Duke Basketball’s Projected 2017-18 Rotation

By Jack Drapkin

Thanks for tuning in or for those returnees coming back. For the remainder of the season, I will be primarily writing about the Dukies to go along with our new channel, “Dealing with the Devils“. So since they just played their first exhibition of the season against D2 Northwestern St., I figured it would be a great time to take a look at their rotation in this game and try to extrapolate what this means moving into the regular season and then conference play.

*Note this was written under the assumption that Duval’s suspension would not affect his playing time in the regular season.*

First off, the starters Trevon Duval, Grayson Allen, Gary Trent Jr., Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. have a ton of suffixes in their names. Besides that, it’s four freshmen and a senior who have a ton of athleticism and length. Shooting still remains a concern for me with this team and this group as while we know Grayson is knock down, the other four while capable, still have question marks. More importantly, defensively this team has a chance to be one of the better ones Duke has had in recent years. With the size and athleticism combination as well as depth Duke should play a lot more man pressure this season and at times even full court or 3/4 court press. Then again, we said many of the same things in anticipation of last year’s injury-riddled campaign.

Now to the bench, which has been a sore spot for Duke in recent years. The first two players off the bench in the first exhibition were Marquese Bolden and Javin DeLaurier. With each man standing over 6’10” the Blue Devils are clearly going to play big this season. I thought Javin looked much improved, as he nailed a 3-pointer and looked much more comfortable out on the court. The reason the first two guys off the bench was a key to me is because Coach K rarely plays more than 7 so these could be the last two guys getting meaningful playing time.

Some last thoughts here on the rest of the roster. A surprise to me was freshman point guard Jordan Goldwire being the 8th man into the game. It appears based on his early entrance that he is inline for backup PG minutes allowing Grayson to remain at the two spot. If true, this is a big development for the Dukies as it enables everyone to remain in their natural spots when Duval goes to the bench or inevitably gets in foul trouble. Finally, I was surprised at how late 2nd-year man Jack White got into the game, I thought he could emerge as a key role player this year but may have to bide his time instead. Anyways, let me know what you thought as we move into our 2nd exhibition game today at 1:00.

John Collins Quiet Ascent in Atlanta

By Jack Drapkin

Don’t look now, wait until January or February when the NBA Rookie Ladder is in full swing, but John Collins will find himself comfortably within the Top 10 of that list. You may be saying but Jack, it’s only the third game of the season how can you be so confident. Well for one here’s me discussing the impact I think Collins will have, and here too. But most importantly, in a minuscule three-game sample size Collins has averaged 12 points and nearly seven rebounds on zero three-point attempts a game. The last part is most important to me, as even though I alluded to him adding it to his arsenal, he knows where his game is at and is playing within himself.

On the offensive end of the court, Collins uses his intelligence and athleticism to create openings for himself inside the arc. A capable mid-range jump shooter, he utilizes his pump-fake to drive past defenders and get to the rim. He has also excelled on the offensive glass, averaging 5.5 offensive rebounds per-36 minutes. He has like most rookies do struggled with his ball security in the early part of this season. If he could carry over his offensive instincts and motor consistently to the defensive end of the court, we would be discussing a Rookie of the Year candidate

Still far more confident and comfortable on the offensive end of the court expect Collins to struggle on the defensive end for the remainder of his rookie season. While he has shown activity on that end in the early part of the season,  six combined steals and blocks, he still has ways to go with his positioning and could improve his strength as well. This combined with the four fouls a game he is currently picking up say it will take time, but at least the effort has been there unlike what it was in college.

In short, look now, look later, but Collins will find himself among the top rookies by the All-Star break even if no one is watching the Hawks.

Kareem The Dream: Breaking Down His Stratospheric Start

By John Camera

Don’t look now but the rookie runner leading the league in rushing has become a top-tier runningback in the NFL. Arguably only sitting behind stars like Zeke Elliot, David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt is establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with with each game that passes.

Hunt was one my personal favorite runningbacks in this past draft class, second only to Jamaal Williams, and I compared him to perennial 1,000-yard rusher Frank Gore. That’s a lofty comparison but I truly believed Hunt deserved it and would emulate Gore if he improved the weaknesses in his game. Boy has he ever.

The following is my scouting report on Hunt following his senior year at Toledo:

hunt scouting


All of the positives I found in his game transitioned almost immediately, not something that happens very often as rookies adjust to the speed and complexity of the NFL. Not only that, but Hunt improved on the negatives that made him a very good back rather than an elite one on the level of Leonard Fournette.

To start, I greatly underestimated Hunt’s finishing speed on his carries at Toledo. While I did note his speed was excellent and acceleration immediate, I didn’t think he had that game-breaking gear to pull away and break off runs for 70, 80 yards a pop. Hunt proved me wrong in his very first game, twice pulling away from the New England defense and hasn’t stopped since then. Make no mistake, Kareem Hunt may not look like Gurley or Fournette but he is as much, if not more, of a world class athlete as those guys are.

Hunt has also shown a commitment to his pass-blocking game, something that was already solid but needed some work to it. Hunt has protected Alex Smith well since taking over the starting role for the injured Spencer Ware. In addition, the Toledo product has kept his weight in the 210s, a perfect weight for his combination of speed and power, not getting as high as the 230s that he was at in his earlier years with the Rockets.

Most impressive to me is how Hunt has gotten better and more patient as a runner. That manic style that he sometimes exhibited is much harder to find now than it was last season at Toledo. Hunt should get major props for how he has not only adjusted to the speed of the NFL but improved as a player at the same time.

While improving his negatives, every one of Hunt’s positives that I noted has transitioned almost perfectly to the NFL. The rookie has shown his great speed, impressive acceleration and elite level change of direction and agility in every single performance. On top of that, his vision has been very strong to start the season; Hunt is trusting his blockers and picking the right holes to run through.

Hunt’s ability to move the pile, whether at 230 or 200, could never be disputed, but it’s still worth noting just how well a 5’10” and 216 pound runningback is crushing defenders. His full toolbox of open field moves and elite balance has also helped him churn out yards even when it seems little to nothing is there for him.

The one positive that I did note but am nonetheless still surprised at how well Hunt has adapted it into the NFL is his receiving ability. While not on the level of fellow rookie Christian McCaffrey, Hunt has immediately inserted himself into the Chiefs passing game and done an excellent job of contributing to it. Hunt was always a good receiver at Toledo, he caught 73 passes there, but he wasn’t quite the contributor that he has become for the Chiefs.

While it would be fair to imagine the rookie having speedbumps or games similar to the 9-carry, 21-yard performance he had against Pittsburgh, don’t think for one second that Kareem Hunt will be a one-year wonder. Defenses will figure out the best way to defend this potent Chiefs offense and Hunt will see games where his chances are limited, but rest assured the Toledo product’s name is one we can get used to for a long time.

Time for Middleton to Emerge in Milwaukee

By Jack Drapkin

When discussing the Milwaukee Bucks, the conversation rightfully is centered around Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak who will turn 23 in December is the young centerpiece of a franchise on the uptick. However, Giannis needs help and with Jabari Parker sidelined until at least January, someone will need to take up some of the playmaking slack. Some writers are looking towards second-year players Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon to bridge this gap. However, both players seem more likely to stay in their current roles than drastically increase them. This leaves Khris Middleton, now a year removed from a hamstring tear to pick up the playmaking slack.

So why Middleton and not Brogdon or Maker, after all, Middleton is the oldest player of this group and the one who presumably has tapped into his potential the most. A career 40% shooter from deep, Middleton had increased his role each year with Milwaukee before his injury-ravaged campaign last year. Peaking at over 18 points and four assists a game in the 2015-16 season. This numbers should surprise the most ardent of NBA fans, just not the top-notch Bucks fans, I hear ya Milwaukee!

So why will this year be the year for Middleton and the Bucks. Two reasons, opportunity, and health. To the latter, a year removed from the major hamstring injury from last season, expect Middleton to look fresh and re-invigorated at the start of the season. Now as far as opportunity is concerned, this will be the best situation Middleton has had a chance to play on throughout his career. The difference in the level of play that Giannis is playing at compared to the last time Middleton was completely healthy is night and day. The openings created by playing with Giannis are tremendous and will make Middleton’s life easier to pick apart his defender with his old-man, Joe Johnson-like game. Also with the additions of Tony Snell and Malcolm Brogdon, the defensive burdens will be less on Middleton this season allowing him to have more energy on the offensive end.

With Middleton’s 15 points, nine rebound, six assist opening night performance is just the way the Bucks hoped his season would start.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – New York Giants Week 6

By Aaron Weiss

The New York Giants defied the odds and any semblance of logic, rolling over the now 3-2 Denver Broncos by a score of 23-10. While there are a good number of things to criticize (such as Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins getting beat all night by Demaryius Thomas, although he redeemed himself with a critical pick six), considering the Giants got their first win of the season, in primetime, against a Super Bowl contender and their premier defense, with their top three receivers, starting center, top EDGE rusher, captain linebacker, and star slot corner out, I’m going easy on the G-Men. Let’s breakdown everything that happened and look forward to the Giants last game before their bye!


The Good:

Evan Engram – With the Giants top three receivers out this week (and two of them out for the year), Engram was thrust into the top spot as it comes to receiving options, and he did not disappoint. He had more targets, yards, and touchdowns than the Giants 3 wide receivers combined, and he caught 45% of the Giants completions, had 64% of their receiving yards, and their lone offensive touchdown. Sterling Shepard will return either next week or after the bye week, which will lighten the load on Engram somewhat, but there’s no doubt that the continuing success of the Giants offense is going to depend on Engram putting up numbers like he did on Sunday.


Jason Pierre-Paul – Denver RT Menelik Watson is the weak link on the Broncos’ offensive line, coming into the contest with a PFF score of 40.2, and he had the unenviable task of going up against Pierre-Paul. JPP definitely won the matchup, notching 6 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble, all in the first half (which was as far as Watson would make it in the contest, he’d get hurt and be replaced by Billy Turner and his 38.9 PPR grade in the 2nd half). Despite not having Olivier Vernon to draw primary or even double coverage on the other side, JPP totaled 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits, and a QB hurry, continually spooking Trevor Siemian even when he wasn’t generating pressure. JPP reminded the world why he remains a premier edge rusher in this league.


The Offensive Line – The offensive line hardly qualifies as above average yet, but perhaps they’ve found their best iteration. The Giants moved star LG Justin Pugh to RT, moving RG John Jerry to LG and backup OL DJ Fluker to RG (also with C Weston Richburg out Brett Jones played center, although that will undoubtedly revert to Richburg when he’s healthy). I don’t know if this is the “we need our best OL at tackle” gameplan, or if it’s the “lets put our best OL on their best DL,” which in this case is Pugh vs Von Miller, but either way, this o-line kept the pressure on Eli Manning limited while absolutely punishing Denver in the run game (especially with Orleans Darkwa in the backfield). With the Giants’ wide receives not doing a whole lot, credit this offensive line for keeping this offense on the field.


Mike Sullivan – For the first time since Ben McAdoo joined the Giants as their offensive coordinator, McAdoo wasn’t calling the offensive plays, passing off those duties to current offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, and in Sullivan’s first opportunity he showed what he brings to the offense. He didn’t call any crazy plays, and you have to wonder how much of the play calling changes are due to Sullivan and how many are due to the new receivers the Giants are stuck with, but Sullivan was incredibly solid, sticking to the ground game while not overextending Eli or making him rely on his new receivers (the Giants ran the ball 32 times while passing a mere 19). McAdoo also looked more in control without having to call the offensive plays. Sullivan will almost certainly call the plays next week and for the immediate future, and we’ll see if he can continue to be successful, but tonight Sullivan earned his pay as the Giants’ offensive coordinator.


The Bad:

The Little Three – With the big three of Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall out, the Giants turned to the new lesser three in Roger Lewis, Tavarres King, and Travis Rudolph, and…it didn’t really work out. They combined for 2 catches on 4 targets in the first half, collectively getting outworked by TE Evan Engram. As mentioned above, Shepard will return to the lineup and inherit the top receiving spot, but GM Jerry Reese should be looking to find outside help this week. Perhaps disgruntled Pittsburgh WR Martavis Bryant could be an option going forward.


The Ugly:


Injuries:

The Giants had a couple of players banged up, with players like Jay Bromley and BJ Goodson briefly going down on the field, but the only significant injury was to rookie linebacker Calvin Munson, who had a quad injury in the game and was unable to return. While he is a backup, meaning his loss isn’t as critical, the Giants are currently paper thin at linebacker, with Jonathan Casillas missing the contest with a neck injury. Should Munson be out for an extended period it would be wise of the Giants to acquire some depth at the position.


NFC East Picture:

Dallas had their bye week, so they remained in third place at 2-3. However, their stock in the division fell dramatically with news that star RB Ezekiel Elliott had his suspension reinforced immediately, meaning that, barring further legal directives, he will miss the Cowboys’ next six games. Philly won a tight battle against Carolina on Thursday night football, going to 5-1, and Carson Wentz and his Eagles continued to show they’re in a different class than their division counterparts. Finally, Washington eked out a victory against the now 0-6 San Francisco 49ers, leaving them in second place at 3-2.


Next Week: The Giants come home to face the Seahawks before they go on their desperately needed bye week. Seattle comes into the game at 3-2, coming off of their bye week, which means they’ll be fresh against a Giants team that could not be more battered. On the other hand, Seattle is 1-2 on the road, although those losses came against a Mariota-led Titans and a Rodgers-led Packers. Still, the Giants showed they’re capable of contending with top defenses with mediocre offenses, and while the Seahawks offense is much better than Denver’s, their putrid offensive line will mean more JPP sacks and pressures, keeping this one close. Look for a slugfest, but considering what the Giants have as receiving options, look for Seattle to edge out a victory.

Prediction – Seahawks win 17-13

Potential 2nd Year NBA Breakout Players

By Jack Drapkin

With the season starting this upcoming week, I figured it was time to take a look at the rising sophomores from the 2016 NBA Draft Class. A class that by most measures disappointed across the board. Think about this, the three best rookies of last season were two rookies from Philly in Dario Saric and Joel Embiid who were both part of the 2014 draft and the 36th overall pick Malcolm Brogdon. It’s safe to say that the top of the 2016 NBA Draft failed to live up to the expectations that were frankly already set fairly low. So who changes this narrative and steps up as we head into a new season? I attempt to put on ‘Genie’ hat and predict which players are going to take a step forward this season.

Brandon Ingram

Look, the beginning of his career was not pretty. As a skinny nineteen-year-old in the NBA maybe as a collective, our expectations should have been lower. However, they were not and he struggled immensely through early January. Then, something funny started to happen, things began to click for Ingram. His shot started falling a bit more frequently as he became more assertive on the court increasing his scoring from eight ppg before the All-star break to 13 ppg after the break. Many of the same doubters from last season are pointing to a weak pre-season showing from Ingram as a sign that his performance at the end of last season was a fluke. I’d be careful of following that advice, with pre-season games more accurately reflecting that of pick-up quality, expect Ingram to slowly grow into his role this season and be a 15 ppg scorer on a better than expected Lakers team.

Henry Ellenson

After spending one season at Marquette, Ellenson spent much of last season in the G-League with just 19 appearances to his name. So why is Ellenson poised for a bigger sophomore campaign. Two reasons, first he is much more confident with his skills as was apparent with his summer league dominance. If you’re highly drafted 2nd-year player doesn’t dominate in the summer league its a cause for concern. Ellenson, tore it up to the tune of 17 points and seven boards a game. And, I know it’s just summer league but it is still important for his confidence. Second, the Pistons lost Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes this offseason. Two players who combined were playing 50 frontcourt minutes a game. Besides journeyman Anthony Tolliver the only other frontcourt player Detroit brought in was Eric Moreland, Ellenson is due for minutes this season.

Taurean Prince/DeAndre’ Bembry

The Atlanta Hawks are not going to be a good basketball team this year. That’s the bad news, the good news they have a number of intriguing young players including this pair of sophomore wings. Prince, in particular, was able to move into the rotation last season after the trade of Kyle Korver and performed admirably, especially in the playoffs. If I had to pick one or the other it would be Prince who will have the better season. Bembry however, has a unique game, not a great shooter but does everything else well, and is a deceptively explosive athlete who will look to take advantage of the minutes departed by Tim Hardaway Jr. The Hawks are hopeful they have a couple of wings for the future in today’s switch happy NBA.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – New York Giants Week 5

By Aaron Weiss

In a season that somehow keeps getting worse, the Giants lost their week five matchup against the now 1-4 Los Angeles Chargers 27-22, dropping to 0-5. The Giants simply could not hang around with the Chargers after suffering a rash of injuries, in what ended up being one of the worst three hour periods in New York Giant history. Let’s break down what little went right, everything that went wrong, and anything else in between while look forward to New York’s week 6 match-up.


The Good:

Wayne Gallman & Orleans Darkwa – The Giants may finally have a run game! Gallman, playing his second regular season game, and Darkwa, coming back from injury, combined for 19 carries, 126 yards and a touchdown. The pair alone had the Giants best single game effort on the ground this year (with a 91 yard performance coming in second and a 62 yard performance coming in third), which doesn’t include contributions by Shane Vereen and Odell Beckham, who brought the Giants’ run game total to 152 yards on 25 carries. Darkwa has looked impressive all year when he’s been healthy, and Gallman has made a impactful impression to start his career, averaging 3.8 yards per carry after contact. Given the other developments of the day, look for the Giants to try and push this pair further into the spotlight.


Darian Thompson – Thompson was all over the field on Sunday. He may not have the skillset or the star power of his fellow safety Landon Collins, but Thompson recorded his first interception, along with a team high 11 tackles, 2 passes defended, and 1 QB hit. To date he hadn’t made much of an impression to distance himself from fellow sophomore and last year’s starting safety Andrew Adams, but performances like this will secure his status as the starting Free Safety.


Damon Harrison & Dalvin Tomlinson – While the Giants got absolutely steamrolled by Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, the big interior duo on the Giants’ defensive line did a remarkable job holding Gordon and anyone else trying to work down the middle in check. Gordon rushed 7 times down the middle for a measly 22 yards (3.1 yards/carry), as opposed to 13 carries for 83 yards (6.4 yards/carry), when rushing to the left or right side of the offensive line (although Gordon did have a 26 yard run up the middle negated by a holding penalty). Snacks Harrison also excelled in pass defense, recording 4 QB hurries on 24 pass rushing snaps.

 

The Bad:

Penalties – Once again this season, the Giants’ agonizing mental mistakes were overshadowed by worse ones from an opponent, but that’s no reason to give the Giants a pass. The G-Men had 10 penalties for 67 yards (as opposed to LA’s 11 penalties for 87 yards). Some of the more egregious penalties were unnecessary roughness from BJ Goodson, running into the kicker from Nordly Capi (which thankfully didn’t extend the Chargers’ drive), and 2(!) defensive offsides penalties from beleaguered edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul (his 50.4 PFF grade is 24.2 points worst than his previous worst PFF grade). In a game where everything outside of New York’s control went wrong, the Giants couldn’t make sure to do the easy things right.


Pass Protection – Bobby Hart and his 36.6 PFF grade returned to the lineup after missing time with an injury, and boy oh boy did it show. Unlike Philip Rivers, who wasn’t sacked once, Eli Manning was brought down 5 times, losing 42 yards and one fumble in the process. Manning took 7 QB hits on the day, and once again he often looked spooked in the pocket. To be clear, the offensive line continues to “improve”, with the average rush yards before contact increased to 2.0, but once again this offensive line showed it couldn’t stop the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

 

The Ugly:

Injuries – Wow. Just wow. In what has to be one of the most wrath of godlike moments in NFL history, the Giants lost 4 of their 5 active WR’s on injury throughout the game. WR Sterling Shepard sprained his ankle early in the second quarter, only to have fellow WR Brandon Marshall hurt his ankle the very next play (while Coach McAdoo called his injury a sprain, the fact that he’s undergone surgery implies it’s something more serious). Special teams ace and plugin WR Dwayne Harris broke his foot on a special teams play in the third quarter, and, most significantly, superstar WR Odell Beckham fractured his ankle in the fourth quarter, a huge blow both in the short term (he was scorching hot against star cornerback Casey Hayward, making 5 catches on 8 targets for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Eli Manning would fumble the ball the play after Odell left), and in the long run. Of the 4, only Sterling Shepard avoided injured reserve, and he is listed as day to day, although the odds he plays this upcoming week are slim. This rash of injuries left Eli Manning with one active healthy receiver for the last few minutes of the game, Roger Lewis, and on the Giants last make or break drive, Manning had Lewis and TE Rhett Ellison lined up outside, with TE Evan Engram on the inside and pass catching specialist RB Shane Vereen in the backfield, a recipe that led to a disastrous interception. No offense, and no quarterback (excepting perhaps Aaron Rodgers) can successfully win a game with only a 4th string wide receiver and no other WRs, and the rash of injuries doomed any chance that Giants had to win a close game they so desperately needed.

 

NFC East Picture:

In one of the more contentious divisions to date, it was the Philadelphia Eagles who stood out the most, convincingly beating the Arizona Cardinals 34-7, and going to 4-1 on the season in the process. Washington had a bye week, and the Dallas Cowboys met the same fate most teams do when facing the inhuman god that is Aaron Rodgers, falling to 2-3. Barring a miracle, the Giants are out of playoff contention, but for the first time this season, it looks like one of the teams in the NFC East is on the cusp on breaking away from the competition.


Next Week: The Giants signed veteran WR Tavarres King, who they cut in the offseason, and practice squad WR Travis Rudolph to replace Beckham and Marshall (they also signed WR Darius Powe, who they also cut in the offseason, to the practice squad). That means, unless Sterling Shepard makes a remarkable comeback and plays this week, that King, Rudolph and Lewis, who have a combined 19 career receptions (15 for King, 4 for Lewis and 0 for the rookie Rudolph), will go head to head with Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr, and Bradley Roby, who have a combined 55 career interceptions and 7 Pro Bowl appearances. The rest of the Denver defense is just as intimidating, and while the Giants may make headway against the run, they still only ran the ball to the left side twice against the Chargers, so clearly there are still issues to be addressed. While it would not be surprising to see the Giants’ defense push around Trevor Siemian and the mediocre Denver offense, it’s honestly more likely that the Giants score a touchdown on defense than offense. There’s no way, especially on the road, and with the Broncos coming off their bye week that this Giants’ team beats the 3-1 Denver Broncos.

Prediction – Broncos win 17-3

Making Sense of the Rookie Hype

By Jack Drapkin

For all of the hype surrounding the 2017 Rookie NBA Class, they have yet to play an official NBA game. However, with the success that many of them had in the various Summer Leagues, the hype is certainly understandable. What I find most interesting is who the spotlight has been placed upon primarily.

Sure, Lonzo Ball has the media in a buzz buoyed by his business-savvy, loudmouth of a Father, but he was not the number one pick that was Markelle Fultz. And of course Dennis Smith Jr. has looked impressive and explosive but he wasn’t even the third point guard selected, De’Aaron Fox, or the fourth for that matter, Frank Ntilikina.

Alright, alright, alright what’s the point? Well, remember how excited everyone was for Michael Carter-Williams and Tyreke Evans after there rookie campaigns. Or how about the promise that Jared Sullinger and Iman Shumpert showed early in their careers. What about how promising Anthony Bennett looked in his days for the Cavs. Oh, too soon you say?

Alright, let’s flip that around, remember what a young Mike Conley was like. How about Harrison Barnes in his first year with the Warriors. Point being, many players can have fast starts to their career and stall out, while others struggle initially before finding their footing.

So my advice to all of you whoever you were high on before the draft process and during the summer maintain that faith, no matter the start of the season.

2017 New York Jets Quarter Report

By Alexander C. Lawrence

Despite all the gloom and doom about the 2017 season coming in, the Jets actually have two more victories (2-2) than their stadium-sharing neighbors, the Giants (0-4). What does this all mean in a world where the Jets have a better record than the Giants AND the Bills (3-1) sit atop the AFC East?

1) The Jets new-look, swagger-filled defense

Since joining the Jets on draft day as first and second round picks, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye have really played intense and fast football to go along with third-year defensive linemen out of USC, Leonard Williams. Not only did this Jets defense outplay Miami in Week 3, they look poised to go all out this season. Something tells me Adams, Maye, and Williams don’t know what the word “tank” means, though I’m also sure they’d rather have guys like Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen on their team.

2) Will Hackenberg ever see the field in 2017?

A month ago I would’ve told you that Christian Hackenberg would be the starting QB for the New York Jets by mid-to-late October, but right now I’m not so sure. I believed in the Jets ability to develop him. He had proven himself in a pro-style offense his first year at Penn State. So far with two wins under his belt, Josh McCown may ensure Hackenberg doesn’t see the field. As a Jet fan, wasting a second round pick shows just how foolish the front office was for drafting him with high capital and then not allowing him to prove himself.

3) Is winning hurting the Jets future?

A lot of people expected the Jets to be either 0-4 or 1-3 at this point, including myself. McCown and that Jets’ offense have played impressive football and I’m honestly not thrilled about it. The Jets need to start fresh at QB and Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold look primed to be that long-awaited franchise guy. That was until McCown started winning. He is not the future, just a hold-the-fort-together guy until they get the chance to draft a real QB. The Jets just don’t have the talent to compete all season long, as teams will adjust and eventually that offense will slow down once they face tougher defenses. If the Jets finish 6-10 and get a top-10 pick, I’d call this season a waste because QB is a must in this draft and the Jets may be too far back in the draft order to grab the one they want/need.

4) Kony Ealy’s tough Week 4

Kony Ealy had a key defensive play in securing the Week 4 victory over the Jaguars for the Jets. He was presented with the game-ball, but not any game-ball. Ealy lost his sister this week, Latoya Brown and no details were given outside of that. That forced Ealy to leave the team for a couple of days but would suit-up Sunday and have the game of his career. He did his scouting report on Blake Bortles, who likes to throw low, and Ealy sure took advantage of that as he put his arms up and ended with four pass deflections on the day. None would top his third quarter batted pass that he caught and ran for seven-yards and almost had their first defensive touchdown in 61 games.

2017 New York Mets Pitching Staff Bust

By: Alexander C. Lawrence

Being a Met fan for over 7 years now, I’ve seen a lot of hope going into the following season, but none quite like 2017 though. Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler (the return!), and Steven Matz. I bet most Met fans know by now the only New York Met starting pitcher worth rostering all season in fantasy leagues was (drum roll)….. JACOB DEGROM!

For most Met fans they are looking forward to next season and seeing what free agency brings them as the Mets were derailed by injuries all season long. Matt Harvey, may not be in the rotation in 2018, so that’s the first step in figuring out the Mets pitching staff. Trading for a starting pitcher doesn’t seem like a true option at this point. Signing a starter seems like the most viable option as Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard, and Zach Wheeler had to battle injuries in 2017. For the Mets to come in with so many expectations for this pitching staff you’d think we were talking about the New England Patriots and once upon a time it did seem like the Mets had a very good pitching staff.

Zach Wheeler may be the only pitcher to stick around the rotation next season along with DeGrom and Syndergaard as Harvey may be gone, and Matz may be transitioned to a relief pitcher if he continues to show he is not capable of staying healthy during the course of a rigorous MLB season. Terry Collins, the current manager of the Mets has said they need to look into how to properly deal with these injuries and the approach and process need to change. 2018 will be about figuring out how to manage health.

One thing that the Mets could benefit from is finding a couple veteran guys who can eat innings as all their young pitchers risk injury and some may even have innings limits such as Syndergaard and Wheeler. The Mets had the depth, but no one can be prepared to lose five starters in one season when you go into opening day with everyone presumably healthy. Sure they won’t find a veteran such as Bartolo Colon who beat father time and contributed nicely to the Mets for two seasons.

With veterans such as Jason Vargas, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb will be there for the pickings and it’d be in the clubs best interest to do so. Along with getting a big bat, but that’s a story for another day.