Charlo: ‘(Sergiy)Derevyanchenko is looking past me’

We’ve seen WBC 160-pound champion Jermall Charlo(30-0, 22 KOs) win some big fights in the 154-pound division, including victories over Austin Trout and Julian Williams. On Saturday, Charlo will get his biggest test at middleweight when he battles Sergiy Derevyanchenko(13-2, 10 KOs).

Charlo and his brother, WBC 154-pound champion, Jermell(33-1, 17 KOs), will headline their first pay-per-view(Showtime). Jermell will battle unified 154-pound champion, Jeison Rosario(20-1-1, 14 KOs), in a unification bout. 

This is a big night for the Charlo twins, which, according to Jemall, will be a special night for his family.

“People will say that they can’t wait to see us fight again after Saturday,” Jermall Charlo said about him and his brother at a press conference on Wednesday. “We come to fight. We prepared all our life for this. Now is our time. The big dogs are here to stay. We’re veterans in this game, and we love this sport. To make it to this stage, there’s nothing bigger for us. This is our Super Bowl. This is our national championship. It’s time for us to go get our belts.”

Derevyanchenko, who twice fought for belts and lost competitive decisions to Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, believes those fights have prepared him for this moment against Charlo.

“The green color of the WBC belt suits me,” Derevyanchenko said. “I want that green belt. I’ve fought twice for the title, and I’m more ready than ever for the third time…

“Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs were tough fights, they were both close fights, and I think those experiences definitely helped me. I’ll show it in the ring on Saturday.”

According to Charlo, Derevyanchenko and his team are overlooking him.

“Derevyanchenko is looking past me,” Charlo said. “His trainer and his whole camp, they’re all looking past me. They’re going to find out what they’re in for on Saturday.

“I’m the best in the world. On Saturday night, everyone will get a chance to see it live on SHOWTIME PPV.”

When the fight ends on Saturday night, Derevyanchenko expects to capture Charlo’s WBC title and, eventually, unify the middleweight division.

“This is a big fight,” Derevyanchenko said. “When I win, even more opportunities will open up. I’ll be able to unify and take my career to the next level.”

On paper, this fight is very competitive, and the only thing that would be surprising is if one of these guys wins easily. Will the third time be the charm for Derevyanchenko, or will the undefeated Charlo continue his winning ways? Saturday can’t get here soon enough!

Photo: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Giants’ Judge on Freeman: ‘I think he’s got some juice left in the tank’

The New York Giants have signed former Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, the team announced on Wednesday..

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal worth up to $3 million. After they lost RB Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Bears, the Giants turned to Freeman.

Last season, Freeman, 28, rushed for 656 yards and two rushing touchdowns for the Falcons. The two-time Pro Bowler was pretty good outside the backfield in 2019. Freeman had career-highs in receptions(70) and receiving touchdowns(4). 

On Wednesday, Giants head coach Joe Judge discussed the signing of Freeman.

“He had a good workout for us yesterday,” Judge said via a video call. “We watched his tape from the past few years. Obviously, we have familiarity, Jerome Henderson was in Atlanta with him. He really spoke highly of the character he brings to the team, the kind of teammate he is in the locker room. I think he’s got some juice left in the tank. We’ll give him the opportunity to prove that.”

The six-year veteran did practice with the team today, and according to Judge, New York hopes to have him on the field this Sunday against the 49ers.

“We just got him in the building, so today will be a day of trying to catch him up and build him into the game plan,” Judge said. “Obviously, he has a lot to learn going into Sunday. But we’re going to do our best to get him ready for Sunday if we can do that.

While he is not Barkley, Freeman could be a good option for the Giants.  It should be interesting to see how much he does have in the tank, and if you listen to what Judge had to say on Wednesday, it’s clear, they will give him every opportunity to show he can still play at a high level. 

To make room for Freeman, the Giants placed wide receiver Sterling Shepard on injured reserve with turf toe. Like Barkley, Shepard was hurt in the second quarter of the Giants’ 17-13 loss in Chicago on Sunday. He is eligible to be reinstated to the roster after missing three games.

 

Saucedo-Barboza, Berlanga-Bellows added to Loma-Lopez undercard

The most anticipated fight of the fall — the Oct. 17 lightweight unification showdown between WBC Franchise/WBA/WBO world champion Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko and IBF kingpin Teofimo Lopez from the MGM Grand Las Vegas “Bubble”— now has a two-course televised appetizer befitting the occasion.

In the 10-round junior welterweight co-feature, former world title challenger Alex Saucedo will fight unbeaten contender Arnold Barboza Jr.

The televised opener will see super middleweight knockout sensation Edgar Berlanga test his perfect record against veteran Lanell Bellows in an eight-rounder. Berlanga (14-0, 14 KOs) has won all 14 of his professional fights by first-round stoppage.

Lomachenko-Lopez, Saucedo-Barboza and Berlanga-Bellows will be televised live on ESPN & ESPN Deportes beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

“Lomachenko-Lopez promises to be a classic, and the rest of the ESPN-televised card will set the table,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Barboza and Saucedo are players in the deep junior welterweight division, and both men are ferocious competitors. The winner is ready to challenge for a world title. As for Edgar Berlanga, every time he steps in the ring, he impresses me more and more. I haven’t seen a young puncher like him in quite some time.”

Saucedo (30-1, 19 KOs), the thunderous slugger from Oklahoma City, has won a pair of fights since falling short to Maurice Hooker in a November 2018 bid for the WBO junior welterweight world title. He is entering his third bout with head trainer Pedro Neme, a union that has paid dividends thus far. Saucedo knocked out Rod Salka in the first round last November and made his “Bubble” debut June 30 with a one-sided decision over Sonny Fredrickson.

Barboza (24-0, 10 KOs), from South El Monte, Calif., is a seven-year pro who is ranked in the top 10 by the WBO and WBC at 140 pounds. He graduated from prospect to contender with victories over the likes of Mike Reed, Mike Alvarado and William Silva. He last fought Aug. 29 as the co-feature to the Jose Ramirez-Viktor Postol junior welterweight world title bout and cruised to a one-sided decision over Canadian veteran Tony Luis.

“Arnold is a very versatile fighter, so we are preparing for everything,” Saucedo said. “I know it will be hard to steal the show from Lomachenko-Lopez, but I’m coming in to put on a memorable fight for the fans. I feel like people still doubt me from the Maurice Hooker fight, and I can’t wait to show everyone all of my tools.”

“This fight, and fighting on such a significant card, means the world to me,” Barboza said. “It’s time to put the 140-pound division on notice. I respect Saucedo, but he’s in my way as I strive to earn a world title opportunity.”

Berlanga has combined flash with unique power to earn headlines despite not having seen the second round as a pro. The record for consecutive first-round knockouts to begin a career is 21, held by the late Ali Raymi. Berlanga made his “Bubble” debut on July 21 and stopped Eric Moon in 62 seconds, which equaled the fifth-shortest outing of his career. Bellows (20-5-3, 13 KOs) has never been stopped as a pro and has made his bones testing young prospects. He is coming off a fourth-round stoppage over Malcolm Jones, who entered the fight with a 15-1 record.

“I’m dedicating this fight to my family and Puerto Rico. I want to continue to shine like a bright star and carry the flag on my back,” Berlanga said. “Bellows has never been stopped, but I intend to be the first man to stop him. He’s a strong fighter, and I hope to get some rounds in. I want to show that I’m a versatile boxer and not just a puncher. One thing I will guarantee is another explosive performance.”

Jags’ Allen on Minshew: ‘He’s a superstar on and off-field’

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew came out of nowhere as a rookie and played some solid football for the team last season. In fact, the Jaguars had so much faith in the former sixth-round pick that they decided to trade Nick Foles and make Minshew the team’s starting quarterback this season.

At this point, the 24-year-old Minshew is rewarding Jacksonville’s faith in him. After two games, the second-year quarterback has thrown for 512 yards with six touchdowns and 115.7 quarterback rating. In Week 1, Minshew was close to perfect as he completed 19/20 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 27-20 victory against the Colts. 

Last week, against the Titans, Minshew brought his team back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit before falling to Tennessee 33-30. On Thursday night, the 1-1 Jaguars have an opportunity to move to 2-1 at home against the 0-2 Miami Dolphins. 

According to Minshew, going 1-1 against the Colts and Titans gives the team a lot of confidence as they prepare for the Dolphins.

“Those were two very good teams, two very good divisional teams we’ve played so far,” Minshew said on Tuesday via a video call. “[We] competed well, had a chance to win both. So, it’s just taking those good things we’ve done and building on those and then trying to fix the stuff that we haven’t done well.”

On the Thursday Night Football stage last season in Week 3, Minshew got his first victory as a starter, and “Minshew Mania” grew from there. According to his teammate, DE Josh Allen, Minshew is now a superstar on and off the field. 

“I think he’s a superstar,” Allen said. “But him on and off the field, he’s a great guy, great quarterback, and he’s also a special human being, and he’s just a guy that you just want to be around. He gives off that energy. My wife loves him, probably more than she loves me, which I’m kind of a little mad at. She thinks he’s a superstar, so I kind of have to check him about that. But that’s just the vibe he gives. He’s a superstar on and off-field, but he doesn’t give off that attitude, and I love Gardner. That’s my guy, G-Money. He signed my gloves, ‘To Josh.’ I’m about to frame this.”

Minshew is not a superstar at this stage of his career, but he is definitely growing as a player. He’s very confident in his ability, and the confidence is spreading throughout Jacksonville’s locker room. Thursday’s night game against Miami is very winnable, and if the Jaguars want to continue to prove they can make some noise in 2020, it’s a game they have to win. 

Rosario on fight with Charlo: ‘Fight fans are going to get a war on September 26’

WBA and IBF 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario stated his intention to go toe-to-toe with WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo when they clash this Saturday, September 26 live on SHOWTIME PPV (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) in the main event of part two of CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER, presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“Fight fans are going to get a war on September 26,” said Rosario. “Charlo and I are two of the biggest punchers in the division. We both fight with a lot of pride. We’re two very aggressive fighters who want to fight in the middle of the ring, so we’re going to bring the action and make this an epic war.”

The 25-year-old Rosario has had a smooth training camp for the biggest fight of his career, despite the pandemic, while training in Miami, Fla. with his coach Luis “Chiro” Perez.

“Even on a normal basis, we stay in a training camp house by ourselves, so this was just more of the same,” said Rosario. “There’s no family and no outsiders. It’s nothing but training. We know we’re facing a strong, explosive opponent, so we’ve done everything during this 16-week camp to prepare for him. We brought in great sparring partners with similar style to Charlo’s, so I’m as ready for him as I possibly can be.”

Rosario returns to the ring after a career-altering victory over Julian Williams in January, in which he stopped Williams to capture his WBA and IBF titles. Despite the sensational victory, Rosario knows that Charlo will present different challenges than he faced going up against Williams.

“I think Williams was probably more skilled technically, and he was harder to hit because he changes up his angles a lot,” said Rosario. “Charlo is stronger, a bigger puncher, and I think he’s a more athletic fighter than Williams. We’re preparing for the best Charlo and we know that means we have to be at our very best too.”

Prior to the Williams fight, Rosario began working Perez for the first time, and he credits that work, the first “real training camp” of his career, to his career-best performance against Williams.

“Training with Coach Perez has led to a lot of improvements and allowed me to reach my full potential,” said Rosario. “My camps for the Williams fight and the Charlo fight are the first real training camps of my career. After I fought Jorge Cota, I knew that I needed to make changes and be more dedicated.

“There are no distractions or excuses for me now. A better diet, better conditioning and more focused training has all played a part in the changes. For this fight, I’m going to be even stronger than I was against Williams. My body wasn’t really used to the training camp going into that fight. My body is responding even better after my second 16-week training camp.”

Hailing from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a hotbed of baseball talent that has produced household names such as David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez, Rosario has quickly made himself the fighting pride of the island. His experience growing up living on the street as a child has motivated him to reach this point, even if he didn’t always see himself reaching this peak in the sport.

“I fight with a lot of pride and emotion,” said Rosario. “I just try to be myself, but I also want to represent the Dominican Republic the best way I can. I fight for my kids and my country and I leave it all in the ring. One of my biggest motivations for me was my economic status as a child. Living in the street as a kid, we were very poor. I didn’t want my kids to go through that, so that fed my hunger to provide for my family and take care of them the best I can.

“I always knew that I could be good, but I never imagined being in this position. God’s timing is perfect. Everything came when it was supposed to. I’ve been very lucky and got the opportunities at the right time. I started training with Coach Perez at the right time. I got the Williams fight at the right time and took full advantage of the opportunity. Now, we’re here with a chance to unify the division, and I believe September 26 will be my time.”

 

WBA and IBF 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario stated his intention to go toe-to-toe with WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo when they clash this Saturday, September 26 live on SHOWTIME PPV (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT) in the main event of part two of CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER, presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“Fight fans are going to get a war on September 26,” said Rosario. “Charlo and I are two of the biggest punchers in the division. We both fight with a lot of pride. We’re two very aggressive fighters who want to fight in the middle of the ring, so we’re going to bring the action and make this an epic war.”

The 25-year-old Rosario has had a smooth training camp for the biggest fight of his career, despite the pandemic, while training in Miami, Fla. with his coach Luis “Chiro” Perez.

“Even on a normal basis, we stay in a training camp house by ourselves, so this was just more of the same,” said Rosario. “There’s no family and no outsiders. It’s nothing but training. We know we’re facing a strong, explosive opponent, so we’ve done everything during this 16-week camp to prepare for him. We brought in great sparring partners with similar style to Charlo’s, so I’m as ready for him as I possibly can be.”

Rosario returns to the ring after a career-altering victory over Julian Williams in January, in which he stopped Williams to capture his WBA and IBF titles. Despite the sensational victory, Rosario knows that Charlo will present different challenges than he faced going up against Williams.

“I think Williams was probably more skilled technically, and he was harder to hit because he changes up his angles a lot,” said Rosario. “Charlo is stronger, a bigger puncher, and I think he’s a more athletic fighter than Williams. We’re preparing for the best Charlo and we know that means we have to be at our very best too.”

Prior to the Williams fight, Rosario began working Perez for the first time, and he credits that work, the first “real training camp” of his career, to his career-best performance against Williams.

“Training with Coach Perez has led to a lot of improvements and allowed me to reach my full potential,” said Rosario. “My camps for the Williams fight and the Charlo fight are the first real training camps of my career. After I fought Jorge Cota, I knew that I needed to make changes and be more dedicated.

“There are no distractions or excuses for me now. A better diet, better conditioning and more focused training has all played a part in the changes. For this fight, I’m going to be even stronger than I was against Williams. My body wasn’t really used to the training camp going into that fight. My body is responding even better after my second 16-week training camp.”

Hailing from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, a hotbed of baseball talent that has produced household names such as David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez, Rosario has quickly made himself the fighting pride of the island. His experience growing up living on the street as a child has motivated him to reach this point, even if he didn’t always see himself reaching this peak in the sport.

“I fight with a lot of pride and emotion,” said Rosario. “I just try to be myself, but I also want to represent the Dominican Republic the best way I can. I fight for my kids and my country and I leave it all in the ring. One of my biggest motivations for me was my economic status as a child. Living in the street as a kid, we were very poor. I didn’t want my kids to go through that, so that fed my hunger to provide for my family and take care of them the best I can.

“I always knew that I could be good, but I never imagined being in this position. God’s timing is perfect. Everything came when it was supposed to. I’ve been very lucky and got the opportunities at the right time. I started training with Coach Perez at the right time. I got the Williams fight at the right time and took full advantage of the opportunity. Now, we’re here with a chance to unify the division, and I believe September 26 will be my time.”

 

Giants’ Judge on Barkley injury: ‘I think it’s emotional for any of your players’

Saquon Barkley touched the football just 25 times before his 2020 season ended because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament that will force him to undergo surgery and endure an arduous rehabilitation.

Do the Giants face a similarly challenging road ahead without their most dynamic and decorated player?

Coach Joe Judge is confident his team will soldier on, remain focused and continue to improve. But he knows the offense will require some alteration without the running back who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the previous two seasons.

“First off, losing a player who is such a good teammate and someone who’s such a hard worker on the field will impact the team in a lot of ways,” Judge said after leading the team’s review of the 17-13 loss to the Bears yesterday in Chicago. “Saquon is a tremendous player. We have even more respect for him as a person. I personally hate for this guy, as hard as he’s worked and as much impact as he’s had for this team. I know our team has similar feelings as well. I talked to a number of players already.

“In terms of how we game plan and scheme, our focus will always change week by week. Regardless of how our roster looks, we’re always going to do what’s best for the team going forward to match up with the specific opponent. The guys that are on our roster, we’re going to have to find ways to put them in a positions of strength and find ways to match up with our opponent favorably.”

The Giants have three other backs on their active roster: Dion Lewis, who took over for Barkley yesterday and scored the Giants’ only touchdown; Wayne Gallman, who was inactive in Chicago but has rushed for 762 yards and caught 60 passes in four seasons with the team; and Eli Penny, who is listed as a fullback. In addition, veteran back Rod Smith is on the practice squad.

“Wayne and Dion are definitely guys that will factor in,” Judge said. “We’ll work to their strengths, they are two different types of backs. Both of them have a degree of toughness. Wayne’s got that long speed, get him ranging out and get him really moving. Dion’s got that real good short area quickness and burst to go get going. He does a great job of finding small seams and getting through the hole. They are both different guys, we’re going to have to work with what they do well to give them an opportunity to be successful. … There’s a number of players in our program we are going to be working with. We’ll see where the future takes us elsewhere throughout this long season in the NFL. There’s always a lot of roster movement.”

Barkley was hurt on the first play of the second quarter. While gaining six yards running to his right, Barkley’s leg landed awkwardly as he was tackled by safety Eddie Jackson. He appeared to be in pain before hitting the ground, where he grabbed his knee, pounded his fist and removed his helmet. Barkley underwent a preliminary examination in Chicago. The Giants announced at noon today that an MRI of his knee this morning at Hospital for Special Surgery confirmed the diagnosis of a torn ACL.

Barkley, who was elected a team captain for the second time, ends his third season with 34 rushing yards on 19 carries and six receptions for 60 yards.

“I think it’s emotional for any of your players,” Judge said. “You know how hard these guys work. You know how important it is to them. Not to mention how it impacts directly their own lives and their families’ lives. There’s definitely some emotion attached to losing any player. Saquon’s obviously no different. He’s been voted a captain on this team, he’s very important to the team, he speaks for the team. He always holds the best interest of the team first. He exemplifies what it is on and off the field for us. We’re going to miss having him on the grass, but we’re going to keep him involved as much as we can going forward.”

The two players who spoke publicly today grieved his loss but expressed confidence their teammates will respond favorably in the final 14 games, beginning at home Sunday against the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

“Obviously, my heart goes out to him,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “He works extremely hard. Obviously, he’s a leader on this team. I know from working out with him over the summer that he was looking forward to this season after the ankle injury last year (that cost him three games and left him at least than 100% in several others). I’m definitely, definitely praying for him. But he’s a guy who’s going to bounce back better than ever. Minor setback for a major comeback. In this league, injuries happen. You hate it, but it happens. You have to have a next man up mentality. I think the guys that we have in the room do a good job stepping up.”

“For it to happen the way it did yesterday, I know we’re all kind of bummed because we are brothers,” wide receiver Golden Tate said. “We love each other so much. It’s unfortunate, but that is the nature of the game. There are injuries that happen in this game every game unfortunately. It always hurts when you have guys like Saquon and Shep (wide receiver Sterling Shepard) deal with an injury. But we’re just going to keep chugging. We can’t dwell on this. We have to just keep working hard and find a way.”

Everyone connected to the Giants, from players and coaches to the team’s millions of fans, are hopeful a healthy Barkley will return to the field in 2021.

“You look at some of the other guys around the league who have been able to come back from ACL’s and have tremendous seasons those next years out,” Judge said. “I think you can focus on there’s a lot of top athletes and with the medical care they get right now. This is a young guy who is very physically gifted. There are good doctors out there, he is going to get the best medical care possible. We have a great training staff to help rehab him along the way. We’re going to do everything in our position as coaches to keep him involved mentally sharp. Then when we finally get a chance to get him back on the field physically, obviously we’re going to gear everything around his specific plan to get him going full speed at the right rate.

“I tell you what, I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again, I won’t fall asleep on 26, it’s going to be a hell of a story.”

*Judge did not provide a definitive diagnosis on Shepard.

“He did have a lower limb injury yesterday in the game,” Judge said. “Tried to come back early in the second half and wasn’t able to finish. We’ll see where that is right now. I can’t speak for Shep in terms of how he feels. I haven’t been able to sit down with him and talk with him directly about that yet. I’m going to check with our training staff after this meeting and see where things are at going forward.”

Via: giants.com 

Derevyanchenko: ‘Jermall(Charlo) has never faced anyone like me’

Top contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko believes that his combination of skills and experience will make him the toughest challenge that WBC Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo has faced in his career, as they near their showdown this Saturday, September 26 headlining part one of CHARLO DOUBLEHEADER, a SHOWTIME PPV event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“I’ll definitely be his toughest test at middleweight,” said Derevyanchenko. “Jermall has never faced anyone like me. I’ll apply more pressure than he’s used to. He’s also never faced anyone with my footwork. I’ll fight more on the inside than his previous opponents.”

Derevyanchenko sports a 13-2 pro record with 10 knockouts, following an extensive amateur career that included representing his native Ukraine at the 2008 Olympics as part of his 390-20 overall ledger. A pro since 2014, Derevyanchenko’s experience in the amateurs has aided him as he climbed up the middleweight division in the paid ranks.

“My amateur experience has helped me a lot,” said Derevyanchenko. “I came to the pros with much more experience in the ring than most other fighters and it’s been a big part of what I’ve accomplished. I believe that all of that experience will help me get the win on Saturday and take Charlo’s belt.”

The 34-year-old now lives in Brooklyn and has avoided any negative training impact of the pandemic by working with his head trainer Andre Rozier at their private gym in New Jersey. September 26 will be Derevyanchenko’s third world title fight, after losing a narrow decision to Gennadiy Golovkin last October and a split decision against Daniel Jacobs in 2018. Each of his previous title fights have presented different experiences that he can take into the Charlo fight, based off the similarities and differences between the opponents.

“Golovkin is a very different fighter than Charlo, but Jacobs is similar stylistically, so that’s something I’ll be used to,” said Derevyanchenko. “This training camp has been very similar to camps for my previous fights though. We just brought in different sparring partners for this one. We’re using fighters who can show us what Charlo will bring to the ring.

“We’re making necessary adjustments based off all our experience and developing a game plan specifically for Charlo. The sparring partners have been giving me great work and I’m absolutely ready for September 26.”

In both of his title opportunities, Derevyanchenko has suffered a knockdown in the first round, only to battle back and nearly win the fight. Despite the similar script, Derevyanchenko is not focusing on those opening round mistakes as he prepares for Charlo.

“I’ll be very focused in the early rounds against Charlo, we’re not dwelling on the past,” said Derevyanchenko. “We always have an eye looking forward. I’ll try to get the win faster against Charlo, so we’ll be applying more pressure early.

“Those first round knockdowns were just brief moments in those fights. I quickly moved on, put them behind me and fought my way back into it. I told myself that I may have lost the first round, but I just had to be better in the remaining rounds.”

With fight week here and the bulk of the hard training behind him, Derevyanchenko is prepared for the challenge Charlo presents, no matter how the fight goes or which strategy Charlo enters the ring with.

“I’m not solely focused on the fight going one certain way, we just have our game plan and we’ll see what happens in the ring,” said Derevyanchenko. “If I can knock him out, I’ll be ready to go for it. But if it goes 12 rounds, I have all of the skills to win a decision.”

Giants’ Jones: ‘Definitely tough to see anyone go down, especially a guy that works as hard as Saquon(Barkley)’

On Sept. 22, 2019, Saquon Barkley was carted off the field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa with a sprained ankle that subsequently forced him to miss three games, the first absences of his career.

Fast forward to exactly 52 weeks later, on Sunday afternoon in Soldier Field in Chicago. The Giants’ third-year running back again needed assistance to get to the locker room. This time, the injury is to his right knee, suffered on the first play of the second quarter of a 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. How long he will be sidelined was not immediately known.

Barkley will undergo a thorough examination on Monday. And while the news could be bad, coach Joe Judge put up a brave front.

“Obviously we’re all praying for the best,” Judge said in a postgame Zoom call with reporters. “I would just say this, regardless of whatever the outcome is going to be and what the doctors say tomorrow, I wouldn’t fall asleep on 26. It’s going to be a hell of a story either way.”

The Giants hope it is one with a happy ending. But they are aware Barkley could be sidelined for an extended period.

“Definitely tough to see anyone go down, especially a guy that works as hard as Saquon does,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “And, you know, we don’t know what it is yet, but certainly keeping our thoughts and prayers with him. He’s a guy that comes to work every day. I know he’ll attack any challenge, and we’re all here to support him. So, yeah, always tough to see a teammate go down.

“I don’t think anyone knows exactly what the injury is or what that sets us up for. So, dealing in hypotheticals right now isn’t the most productive thing. But whatever it is, we’ll respond as a team and do the best we can going forward.”

Barkley wasn’t the only key offensive player to leave the game with an injury. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who led the Giants with 57 catches last season despite missing six games, hurt his toe in the second quarter and did not return.

The unfortunate irony is this was the first game in which the Giants had all their offensive weapons in uniform at the same time. In addition to Barkley and Shepard, wide receivers Golden Tate and Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram all played.

“Certainly, a tough break there for us today,” Jones said. “But I know those guys will battle and I think they’ll attack the challenge and we’re excited to support them, and we’ll have guys step up. So whatever the situation is, we’ll attack it and respond as a team.”

Barkley was hurt as he was running right. He gained six yards before cornerback Eddie Jackson came up to stop him, grabbed Barkley high and threw him to the ground. Barkley’s right leg seemed to land awkwardly and as soon as he hit the ground, he grabbed his knee and then removed his helmet.

Barkley did not put weight on his leg as he was helped to the bench area by Judge and assistant athletic trainer Justin Maher. He was placed on a cart and transported to the locker room. The Giants announced Barkley would not return to the game and will undergo an examination on Monday.

“In terms of carrying Saquon off the field that was just simply he’s a big dude and I wanted to make sure we get him over there with the least amount of stress on his leg as possible, and tried to just take the weight off,” Judge said.

Although he had just four carries, Barkley led the Giants Sunday with 28 rushing yards. Wayne Gallman was inactive, so eight-year veteran Dion Lewis took over at running back. He finished with 20 yards on 10 carries, including a one-yarder for the Giants’ only touchdown, and four catches for 36 yards.

Lewis, who joined the team as a free agent on April 1, said he is prepared to take on a larger role if necessary. But for both team and personal reason, he would much prefer it not be at the expense of his friend and teammate.

“He’s Saquon Barkley, so you lose a guy like that, it’s a huge loss,” Lewis said. “But you know, as a team, everybody’s gotta step up. Receivers gotta step up, O-line’s gotta step up, running backs have gotta step up, quarterback’s gotta step up, defense has gotta step up, everybody has gotta step up. It’s not going to be one person who steps up to make up for what he’s done, it’s going to take all of us.”

Lewis said he spoke to Barkley after the game.

“I just told him to keep his head up, stay positive, believe in God,” Lewis said. “Nobody knows what’s really going on right now, so just try to keep his head up. He’s a great kid, and we’ve grown extremely close since I’ve been here, so you know, definitely feel for him.”

Defensive players echoed Lewis’ concern.

“It’s definitely a tough moment,” linebacker Blake Martinez said. “I don’t know exactly what’s going on completely, but I saw him and said, ‘Hey, I’m praying for a quick recovery for whatever it ends up being.’ I hope to see him back as soon as possible.”

“Of course, your heart stops for a minute,” cornerback James Bradberry said. “But we really don’t know the verdict of Saquon’s injury right now, so prayers up to him and we’re hoping for the best.”

Shepard was injured on a 24-yard reception with just eight seconds left in the half. He was stopped by rookie cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Shepard returned to the sideline at the start of the second half but soon returned to the locker room.

“Looked like the defensive back landed on his foot at the end of the first half,” Judge said. “He caught that big ball across the middle in that two-minute sequence. He tried to play through it. Obviously, it was something he couldn’t really run full speed on. So, we’ll see what the doctor says.”

The Giants will know much more about the condition of Barkley and Shepard after they are examined on Monday.

Courtesy: giants.com

Wentz: ‘We’re not panicking; we know what we have to clean up, and we will’

For the Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, the 2020 season has been a struggle. In Week 1 against Washingon, Wentz threw two picks, and on Sunday in the team’s home-opener against the Rams, Wentz(26/43 for 242 yards and two interceptions) threw two more picks as the Eagles were dominated by Los Angeles(2-0) 37-19.

After trailing 21-3 in the second quarter, Philadelphia(0-2) cut the lead to 21-16 at the half and had the momentum. However, with the Eagles driving for a touchdown in the third quarter, Wentz was picked off by Darious Williams in the endzone. After the game, Wentz discussed what went wrong on that play.

“On the interception, [the Rams defense] made a great play. I got out on the naked there to the left, and they had us covered pretty well,” Wentz said. “I got pretty aggressive and tried to force one in there. [Rams CB Darious Williams] made a great play. I have to be smarter in that situation. Overall, offensively, we know we’re right there. At the end of the day, we had two interceptions and the fumble. Turning the ball over is really killing us the last two weeks. Those are the things we know we can clean up. But other than that, we truly feel that we’re right there. We’re just missing some things, timing of some things. We’re not panicking; we know what we have to clean up, and we will.”

At 0-2, the Eagles have an uphill battle in terms of making the playoffs. According to oddsshark.com, since 2007, 98 teams have started 0-2. Only 12 (12.2 percent) turned it around to make the playoffs, but according to Wentz, Philly can turn things around.

“We’re obviously frustrated,” he said. “You never want to start 0-2. Last week, the way we lost to Washington, starting 0-1, is obviously not what we want and not how we expect to finish ball games. And then today, coming out behind again, [is] not where you want to be. But we know there’s enough things through two games, offensively speaking, that we can put on the tape and know we’re right there [and] just missing some things. We’re right there, don’t panic, we’ll be okay. I’ve always had all the confidence in the world in our defense. Things happen, but we’re not panicking and excited to get back on it.”

Eagles RB Miles Sanders, who ran for 95 yards, but had a costly fumble that sent up a Rams’ touchdown in the first quarter, thinks Philly still has time to get right.

‘”It’s very frustrating,” Sanders said about the team being 0-2. “I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t. But like I said, it’s a blessing that it’s a long season. And like I said, we have opportunities week by week just to get better and get some [wins] on the left-hand side of that column.”

There is still a lot of season left for the Eagles, and Philadelphia plays in the NFC East, which appears to be weak at this point of the season. But, Wentz has to be better, and defensively they have to be better.