Dan Leberfeld's Blog

The skinny on McFadden 08.31.14

There is a dearth of cornerback talent on the street.

So the Jets decision to claim Leon McFadden on waivers makes sense.

He didn’t distinguish himself in Cleveland, after coming in as a third round pick in the 2013 draft.

But he’s worth taking a flyer on.

He came out of a weak conference, the Mountain West, so his transition to the NFL was significant.

There is still room for him to grow.

He’s very athletic, with loose hips and good ball skills.

No question, he needs a lot of works on his technique and route recognition.

However, he does have a nice upside, and in time, perhaps the Jets could have something here.


This guy has really stepped up 08.29.14

Jets reserve offensive tackle Ben Ijalana has improved a great deal over the last year, and is the leading candidate to land the back-up swing-tackle job.

Ijalana, a second-round pick of Indianapolis in 2011, had some knee and hip issues his first couple of years in the league, and the Colts waived him on the final cut-down last summer. The Jets claimed him, and essentially red-shirted him last year, so he could get healthy, and improve his technique.

Ijalana had a very good summer. The Villanova-product has a terrific kick slide that allows him to deal with speed rushers coming off the edge.

Since Oday Aboushi, who was considered a swing-tackle candidate in the past, is a better fit at guard, Ijalana is now the leading candidate for the job.


Jets can get by with two 08.28.14

Philadelphia – The Jets can get away with two quarterbacks on their active roster.

Matt Simms can go on the practice squad.

Simms was 7-17 with no touchdowns and a 66.1 quarterback rating, and the Jets were scoreless in the first half under his direction. His accuracy wasn’t great tonight.

He’s still a work-in-progress.

The Jets have a lot of tough decisions to make at different positions, and they should afford themselves the luxury of saving a roster spot at quarterback.

Go with two.


Patterson wouldn’t be on the street long 08.28.14

If the Jets released Dimitri Patterson, he wouldn’t be out of work long.

So many teams are in need of help at corner, and he’s a solid corner.

The Baltimore Ravens would probably send a private jet for him.

The Jets are thin at corner. They need him.

Releasing him would be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Clearly all he was doing today was telling his side of the story, since he feels his character is being assassinated in the media.

But if the Jets release him, he will likely be out of work for five minutes.

And when the Jets face Tom Brady twice, with all weapons, they might regret not having Patterson on board.

At the very least, they should keep him for selfish reasons.

They need cover corners.


Giants should be irrelevant to Jets right now 08.27.14

The Jets don’t play the Giants this year.

And they aren’t in the same conference, so they won’t be competing with them for a wild-card spot.

So there is little reason to talk about them in the middle of the week following the Jets-Giants preseason game.

Sheldon Richardson said in today’s New York Post that the Jets are the better team.

“This year, yeah,” Richardson told Steve Serby.

The Giants won “The Snoopy Bowl” on Friday.

“If you’re saying if this was a real game and the 1s were out there, I think it would have been a pretty different game,” Richardson said. “It wouldn’t even be close.”

The Cincinnati Bengals could say this same thing about the Jets. The Jets were losing to Cincinnati 17-3 in Week Two of the preseason, when the Bengals pulled their starters. The Jets ended up winning that game.

But who really cares? Preseason games mean little.

Richardson is a heck of a player with star potential.

But talking about the Giants now is a case of chasing windmills. The Jets have much more pressing issues, including opponents like the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears early in the season.

The Giants should be irrelevant to the Jets right now.

**The Jets Confidential monthly magazine is a page-turner, a must-read for Jets fans. To get it delivered to your mailbox each month, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).


It’s slim pickings out there 08.27.14

A lot of people are wondering if the Jets will try to bring in another cornerback, with all the injuries they have at the position.

Perhaps, but if you expect a cornerback to come in off the waiver wire, or in a trade, and be a difference-maker, that might be Pollyanna thinking.

Case-in-point, the Baltimore Ravens signing of cornerback Derek Cox today. The Ravens also have injury issues at corner.

The Ravens are Cox’s fourth team in two years (Jacksonville, San Diego, Minnesota and Baltimore).

The Chargers gave him a nice contract last year in free agency, and he was released after one season.

The Vikings released him on the cut-down to 75 this summer.

Clearly there is something amiss here.

And he was viewed by some as the best cornerback available on the street.

My point is it’s going to be hard for the Jets to find a cornerback, who is available at this juncture, who is going to help them a lot.

The Jets best hope is with the guys they have – Darrin Walls, Dee Milliner once he’s healthy, Dimitri Patterson once his suspension ends, Antonio Allen, Ellis Lankster and so forth.

Yes, I do expect them to add a corner after the final cut-down, but don’t expect that player to make a huge difference.

Teams are so hungry for good corners, they aren’t releasing them. They are holding on to them with white knuckles.


Jets handled this the right way 08.26.14

Madison – The Jets have suspended cornerback Dimitri Patterson for the remainder of the preseason. He will be allowed to return to the team on September 1.

The punishment is for Patterson missing the team’s preseason game against the New York Giants, last Friday, a contest he was likely not going to play in due to myriad leg injuries.

I know some thought the Jets should have released him, but I don’t agree.

This isn’t a player with any track record of bad behavior.

You never heard one bad thing about him during his stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

You heard nothing but good things about him as a person.

I’m not condoning what happened last weekend.

But my sense it was a hot-headed, bad decision by a guy with a sterling track record. It’s a decision he’d probably want back. We all have moments like that in our lives.

I think the Jets are doing the right thing giving him a second chance.


He’s quietly had a solid summer 08.26.14

Florham Park – You know who has quietly had a solid summer is tight end Chris Pantale.

The second-year player from Boston College isn’t flashy, but very consistent.

He catches most passes thrown his way, and is a solid blocker.

The Wayne-native also has a great build for the position, at 6-5, 254.

With Jeff Cumberland, Jace Amaro and Zach Sudfeld locks to make the team, it will be interesting to see what the Jets do with Pantale on the final cut-down.

Perhaps they will attempt to move him to the practice squad, but he might not be safe there.

Last year, the Jets had him on the practice squad, but had to promote him when another team tried to sign him.

**Don’t miss out on the Jets Confidential monthly magazine. On news stands, or by subscription by calling 1-800-932-4557. A must-read for Jets fans


One possible trade partner for Hill 08.26.14

Florham Park – According to an ESPN report, the Jets tried to trade WR Stephen Hill this summer.

While it might be hard to find a partner, one team to consider is Cleveland.

If Josh Gordon gets suspended, the Browns starting wide receivers will be Miles Austin and Andrew Hawkins.

The Browns are thin at receiver, and Mike Pettine was on the Jets’ staff when the team picked Hill in the second round of the 2012 draft, so he knows the player personally (Hill is a good person who works hard).

Perhaps the Jets could extract a late round pick for Hill.

Or how about trying to trade Hill for a cornerback, like former Jet Aaron Berry, who is now a backup in Cleveland, and on the bubble?


Patterson saga knocked this Jets story to backburner 08.26.14

Florham Park – On Friday, writer Jenny Vrentas of MMQB.com, had a feature that caused quite a stir in Jetsville.

“No one is intimating that (Mike) Vick is washed up, which is why some Jets coaches have privately expressed disappointment that Vick didn’t show up more hell-bent on winning the starting job, or at least a little more vested in making Ryan lose sleep again as he agonized over a difficult decision,” wrote Vrentas.

That is quite an allegation.

Vick categorically denies the theory that he didn’t give it his all to win the job.

“That’s not true; that’s not true at all,” Vick said. “Me and my coaches, we have great conversations, we have a different dialogue, and that was far from the case. So whoever wrote that story, it was on the side of being very fictitious. You’ve got to come up with better stories that that. There’s better things to talk about.”

So what is my take on this?

I don’t agree with the premise. I do think Vick competed hard for the starting QB job (even though it clearly wasn’t an open competition).

BUT, I do think Vrentas got this from somebody in the building. She has some excellent sources at One Jets Drive from her time as a Jets beat writer.

So I think the venom directed at Vrentas is unfair.

The venom should be directed at the source, which I don’t think was fictitious.

**To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, call 1-800-932-4557 or you can do so on this website.


Patterson talks at length to USA Today 08.25.14

Florham Park – The Jets have suspended cornerback Dimitri Patterson indefinitely for missing their Friday night preseason game against the Giants. He likely wasn’t going to play in the game due to a quad injury.

Patterson talked extensively to USA Today on Monday, and here is what he had to say . . .

“There’s no need for concern. The reports about me going AWOL are totally false. I have my reason for missing those days. I’m not going to go into specifics, but I’ve discussed those reasons with the people I need to discuss them with. But as far as going AWOL, no, that’s totally false.

“I’m in a great mindset. I always was in a great mindset, and I always will be, and I love my life. So there’s nothing that would cause me just to go AWOL, so those reports are totally false.

“I can’t really go into details about that. But just know that I’ve been in the league for 10 years, and no one’s just going to up and leave and just not tell anybody.

“But what I will say is I discussed those reasons with the people I need to discuss them with, and that’s it. And my mind frame is in a great place, always has been and always will be.

“I don’t know where this whole AWOL thing came from. And the media’s really … run with it for whatever reason.”


Maybe the light bulb has come on for this guy 08.25.14

Florham Park – At Jets practice today, the starting corners, at least for the time the media attended practice, were Darrin Walls and LeQuan Lewis.

Lewis was also the first corner off the bench for the Jets, in their loss to the Giants on Friday night, after Antonio Allen got concussed.

So the Jets are clearly high on Lewis, who was racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles since entering the league in 2011. To say he’s been well-traveled would be an understatement. Here is his resume:

Tennessee Titans (2011)*
Oakland Raiders (2012)*
New York Jets (2012)*
Dallas Cowboys (2012)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012)
Chicago Bears (2013)*
New England Patriots (2013)*
Arizona Cardinals (2014)*
Toronto Argonauts (2014)
New York Jets (2014–present)

Perhaps all this experience has laid the ground work for him to now take that next step, and settle down with a team.

We shall see.

He did give up a touchdown pass to WR Rueben Randle against the Giants on Friday night. It’s fair to say, he could use a big outing on Thursday night against Philadelphia to land a roster spot.

The Arizona State-product will likely play extensively against the Eagles.

**Offseason and/or practice squad member.


Good news for the Jets 08.25.14

Florham Park – Jets rookie Jalen Saunders was at practice today with no red jersey on, which means he wasn’t limited, and was practicing full.

This is good news for the Jets. Saunders is going to be their punt returner, and he needs more game reps to get ready for the regular season. He should get plenty of reps on Thursday night, in the Jets’ preseason finale, at Philadelphia.

Saunders had a “medical event” on August 15, near the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, NJ, that caused him to drive his car off the road. He was held out of practices and games since that accident, until he returned to practice on a limited basis yesterday.

It’s still unclear what caused the “medical event.”

**The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. Different content than this website. Don’t miss out. A lot of good stuff on Gang Green. 1-800-932-44557 to subscribe, or you can do so on this website.


X-Factor for Jets at CB 08.24.14

Maybe I’m in the minority, but I view Darrin Walls as a pretty solid cornerback.

Not a star, but solid.

And you could do a lot worse than having this guy as your #2 cornerback.

He’s smart and physical, and is good at jamming receivers at the line. He’s a nicely-built corner at 6-0, 190.

He also deals with pressure well, after playing at Notre Dame, and coming out of high school as a Top 100 recruit. He’s been in the spotlight since his teenage years.

When you talk to him, you feel like you are conversing with somebody older than 26. Dennis Thurman has described him as an “old soul.”

I’m not putting Walls in Canton, but after watching him closely the last few years in a lot of practices and games, I think he’s capable of being a #2 cornerback in the NFL.

**The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out. You can pick one up on a NY-NJ-CT news stand, or by subscription (1-800-932-4557). You can subscribe by phone or on this website. All kinds of good stuff on Gang Green.


Great sign for the Jets 08.23.14

People around the league wondered if running back Chris Johnson would lose a step after off-season knee surgery.

Based on his preseason performance for the Jets against the Giants, he looks as fast as ever.

He had four big chunk plays.

On a Jets drive in the first quarter, he had a 16-yard reception and a 17-yard run.

On another Jets drive in the third quarter, he caught a 19-yard pass and had a 12-yard run.

On all these plays, he showed great wheels. It looks like his speed, in the 4.3 area, is intact.

This signing could turn out to be one of the real steals in free agency this year.

**The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on NY-NJ-CT news stands. Tons of Whispers from training camp you won’t read anywhere else. Don’t miss out. Pick up a copy today! You can also subscribe to the magazine on this website, or by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).


Some Jets coaches take shot at Mike Vick 08.23.14

I guess the leaks aren’t in the rear-view mirror in Florham Park.

“No one is intimating that (Michael) Vick is washed up, which is why some Jets coaches have privately expressed disappointment that Vick didn’t show up more hell-bent on winning the starting job, or at least a little more vested in making Ryan lose sleep again as he agonized over a difficult decision,” wrote Jenny Vrentas for MMQB.com.

What an unfair leak!

This was Geno Smith’s job.

Vick looked fine this summer, when he got his reps, in the backup role.

He gives the Jets a heck of an insurance policy.

Maybe these Jets coaches should keep what they express privately, private.

Don’t you think?


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