Giants

The Titans' owner is not happy at all

933633.jpg

The Titans' owner is not happy at all

From Comcast SportsNetThe Tennessee Titans now have plenty of motivation to play better. Owner Bud Adams has made sure of that.The owner plans to evaluate everyone from the front office to the coaches to the players over the final seven games after the Titans lost 51-20 to Chicago, the most points allowed since a 59-0 loss to New England in 2009."In my 50 years of owning an NFL franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular-season home game that was such a disappointment for myself and fans of the Titans," Adams told The Tennessean. "We were grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish."Coach Mike Munchak talked with Adams on Monday and said he understands the owner's frustration."I would probably have said the same thing if I were him," Munchak said. "This is his team. He expects us to play well, especially at home. That's our job. That's my job to make sure we're out there playing our best and winning games at home hopefully every time we line up."We didn't play well, and I'd be upset too if I were him."The Titans (3-6) didn't just look bad in the loss to the Bears, they looked inept with five turnovers. Even Chris Johnson, who had one fumble touching the ball 150 times coming into the game, lost two himself. They struggled to tackle with safety Michael Griffin dragged about 20 yards by Matt Forte before finally bringing the running back down with a horse collar tackle.They lined up incorrectly on back-to-back plays covering up the tight end, backing them up before getting a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown."The bottom line is it shouldn't happen," Munchak said of the formation penalties.Tennessee once again is last in the NFL giving up an average 34.2 points per game and remain on pace to top the 533 points allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. The Titans already have given up 308 points through nine games after allowing only 317 points all last season.Adams can share some of the blame for the defense's struggles.The owner ordered his Titans to chase four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in March, and that kept team officials busy for the first week of free agency. Sure, they signed veteran left guard Steve Hutchinson while they tried to woo Manning into picking Tennessee, but defensive ends Mario Williams and John Abraham signed elsewhere.That left the Titans to sign Kamerion Wimbley, who had played linebacker in Oakland before they switched him to defensive end. Wimbley has 3.5 sacks so far on a defense that has just 14 overall.The Titans started the season with their youngest opening day roster since 2006, a team that went 8-8 after losing the first five games that season.The defense is where the youth movement of the last two drafts shows up the most with two of the three starting linebackers in their second season along with rookie Zach Brown. Tackle Jurrell Casey is another defender in his second season, while end Derrick Morgan and cornerback Alterraun Verner are in their third.Munchak said he is not planning any staff changes right now."We have to win football games right now. I'm not spending my time deciding on making coaching changes, and no, I'm not thinking of doing that."The Titans visit Miami (4-4) on Sunday before a break with their bye. They may get Jake Locker back as their starting quarterback depending on what doctors say about his left, non-throwing shoulder. Locker has missed five straight games since dislocating his shoulder Sept. 30 for the second time in four games.Munchak said the key is when Locker is cleared for contact, and the quarterback worked with the scout team last week. The coach said they should know more by Wednesday. In the meantime, Munchak said he isn't the type to flip coolers or start yelling since that tactic never prompted him to play harder or better himself."My job is to focus them, direct them, teach them and try to get the best out of them, and that's what I'm trying to do," Munchak said.

Top prospect Shaw not feeling pressure of potential call-up

csnpost.jpg

Top prospect Shaw not feeling pressure of potential call-up

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants do not like to set timetables for their top prospects, instead encouraging them to force their way into promotions. Christian Arroyo did that in April and Ryder Jones followed over the summer, and both should be in position to compete for the third base job next spring. 

One of those two could ultimately fill a gaping hole in the lineup. When it comes to left field, one of their current River Cats teammates hopes to do the same. Chris Shaw is the organization’s top prospects on some lists, and on all lists, he is their top power-hitting prospect. 

The 23-year-old has 16 homers and 23 doubles across two levels this season, good for a .503 slugging percentage that’s right in line with his mark (.502) over 269 professional games. Shaw is on the fast track, and he became more intriguing when the Giants — with Brandon Belt signed long-term at first — moved him to left full-time this season. 

Shaw is doing what was asked of him. Earlier this week, I asked him if that has him thinking about a promotion. 

“It’s my motivation obviously to get to the big leagues, that’s why you work so hard in the offseason is to put yourself in that position to be knocking on the door,” he said. “But now, in season, you kind of put all your work in up to this point and everything else is a result of all your hard work up to this point. I don’t necessarily put any extra pressure on myself because right now I just go out and play and whatever happens, happens.

“I can’t dictate what falls and what doesn’t fall and what my batting average is going to look like a month from now, and ultimately what the front office wants to do. I’m fully aware they don’t have to add me this year. I trust in the front office in promoting me when they feel I’m ready developmentally.”

The big problem for Shaw at the moment is that the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. They are big on inventory, and not keen on DFA’ing another player this year and taking up a winter roster spot over the offseason for a prospect who currently is not in the opening day plans for 2018. That’s the paperwork side of this. On the field, Shaw is blocked by Gorkys Hernandez (who is now playing everyday), Jarrett Parker (who will finish his rehab assignment soon), Mac Williamson, and others. It remains a bit of a long shot that Shaw gets a September cameo, and when I checked in with team officials a week ago, the word was that it’s not currently in the plans. 

Having said that, the last-place Giants could certainly use some excitement and a glimpse of power. Shaw has some time left to change the front office's September plans. In the meantime, he’s the latest guest on our Giants Insider podcast. The quote above is from the podcast, which you can stream here or download on iTunes here. We talked promotions, his move to left, his power, his post-deadline tweet last year, and more. 

Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory

gold-cup-us.jpg
USATSI

Former Stanford star scores winning goal for USA in Gold Cup victory

SANTA CLARA -- As the victorious American players bounced so hard the podium shook, medals round their necks, a beaming Bruce Arena in the back raised his arms to the air right along with them as gold confetti began to fall.

The U.S. resurgence is off to an impressive start since Arena returned late last year. Another CONCACAF Gold Cup crown, and now on to more important business: qualifying for next year's World Cup.

Former Stanford star Jordan Morris scored a tiebreaking goal in the 88th minute, and the United States beat Jamaica 2-1 on Wednesday night for its sixth Gold Cup title and first since 2013.

Jozy Altidore's goal on a 28-yard free kick in the 45th minute beat backup goalkeeper Dwayne Miller after Jamaica captain Andre Blake left early with a hand injury.

Je-Vaughn Watson tied the score when he got away from Morris for a 4-yard volley off Kemar Lawrence's 50th-minute corner kick.

Morris, who left nearby Stanford in his junior year, has won the 2015 NCAA title, the 2016 MLS championship with Seattle and now the 2017 Gold Cup. He got the breakthrough goal with a 14-yard right-footed shot after Gyasi Zardes crossed.

"I was nervous. It was my guy that scored on the goal, so I was trying to make up for it any way that I could," Morris said. "Obviously. I take responsibility for that. But luckily I could put one in the back of the net."

Jermaine Taylor tried to clear with a header and the ball was knocked by Clint Dempsey with a leg back to Morris. It was the fifth international goal for the 22-year-old Morris, who tied 16-year-old Canadian Alphonso Davies for the tournament lead with three goals.

"That was like a dagger in the heart," Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said.

The U.S. extended its unbeaten streak to 14 games (9-0-5) under Arena, who became the first coach to win three Gold Cup titles.

"Bruce brought in a new energy," goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "He just gave us a tremendous lift."

U.S. captain Michael Bradley earned the Golden Ball at the tournament's top player.

The Americans had a chance in the 19th minute when Altidore's swerving 30-yard shot was parried by Blake, who dived left and then beat Kellyn Acosta to the rebound at the 6-yard box. Acosta collided with Blake and appeared to kick the keeper's right hand before Jamaica's Damion Lowe cleared. Blake's hand was wrapped but he couldn't continue and was replaced by Miller four minutes later. As Blake left the field, he acknowledged the cheering fans with a wave of his left hand, then later emerged for the medal ceremony with his hand bandaged after receiving seven stitches. Nothing was broken.

"It was a very unfortunate situation. What to say? Very sad situation," Whitmore said.

Altidore put the U.S. ahead with a curling shot past Miller's outstretched right hand into the upper corner of the net just beneath the crossbar, his 39th goal in 108 appearances.

Lawrence, who scored in a 1-0 semifinal win Sunday against Mexico, took another corner kick in the 75th minute moments after Alvas Powell's shot from close range deflected off Graham Zusi - a sequence that had Howard yelling at the defense.

Using a lineup with about half its regular starters - the rest are in preseason with European clubs - the U.S. reached its record 10th final. The Reggae Boyz were a surprising final opponent after they stunned Mexico in a semifinal Sunday to reach the title match for a second straight time.

With 18 of 22 starters from Major League Soccer, this was a rematch of the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal won 2-1 by Jamaica at Atlanta. For the first time since replacing Jurgen Klinsmann in November, Arena kept his lineup unchanged. He inserted the 34-year-old Dempsey in the 55th minute.

Chunks of turf came loose yet again at Levi's Stadium, the $1.2 billion, 3-year-old home of the NFL San Francisco 49ers. The field has been an ongoing issue.

The Americans hope for momentum built during this run as they prepare to resume World Cup qualifying. The U.S faces Costa Rica in a rematch of the Gold Cup semifinal on Sept. 1 at Harrison, New Jersey, and play four days later at Honduras. The hex concludes against Panama on Oct. 6 in Orlando, Florida, and at Trinidad and Tobago four days after.

"We're not worried one bit about World Cup qualifying today. I can promise you that," Bradley said. "This was about a group of guys winning a trophy and that's been the only goal."

Arena already was looking ahead.

"We're a long way from qualifying for a World Cup, and that's the objective, for sure," he said.