warms up so does Stanton, the same can be said about Gary Sanchez as both of them seem to be coming out of their slumps to start the season with their last 2 performances in Fenway Park against the Red Sox.  While its true the Yankees have been and probably will continue to be hit with injuries, the Yankees have a valued farm system that includes the likes of Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier and others who in the near future will probably both be seeing time. The good news for the Yankees offense, is so far a sophomore slump for Aaron Judge couldn’t be further from the truth. The Yankees sit 6-6 and a lot of that is due to their offense that hasn’t even been fully healthy this season.

The final reason is the bullpen, last year the Yankees bullpen did blow 21 games from May through July, from Adam Warren all the way to Aroldis Chapman. The 2018 Yankees bullpen has already blown 5 games this season and have been hammered at times by opposing players, but again this is April, slumps will happen, a bullpen that consists of Chapman, Robertson, Green, Betances, Warren among others is simply too good to continue to be this bad for much longer. One bright spot in the pen so far has been Yankee farmhand Domingo German who has excelled through ST and even in his appearances in the Bronx, he might be the next to join the pen full time, tho I believe the Yankees and Brian Cashman would rather allow German to develop more into a starting pitcher. The 2018 Yankees bullpen was expected to be possibly one of the best bullpens ever assembled and so far through 12 games that has not been the case, but the careers of these guys tell you that a 12 game sample size is far too short to believe that this will not turn around.

The Yankees might not go further than they did last year when they made Game 7 of the ALCS, and truthfully the only way to do that would be to make the World Series, but their imposing lineup will warm up as the weather does, the bullpen will right itself, and General manager Brian Cashman has all kinds of assets and money should he need to make more moves to help out first year manager Aaron Boone.


Belhaven Scottish Ale Review

Bellhaven Ale

Belhaven Scottish Ale advertises itself as “Rich, Nutty, and Smooth” on the bottle. It also states that it is brewed with “100 percent Optic and Crystal barley malts for a nutty, biscuit character, balanced with a subtle spiciness from Challenger and Goldings hops for an all-around satisfying beer.”

The bottle is what drew me to this particular brand. The bottle itself screams Scotland and the Scots know how to drink so this must be a good beer. At least that is what I thought when I was in the store looking for something to drink.

It has an interesting aroma when first poured that hints at some nuttiness and a little spice. It isn’t overpowering but just enough to tantalize your taste buds through the olfactory senses. The deep amber color looks like it would promise an intense flavor but that isn’t what you get on first sip.

The bubbles are subtle and it is a very smooth beer. It does give you the nuttiness and has a spicy undertone that doesn’t overwhelm or overpower. The beer is smooth, almost creamy, and has a unique flavor profile but could use a little more on the bubble side to enhance the flavors. Still, this is a smooth beer that has some weight to it.

I don’t know if I could drink this beer all night. However, it is a nice beer that would go great with some winter comfort foods like meatloaf, beef stew, pot roast, or a roasted chicken. I don’t think this would pair well with many summer foods from the grill though it would go well with a gourmet-type burger.

Belhaven has produced a nice ale that will go down smooth and offer you comfort, especially on a cold winter night. If you are looking for a hoppy beer this isn’t for you. Honestly, the subtleness of the flavors is what really makes this a good beer in my book. It is distinctive, refined, and yet comforting like a favorite sweater.

A Giant Dilemma


Unless you have been living under a rock, as a fan of the New York Giants, you would know by now that the 2017 season for the Giants that originally started with SuperBowl aspirations did not go anywhere near what Giants management and their fans thought it would go. They finished the season with a 3-13 record, their worst in the history of their franchise and now have the 2nd overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, the dilemma here is do the Giants go for the best player available, or do they go for the QB of the future, Giants fans seem to be split into these 2 categories, win now or plan for the future. So what should the Giants do?

The answer to what the Giants should do in the 2018 NFL draft is not a simple one, with the 2nd overall pick in the draft, new Giants general manager David Gettleman has said that the pick should be someone that you can envision wearing a gold jacket, which means that player you select at 2 has a shot to one day be in the NFL Hall of Fame.
The Giants need to make this pick asking themselves are they much closer to the team they were in 2016 when they went 11-5 or this past season when they went 3-13? Do the Giants really have a chance to make the playoffs this season after their worst season in the history of their franchise? In 2016, the Giants had a record of 11-5 behind a dominant defense that finished 2nd in the league in points allowed per game behind only the New England Patriots allowing only 17.8 points per game. However, the offense was another story averaging 19.3 points per game with many of that coming because of turnovers from the defense, or the defense actually scoring points themselves with takeaways that turned into touchdowns.

So what exactly happened in 2017? Why should the Giants believe they be a playoff team in 2018 after a 3-13 season?.. Well first lets start with what the Giants did not have, the Giants did not have elite WR Odell Beckham JR after Game 5 of the season as he went down with a fractured ankle and was lost for the season, not only that but in the same game the Giants also lost Brandon Marshall for the season also with a leg injury, as well as WR Sterling Shepard who ended up missing 6 games himself, this combined with an offensive line that was putrid and changing from game to game, as well as a putrid running game and the Giants losing key players like Landon Collins, Oliver Vernon and Janoris Jenkins on defense led the Giants to their worst season in franchise history.
Now that we got that outta the way, so what exactly do the Giants do with the 2nd overall pick? The answer seems simple doesn’t it? They have a 37 year old QB that had one of his worst seasons ever and clearly looked on the decline without the talent he’s used to around him, he could not get anything out of his offense that included TE Evan Engram and WR Roger Lewis as his top two targets. However, what about 3rd round pick Davis Webb that former coach Ben Mcadoo refused to play even in a lost season the Giants were experiencing instead going to journeyman Geno Smith at the expense of Eli Manning’s consecutive game streak which was a key component in making the locker room even more divided?. What about the 2016 season when Eli had Odell Beckham JR, but still with a mediocre offensive line and still a putrid running game? What about the 2 games this year in 2017 that Manning had against the Eagles where he threw over 400 yards against the Super Bowl Champions?


The 2018 QB class is full of talented prospects, but all with flaws. Sam Darnold is considered the number one QB prospect in this class, but his sophmore season was a far cry from his year in USC as a freshman, Darnold’s biggest knock is ball security issues and sometimes he tries to do too much and throws interceptions, sound familar Giants fans? He sounds exactly like what Eli Manning a 2X Super Bowl champion’s issues. The next best QB prospect is Josh Rosen who some believe is the most polished QB and most ready prospect since Andrew Luck was taken number 1 overall. The knock on Rosen is some believe he has to be challenged, and that football isn’t the most important thing to him, and some question his leadership because of that, there are also the concussions that he suffered in college. Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen both who appear to be long shots for the Giants round out the top QB prospects in the class.
Now we get to the positions prospects that most scouts believe is where the Giants are leaning with the 2nd overall pick. First and foremos there is the explosive RB from Penn State who not only can do it on the field, but he also shows strong leadership qualities and is a well spoken man from interviews he’s had Saquon Barkley. Barkley before the combine, was a guaranteed top 10 pick, his combine did nothing to hurt that, in fact it turned Barkley into a top 5 pick with some scouts believing that he’s the best prospect in this entire draft. In the past, it has been hard to justify taking a RB so high, but that might have changed over the last few years when the Jaguars took RB Lenoard Fournette 4th overall and the Dallas Cowboys took Ezekiel Elliot also 4th overall, Le Veon Bell is the best running back in the NFL and he’s seeking a massive payday, if the Giants believe that Saquon Barkley is the next Leveon Bell could they pass up on him because of value of the pick at #2 and that very few RBS (Marshall Faulk and Emmitt Smith) were top picks that ended up being a Super Bowl champion, The belief is you can find RB talent in the later rounds, and in 2017 Kareem Hunt a 3rd round pick for the Kansas City Chiefs proved that to be correct, but is there anyone in these later rounds that is even close to Barkley who some believe is the next Adrien Peterson? If the Giants believe he’s the next Adrien Peterson then wouldn’t coach Pat Shumur love to add him to his offense that will include Odell Beckham JR, Sterlin Shepard, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman among others?

The other 2 best positions prospects are Defensive End Bradley Chubb from NC State and Guard Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame. Some scouts believe that Bradley Chubb is a better defensive prospect that Myles Garett who in his rookie year had 7 sacks in 11 games played. The Giants traded Jason Pierre Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 3rd round pick and to mostly shed most of the money the Giants owed to Jason Pierre Paul. The Giants traded Paul so they need another pass rusher especially since the team combined for an abysmal 27 sacks this past season with Jason Pierre Paul. Do the Giants go with Bradley Chubb and ask him to be what they thought they would get from Jason Pierre Paul when he was drafted? Then there’s guard Quenton Nelson from Notre Dame who scouts believe is someone you can count on to anchor the OL for a decade, fans wonder if just like taking a RB at 2 can you justify taking a guard at 2 even if they turn into an all pro year in and year out? Is the value there? David Gettleman loves his “hog mollies” and Quenton Nelson (6″5 329) absolutely fits that critera, he is also very athletic for a big man and also what some describe as a cant miss prospect.

One thing is for sure, the Giants might never pick this high again, do they take the chance and go with their QB of the future in Darnold, Rosen, Allen or Mayfield and give up on 3rd round pick Davis Webb who Pat Shumur and David Gettleman have both admitted they liked what they’ve seen from him on tape? Does general manager David Gettleman and coach Pat Shumur want their own QB to build around, or do the Giants go with their top position prospect whether it be Barkley, Chubb or Nelson and take a few more shots with Eli Manning at the helm before giving way to Davis Webb or hunt for another QB? One thing is for sure the Giants have a dilemma here, and they can’t afford to miss with the 2nd overall pick.

New York Knicks Must Get Next Head Coach Right

New-York Knicks in the Madison Square Garden

The New York Knicks fired head coach Jeff Hornacek early Thursday morning, something most people around the NBA expected. Sadly, for Knicks fans, this is just one more offseason where uncertainty will reign and there is, at this moment, little hope the franchise will begin to turn things around.

Since the 2001-2002 season, the Knicks have cycled through 11 different head coaches and have exactly seven playoff wins during that span. It should be noted that all seven of those playoff wins came under the immortal Mike Woodson during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. They have won exactly one playoff series since the 2001-02 season.

The Knicks have been searching for stability since Jeff Van Gundy resigned 19 games into the 2001-02 season. Coaches with extensive and successful track records have come and gone. So too have those without much on their coaching resume. The Knicks have not been able to find a winning formula for a myriad of reasons, none of which matters now. The Knicks’ future begins now and team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry must make their mark on this team and find the perfect fit for this franchise.

However, why should fans have any confidence in the Knicks to find that right coach? They have had Hall of Famers in Larry Brown and Lenny Wilkens fail. Phil Jackson’s magic ran out and he went through three men at the position during his short and confusing tenure. Stability isn’t a word Knicks’ fans are familiar with anymore.

If Mills and Perry fail to find the right coach this time around it could doom the Knicks for another five or more years. Mills and Perry have to get this right as they try to erase the Phil Jackson era once and for all from Madison Square Garden. As history has shown, it isn’t easy to turn this franchise around regardless of who the players are, who is in the front office, and who is head coach. Knicks’ fans can only hope this time it works out.