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Robbins Nest

Consider myself truly lucky to have worked at Greenwich Time, The Record (NJ) The New York, the Brooklyn Nets and MSGNetworks.com Equally blessed to have been a contributor on ESPN, SNY and YES. Ridiculously thankful to teach at Rutgers and NYU. Best of all, my love Nicole and my son Harry. I'm a mean-ass cancer fighter. Mean!

The Darnold-Mayfield Showdown Gets Kissed Off

ROBBINS NEST

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 leaves the field in dejection after the game today

By Lenn Robbins

Stars rise fast these days. Some handle it well. Some don’t.

Sam Darnold, 22, would have made the 15th start of his NFL career Monday night when Gang Green hosts the Cleveland Browns and their second-year quarterback, Baker Mistakefield, 24. It’s likely Darnold will miss more than just Monday’s game with mononucleosis.

Mayfield was the No.1 overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft. Darnell went No.3. You know ESPN is scrambling to replace all those Mayfield-Darnold comparisons.

It’s a shame that Darnold has been sacked by the kissing disease, as it’s referred to in KidsHealth.org. Because Mayfield is the kid in this tandem. Darnold is the adult.

Mayfield’s talent-laden Browns, considered the favorites to win the AFC Central, got pummeled by the Tennessee Titans, 43-13 last weekend. The ailment he’s suffering these days is a bruised ego.

Mayfield, who any minute now could declare himself the best young quarterback in the NFL, completed 25-of-38 passes for 285 yards with three interceptions, one touchdown and garnered a QB rating of 64.

Darnold wasn’t much better in his team’s season opener, a soul-sapping 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He completed 28-of-41 passes for a meager 175 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His QB rating was 84.9-percent.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 throws in todays game

So, on paper, after one week, the Jets have the better quarterback.

Now, let’s put these silly analytics aside. Because really, QB rating is nonsense. If a quarterback gets his team in the end zone and wins games, the rest is window dressing.

John Elway’s QB rating? 79.9. Johnny Unitas? 78.2. End of story.

Here’s why we’re perfectly comfortable with Darnold being in New York and Baker Blabber being in Cleveland.

After the Jets blew the game against the Bills last week, this was what Darnold had to say:

“We never really got into rhythm and I put that on myself.”

file photo N.Y.Jets #14 Sam Darnold walks off the field after the Jets lost last Sunday Neil Miller /The New York Extra

After the Browns got pulverized by the Titans, this is what Baby Baker had to say.

“We don’t really give a damn what’s going on on the outside,” Mayfield said when asked how stunned the NFL world was by his team’s debacle.

Darnold said “I.” Mayfield said “We.”

Darnold has shown uncanny poise and has an understated presence. Guys like to be around him.

Mayfield has dissed former teammates (see: Duke Johnson) and coaches (see: Hugh Jackson) and opponents (see: Daniel Jones). He likes to be the light and the moth.

Mayfield can be seen on TV hocking Progressive Insurance, which in theory is fine. But it makes you wonder if some of the veterans on the Browns, that have never had a sponsorship deal, are a little irked.

Darnold hasn’t filmed a national television commercial but he did dress up as Santa Claus last Christmas and surprised kids at a New Jersey mall.

We won’t get to see Darnold-Mayfield Monday night, which is disappointing. Both seem to be remarkably gifted. Mayfield is more mobile. Darnold has an Elway-strong arm.

Here’s the shame: The QB that carries himself like a petulant child didn’t get the kid’s virus.

Jets’ Gase Put An Incomplete Team on the Field

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold #14 leaves the field in dejection after the game today

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

 One of the many factors that contributed to Mike Maccagnan getting stabbed in the back by Adam Gase was the feeling that the former GM gave out overly generous contracts to Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets head coach Adam Gase during the 2nd half today

The two will earn a combined $33.5 million this season. The rest of the roster, starting with Gase, should earn nothing.

What other conclusion can one draw after the latest Jets debacle, this one epic even by Gang Green’s lowly standards?

The Jets forced four first-half turnovers, led 16-0 midway through the third quarter, and lost, 17-16, to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

 Gase, making his Jets head coaching debut, put an incomplete team on the MetLife Stadium field. The Jets were putrid in special teams, porous on the offensive line and unable to sustain defensive intensity for 60 minutes.

“When you take a loss like this, it kind of defines you,” Bell told reporters. “We’re going to see how guys respond. When you have that many turnovers and we still don’t win the game, we didn’t deserve to win that game.”

The Jets built their lead largely because they had two NFL-proven stars in Bell and Mosley. And then they got exposed by a Buffalo team that had a solid plan and solid, if not spectacular, roster.

The Jets kicker, Kaare Vedvik, who was signed off waivers last week, missed a PAT and a 45-yard field goal attempt.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets kicker Kaare Vedvik #6 reacts fater missing a fg in todays game

“It sucks,’’ Vedvik told reporters. “Everybody wants to do their part in helping the team win. A close game like that, it’s bad.”

The offensive line, which was so suspect the Jets had to woo Ryan Kalil out of retirement in early August, gave up four sacks and never allowed Sam Darnold, who got hit nine other times, to feel comfortable.

“Whenever you have the lead going into the fourth quarter, that’s never the result you want,” Darnold, who was 28-of-41 passing for 175 yards and one touchdown, told reporters.

The defense looked competent until Mosely left the game midway through the third quarter with a groin injury.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets inside linebacker C.J. Mosley #57 runs in a interception for a touch down in the 1st half today

“When he went out, it was kind of a game changer as far as they didn’t have somebody that vocal in the middle of the field that was able to make all their calls and all their check,” Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen told reporters after the game.

Bell, who should have gotten the ball more than 23 times, finished with 92 yards from scrimmage, a touchdown reception, a leaping two-point conversion catch and showed that despite a year away from football, he remains a dominant back.

09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell #26 celebrates his catch for a 2 pt conversion in todays game
09/08/19 Buffalo Bills vs New York Jets at Metlife Stadium East Rutherford N.J. New York Jets running back Le’Veon Bell #26 runs for a gain in the 1st half today

 Mosley scored the Jets other touchdown, their first of the season on a 17-yard interception return. Before leaving midway through the third with a groin injury and defense’s heart, he had five tackles, two passes defensed and the Pick Six.

Gase, allegedly a quarterback whisperer, couldn’t protect a 16-point lead at home by calling plays like a coach that was trying to protect a 16-point lead.

“I felt like our energy died, man, and we wasn’t playing team ball,” safety Jamal Adams told reporters. “So any time you do that, a team is going to take advantage of it.”

The way Gase’s team is constructed, don’t be surprised if the Jets get taken advantage of a lot this season.

The Mets Loss That Will Live in Nightmares Forever

08/11/19 Washington Nationals vs New York Mets at citifield queens ny #39 Edwin Diaz reacts after giving up a 2 run homer in the 8th inning file photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

What made this loss so gut retching, was that for the first eight and one-half innings Tuesday night, Mets looked like a playoff team.

They had roughed up Nationals ace Max Scherzer for four runs. Joe Panik hit his first home run as a Met, only the 13th home run allowed by Scherzer this season.

The Mets had, wait for it, given Jacob deGrom run support. deGrom wasn’t Cy Young good in the Mets playoff-ending, soul-sucking 11-10 loss to the Nationals, but he gave the Mets seven innings of eight-hit ball and left with his team up 4-2.

By the bottom of the ninth that lead had swelled to 10-4. How safe is 10-4 going into the bottom of the ninth? According to ESPN stats, it was 274-0 safe. Not once had a team leading by six, with three outs to get, lost.

So safe that I opted to watch an episode of the terrific series “Manhunter,” with my wife. We had just shut the lights when my 14-year-old son Harry did what he has never done before.

He crashed open the bedroom door. Don’t worry, not much goes on in there.

Anyhow, he always knocks. The kids always knock. But this clearly was not a knockable moment. This was a Mets hope-ending execution unlike anything he’d ever seen. Even Mets manager Mickey Callaway couldn’t repeat his mantra that this team can do something special.

“We had a six-run lead,’’ Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters. “Major league pitchers have to be able to hold that.’’

File photo Mickey Callaway Neil Miller / The New York Extra

You think?

When Kurt Suzuki crushed an Edwin Diaz sacrificial offering over the fence for a three-run walk-off home that gave the Mets one of the most gruesome losses in franchise history, fans had a second of stunned disbelief. Then a second of anger. Then this:

Only the Mets.

It was as if this team had discovered time travel and made its way back to 1962 when “Only the Mets,” became a refrain, said over and over again with a chuckle that hid the disbelief over another Mets debacle.

Of course, when something so colossally wrong occurs, it seems heartless to report more bad news, but hey, “Major league pitchers have to be able to hold that.’’ The Brewers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Phillies – all ahead of the Mets in the Wild Card race – all won.

The Mets are five back, but that’s just a number. It rightfully sounds so much better than 11-10 or 274-0.

Leave it to a former Met to explain what a loss like this really means,

“If it doesn’t put the last nail in the coffin, it’s awfully close,” SNY analyst Ron Darling said on-air. “Someone’s hammering away.”

The Mets will never again play a game this season in which a lead feels safe. Fans will never hit the sack contently. This is a nightmare that will haunt the final 24 games of the season.

There won’t be a 25th game.

“It’s going to be a tough one to digest tonight, but you have to do it,” Callaway told reporters. “We have digested several.”

None like this. Never like this.

Starting Pitching Could Block Yanks From Canyon of Heros

Robbins Nest

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny yanks win 9-2. #26 dj lemahieu hits a 3 run homer in the 4th innning Neil Miller / the New York Extra

By Lenn Robbins

This isn’t what Yankees fans want to hear and, quite frankly, we hope it doesn’t come to be. Because there is no city in the world that does a hero’s parade better than the Big Apple.

Who else has a ‘Canyon of Heroes?”

When the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup (again!), they came here for a parade on Broadway. Their locks were littered with ticker tape, just as Brian Leetch and Derek Jeter and Eli Manning and Neil Armstrong and Nelson Mandela and the Mets, who got a parade in 1962 just for entering the National League!

So believe us when we say we want an October parade.

But if it doesn’t happen, if the Yankees don’t fulfill their 2019 destiny and come up short in their quest for a 28th World Series title, this still has been a ridiculously amazing season.

That fact came into clarity this weekend when the Yankees became the first team to reach the 90-win total. They did it in the most riveting of fashions.

Trailing the Oakland A’s 4-0 going into the bottom of the eighth on Sunday, the Yankees rallied for a 5-4 triumph when Mike Ford became the first rookie in franchise history to smack a pinch-hit, walk-off home run.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #36 Mike Ford ,who started the game as the DH, pitches in the 8th innning, smiles after he gives up a homer Neil Miller / the New York Extra

We are talking about the Yankees, who have more remarkable history than any team in baseball. Ford, the former Princeton hurler and career minor leaguer, has added to that history.

“I didn’t hear anything, which is crazy,” Ford told reporters about his historic homer. “Just a whole rush of emotion.”

That’s what has made this Yankees season special. The emotion. Because the men in that clubhouse know how hard they’ve had to grind, how many obstacles they’ve had to overcome.

The day before Ford got lost in emotion, DJ LeMahieu hit a walk-off homer in a 4-3, 11-inning victory over Oakland.

These heroics came the day after the Yankees set a more dubious record. They placed Gio Urshela on the injured list with a groin injury. Urshela became the 29th Yankee make it onto that list, which is a Major League record.

Despite this staggering procession of injuries, the Yankees own a 90-49 record and have all but mathematically won their 19th AL East title, the first since 2012.

Urshela is one of the most fantastic stories in baseball with a slash line of .331/.370/.555 with 32 doubles and 18 home runs in 414 plate appearances.

LeMahieu’s numbers make him the second most fantastic story on the Yankees (Domingo German, noted). David John has a slash line of .335./.382/.920 with 24 home runs and 90 RBI.

If the season ended today, LeMahieu and Urshela would be 1-2 choices for team MVP, which is flat out mind-boggling when you consider this is a team with guys named Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Aroldis Chapman, et al.

The Yankees have epitomized the “next man up,” mantra.

“Our guys have been great at it all year,’’ manager Aaron Boone told reporters. “Whoever we brought up has controlled situations and moments really well and beyond, maybe, their experience. Ford has been one of those guys, but the list is long.’’

It has been a long and astonishing list, but here’s the rub. We’re still not sold on the starting pitching. Hold the paper shredding.

If one needed a reminder of the importance of starting pitching, it came yesterday like the downpour that marked the day. The Yankees were shutout for the first time this season, losing 7-0 to the Rangers.

05/10/16 Kansas City Royals Vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y. New York Yankees lead 1-0 after 1 innning New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka #19 pitches in the 1st innning photos by Neil Miller / the ny extra

Masahiro Tanaka (10-8; 4.42 ERA) was solid, surrendering two runs on seven hits over six innings. Mike Minor (12-8; 3.12) was better, allowing just five hits through seven and one-third innings.

Considering this marked the first time in 220 games that the Yankees had been blanked, one can safely label this an anomaly. Or a warning. Regardless, the Yankees starting pitching remains an abstract picture.

J.A. Happ was brilliant against Oakland, tossing one-hit ball over six innings. But that was the first time he’d gone six since July 30th. Tanaka has been a workhorse. German has been terrific. But Happ and CC Sabathia, who’s lost five straight, have not.

08/03/19 boston red sox vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees starting pitcher Domingo German #55 pitches in the 1st inning today
09/13/16 Los Angeles Dodgers vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees win 3-0 New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann #34 right celebrates with New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances #68 after the game photos by Neil Miller/ the New York Extra

James Paxton has won six straight since losing five in a row so that jury is out. He’s been streaky all season, which is not comforting entering the playoffs.

When one considers the pitching in Cleveland, Houston, Oakland and Tampa, the Yankees are going to be tested – big time – which is the way it should be.

They already have been tested more than any team in baseball history. Without Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and the other members of the injured list, it’s astonishing what the Bombers have done.

04/21/16 Oakland Athletics vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y.New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino #40 pitches in the 2nd innning photos by Neil Miller/ the ny extra

A 21st 100-win season would be sensational. A ticker tape parade would be better.

Chiefs Can’t Wait: This is the Last Sunday With no NFL Until February

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

There have been many impassioned debates as to whether or not Tom Brady is the greatest football player of all time.

Recently we wrote that Brady is the pick for the greatest quarterback of all time.

Now we have learned that there is another facet of Brady’s greatness that ends any debate Sorry, Montana. Apologies, Namath. Regrets, Unitas. Brady has indeed taken the quarterback position to a new level.

He is the Football Whisperer, the Freud of the Football. Not the game of football. The actual football.

Consider his recent remarks when asked to assess the play of free agent wide receiver Jacobi Meyers, who has impressed throughout training camp and the preseason.

“The football doesn’t care how old you are, whether you were drafted or not. The football doesn’t care how much experience you have. It just knows, when I let that ball go, it’s got to be in the hands of the guy who it’s intended for.’’

Wait, the football doesn’t care, as in the football has feelings?

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this discovery but we will try.

This is like finding life on Mars. Or fresh water in the ocean’s depths. Or a neurotransmitter in the deepest recesses of the brain that can be stimulated to guarantee lifelong virility. (Willing to volunteer for the trial).

Tom Brady, six-time Super Bowl champ, three-time Super Bowl MVP, husband to one of the highest-earning supermodels of all-time, might just win a Nobel Prize for science.

This is like Kobe Bryant winning an Oscar for his truly wonderful animated short film, “Dear Basketball.”

Brady, we know, has an intimate relationship with footballs. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for deflating balls in the 2015 AFC Championship Game.

We wonder: If he knew then what he knows now, would he have, um, deflated the balls? Maybe his

Football Whisperer skills were still being honed and he couldn’t yet communication with the oblong, leather, ball.

We’ll let the psychologists, therapists and linguists pursue this new avenue of study. We’ve got bigger issues to address. With this being the last Sunday we won’t have NFL football until February 9th, and all those priceless preseason games in the books, it’s time to make our picks.

AFC East: Pats – as long as the 42-year-old Brady doesn’t get injured or caught deflating footballs.

AFC North: Browns – Mayfield leads them to their first divisional title since 1989, despite monthly reports he’s not liked in the locker room.

AFC South: Texans – Without Luck, Texans have the best QB in the division – by far.

AFC West: Chiefs – Andy Reid is a Hall of Fame coach, right? Right?

Wildcards:  Steelers – Addition by subtraction; AB and his treasured helmet are gone. Chargers – Because I believe in the Ravens less, not exactly a ringing endorsement.

AFC Championship Game: Chiefs over Pats

NFC East: Cowboys – America’s soap opera team.

NFC North: Packers – Mr. Rodgers really likes the neighborhood now that the McCarthy house has been sold.

NFC South: Saints – Drew Brees is starting to slip. Really? Really?

NFC West: Rams – Todd Gurley’s knee is as shaky as my short game but that defense is as solid as my 19th hole storytelling.

Wildcards: Bears – Taking a healthy but unproven Mitch Trubisky over a proven but not necessarily healthy Carson Wentz. Seahawks – They just stole the best DE, in football, Jadaveon Clowney, and Texas didn’t even file a police report.

NFC Championship Game: Seahawks over Cowboys

Super Bowl – Chiefs over Seahawks.

Seeing is the NFL Believing in Oakley’s Prizm Visors

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

Andrew Luck chose life over football.

He was done with the blood in his urine, the pain in his body, the cobwebs in his head. The 29-year-old Colts quarterback, with full life to be lived, did what any sane, mature, young man should do. He retired.

These are some of the responses Luck received:

credit twitter

Some television announcers quickly bemoaned their disappointment because they were going to pick Luck in their fantasy football draft.

Some Colts fans, who must be a quarter of a chromosome short of human, booed Luck as he tossed passes on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday when the news broke.

Many debated whether or not Luck should repay some of his contract.

How Luck’s retirement affects the Colts also made for a lot reading.

Luck’s short and long-term health was not a sexy story, so it got buried.

Now, consider these story lines:

Luck now probably has a good chance of watching the child he and longtime girlfriend Nicole Pechanec are expecting to grow up. He can push her on the swings, attend her school functions, maybe even toss a football around.

Luck now probably avoids being one of the former NFL players sitting at home that don’t know they’re sitting at home because their brains are irreparably damaged.

Luck now probably won’t be one of the former NFL players – such as Jim Otto, who literally is sitting at home –  because they’re cripples. Otto had his right leg amputated in 2007 after injury led to surgery and infection.

Luck no longer is one of the current NFL players that are considering the long-term health risks associated with their profession. Other players are actively managing their injury care.

“I think it takes an immense amount of courage, an immense amount of self-reflection and a lot of guts to do what he’s doing,’’ said Texas defensive end J.J. Watt.

Here’s one of the undisputed truths in life that none of us should ever forget: The only people that truly care about you are your family, close friends and pets.

Big business certainly doesn’t care. And the NFL, which finishes its preseason Thursday, is very big business.

It’s so big that three days after Luck announced his retirement, the NFL and Oakley announced a four-year deal in which the sports performance equipment company becomes the league’s official helmet visor provider.

It didn’t seem like a particularly interesting announcement until one recalls that tinted visors have been banned by the NFL since 1998. Visors only could be used if the player was granted medical exemption.

Tinted visors were banned for safety.

Medical personnel feared that a helmet with a tinted visor could make it more difficult to see a player’s eyes in evaluating possible concussion. And removing a helmet with a visor could be hazardous in the event of spinal cord injury.

Oakley claims, and the NFL nods in agreement, that its visors can be easily and safely removed without removing the helmet.

Oakley claims, and the NFL nods in agreement, that its subtle pink tint visors will not hinder medical personnel from looking into a player’s eyes.

Oakley claims its Prizm Clear visors feature Prizm technology which makes, “the colors on the field pop. The football against the green field and the white hashmarks and sidelines should all stand out more to the player.”

Sorry, just teared up for sec. Oakley better patent that statement because it sounds like a Hallmark card in the making.

Here’s the deal. We’d love to believe that these visors are safe and truly offer a scientific breakthrough in vision, but why in the world would any player take Oakley and the NFL’s claims at face value?

Read of the terrific and terrifying book, “League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for the Truth,” by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, and any mature young man will question if their health is the league’s priority.

We don’t know how much Oakley is paying for this partnership. We do know that the Oakley logo will have a place on every NFL field. And that’s not cheap.

We do know that Oakley’s Sutro frames with Prizm-lense sunglasses go for $163 a pop, so yes, we hope colors will pop, pop, pop.

None of us know exactly what the last four years have been like for the oft-injured Luck. He should go on to live a happy and healthy life. He won’t end up like Otto or so many others.

You don’t need Prizm lenses to see that.

Why the Braves Sweep Was Such a Gut Punch

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

08/25/19 Atlanta Braves vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens ny Joe Panik grounds out to end the against the Braves today Neil miller/nysportsextra

It was the night of August 9th and the Mets had fallen into a 6-3 sinkhole in the bottom of the 9th against the Nationals when my drinking buddy said, “I’m going to head home. We know how this ends.”

 And then, bang-bang!

Todd Frazier crushed a three-run homer. Michael Conforto lined a singled to right driving in the winning run. And my buddy turned to me and said (cue the Godfather soundtrack), “They’ve pulled me back in.”

Which is what made Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field so deflating for the team from Queens and its fans.

The Mets pulled us back in. They had us believing. Shoot, they just bolstered their resume by sweeping the Cleveland Indians last week.

So when Joe Panik stepped to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second, fans rose because since that early-August the Amazins have pulled us back in.

Panik, who’s had a bit of a career resurgence since joining the Mets, hit a soft grounder to first. Freddie Freeman needed no help. He fielded the ball, waved off reliever Mark Melancon, and stepped on first.

No bang-bang! Nothing.

08/25/19 Atlanta Braves vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens ny Steven Matz pitches in the 1st inning today against the Braves Neil Miller /nysportsextra

The Mets had been swept in a three-game series for just the third time this season. They slipped two and one-half games out of the Wild Card. The Braves, who seemingly have had the Mets number since they arrived in Atlanta in 1966, had struck again.

They swept the Mets in a three-game tease.

The Braves struck out 26 times Friday night, tying a MLB record, yet won, 2-1. They blew a four-run lead Saturday night, yet won, 9-5. And they were on the verge of coughing up a Dallas Keuchel gem on Sunday when Melancon induced Panik into a ground out that sucked the soul out of Citi Field.

“They’re a really tough team,” Mets starter Steven Matz told reporters. “We’ve played them tough and they’ve come out on top. They grind it out to the end. We play good baseball against them, they just got the upper hand.”

08/24/19 atlanta braves vs ny mets at citi field queens ny #45 zach wheeler reacts after giving up a homer in the 2nd inning

The next 16 games are against teams the Mets are battling for that Wild Card berth. There are 32 games remaining. They can’t afford another sweep. The Mets have pulled us back in, which makes this late-season sweep such a gut punch.

#48 Jacob DeGrom file photo pitching against the Atlanta Braves this weekend Neil Miller/nysportsextra

“It was a tough series,” manager Mickey Calloway told reporters.

It sure was.

The Gettleman/Shurmur Ticket Has Had a Good August

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

8/01/19 New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur Neil Miller /nysportsextra

We are as far away from knowing if the Dave Gettleman/Pat Shurmur partnership is going to restore the Giants to where it once was – one of the NFL’s most respected, professional franchises – as we are to the first snowfall (Apologies).

But August has been a very good month for the Giants.

8/01/19

From the Mara Family, to George Young, to Bill Parcells, to Tom Coughlin, the Giants set a standard on and off the field that every Big Blue fan could proudly wear. Even in seasons when a championship wasn’t won, the Giants walked with the Steelers, the Packers, and the 49ers among others, franchises that would have the late Aretha Franklin bellowing out, ‘Respect.’

And then the worm turned. Jerry Reese. Bob McAdoo. The utterly galling benching of Eli Manning. The ridiculous antics of Odell Beckham Jr.

It was enough to wear that LT jersey inside out.

Until now.

Gettleman set the tone in late July at the start of training camp when the naysayers were in the midst of a blue-faced filibuster: Letting Landon Collins walk in free agency was ridiculous. Trading away Beckham was a travesty. The drafting of Daniel Jones was buffoonery.

Gettleman uttered these words:

“Give us some credit for the experience and our resumes…they’ve just gotta trust,” he implored fans.

Since then, it doesn’t seem so outlandish to trust this Gettleman/Shurmur ticket.

Jones, the player Gettleman has gambled his reputation on, has performed so efficiently and handled himself so admirably, it’s not folly to think he might develop into a QB for the ages. That’s the expectation when you a QB with the No.6 pick.

When Browns child quarterback Baker Mayfield called out Jones as being a loser at Duke in that GQ article, Jones responded like a man who just might find a home in the United Nations one day. (Assuming there is a United Nations).

“I wish we did win more games,” Jones told reporters. “I played a big part in that, so I take responsibility.’’

Take note: This is what accountability sounds like.

Jones then went out the next day and completed 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards in a 25-23 preseason win over the Bengals. Jones might not want these practice games to end. He’s completed 25-of-30 passes (83-percent) for 369 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Has he fumbled the ball a couple of times? Yep. Has he bounced back? You bet.

When your first-round QB draft choice plays this well, and your incumbent, Manning, is entering his 16th season, even a 14th street fortune teller can predict what’s coming: Who’s the starter?

Shurmur ended that folly immediately and unequivocally.

.

8/01/19 New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning #10 Neil Miller /nysportsextra

“I’ve said it all along: Eli is our starter, and we’re getting Daniel ready to play,” Shurmur told reporters. “I think he’s done a good job in the preseason. As I’ve mentioned all along, he’s getting better. And he’s going to continue to do that, so that at whatever time we need him to play, he’ll be ready.”

8/01/19 NY Giants #8 Daniel Jones Neil Miller / nysportsextra

You can offer that as coach’s Exhibit A in how to diffuse a rookie/veteran quarterback controversy.

Look, everyone knows Jones will be the starter one day. It likely will be at some point this season.

But Shurmur didn’t throw in a “for now,” as in “Eli is our starter for now.” He didn’t say, “We feel good about both guys.” And thank goodness he didn’t utter the dreaded, “We’ll play whoever gives us the best chance to win.”

This all sounds exactly the way a professional franchise should operate. Yes, the Gettleman/Shurmur ticket did well in August. The real campaign, of course, is soon to begin.

Giants Should Hope Jets Provide Mayfield Mayhem

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

credit twitter

What should be Baker Mayfield’s moniker?

Baker the (Insincere) Apology Mayker. Baker Mayday. Missed Maykers Mark. Baby Mayker. Baker Blabber.

No need to decide right now.

Based on Mayfield’s impressive immaturity rap sheet, if none of those nicknames suffice, the Cleveland Browns quarterback will provide many more opportunities for ridicule.

He’s a Mistake Mayker.

Mayfield’s most recent, how do we say this – lack of judgment; narcissistic rambling – occurred earlier this week. He threw shade at Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones.

Make no mistake. Mayfield shows a skill set that could make him one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks. And his fiery persona is cheered in Cleveland, although not necessarily in the Browns locker room. (We’ll get to that shortly.)

There’s no disputing that Johnson has the makeup of a franchise quarterback, if not the face of the franchise.

And there’s no disputing this either: One can’t make camp on the 50-yard line when it comes to the 24-year-old Texan.

Long, long-suffering Browns fans are naming their pets (and children) after Mayfield, never a good idea. Cleveland is swooning over their fiery QB.

But around the league, and especially here in New York, fans hope the petulant passer gets sandwiched by Quinnen Williams and Leonard Williams when Gang Green hosts the Browns in a few weeks at MetLife.

Maybe the Giants can pull a page out of Gregg Williams’ playbook and take out a bounty on Mayfield, payable to any Jets defender that hits the Browns’ QB with the force that an Arkansas police officer did in 2017. (We’ll get to that shortly, too).

After Mayfield was quoted in a GQ magazine article as saying, “I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones. It blows my mind.’’ He immediately turned to the time dishonored tradition of claiming he was quoted out of context.

Mayfield said he reached out to Jones to clear the air. It’s not certain if there was an apology but Mayfield’s mea culpas often are disingenuous. (We’ll get to that shortly, as well.)

Mayfield also shaded his former teammate Duke Johnson, who requested a trade after the Browns signed Kareem Hunt last season.

“Obviously, he’s going to handle his stuff how he wants, but you’re either on this train or you’re not — it’s moving,” Mayfield told reporters. “You can get out of the way or you can join us.”

That led to several Browns veterans explaining to Baker that this is not how business is conducted in the NFL. Cleveland native and former Browns WR Cecil Shorts III said Mayfield made a “young guy mistake.”

Mayfield reportedly listened to the Browns veterans, who know better, but stuck by his filleting of Johnson. Perhaps some of Mayfield’s teammates also might take a little pleasure in their QB getting tattooed in MetLife.

As a rookie, Mayfield decided he’s also an authority on the job machinations of the NFL. When coach Hue Jackson took a job with the rival Bengals after being fired by the Browns, Mayfield refused to shake hands after a 35-20 victory.

Former Jets lineman Damien Woody crushed Mayfield in a Tweet, saying the Browns QB needs to grow up. Needs to grow up. Young guy mistake. Not the first time.

Mayfield was stripped of his Oklahoma captaincy for the Senior Day game after turning to the Kansas bench and grabbing his crouch in a previous game.

He planted the Oklahoma flag in the Ohio Stadium field after leading the Sooners to a 31-16 win. Mayfield later apologized for his errant green thumb.

“They’re a great team and a great program,’’ Mayfield said two days later, reportedly after being admonished by Oklahoma officials. “I didn’t mean it to be disrespectful at all.”

Yet in the same GQ article in which Mayfield’s comments allegedly were taken out of context, he said the Ohio apology had no sincerity. “Zero,’’ the Insincere Apologist said. “Absolutely not.”

And then there was the time in February of 2017 when Mayfield was arrested in Arkansas for public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest. Man did that Arkansas officer sack Mayfield.

Mayfield later said of the incident it was a “rude awakening to responsibility and accountability.”

Apparently, there was no Maywakening. He continues to act and speak like a child.

“I think he’s a great player,’’ Jones told reporters in response to Mayfield’s remarks. “He can throw it and I enjoy watching him play.’’

Bet ya Jones wouldn’t mind seeing Gang Green work Mayfield over. Bet ya a lot of folks in the NFL feel that way.