DraftBaseball America is out their their first mock draft. John Manuel writes about the Mets' strategy at #10 overall:

The Mets feel like they?re about to turn the corner in the big leagues and are well stocked with young pitching, so they would like a college bat who could move through the system quickly. Turner would be tempting if he?s available, but Conforto is the consensus best college hitter and has the polished approach the team is looking for.
Conforto, out of Oregon State is hitting .397/.549/.589 with 40 walks and 24 strikeouts, 11 walks, 2 triples and 4 HR in 41 games for Oregon State as a 21-year old this year.

Here's MLB.com's report on Conforto in which they called the college hitter class "thin."

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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Marc Sessler at NFL.com speculates that given the Jets' recent visits from some of the upcoming draft's top WRs, the team looks like it will draft one of them, hoping a Pro Bowl skill player emerges.

Get this: New York hasn't drafted a skill player who went to thePro Bowl?as a Jet since?taking wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson with the first overall pick in 1996, as pointed out by ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini.

Chad Pennington,?Santana Moss?and?Mark Sanchez?were productive for stretches, but far from luminary. Laveranues Coles made a?Pro Bowl?trip, but that came with the?Washington Redskins?-- and the same goes for Moss.

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- Noah Syndergaard is not scared of pitching in Las Vegas,??This is a tough league to pitch in, but there are a lot of tough ballparks in the big leagues to pitch in....It can?t be much different.? (Ray Brewer, Las Vegas Sun)


- Savannah native, ?RHP John Gant, will start for the Gnats on Friday night. His family moved to Florida when he was 11?years old, but Savannah is home, "I love the marsh and the water. I?ve got to be near water." (Nathan Dominitz, Savannah Morning News)

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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Releases- The Mets released RHP Marcos Camarena, LHP David Wynn and OF Alonzo Harris and OF Jonathan Clark.

- At age 24, the speedy Harris hit .218/.285/.305 in 101 games in Binghamton in 2013 while going 25-for-34 stealing bases. I had Harris ranked #36 in the system entering last year coming off a productive 2012 with St. Lucie when he hit .287/.354/.424 and was 40-of-51 stealing bases. Even in 2010, when I ranked him #26, his highest ranking, Debbie Downer pointed out, "Or he continues to struggle defensively and swing at everything and never really even plays everyday in AA." Pay attention to Debbie!

Camarena put up an 8.83 ERA thanks to 28 hits and 12 walks allowed in 17.1 innings in advanced-A last summer.

Tags: Alonzo Harris, Links, Toby Hyde
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According to Adam Rubin at ESPNNY, and then confirmed by the Mets, Las Vegas 51s pitching coach Frank Viola will have open heart surgery on Wednesday, April 2. He is "expected" to be replaced in Vegas by pitching coordinator Ron Romanick. Get well soon Frank.

Luis Rivera will join the Binghamton Mets as the AA hitting coach replacing the recently promoted Luis Natera. Rivera worked the last two years as the Mets' short-season hitting coordinator, overseeing the GCL/Kingsport/Brooklyn and complex teams. Rivera played for the B-Mets in 2007, hitting .316/.409/.351 in 18 games. An organizational soldier, he reached AAA with Buffalo in 2009. In 2010, he was a player/coach for Savannah, and saw action in 21 games before the Mets suggested he move into coaching fulltime and assigned him to the Kingsport staff.

At the new FiveThirtyEight.com, Neil Paine writes about the expected value of the Top 100 prospects on the Baseball America list. I'd like to see a little more about the variance on each spot, and the raw data, but ... oh well.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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Coming to AmericaIn the Houston Chronicle, Jose de Jesus Ortiz takes an in-depth look at the Astros' English and literacy program for their Latin American players.


Life and DeathIn Newsday, Anthony Rieber checks in with Las Vegas 51s Pitching Coach Frank Viola who lost both parents in a 26-day span in February and March. ?Of going to work and the ballpark, Viola said,

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- The Las Vegas 51s have a new groundskeeper, which hopefully will improve the condition of the infield, which was bad in recent years. (Vorkunov, The Star-Ledger)

- After a four-year hiatus, Adam Rubin is back writing about the Mets for Baseball America. He discussed Erik Goeddel, who was a reliever in college, transitioning back to the bullpen as a professional.

- Dominic Smith picked up an infield single in his first MLB Spring Training action Saturday.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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- In a combined project, Jim Bowden, Buster Olney and Keith Law placed the Mets #11 in their MLB Future Power Rankings. The aggressive ranking, above say, the Yankees, Orioles, Rays and A's, all playoff teams in recent years, reflects the Mets rotation's potential behind a healthy Harvey, Wheeler and Syndergaard and depth beyond.

Olney for one, is already rethinking the rankings as he wrote that the Cubs, at #7 are too high, because they aren't spending yet.

- The Lansing Lugnuts are planning, with the City of Lansing on a $22 million project that would put a series of apartments immediately beyond the outfield walls, which is cool.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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- At MiLB.com, Jake Steiner writes about the top defensive right fielders and first basemen in the minors, or the position where glove is least valued and the players have to hit to be really valuable.

"Elite" is how a rival front office person described Smith's defense this offseason, adding he had the "potential [to win] multiple Gold Gloves."
Mets Infield Coordinator Kevin Morgan:

"He's really just one of those guys who naturally gets it with the glove. He has great hands, soft hands, and actually has a strong, accurate throwing arm. He has a lot to work with."
Here's the thing about first base defense: it's not as important as hitting. Being a good defender at first will help his value, but it cannot carry him.

Tags: Keith Law, Links, Toby Hyde
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While Wilmer Flores began his audition at shortstop for the Mets on Tuesday, Chris Blessing at Mike Newman's new RotoScouting website discussed Seattle's Nick Franklin, a potential Mets trade target. Blessing does not think this is going to work.

Blessing's work:

In 2012, Nick Franklin played shortstop and second base while scouting him in Chattanooga. He presented with adequate range, soft hands and a below average arm. With little zip behind Franklin?s throws ? an issue when turning double plays ? he projected as a bat first second baseman. Nick Franklin has gained more than 25-pounds since, dispelling concerns he wouldn?t hold up to the rigors of big league life. Did the added size and strength help his throwing arm? No.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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At Baseball America, Ben Badler broke down the Mets' 2013 international signing class at a level of detail only he can.

There's a new name, so we'll start with an excerpt on him:

RHP Scarlyn Reyes - $25,000 - "The Mets took?a flier on an intriguing arm last February when they gave $25,000 to 6-foot-3, 190-pound Dominican righthander?Scarlyn Reyes. By Latin American amateur standards, Reyes is already ancient, having turned 22 in November. Reyes also has a big arm, sitting at 92-94 mph, touching 97 and throwing a lot of strikes.

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- Mike Puma writes about Steven Matz in the Post.

Frank Viola, his pitching coach in 2013, explains that Matz needs to improve his curveball:??He?s got a two-seam, four-seam fastball and changeup that will challenge anybody ? I?ll go to my grave with that one. The biggest thing he needs to do is get a consistent slide on his curveball and be able to repeat that. Once he?s able to do that and mix it up with the fastball and changeup, he?ll go fast.?

- Jeff Moore at Baseball Prospectus watched a few Mets farmhands - Dominic Smith, Amed Rosario, Dilson Herrera, Luis Guillorme and Gavin Cecchini and offered scouting notes. On Smith, who he notes is "physically developed":

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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- Chris McShane at Amazin' Avenue talked to Mets' VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Paul DePodesta about everything in the Mets farm. They discuss the Mets' near-MLB ready pitching, Rafael Montero, Gabriel Ynoa, Luis Cessa, Marcos Molina, Domingo Tapia, Amed Rosario, Cesar Puello, Brandon Nimmo and the system moving forward.

His comment on Molina:

?"super-good athlete, also repeats his delivery well. At the time, he had a nice little sinker, showed some feel for the baseball. But it wasn?t big power or anything like that. Since then, he?s continued to grow. Last year in the Gulf Coast League he was up to 96 miles per hour, typically pitching at 92, 94, has a feel for three pitches....We had some scouts who saw him during the course of the summer?amateur scouts?who told us that if he had been a high school player he would have been a first-round pick in 2013.
DePodesta also offered a theory on Tapia's 2013 struggles: his armslot dropped and he struggled with his release point.

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- The Brooklyn Cyclones announced their 2014 coaching staff with three new members from 2013. Tom Gamboa, entering his 41st year in baseball and first with the Mets, will be the manager. Gamoa, who has been on the big league staffs with the Cubs and Royals is perhaps most famous for being the victim of a stupid attack in in Chicago, which caused permanent hearing loss. Pitching Coach Tom Signore comes to the Mets from the Blue Jays. The 52-year-old was a teammate of Mets Special Assistant to the General Manager J.P. Ricciardi's in Helena in 1985. Benny DiStefano returns to Brooklyn as a Hitting Coach after working in Savannah in 2011 and St. Lucie for the last two years. Benny is not just a solid hitting coach, he's also hilarious.

- At Amazin' Avenue, Chris McShane talked to Mets Scouting Director Tommy Tannous about the team's last two first round draft picks: Dom Smith and Gavin Cecchini. Tannous thinks both players are stronger than they were last year. McShane also posted a gallery of pictures of Mets guys throwing in spring training. Of note to me is that Miller Diaz, #29, who came to camp out of shape last year, looks really, really good.

- At the Crawfish Boxes, CRPerry argues that analysts should stop relying on K/BB ratio because the importance of strikeouts and walks are different and it does not justify putting walks in the denominator. He comes up with his own metric. I'll again point out that K% and BB% are more useful than K/9 and BB/9. The real question is now likely a pitcher or batter is likely to walk or strike out in a given plate appearance rather than per 27 outs since better pitchers will see fewer batters to record 27 outs than worse ones.

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  • Simms: Geno > Every 2014 rookie QB [NY Post]
  • Cimini grades 2013 free agency with 5 of 7 moves D or lower [ESPN NY]
  • What did Mike Pettine learn from Rex? [Star Ledger]
  • Rex and Rob discuss mullets and the family business [Jets Official Site]
  • Cooper's deal likely means Tate and Sanders won't get $6m+ [Over The Cap]
  • Projected salary cap drops back down from $135m to $132-133m [USA Today]
  • Could Sean Gilbert's masterplan lead to an NFL work stoppage? [PFT]
Tags: Daily Links, Bent Double

Happy Friday. Several items that you need to know this morning:

The Giants will play the Buffalo Bills in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio on August 3rd. That means the Giants will play five preseason games this summer. Season ticket holders need not sweat. The game is not part of the required season ticket package. Each franchise has a player being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame the day before. Buffalo has WR Andre Reed and the Giants have DE Michael Strahan.

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Thor- At Mets.com, Anthony DiComo has a great piece on Noah Syndergaard, tracking his rise as a prospect when he added velocity in his senior year of high school, his feats of strength in the weight room and of course, the Thor nickname. I'm pretty sure that the Thor nickname started around here early last season here with NateW.

Thor, on Thor:

"It's not a bad nickname at all. ...Being the god of thunder is a pretty cool thing."

Tags: Links, Noah Syndergaard, Toby Hyde
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- Steven Matz had knee surgery in October, reports Adam Rubin at ESPNNY.

- Rob and Friends at Amazin' Avenue finished their Top 25 Mets Prospect list. It comes with lots of good research.

- The Minor Leaguers are working hard in STEP camp, and at least one is tired.

Tags: Links, Steve Matz, Toby Hyde
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- In addition to working out, RHP Paul Sewald taught Spanish at his old high school, Bishop Gorman, in Las Vegas to get ready for the season. He writes,

It gave me a new outlook on the life of a teacher, and not to mention how much I misbehaved when I was a freshman and sophomore while I was in school. I certainly have a new respect for those dealing with hormonal-crazed teenagers. While it was a lot of work, it was nice to have a steady paycheck (much larger than my MiLB one), and couldn?t hurt on a r?sum? someday.

- LHP TJ Chism posted two vines of Steven Matz (right) spinning lots of household items on both his left and right pointer fingers: a ball, a platter, a board, a cardboard box, a big pillow, and a pot. Now, I want to see him spin a curveball.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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- Paul DePodesta clarified what to expect regarding Noah Syndergaard's inning limits will be this year with Adam Rubin of ESPNNY, suggesting that 30 innings over his 124.3 from last year is a "rough estimate," but "A lot of it?s going to be on how he actually racks up those innings -- how efficient he is in the pitch counts, how much rest he?s getting between starts, how much side work we do with him." DePodesta also suggested Syndergaard might take a few turns out of the Las Vegas bullpen to keep his innings down.

- Good stuff from Jeff Paternostro and Jason Parks at Amazin Avenue Audio discussing Baseball Prospectus' Top 10 Mets prospects. They focused on Marcos Molina, Amed Rosario, Wilmer Flores and Cesar Puello in the chat.

- Brandon Nimmo added 10 more pounds of muscle over the winter and is now up to 205.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde
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Todays' links, hot off the presses....

  • The Giants are reportedly $10.2 million under the salary cap. (Kirwan)
  • Big Blue will be looking at big blockers at Combine. (Hubbuch)
  • This year's draft is deep, so Giants could benefit from more picks. (Traina)
  • Giants need to go 4-for-4 in early rounds of this year's draft. (Graziano)
  • Could the Giants be interested im Mario Manningham? (Valentine)
Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News

Not a lot happening with the Giants right now, but here's some links to keep you busy in between snowstorms...

  • It's good to king: Goodell made $44 million in 2013 (NY Post)
  • Giants' MLB plans: Beason a top priority (NJ.com)
  • CB Munnerlyn still awaiting contract offer from Panthers (PFT)
  • Dan Graziano talks Giants' Mount Rushmore (ESPN NewYork)
  • Scouts liken Arkansas C Swanson to Alex Mack (Walter Football)
Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News

Dom Smith InterviewThe crew at Mack's Mets fired off a bunch of questions for 2013 1st round pick Dominic Smith.

Steven Matz/AA ListAmazin' Avenue has LHP Steven Matz ranked #10 in the Mets' system.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde

  • Breakout season for Chris Ivory? [Yahoo!]
  • Tough sledding for Cro coming off injury plagued season? Nah... [Star Ledger]
  • Interview with new LB coach Bobby April III [Jets Official Site]
  • Geno struggled with accuracy - except on deep throws [PFF]
  • Examining the options for the right side of the line [ESPN New York]
  • Getting to know WR prospect Mike Evans [Star Ledger]
Tags: Daily Links, Bent Double

Snow, rain and ice is upon us again here in NYC and the news (like most other things) has hit a slowdown. Here's what's happening today:

Tags: 2014 New York Giants, New York Giants News and Links

- Eric Simon at Amazin' Avenue transcribed Sandy Alderson's appearance with Keith Law on the Dish Podcast. It's well worth your time to read the whole thing. Topics: acquiring talent to rebuild the farm system, developing talent and the difference between signing international guys and drafted players, how the Mets emphasize and develop "strike throwers," the problems of scouting high school with little/unreliable data and MLB's relationship to the Dominican.

- In one of his final acts as a Mets' beat reporter, Mike Kerwick, at Baseball America, writes that Michael Fulmer is "back on track."

- In 1962, NBA great Dave DeBusschere played for the Savannah White Sox. He's #24 on the Gnats' "Savannah's Greatest Countdown."

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde

Among position players on the 2014 Mets, perhaps the most important is catcher Travis d'Arnaud. That's not to say he's likely to be the best Mets batter in 2014 - that should still be face-of-the-franchise David Wright. It's just that d'Arnaud's development is a bigger story with more uncertainty.

Wright needs another above average player or two to help him out, if the Mets are going to contend in the near term. Daniel Murphy has been solid enough at second base in recent years, and the Mets paid to upgrade the outfield this season. However, D'Arnaud is the Mets' best chance to become the B to David Wright's A, and do so cheaply. Since the Mets control d'Arnaud for six more years, if he does live up to the hype, or even become an elite catcher, it will change the franchise's outlook.

Kristie Ackert has a nice profile of d'Arnaud in the New York Daily News. He discusses the fact that he was not quite fully comfortable when he was in the big leagues last year:

Tags: Links, Travis d'Arnaud, Toby Hyde
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Jeff Moore, who writes at Baseball Prospectus, has a column up on his personal site arguing that the Mets should play Wilmer Flores at shortstop in 2014.

His argument is that the "the Mets are not going to be competitive in 2014...The main goal for the Mets in 2014 is to figure out what they have for 2015. ...?And most importantly, what kind of major league hitter is Wilmer Flores?"

The argument would be a lot more convincing if the Mets hadn't moved Flores off of shortstop two years ago. In 2012 and 2013, Flores played a mix of first, second and third, but not a single game at short. If the Mets thought Flores could play shortstop at all, they would have played him there at some point in the last two years.

Tags: Links, Toby Hyde

The day before the Super Bowl is usually a quiet one. Tonight, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce their Class of 2014 at the NFL Honors show. Former Giant great Michael Strahan is expected to be selected, much to the dismay of one disgruntled Warren Sapp.

  • Perjury raps unlikely in fraud case vs Giants (NYDN)
  • Michael Strahan deserves Hall call (Izenberg)
  • Elected or not, Strahan will go about his business (Stapleton)
  • As game approaches, Super Bowl tickets still cheaper than normal (NY Post)?
  • Gooooallll! Soccer legend Pele was once courted by Giants (NYDN)

LoudMouths: Adam Schein and Chris Carlin discuss whether Michael Strahan will be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News
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Two days until the cold weather Super Bowl, where temperatures are predicted to remain above freezing for the entire game. The weather will not be an issue after all. The forecast is calling for a dry day in the high 40's with temps dipping down into the 30's at night.

Here are some links for you to chew on this morning:

  • JPP ready to take leadership role if Tuck leaves (NY Post)
  • Don't be a Sapp: Strahan belongs in Canton (Vacchiano)
  • Reese receives Wooten award for leadership (Raanan)
  • Sam Garnes back in NYC, Super Bowl as a Broncos' assistant (Eisen)
  • Surprise musical performers will focus on task at hand (NY Times)
  • Fraud lawsuit could rock $1.5 billion memorabilia business (Forbes)
Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News

We're done with the Warren Sapp-Michael Strahan weenie wag. Nothing left to see there. Sapp made a fool out himself once again and Michael, who probably should have ignored him, is finished talking.

The New York Post is reporting on a lawsuit that alleges the Giants' equipment team faked memorabilia to look "game-worn" and sold them to Steiner Sports, among other dealers, as authentic. (READ)

Super Bowl ticket holders seeking luxury accommodations this Sunday may be in for a shock when they enter the very ordinary and utilitarian MetLife Stadium. (WSJ)

Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News
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  • Be sure to check Corey's Twitter feed for all his media day fun yesterday. [Twitter]
  • The Super Bowl barbs have begun! [Star-Ledger]
  • Cro said he enjoyed this past Pro Bowl the best. [NewYorkJets]
  • Eric Decker isn't concerned about free agency just yet. [Newsday]
  • Jonathan Martin sat down for an in-depth interview with Tony Dungy. [NBC Sports]
Tags: Daily Links, Brian Bassett

  • Dee Ford showed his stuff at the Senior Bowl. [USA Today]
  • Seven reasons to watch the Pro Bowl. [NewYorkJets]
  • An in-depth look at former Jets executive Dawn Aponte. [Miami Herald]
  • Former Jet Jerricho Cotchery is enjoying becoming a mentor. [NY Post]
  • Did Richard Sherman's rant earn him some sponsorships? [USAToday]
  • Half of Americans are idiots ... the other half are football fans. [AP]
  • Graz waxs poetic on Peyton. [ESPN]
  • Jimmy Graham hopes the Saints don't tag him. [SI]
Tags: Daily Links, Brian Bassett

Giants news this morning is dominated by the retirement of OL David Diehl and the hiring of Danny Langsdorf as QB coach....

  • Sean Ryan, out as QB coach, to handle the tight ends (Raanan)
  • In appreciation of a true blue Giant, David Diehl (Graziano)
  • David Diehl career Infographic (Giants.com)?
  • New QB coach Langsdorf has special connection to Gilbride (Orr)
  • Snee could be remaining vet on Giants' OL ?(Hutchinson)
Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News

Man, it's cold outside. Nearly a foot of snow fell on the NYC Metro Area on Tuesday night and now the frigid temperatures will keep it around well into Super Bowl Week.

Here are your daily links to keep you warm....

  • Snee still contemplating his football future (Graziano)
  • Victor likes the idea of an up-tempo offense (DeMarzo)
  • Nicks provided plenty of thrills while he was here (Hutchinson)
  • Marc Ross is bridesmaid again in GM derby (Samuel)
  • What should the Giants do with Brandon Myers? (Orr)
Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News

  • Sammy Watkins will be long gone by the time the Jets pick. [ESPN NY]
  • Five standouts from last night's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in LA. [CBS Sports]
  • An account of Connor Shaw's Collegiate Bowl. [Philly]
  • More details on the game from TSN. [TSN]
  • Garoppolo lived up to the hype at the Shrine game. [NFL]
  • The East's defense at the Shrine Game looked dominant. [ESPN]
Tags: Daily Links, Brian Bassett

Happy Friday! Here is some Giants news from the "wires" so to speak...

RotoWorld: The Newark Star-Ledger considers Giants RG Chris Snee a lock to be released."Snee, 32 on Saturday, is set to count a gargantuan $11.75 million against the 2014 salary cap. There's absolutely no way he's coming back at that rate. The G-Men will save $7.25 million against the cap by cutting Snee. He underwent hip and elbow surgery this past season after going on I.R. in early October. The Giants need to overhaul their offensive line this offseason."

SNYGiants insider Ralph Vacchiano reports that former Giants WR Ramses Barden has signed a futures contract with the Buffalo Bills.

Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News
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Today's links...

McAdoo hiring a high-risk, high reward venture (Schwartz)Giants closed deal quick on new OC (Orr)?McAdoo brings new school of thought to old school Giants (Vacchiano)?Giants receivers should benefit from new system (Graziano)?Blue readying for fast-paced, West Coast style of offense (Hutchinson)?

Quotes of note this morning...

Tags: New York Giants, New York Giants Links, New York Giants News
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  • Jets weren't among the most feared. [ESPN]
  • Tampa has hired former STC fill-in for the Jets, Kevin O'Dea. [Yahoo!]
  • More on Winslow's arrest. [Star-Ledger]
  • LaRon Landry preps for the Pats. [NewYorkJets]
  • The Flight Crew will be auditioning again. [NewYorkJets]
  • An eight year old will represent the Jets in the finals of the PPK competition. [Newsday]
  • Finding Douzable was a good move for the Jets. [TheJetPress]
  • What should the Jets do with all their cap room? [Jets Twit]
  • Danny Woodhead is excelling in San Diego. [Star-Ledger]
Tags: Daily Links, Brian Bassett

Some things that you maywant to know this morning.....

Victor Cruz has backed Mike Sullivan for offensive coordinator per Tom Rock of Newsday:

"I'm rooting for him,'' Victor Cruz said of Sullivan Wednesday at a promotional event in Manhattan.

"I just think we need a refresher, more so than people needing a whole big name,'' he said. "A refreshing face that we know, one we're all comfortable with, and we can go from there.''Giants VP of Player Evaluation, Marc Ross, is being wooed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins for their open GM slots. From SNYGiants insider Ralph Vacchiano:

It's the second straight year that Ross is a GM candidate; he interviewed with the Panthers, Jets and Bears last offseason. Another Giants executive, Dave Gettleman, actually wound up landing the Carolina job.

Tags: New York Giants Links, New York Giants News
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