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Giants’ ugly quarterback play as bad as it gets

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Giants’ ugly quarterback play as bad as it gets

PHILADELPHIA — Full disclosure: Entering the game, I was actually mildly interested in seeing Jake Fromm play quarterback Sunday. 

What else — with this miserable, forgettable season grinding toward its merciful end — was there to keep anyone’s interest in the Giants in their game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field? 

How did it go? 

“I don’t think it gets much worse than that,’’ Fromm said of his first NFL start. 

Sadly, that postgame assessment was the most accurate pass Fromm made all day. 

Fromm completed 6 of 17 passes for 25 yards and an interception through 2 ¹/₂ quarters of the Giants’ dispiriting 34-10 loss. 

Twenty-five yards passing in 2 ¹/₂ quarters is difficult to do unless you’re the Patriots throwing the ball only four times all game in gale winds in Buffalo. 

“I was juiced up,’’ Fromm said. “I was ready to go, I was excited. The goal I had in mind was to start fast. We didn’t do that.’’ 

Fromm and the Giants didn’t start fast or end fast. As a result, a game that was tied 3-3 at the half didn’t end well. 

Why? 

Because offensively the Giants played the game without a proper NFL quarterback. They could have put receiver Kadarius Toney or safety Logan Ryan (both former high school quarterbacks) behind center against the Eagles and it couldn’t have looked worse. 

Jake Fromm finished with just 25 passing yards in his NFL debut.
Jake Fromm finished with just 25 passing yards in his NFL debut.
Robert Sabo

Jake Fromm played like “Jake from State Farm.” 

“I wish I would have played better,’’ Fromm said. “I wish the ball would have been exactly where I wanted it to be, but I was amped up and ready to go. I guess maybe the first couple got away from me.” 

Fromm’s first few passes were basically uncatchable, too high, too hard, too quick. 

“It’s not the way I wanted to represent myself, my family or, of course, this organization,’’ Fromm said. 

It got no better when Fromm — in a mercy move by the coaching staff — was benched with 7:48 remaining in the third quarter and replaced by veteran journeyman Mike Glennon. 

The good news for Glennon, who has a 7-26 record as an NFL starter (including nine straight losses), is that he didn’t start this game so it doesn’t add to the demerits on his career won-loss record. 

Glennon entered the game with the Giants trailing 13-3, a deficit that at the time felt a lot more like 33-3. He finished 17 of 27 for 93 yards with a garbage-time TD pass and a pick-six gift to Philadelphia linebacker Alex Singleton that gave the Eagles a 34-3 lead with 10:19 still remaining in the game. 

“Obviously, not how we envisioned it going,’’ Glennon said of the day. 

“Obviously, not what I wanted,’’ Glennon said about not starting the game. “Disappointed. But I prepared all week and was ready to go mentally.’’ 

Mike Glennon replaced Jake Fromm in the second half of the Giants' 34-10 loss to the Eagles.
Mike Glennon replaced Jake Fromm in the second half of the Giants’ 34-10 loss to the Eagles.
Robert Sabo

He didn’t look very ready. Nor did the offensive line, running backs, receivers or anyone else on offense. 

To Glennon’s credit, he did what he could to boost Fromm’s confidence before the game. 

“I reminded him before the game that he belongs here,’’ Glennon said. “He’s had a lot of success leading up to this point. There’s a reason why he was such a decorated player coming out of Georgia and all the wins he had there. I just told him he’s here for a reason, that he belongs, and he should go out and have fun. 

“Obviously, it didn’t go as planned.” 

Obviously. 

“First start, it’s not an easy job playing in the NFL … unfortunately, it didn’t go as he wanted,” Glennon said. 

“He’s a young guy, he went out there and he had his shot, but everything doesn’t go your way,’’ said Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter, a former teammate of Fromm’s at Georgia. “I told him he’s just got to keep his head up, keep working.’’ 

Fromm, of course, had no complaints about being yanked in the third quarter. He, in fact, sounded like he’d have probably benched himself if he was in charge. 

“I wish nobody — any of the coaches — would have been put in that situation,’’ he said. “I wish I would have gone out and handled my business, led us to victory, and we’d be having a nice ride home.” 

Jake Fromm
Jake Fromm
Getty Images

There will be no nice rides home for the Giants. Not at 4-11. Not having scored a league-low 22 offensive touchdowns in 15 games this season. 

Fromm or Glennon starting the next game, the day after New Year’s in Chicago? 

“We’ll decide based on how they practice,’’ Giants coach Joe Judge said. “We’ll see how these guys do.” 

I think we’ve seen enough. I know I have.

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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