With Henry Hynoski out with a knee injury, the fullback position needs a seasoned veteran and a trustworthy blocker as the New York Giants enter the David Wilson/Andre Brown era. What better option than Vonta Leach?
When the New York Giants won the Super Bowl in 2008, David Tyree made the ”catch seen around the world” on his helmet to propel a game winning drive. In 2011, Victor Cruz’s 99 yard touchdown reception against the New York Jets tied an NFL record and was the start of a 6 game winning streak that culminated in a Super Bowl victory for the Giants. Last year, David Wilson’s record-setting 327 all-purpose yards with three touchdowns highlighted a bright future for the young running back.
This year, the man who looks to shock everyone is Terrell Thomas. You might be wondering who this is given his long absence, so let’s refresh our memories.
Talks have once again slowed down between the New York Giants and Victor Cruz as both sides are trying to reach an agreement to have Cruz in New York for a long time.
As the negotiations continue, it harkens back memories of last year when another New York team was in talks with a restricted free agent and one source even said “They will match any offer on him up to 1 billion dollars.”
Yes, I am talking about Jeremy Lin.
Some are trying to be in contention for the Super Bowl.
Some are trying to help their team get into the playoffs.
And some are new to the league and trying to get noticed for a spot on the season-opening roster.
Here’s a look at several BC alumni and updates on their progress through the summer months.
You can’t have an update on BC alumni in the NFL without this man.
Ryan got the evil-first-round-monkey off of his back when the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Seattle Seahawks in a thrilling first round matchup. Yet, Ryan couldn’t get to the Super Bowl when he went up against the muscle of Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers.
This year, it is clear anything but an NFC Championship will be a disappointment for Ryan and the Falcons. He is pleased with the Falcons acquisition of Steven Jackson at running back and having an extraordinary leader in Jackson can really complement Ryan’s lead-by-example demeanor.
Also, he may have a little extra “moolah” coming his way as the Falcons are looking to grant him a contract extension. If Joe Flacco’s deal is any indication of what’s to come for top quarterbacks in the league, expect Ryan to get big money as well.
Screenshot by Teddy Kolva/Gavel Media.
Not only is Matt Ryan his number one fan, but Luke Kuechly is coming off a remarkable rookie season.
Last year, Kuechly led the league in tackles and his fine defensive performance during the regular season earned him Defensive Rookie of the Year. Even though Kuechly is not on a Super Bowl-caliber team, the Carolina Panthers have very high expectations for both Kuechly and Auburn product Cam Newton, who’s entering his third season at quarterback. They will be seeking, above anything, a playoff berth come January.
Entering offseason workouts, Kuechly hasn’t lost a step as his teammates are already praising his leadership on defense. NFL.com Senior Analyst Gil Brandt says Kuechly can be “the next Brian Urlacher/Ray Lewis.” If his rookie season is a harbinger of things to come, Brandt may be right.
Screen shot by Teddy Kolva/Gavel Media
There was a reason we always chanted “LUKE!” after every play he made – we knew he was that important and that good. Kuechly is still a perennial force on defense, a leader on defense, and given the high praise he is already receiving during workouts, his sophomore year in the NFL is shaping up to be even better than his initial campaign.
The emotional leader of the 2010 Eagles is looking to claim the starting middle linebacker position for the New York Giants.
Herzlich’s story has been amazing and emotional to follow. After surviving cancer and continuing his football career, Herzlich signed as an undrafted free agent for the Giants in 2011 and made the final roster. That same season, Herzlich found himself in a sea of confetti as he celebrated the Giants Super Bowl victory against the New England Patriots.
This year, Herzlich wants the open middle linebacker starting spot and it’s looking like he will get it.
Screenshot by Teddy Kolva/Gavel Media
During OTAs and the first day of mandatory mini-camp, Herzlich was lined up starting as middle linebacker on the first-team defense. In essence, it’s Herzlich’s job to lose and having two years of experience as the back-up, Herzlich knows a lot more than his competition.
Imagine Herzlich starting on the field for the Giants during the season opener for a Super Bowl contending team on opening day in the same stadium where the Super Bowl will be held. While it may not top winning a Super Bowl, it can very well be a close second since he’ll be starting.
Emmett Cleary and Nick Clancy
After not being drafted in late April, Cleary signed as an undrafted free agent with the Indianapolis Colts, a move that can open the door to an eventual roster spot.
The offensive tackle position can be won over by anyone, but Cleary has the advantage of knowing starting tackle Anthony Castanzo, who was Cleary’s roommate at BC. Learning from him and being under his wing can benefit Cleary as he looks to make the roster.
Nick Clancy also signed as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons and joins fellow alumni Matt Ryan and Dominique Davis.
Clancy led the Eagles in tackles last season and impressed Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan during a rookie mini-camp in May. Mike Smith was quoted saying to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Clancy did a nice job in the special teams stuff and that’s really where those young linebackers are going to get their first opportunity to contribute.”
While the Eagles enter a new era this season, the legacy of the football program is alive and well in the NFL. Check back for more updates as teams entering training camp and preseason battles commence.
While negotiations continue with Victor Cruz and speculations rise for Hakeem Nicks, the wide receiver situation is up in the air for the New York Giants.
Enter Rueben Randle.
Read the full article here: New York Giants: time to step up, Rueben Randle
So if you like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you know what this post is about.
If not, SHAME ON YOU GO PRESS LIKE AND PRESS FOLLOW! THE BUTTONS ARE TO YOUR LEFT!
Now that that’s out of the way, I have recently joined isportsweb.com as their Correspondent for the New York Giants. What that means is I will be the main person providing content related to the Giants as of right now. It is a new experience because as you can see from my blog, I generally post about anything and everything so covering one team will be different, but also rewarding because if I decide to join a newspaper or be a beat reporter, this experience is extremely helpful.
So, I wrote my first article for the site yesterday regarding Jason Pierre-Paul’s injury and how it basically is a wake-up call to the Giants to re-sign Victor Cruz as soon as they can, resolve the awkward situation of Hakeem Nicks, and make some moves to make their secondary defense a lot stronger this season instead of focusing on Nicks and Cruz. Let me know what you think about the article in the comments section of the article and check out the conent on the site. It is all enjoyable.
Unfortunately, I can’t post the entire article here, but with every article I do for isportsweb.com, I will write a brief description like I just did and include the link so you can click it, read it, comment on it, and share it.
So that’s all for now. Don’t forget to Like me on Facebook (Francisco Bernard) and follow me on Twitter (@illbefrankie). The links are right next to this post too so just click there and also subscribe to the blog by writing your e-mail and clicking follow. Every time you do I get .001 centimeters taller so please help a brother get taller.
Here’s the article. Enjoy.
Freezing in the autumn wind and engulfed in a sea of maroon and gold, I watched the final horn blow on yet another loss for the BC football team, this time to Notre Dame.
Following was the singing of the Alma Mater and I looked around and felt as if I was a goldfish in a sea of silver seats.
It’s as if SuperFans were more concerned about grabbing some chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks from Lower before anyone else. I stayed, participated in the song, and then reflected back on my first game at BC.
It was the first game of the 2011 season and it was my first ever football game. Surrounded by friends and wearing my class of 2015 SuperFan shirt with pride, I felt goosebumps as the Eagles took to the field. Even though we lost to Northwestern, it was an entertaining game and the crowd was live–from kickoff to the final second.
Since then, going to Alumni to watch our team has been not what I expected–to say the least.
Attendance has dropped, morale is low, and we, as a student body, have seemed to have lost faith in our football team.
Understandably so, in sports, it is difficult to back up your team when your team doesn’t live up to your expectations. One thing we have seemed to have forgotten, though, is our own power.
I remember receiving emails from former head coach Frank Spaziani asking the student body to come out and show our support for the team. I also remember going to the games and not seeing much of a turnout despite the pleading of our head coach at the time.
Spaziani didn’t email us to fill attendance, but because a crowd’s presence helps any team.
Put yourself in the shoes of one of our own football players and imagine running out into the field and seeing a half-filled arena. Sure, you’re going to play the game you love, but the fact that your own school–your own classmates– are not behind you affects the game.
Look at the video below. It was 2006. Matt Ryan was reaching his peak, but in this game, he broke his foot. But as you can see in this video, the crowd was large, raucous, and invested in the team. Was it because they were good? That’s probably the reason why, but given the attitude we have today, the minute Ryan broke his foot, exits would fill up faster than you can talk about it.
You are very mistaken if you believe a return to the glory days relies solely on the team and a newly formed coaching staff.
It starts with us, the student body.
We are the people who have the power. We cheer when things go well and we boo when things go bad. Our reactions determine the decisions made and our spirit carries our team.
It is time for us, as a student body, to return back to what made us a force to reckon with. We are a body of intelligent minds with passionate emotions. We bring electricity when united.
Now, with a coaching transition and a new age dawning upon us, it is our time to bring it.
We can’t sit back and wait for the atmosphere to come back because it was us that created that atmosphere. We have a much easier opportunity to frequent games with the introduction of the Gold Pass, an all-access pass to all BC athletic games.
With this innovation, students only need to pay a reasonable $175 to have access to all BC varsity athletic events. Using their Eagle ID as a means for entry, the ticketing process is a lot more streamlined–and efficient.
Screenshot taken by Teddy Kolva / Gavel Media. The Boston College athletics department has made a considerable push to increase fan attendance for home football games.
If we go to games and bring our ‘A’ game as fans, the players will do the same.
And we’re BC students, we love As.
Get your SuperFan shirt. Get the new Gold Pass, or season tickets if you’d like. Grab all your friends. Head to Alumni. Scream and shout and let’s bring back the atmosphere we once had.
It starts with us, after all.
Feature Photo Courtesy of Katie Farrell / Boston College ’13
Follow @BCGavelSports on Twitter for all the latest updates on BC athletics.
Matt Harvey is gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated as “The Dark Knight of Gotham.” The superhero the Mets need, but New York doesn’t want.
Not because New York doesn’t like the Mets or anything, but given how great the New York Knicks have been this season, it is absolutely frustrating that all the right moves they made (trading for Carmelo Anthony, trading for Tyson Chandler, letting Jeremy Lin go, re-signing Raymond Felton, signing JR Smith and Jason Kidd, keeping Iman Shumpert, and keeping Mike Woodson as their head coach) will amount to nothing if they stop playing hero-ball.
For those of you unaware how this works, it’s fairly simple. Anthony or Smith run the offense, shoot the ball more than their entire team individually and when hot, are a force to reckoned with. When cold, the Knicks look like a team of lost and confused.
It is this mentality of give and give to Anthony and Smith that has taken the Knicks to the playoffs, but can very well take the Knicks out of the playoffs if they don’t quit it.
After being outperformed by the Indiana Pacers in Game 3, Tyson Chandler took the time to air out his grievances on the Knicks’ offensive system saying “I watched the tape myself and there are open looks. We have to be willing passers. You have to sacrifice yourself sometimes for the betterment of the team and for the betterment of your teammates. So when you drive in the paint and you draw, you kick it. I think we need to do a better job of allowing the game to dictate who takes the shots and not the individuals.”
When you watch the Knicks play, you see what Chandler is describing. Many open looks and many contested shots. Anthony is ranked #3 in field goals attempted behind other hero-ball mentalists, Russell Westbrook and Kobe Bryant. As you have seen with Westbrook’s and Bryant’s teams, when players of hero-ball mentality don’t bring their game or falter, the team is left in shambles. Sure, the Thunder have Kevin Durant, but one man doesn’t win championships. It takes a team.
And now, as a result, the New York Knicks are facing elimination down 3-1 in their series against the Pacers.
The Knicks need to realize it is going to take a team effort to defeat the Pacers and even stand a formidable chance against the Miami Heat. Hero-ball is not working and it has never worked. Ask the 2006-07 Cleveland Cavaliers, 2011-12 New York Knicks, 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers. It doesn’t work.
Remembered the Knicks team that ran circles around the Miami Heat in their very first game of the season and were leading the Eastern conference once upon a time?
That Knicks team was a team. It wasn’t the Carmelo Anthony show. Chandler was a rebounding and blocking phenom. Smith, Kidd, and Anthony were lights out beyond the arc. Felton ran the offense well and simply put, the Knicks put the Heat on notice.
But somewhere down the road, the Knicks became complacent and are now relying heavily on Anthony and Smith to carry them to the playoffs. As you saw in Game 4, the same mentality that the Knicks have had all season cost them. Smith and Anthony combined shot 45 times, more shots than the rest of the Knicks team combined.
It may be too little too late for the Knicks, but New York deserves to see the Knicks team go down swinging, not Anthony and Smith go down swinging.
This hero mentality doesn’t work in real life and it most certainly doesn’t work in professional sports. It may have very well cost the Knicks this season and will very well lead to a lot of disgruntled fans leaving Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, disappointed, and with the mantra that reigns supreme in everywhere but Yankee Stadium.
Wait ’till Next Year.
Amidst all the conundrum with the NFL offseason, many readers have asked me, “Are you going to talk about the Percy Harvin and Anquan Boldin trades? What about Wes Welker? How will Tom Brady do without him?” The last question is the important one to address and it was addressed before any of this happened. It all started with a man by the name of Joe Flacco.
Flacco’s new contract has cemented in the NFL that the centerpiece of each team is the quarterback and everyone else are supporters to him. Take a minute to look at the three big wide receiver moves and see what I mean.
First, Percy Harvin’s trade to the Seattle Seahawks is for the benefit of Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson exploded onto the scene amd after this past season, add Wilson and the Seahawks as one of the top 5 feared teams in the NFL. The one thing Wilson was lacking was a wide receiver core. Yes, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate did perform well, but Wilson didn’t have that one go-to receiver or a one-two punch receiving combo that many other elite teams such as: Matt Ryan with Roddy White and Julio Jones, Tom Brady with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, Eli Manning with Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the list goes on. With the addition of Harvin, Wilson has that elite go-to receiver and it translates to Wilson having a better offense to work with to complement the already powerful defense Seattle boasts. Think about it, Wilson had a phenomenal rookie season posting a rating of 100 and a QBR of 69.6 with the receiving core he had. By adding Harvin, it adds options for special teams and options for Wilson in the pass. You best believe Wilson’s sophomore year is shaping up to be pretty darn good.
Second, Anquan Boldin’s trade, while shocking and unnecessary to say the least on the Ravens part, cements the San Francisco 49ers as perennial favorites to make it to the Super Bowl for the second year. But why do you think it was done? Two words: Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick burst onto the scene when Alex Smith got injured and with a team of veterans, Kaepernick found himself against Wilson and Seahawks and narrowly escaped with a win. In the Super Bowl, Kaepernick struggled early, but gave a valiant effort in the second half, thanks to an assist from the New Orleans Superdome (We haven’t forgotten!). Imagine if Kaepernick had another veteran like Boldin to complement Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis? With the addition of Boldin, it adds postseason experience, Super Bowl experience, and he can also assist Kaepernick with his growth as a quarterback after playing with the Super Bowl MVP and now richest quarterback in the league. Don’t forget, Boldin can do some serious blocking, so when Kaepernick takes off in a read option play, Boldin adds physicality to complement his versatility. Elite veteran receiver and run blocker, I think the 49ers got a nice 2 for 1 special with Boldin.
Last but not least, Wes Welker. Welker’s decision to sign with the Denver Broncos was a smart move on his part and a smart move on the Patriots part for two things. One, the Patriots don’t have to worry about Welker pleading for money and two, both teams made signings that benefit their quarterback. Yes, Welker leaving New England does mean a key target of Brady’s is gone, but Brady has proven in his career to be a very flexible quarterback who works well with any receiver you give him, with the exception being Chad Ochocinco…or is he now Johnson again…? Regardless, along with Wes Welker, receivers like Randy Moss, Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth all saw an improvement in their game by playing with Tom Brady. The signing of Danny Amendola means the Patriots are going in a new direction with a younger receiver. Looking at the numbers, the Broncos win with the signing of Wes Welker.
Welker played all of last year while Amendola only played 9 games and Welker was the most targeted receiver by Brady. Moving to Denver, where Peyton Manning runs the show and complemented with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, adding Welker can add a surprise factor and it will keep defenses on their toes because of the plethora of options for Manning. For Brady, it is a wait and see with Amendola because last year didn’t provide much of a glimpse as to how effective Amendola can be in filling in the cleats of Welker. The Patriots though hope being under the eliteness of Brady will make Amendola better, but unlike Denver, it is a wait and see, not a guarantee.
So, what do all three situations have in common? All three situations are moves geared to providing a comfortable offensive culture for the respective quarterbacks. For Wilson, the addition of an elite wide receiver means Wilson gets a go-to receiver other elite quarterbacks have. For Kaepernick, experience will help him mold himself into a flexible quarterback and the addition of a blocker to complement his running abilities means bad news for the NFL. For Brady and Manning, it’s new faces who look to fulfill very high expectations with elite quarterbacks. Welker must take charge as a leader for the receivers and Amendola must work well with Brady.
It’s all about the quarterback and while we won’t see as many quarterbacks in this year’s draft, you better believe the focus will be how to complement the quarterback offensively and defensively.
Prodigal - a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.
Prodigal can sum up the actions of the Baltimore Ravens in offering Joe Flacco a contract that will make him the highest quarterback in NFL history.
According to ESPN, Flacco and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $120.6 million contract and Flacco is expected to sign the deal on Monday in Baltimore.
If you have read my previous columns on contract terms, you know how I feel about this situation.
Once again, we have an athlete being overcompensated for his performance. Yet, in this case, the Ravens had no choice, but Flacco did.
The Ravens HAD to re-sign Flacco, but Flacco didn’t have to. Flacco could have pulled a Drew Brees and lock a stranglehold on the Ravens until his demands were met. But both sides can agree to this.
Flacco wanted to be with the Ravens for a substantial amount of money and the Ravens wanted Flacco at whatever cost it took; even if it meant offering him max amount.
Do I agree with the signing? Yes.
Do I agree with the terms? Read the first sentence of this column.
Flacco deserved to be paid well for all he has done. After all, he has made the playoffs since arriving to the NFL. He is the most consistent quarterback the past five seasons and he finally added Super Bowl MVP to that resume last month.
He has also dealt with being the most undervalued quarterback in the NFL. Even with this signing, many are still berating Flacco as overrated and many are suggesting Flacco won’t live up to his contract.
You’re right, he won’t, because he shouldn’t be the richest quarterback in NFL history. The man who should be the richest quarterback took a pay cut earlier this week.
Flacco will, however, live up to most of that contract because he is now the face of the Ravens franchise with the exit of Ray Lewis. Flacco’s flawless playoff performance should be an indication of what to expect to all the Flacco cynics. When you are able to outperform Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in two consecutive weeks, you don’t need to validate anything to anyone.
The only flaw is the Raven’s pursuit of Flacco this offseason was nothing short of prodigal. Yes, he deserves to be paid justly, but to make him the richest quarterback in the NFL not only brings with it puzzlement, but expectation and risk.
Now, the expectations for the Ravens are to be Super Bowl contenders every year. If you have the richest quarterback on your team, there is no reason why the Ravens shouldn’t be. I mean, it is the reason why they re-signed him right? Anything less of that expectation will result in banter of failure.
The risk with Flacco being paid so much? The risk of Flacco’s performance becoming more undervalued than it already is. If critics and sports analysts everywhere still downgraded Flacco in the season he won the Super Bowl, what is to say they won’t this year?
Picture this: Flacco throws 3 touchdowns for 300 yards and the Ravens win against the Patriots. Next day, the comparison is made whether or not Flacco is better than Tom Brady and the majority will say no. I’ll admit it, I would say no as well, but guess what?
This actually happened.
In Week 3, Flacco outperformed Brady and he still did not get the respect he deserved. Offering him a max contract does not end the talk of whether or not he is elite because critics will continuously bash him until he wins 2 more Super Bowls to match Tom Brady.
Only then will the talk cease.
For now, the contract is nothing less of prodigal. Overcompensation hasn’t worked in the past with athletes and it won’t work with Flacco. He may win another Super Bowl, but it won’t validate the title he now holds. So congratulations, Flacco, “The Highest Paid Quarterback in NFL History” (who only has 1 Super Bowl title).