Ex-Brown Kevin Zeitler: ‘It’s definitely an exciting time in Cleveland’

Cleveland is rocking right now. They seem to have their quarterback of the future in Baker Mayfield, and not only does Mayfield have Jarvis Landry to throw to but he also has Odell Beckham Jr., who was acquired in a trade with the New York Giants last week.

There has not been this much excitement in Cleveland since LeBron James won a championship with the Cavaliers in 2016, and If all goes as planned, maybe Cleveland could celebrate another title soon.

One of the players sent to New York in the trade for Odell Beckham, G Kevin Zeitler, believes that fun has just begun in Cleveland.

“You look at what they have done these last couple of weeks; it’s definitely an exciting time in Cleveland,” Zeitler said on a conference call on Monday. “I think the guys there are going to have a very good time this next year. Like I said, there’s nothing I can do about it. They traded, and the Giants wanted me. I’m excited to be here, and we are going to do everything we can to get the same amount of buzz in New York.”

Zeitler, who spent two seasons in Cleveland after signing a five-year, $60 million contract with the Browns in 2017, endured so much losing in Cleveland, including 0-16 in 2017, so you have to feel for Zeitler, but football is a business, and in business, things happen.

 

 

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Giants’ Jabrill Peppers is excited to be home

Jabrill Peppers is going home. Peppers, who is from East Orange, New Jersey, was acquired by the Giants along with guard Kevin Zeitler, and draft picks from the Browns, in the deal that sent Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon to Cleveland.

The 23-year-old Peppers has an opportunity to play in front of his friends and family with the New York Giants, and New York is hoping that he can replace the departed Landon Collins, who recently signed with the Redskins.

On Monday, Peppers took part in a media conference call.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: What was your reaction to the trade?

Peppers: “I was excited. (I) get a chance to play football and do it in front of the home state. It was definitely an exhilarating feeling.”

Q: With losing a player like Landon Collins, what do you think about the expectations that will come with filling that void?

Peppers: “I’m just excited to play football again. Excited to go to the Giants and be one of the best players I can be. I hold myself to a high level and I intend to play at that level.”

Q: Have you had any conversations about how the Giants will be using you in their defense and have you been asking around about James Bettcher and his scheme?

Peppers: “No, no real conversations I’ve had but I’ve been looking at YouTube videos of when he was in Arizona. I’m just anxious to learn the scheme and see how I’m going to be used.”

Q: From where you’re at as a player, how would you give a scouting report on Jabrill Peppers, the player that the Giants are getting?

Peppers: “They’re getting a hard worker. A guy that’s going to do whatever it takes to win. Me personally, I feel as though I haven’t even showed a third of what I can really do. So, I’m anxious just to get there and have a fresh beginning, and immerse myself in the culture and tradition, learn the schemes and be the best player I can be.”

Q: You mentioned coming home, what was it like being the top recruit coming out of high school around this area? What was that time of your life like?

Peppers:: “It wasn’t about being the top recruit, it was just more about the talent level that I was playing against. I was in a very competitive league and it brought the best out of me each and every game. I think that prepared me for the big games at the college level, and even at the NFL level, because some stadiums are smaller than it is at the collegiate level. Just being in that atmosphere, I definitely think that was the biggest factor.”

Q: What’s your family’s reaction been to this homecoming?

Peppers:: “They’re excited, they’re excited. It’s a much easier commute than Cleveland, Ohio. So, that works out.”

Q: Were you surprised when you got the call from the Browns that you’re being traded to the Giants?

Peppers:: “It’s a business, so nothing really can surprise you. It’s just more of a blessing in disguise and I feel as though God doesn’t make mistakes. If this is the path he wants me to walk down on, I’m going to embrace it. It was more of an exciting, exhilarating feeling. Just a new road to go down, and I’m excited to go down it.”

Q: Is there a part of your personality where you can raise your level of play if certain pressure is put on you?

Peppers: “Again, I’m just going there to be the best football player I can be. I hold myself to a high level and I attend to play at that level. That’s about as best as I can give to you.”

Q: Have you talked to Antoine Bethea? Seems like you two are going to be tied together there in the secondary.

Peppers: “I’ve talked to him briefly. He’s a hell of a player and I have fine knowledge of him. He’s a veteran guy who’s made a lot of plays on the ball, made a lot of tackles, he’s played in the system before, so I’m eager to pick his brain and play alongside of him and roam that secondary back there.”

Q: You obviously know Saquon Barkley. I don’t know the depth of your relationship, but have you spoken to Saquon at all? What’s that going to be like being his teammate after both being marquee players in the same conference in college?

Peppers: “It’s going to be a phenomenal thing. Just competing against him in practice every day. After playing against him for most of my career at Michigan, he’s a hell of a player. (I) haven’t really had an extensive conversation with him. All he said was, ‘Let’s get to work,’ and I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ That’s kind of where we’re at right now. April 15 is right around the corner. We’re just all finishing up putting the final touches on the offseason training, and eager to come back and get to work.”

Ex-Eagle Golden Tate: ‘Philadelphia is a fantastic sports town’

After trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants needed a replacement, and on Thursday they got their guy. The Giants agreed to terms with former Eagles WR Golden Tate, and according to ESPN, it’s a four-year deal worth $37.5 million, that includes $23 million fully guaranteed.

While Tate is not Beckham, he is a solid replacement. Last year, Tate, 30, played seven games for the Lions before being traded to the Eagles, with whom he played another eight games, plus two in the playoffs. He totaled 74 receptions for 795 yards and four touchdowns. Tate’s highlight in Philly was catching a fourth-down, two-yard pass from Nick Foles for the game-winning touchdown in an NFC Wild Card Game in Chicago.

Although Tate played in only eight games with the Eagles, he really enjoyed his time in Philly and appreciated the Philly fans.

“It was a great experience,” Tate said on Friday. “I really didn’t have too much time to take it all in, because I had to hit the ground running, because it was mid-season — trying to learn the city, how to get to work,  where my position room was, the quarterback situation, obviously the offense, the coaches. All that I had to learn very, very quickly, but I really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed. Philadelphia is a fantastic sports town and just a great city overall. I’ll forever be grateful for my time there, and I’ll never forget it, but excited to be here in the Big Apple.”

Philly has a great fan base, and Tate got just a little taste of how passionate they can be. Now, he will be wearing Giant blue, which means he becomes the enemy.

 

 

Gettleman on Giants: ‘You can win while you build a roster’

The New York Giants are remaking their roster as we speak. The Giants sent star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and linebacker Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns for safety Jabrill Peppers, guard Kevin Zeitler and two draft choices(2019 1st, 3rd round picks).

The deal is contingent on the players passing physicals with their new teams, which are expected to be completed no later than Monday.

The Giants have lost a lot of talent off their roster in the last few days. In addition to trading Vernon and Beckham to Cleveland, the Giants also lost Pro-Bowl safety Landon Collins, who signed with the Washington Redskins. At this point, it seems the Giants are in rebuild mode.

However, according to their GM Dave Gettleman, the Giants can build a quality roster and win at the same time.

“You can win while you build a roster,” Gettleman said. “We do have a plan, and this is a part of it.”

It’s hard to decipher what the Giants’ plan is moving forward. They still need a QB because the 38-year-old Eli Manning is near the end of his career. The Giants will probably grab a QB in the draft(Giants have 6th overall pick), which could be Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. In the NFL, it’s all about getting a QB, and if the Giants can grab a QB in the draft that they like, then all will be better in New York. However, as of now, Giants fans are still a little miffed about the direction of this team.

Barkley captures Pepsi Rookie of the Year

New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKLEY has been named the 2018 PEPSI NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, Pepsi and the NFL announced today. Barkley was recognized online at nfl.com/rookies and this morning during Pepsi’s Rookie Brunch Party in Atlanta, which featured a trophy presentation by ESPN’s Sam Ponder, a DJ set by Grammy-winner Lil Jon (who is also featured in Pepsi’s Super Bowl LIII commercial), and a performance by Pepsi’s Sound Drop artist Bryce Vine.

The No. 2 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history. A 2019 Pro Bowl selection, he recorded 91 receptions in 2018, including a single-game franchise-record 14 catches in Week 2, tied for the most by a rookie running back in league annals. Barkley became the first Giants rookie to rush for at least 1,000 yards (1,307) and his 15 scrimmage touchdowns were the most by a rookie in team history.

Barkley was one of five finalists nominated for this honor. The other finalists were Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard, Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay and Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

NFL announces schedule change in Week 16

The NFL announced today the following schedule change for Week 16 (December 23):

The New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts game originally scheduled for 1:00 PM ET on FOX will move to 1:00 PM ET on CBS.

The following is the final Week 16 NFL schedule (all times ET):

Saturday, December 22

Washington at Tennessee 4:30 PM NFLN
Baltimore at Los Angeles Chargers 8:20 PM NFLN

Sunday, December 23

Atlanta at Carolina 1:00 PM FOX
Cincinnati at Cleveland 1:00 PM CBS
Tampa Bay at Dallas 1:00 PM FOX
Minnesota at Detroit 1:00 PM FOX
New York Giants at Indianapolis 1:00 PM CBS
Jacksonville at Miami 1:00 PM CBS
Buffalo at New England 1:00 PM CBS
Green Bay at New York Jets 1:00 PM FOX
Houston at Philadelphia 1:00 PM CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona 4:05 PM FOX
Chicago at San Francisco 4:05 PM FOX
Pittsburgh at New Orleans 4:25 PM CBS
Kansas City at Seattle 8:20 PM NBC
   

Monday, December 24

Denver at Oakland 8:15 PM ESPN

Jaguars sign OT Ereck Flowers

A few days after getting released by the Giants, the Jacksonville Jaguars have signed fourth-year OL Ereck Flowers, the club announced today. To make room on the roster, the Jaguars placed fourth-year OL Josh Wells on the team’s reserve/injured list.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal.

Flowers, 6-6, 334, was originally selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He appeared in 51 games (48 starts) with the Giants from 2015-18, starting his first 46 career games at left tackle. As a rookie in 2015, Flowers started 15 games at left tackle and helped protect QB Eli Manning, who set a franchise record with 387 completions. In 2018 with the Giants, he appeared in five games and made two starts at right tackle. A Miami native, Flowers played on the same offensive line as Jaguars OL and offensive captain Brandon Linder at Miami (Fla). From 2012-14, Flowers played in 38 games and started 28 (24 at left tackle, four at right tackle) for the Hurricanes.

Ramsey on matchup with Beckham: ‘I am looking forward to it’

Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey is a big-time player, and to some, he might be the best corner in football, which makes his matchup against one best wide receivers in football, Odell Beckham Jr. very exciting as the Jaguars travel to MetLife Stadium to battle the New York Giants on Sunday.

Recently, Ramsey had this to say about going up against Beckham on his UNINTERRUPTED series Twentyland.

“Odell, he has a lot to prove in that first game,” Ramsey said. “But, I would say I do too. I don’t think he has anything at stake, to be honest. He just got paid. He’s going to go out there, be loose, and play how he plays. For me on the other hand, it’s, quote on quote, a bigger game for me.”

Beckham signed a five-year $95 million extension with the Giants last month.

While Ramsey is excited to go up against Beckham, he knows that this game is just not about him versus Beckham.

“I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to beginning the season with the whole team.” Ramsey told the media on Thursday.  “A lot of people try to make it me and him specifically. That is not what it is about. Football is a team game. It is going to be 11 guys out there for us, 11 guys out there for them. We are going to have to come together and do what we have to do to try to get a win. I will try to do my part.”

Ramsey knows that Beckham will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge that he likes.

“He(Beckham) has an all-around game in my opinion. [He is] viewed as one of the top in the game by everyone I believe,” Ramsey said. “He backs it up when he goes out there and plays. He is a premier player for their team, so of course that is a fun matchup. That is a fun challenge that I like.”

Should be a great matchup, and an excellent opportunity for both guys to show that they’re one of the best at their respective positions.

Ex-Giant Baker talks issues with 1991 Giants and the possible similarities with 2018 Eagles(VIDEO)

The 1990 New York Giants were an amazing story. Not only were they able to win the Super Bowl that year, but they did it with an unlikely hero. QB Jeff Hostetler replaced an injured Phil Simms, who was lost for the year in Week 15  after breaking his foot. Ultimately, Hostetler would lead the Giants to an improbable victory over the Bills in Super Bowl 25.

However, the 1991 season did not go as smooth. New head coach Ray Handley, who replaced the retired Bill Parcells, had an open competition between Simms and Hostetler. Ultimately, Hosteler would get the job, but it was without controversy.

Former Giants WR Stephen Baker, who played with the team from 1987-1992, recalls what happened in 1991.

“Going into the following season(1991 season), if you remember, it was kind of crazy,” Baker told goforitradio.com. “They were like, ‘A quarterback is not supposed to lose his job to injury.’ But we had a new coach by the name of Ray Handley, who came in and changed everything. He started Hostetler, and we just went with it as a team.”

Eventually, Simms would get the job back after Hostetler went down with a back injury in Week 13. The Giants would finish 8-8, and miss the playoffs in 1991. Handley would return the following season but was fired after the team went 6-10 and missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

Fast forward to 2018. The Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52 with backup QB Nick Foles after Carson Wentz went down with a torn ACL in Week 14. Foles was named Super Bowl MVP, but unlike the 1991 Giants, there won’t be a QB competition. If Wentz is healthy, he gets his job back, which according to Baker, could lead to some controversy in Philly.

“To me, it seems like it would divide the locker room a little bit,” Baker said. “He’s the Super Bowl MVP, and your Super Bowl MVP is going to be sitting on the bench.  Carson Wentz is going to be your man, then get rid of Nick Foles, so you don’t have that. Now, you got some controversy. Fans will turn on the Eagles, too, if Wentz comes in and does not have a great game. They gonna be like, ‘Put in our Super Bowl MVP.’ Then, you got a divided locker room, and then you got the Eagles right where I went them: fighting each other so the Giants can get back on top.”

Regarding Foles, Philly did re-work his contract, which gave him a raise and basically will keep him with the team for the 2018 season. Concerning Wentz, there is always the possibility that he could struggle early in the season, which could cause some controversy.

Could the 2018 Eagles season end up like the 1991 Giants? I don’t think so. After the 1990 season, the Giants lost head coach Bill Parcells and defensive coordinator Bill Belichick. Conversely, Philly will bring back most of their coaching staff from 2017. They did lose their offensive coordinator Frank Reich and QB coach John DeFilippo. However, Doug Pederson calls the plays, so those losses may not be that big.

Furthermore, the Eagles still have a lot of young talent on the defensive side of the ball, and they have a budding star in Wentz. The 25-year-old QB could easily have been an MVP last season.  Therefore, Philly has an excellent chance to get back to the Super Bowl, but if injuries happen, and Wentz does not regain that 2017 form, and Foles plays like he did with the Rams; maybe, just maybe, the 2018 Eagles could end up like the 1991 Giants.

Listen to our interview with Baker below:

Ex-Giant Baker to Beckham: ‘It’s time to grow up'(VIDEO)

Last year was a struggle for the New York Giants. The team finished the season at 3-13, which was the second-worst record in football. One reason for those struggles was the injury to their star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The three-time Pro Bowler missed 12 games last season with a fractured left ankle.

Beckham, who is one of the best wide receivers in football, is looking for a new contract. The 25-year-old is reportedly looking to be one of highest paid players in the NFL.  While Beckham is a very talented player, he can be very emotional at times, which has hurt the team at points in his career. However, if Beckham continues to put up big-time numbers, he will get paid.

One man who knows what it is like to play and have success in New York is former Giants wide receiver Stephen Baker. The “Touchdown Maker” thinks that Beckham is talented, but would like to see him tone it down in 2018:

“It’s time to grow up; you(Beckham) can be the best player in the NFL,” Baker recently told goforitradio.com at the 4th annual Heart of a Legend Celebrity Golf weekend. “We don’t need all these antics; it’s a little bit over the edge. I’m hoping to see a more reserved and more professional Beckham this year.”

Baker talks more about Beckham and his contract situation below.

Take a listen: