Monthly Archives: April 2013

Huh?

So Day 2 of the Giants draft went about exactly as I hoped when New York took two defensive players. Sure, one was a tackle, one was an end and neither was a linebacker, but the point was they boosted the defense. So, why some may quibble with the actual names they picked, I don’t think anyone can argue with the positions they chose. But then things got weird on Day 3 as the Giants decided to not only select a quarterback, but to trade up in order to select him.

Let me say up front that I have nothing against Ryan Nassib. I think he will probably be a good QB. My problem lies with the thinking behind the pick. Eli Manning is signed for the next three years and is currently 32-years old. Manning won’t last forever, but I wouldn’t bet against him playing at least five more years. And since entry-level NFL contracts last four, Nassib could very well be a free agent who leaves New York before Eli surrenders the starting QB spot.

So what is the thinking here? The Giants obviously view Nassib as an undervalued asset. But, every team in the league had multiple chances to pick him before the Giants traded up to get him, so how undervalued can he be? And if he holds a clipboard for the next couple of years, will his value do anything but go down? I don’t think so and that’s the other reason I don’t understand this pick. If the Giants didn’t have glaring needs at linebacker and some other spots, picking a backup QB wouldn’t be a terrible idea. But to pick a QB in the fourth round and lose an asset (albeit a sixth-round pick) to do so strikes me as foolish. Some will argue that Nassib represents a good “in case of emergency” plan if Manning gets hurt. Maybe I am undervaluing Nassib or overvaluing Manning, but I think that if Manning gets hurt nothing is saving this team.

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Time To Get Defensive

I for one am not unhappy the Giants decided to spend their first round pick on an offensive lineman. The fact is their offensive line is getting up there in age and Kevin Boothe is on a one-year contract. Pugh could be the right tackle this year. He could be the left guard next year. Wherever he ultimately ends up, he should keep Eli Manning upright and that is the key.

But now the Giants have to turn to defense. I don’t think the defense was as bad last year as it broke down statistically, but it was certainly not good. Osi Umenyiora is gone and Justin Tuck is entering the last year of his contract, so a defensive lineman wouldn’t be a bad idea. But perhaps the Giants should return to their roots and find a linebacker who can actually play?

It’s amazing to think of all the terrible linebackers the Giants have used over the past 20 years. And who was the last good linebacker the Giants drafted? Off the top of my head I would say Jessie Armstead and he was an 8th-round pick in 1993! (Did some research and found this list of year-by-year Giants’ picks. To be fair, I think Sintim could have been pretty good if he hadn’t gotten hurt.)

I trust Jerry Reese enough that if he picks a player I expect him to work out ok. I just hope he picks some defensive ones in the second and third round.

Good Start

Raise your hand if you thought the Knicks would win the first two games of their series with Boston by playing very good defense and not by shooting a lot of threes. Anyone? Anyone?  I didn’t think so, but that’s what makes the first two games of the series so encouraging. The Knicks are thriving in areas they haven’t traditionally thrived in for this season. Sure, Carmelo is scoring in bunches, but the key in Game 1 and Game 2 was the defense which clamped down in a huge way in the second half of both of those contests.

I don’t know if that can continue. The Celtics are going to draw strength from the Boston crowd Friday and they simply can’t shoot as poorly as they have. (Sidebar- nice job by the MSG crowd changing the chant to “Celtics Suck!”) But, at worst I suspect the Knicks will split the next two games, and that is all any New York fan could ask for. 

Stupid Rule, But Still A Rule

Golf has quite a little mess on its hands today. Tiger Woods got absolutely robbed yesterday on the 15th hole when his shot hit the pin and then bounced into the water. But, that is where the fun started.

Woods had three choices at that point.

1- Go to the drop area and drop there- he didn’t choose that option

2- Drop the ball, keeping the point where it last crossed the margin of the water between the hole and the spot on which the ball would be dropped- I think he thinks he chose this option.

3- Return to the original spot from which he played, and drop “as nearly as possible,” from where he played the shot.

The problem is his shot hit the pin and spun well left before going into the hazard. If you look at the video evidence, he did not drop with the point where the ball went into the hazard and the hole between him. CBS did an excellent job of showing that last night.

So that leaves option #3 which requires him to drop “as nearly as possible” from where he played his third shot. The problem with that is Tiger clearly said he dropped it two yards behind that spot. (Yes, two yards or six feet is pretty close, but the spirit of the rule is that you play it from exactly where you hit the last shot, unless that would mean hitting out of your divot. Two yards back isn’t that spot.)

Here’s where golf gets stupid. The penalty for an illegal drop is two strokes. The problem is, since Tiger already signed his scorecard without that penalty he would be DQ’ed for an illegal scorecard. Golf takes this pretty seriously, as you can see here, but it is a completely unfair rule. I don’t think anyone thinks Tiger was trying to cheat the game. He simply got the two drops confused and executed what he thought was a legal one. The fair thing to do is to penalize him the two strokes and let him play on.

But, the rule is unbending, if they determine he took an illegal drop, he should be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. We know that no one from the Masters people to CBS to golf fans wants to see that happen, but trying to change the rules to protect Woods would be even worse. Hopefully, golf learns from this and changes the scorecard rule for these exact situations.

Shut It Down

The Knicks have accomplished everything you could have asked for in the regular season. I suspect I am in the minority with this argument, but I could care less if the Knicks are the #2 seed or the #3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The main thing was to win the Atlantic and guarantee that they wouldn’t face the Heat in the first two rounds of the playoffs. Now it is time for them to shut things down and avoid getting hurt in preparation for the playoffs.

The fact is the Knicks are a mess of injuries. Chandler has a bulging disk. Martin has a sprained ankle. Thomas broke his foot. Wallace did too, but he might return. You could go on and on. But the amazing thing is the injuries haven’t mattered because Carmelo decided to take things to another level over the last 13 games. That won’t continue in the playoffs when teams will focus all their energies on stopping him, so the Knicks will have to have a healthy compliment to keep defenses honest. They will also have to have someone else who is big enough to defend the basket.

That means they have to get and stay healthy and that means these final five games just don’t matter.

They Had To Do It

At first glance, the idea of the Rangers trading Marian Gaborik is insane. How can a team that desperately needs goals trade one of the best goal scorers in the league? But, upon deeper review, it makes all the sense in the world.

Start with the fact that the Rangers are way too top-heavy. Rick Nash has been great and Derek Stepan very good, but that’s about it scoring-wise. Too many times this year the Rangers have been about their first and second lines with little contribution from the third and fourth lines. Furthermore, with Brad Richards mired in a miserable slump and Brian Boyle losing his game, the Rangers are very, very thin in the middle.

So, I think the 3-for-1 trade (I’m not counting the minor leaguers involved) the Rangers pulled off today was a good one from a hockey standpoint. Brassard gives them another center who can se tup scorers. Dorsett is a physical wing who will get the job done in the corners. Moore gives them someone to fill in for Staal and could mature in to a top-4 defenseman.

And let’s face it, Gaborik in New York was not working this season. For whatever reason, his goal-scoring touch had disappeared and he was clashing with the coach. Plus, and this is the other reason this trade makes sense, he makes a lot of money and the salary cap is shrinking next year by $6-million.

By pulling off this trade, the Rangers have three players under contract in place of Gaborik for about $1.5 million less than Gaborik would have made. That’s going to be important because the Rangers have three huge restricted free agents next year in Hagelin, Stepan and McDonagh. The Rangers are going to want to keep those three and this trade will help them get to that goal.

I think the other thing this trade does is turn up the heat on Tortorella. Sather has removed a player Torts clearly wasn’t connecting with and replaced him with players more to Torts’ liking. If the Rangers miss the playoffs, I fully expect Torts to get fired. Even if they make the playoffs, I’m not sure the Rangers should keep Torts, but that’s a subject for another day.