Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Rex breaks down Mo Wilkerson’s season 10.23.14

Rex Ryan was asked a number of questions about the Jets’ best player, Mo Wilkerson, today, and here is some of what he had to say . . .

“I think Mo’s having a great year, phenomenal year. Here’s a guy that’s (high on the) charts in everything. Sacks, tackles, PBUs, all those type of things. He’s a big-time player.

“He is seeing a lot of double teams. There’s no surprises. Everybody knows him. They all know Muhammad Wilkerson. Maybe this time, they’ll vote him to a Pro Bowl, which he should’ve been All-Pro last year.

“I think his technique (has improved). Clearly he’s got one of the best teachers in the game. I think Karl Dunbar does a great job with our D-Line. So, I think Mo is, from a technique standpoint, he’s probably better than he’s ever been.

“I think he’s taken on a little bit more of the leadership role and sometimes that happens when your play dictates that. For some reason, the best players sometimes are looked at as the leaders and I think he’s accepted that.”

Russ Wilson on Percy Harvin 10.23.14

There has been speculation that the Seattle Seahawks traded Percy Harvin due to a poor relationship with Russell Wilson.

What say you Russell?

“Percy and I never had differences,” Wilson said. “We had a lot of similarities, probably, more than anything. We’re both guys who want to compete at the highest level, want to win every time we’re out there and want the ball in our hands every single play.

“Percy is a great football player, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work here. We wish him nothing but the best. But our locker room is great. We have guys that are very positive and really want to work and want to win. We rely on the positive mentality in our locker room.”

This narrative is unfair to Geno 10.22.14

There is a popular narrative going around: Now that Geno Smith has a big-time weapon (Percy Harvin), he has no more excuses, and must show he’s “the man” for the Jets’ QB job, in the final nine games.

Yes, he definitely needs to play well over the second half of this season to solidify his position as the Jets’ starting quarterback.

But it’s somewhat unfair to say now that Harvin is with the Jets, Smith now can truly show what he can do.

He has no QB-WR chemistry with Harvin. That sort of thing can take months, and sometimes longer. Also Harvin only knows a scintilla of the Jets’ playbook.

So to act like a mid-season addition at receiver is going to allow people to now evaluate Smith properly, is a concept being a little overblown.

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A battle of two excellent fronts 10.22.14

The Jets’ defensive line of Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison is the strength of their team.

The same can be said for the Buffalo Bills.

“They’re present a huge challenge for anybody and not just our offensive line, but anybody’s offense line,” said Rex Ryan about the Bills’ defensive line. “The (Marcell) Darius kid leads the league in sacks. I’m a huge Kyle Williams fan. I think he’s one of the most underrated players. Then you have Mario Williams as an outside guy.

“I think another guy that’s really underrated is Jerry Hughes. And it took him awhile, never burst on the scene that maybe the way people thought he would, but right now he’s starting to be that player that I think people envisioned when he was a first-round pick. He’s got explosiveness, he’s an up-the-field pass rusher and he’s got a real good inside move and plays hard.”

So on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, be prepared to watch some of the best defensive line play in the league.

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But then again . . . 10.22.14

Yes, Mike Vick can be a good mentor to Percy Harvin.

However, you wonder if he’s in any mood to be doing the Jets any favors.

After the way things have gone down for Vick in the off-season and season, with the eschewing of competition at the quarterback position, he can’t be happy.

Perhaps his motivation to bend over backwards for them isn’t there.

We will see.

Vick’s importance can’t be minimized 10.22.14

Percy Harvin and Michael Vick are both from “The 757.”

That is what a lot of players from the Virginia Beach-area call their home turf.

Vick is a legend in that area – an iconic figure.

Harvin has enormous respect for Vick.

You can see a bond watching them interact in the locker room.

Vick can be like a big brother to Harvin, a positive, calming influence.

Vick’s impact on whether the Harvin-trade works out can’t be minimized.

**The new issue of JC is out loaded with Jets Whispers. Don’t miss out. Pick one up on a news stand, or by subscription at 1-800-932-4557 ( M-F, 9-5).

Jets and Harvin must listen to Santayana 10.21.14

As the philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin might turn out to be a steal.

But only if Harvin learns from his past mistakes.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now,” said motivational-speaker Denis Waitley

Harvin and the Jets shouldn’t ignore what happened in the past, but learn from it, to help the player forge a bright future.

“The hardships that I encountered in the past will help me succeed in the future,” said Nigerian engineer mathematician, computer scientist and geologist Philip Emeagwali.

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Interesting comment from a friend of Pete Carroll 10.21.14

Pat Kirwan, who co-hosts “Moving the Chains” on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Jim “Mills’ Miller, is one the nation’s top NFL analysts.

He is also very good friends with Seattle coach Pete Carroll, from their time together working for the Jets, from 1990-94.

Kirwan is very plugged into the Seahawks’ organization.

On Monday, Kirwan and Miller were talking about character issue during their drive-time show.

“Some guys, who just don’t get it, had to be shipped recently,” Kirwan said.

You do the math. Who do you think Kirwan, who is like a brother to Carroll, was talking about?

The answer is clearly Percy Harvin.

The Jets hope Harvin “gets it” with them. He is a rare talent who can certainly help their offense.

**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out. Page after page of great inside info on the Jets. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must read for Jets fans.

It’s time to move on from this . . . 10.20.14

Early last week, Geno Smith was asked by a member of the New England media, about the supposed craziness of the Jets’ scene.

“I think, obviously with everything that goes on with the media, a lot of things are, I would say, miscommunicated, and then it just gets misprinted and then misunderstood,” Smith said. “I don’t have any quarrels with anything. The main thing is that we just have to find a way to get a win.”

Smith was asked about this today, a week after the statement.

“You know really, I don’t want to talk about it. I understand that everyone has a job to do and in no way was that meant to disrespect anyone’s job,” Smith said. “My focus isn’t even on that. I am focused on the next opponent which is the Buffalo Bills.”

It’s time for those in the media, obsessed with a quote from last week, to move past it.

It wasn’t that big of deal.

**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is in the mail to subscribers, and will be on news stands on Thursday. It’s packed with tons of good stuff on Gang Green.

If you dish it out, you need to be able to take it 10.14.14

Geno Smith said something on Monday, to the Boston media, that has upset some reporters.

“I think, obviously with everything that goes on with the media, a lot of things are, I would say, miscommunicated, and then it just gets misprinted and then misunderstood,” Smith said.

Does that happen sometimes with the media? Probably.

Is that quote the end of the world? No.

He’s entitled to his opinion.

Why throw a tizzy over it?

Reporters certainly know how to dish it out. We are ripping these players all the time for their play.

So we should be able to take it when they fire back once in a while.

Rex should not be fired 10.13.14

Rex Ryan should not be fired during or after this season.

He was forced by his GM to start a quarterback, the last two seasons, who was a project entering the NFL.

Geno Smith was the kind of prospect who needed to sit for a couple of years. Coming out of West Virginia, he had a ton to work on – footwork, accuracy, playing under center, pocket presence, speeding up his decision-making and so forth.

He wasn’t instant coffee.

This is John Idzik’s quarterback.

And since he is Idzik’s quarterback, and the Jets played him way before he was ready, why should Ryan lose his job, due to a pair of substandard seasons, with this player as his signal-caller?

This is quarterback-driven league. There is no way around that. You can point to this weakness or that weakness, but all arrows usually point back to the quarterback.

And has Ryan ever had a true answer at quarterback while coaching the Jets? Probably not.

Drafting Smith and hitching the Jets’ wagon to him was Idzik’s plan.

So why would you fire Ryan when he was forced to play a quarterback who was handed the car keys to quickly?

You shouldn’t.

I don’t blame Geno Smith 10.12.14

East Rutherford – The current state of the Jets isn’t the fault of Geno Smith.

He’s doing the best he can.

His current vocation is a very tough job.

Being an NFL starting quarterback is one of the toughest assignments in sports. It’s a really, really hard position to play, mentally and physically.

I’ve always felt Smith was rushed into action too quickly. I would have sat him for a couple of years, especially coming out of a gimmicky shot-gun college offense.

I don’t want to hear about the Mark Sanchez injury. That is no excuse to rush him. Find somebody else. Develop him right.

As Mike Mayock said, “You don’t hand him the keys immediately.”

But Smith was given the keys immediately, and he’s giving it the old college try.

He’s a very nice guy. He’s a good person. He’s trying to make this work.

I don’t blame him for the struggles of the Jets’ offense.

I blame the powers-that-be who decided to force him into action, and essentially write-off two seasons, letting him learn on the job.

It’s on them. Not Geno.

Parcells feels you owe it to other players to start Geno 10.09.14

Bill Parcells doesn’t think Geno Smith should have been benched for missing a meeting, because that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the players on the team.

“I wouldn’t have done that because I’ve got a responsibility to the other 52 players, too,” Parcells told ESPN Radio. “If that player gives us the best chance to win, as long as he didn’t commit a crime, I’m playing him.”

Parcells also said he doesn’t think missing a meeting is a big deal.

He’s certainly mellowed with age.

It’s too early to say this 10.09.14

ESPN’s Ian O’Connor recently wrote a scathing column about Jets owner Woody Johnson and GM John Idzik.

I’m not here to be their public defenders, and O’Connor made some salient points, but I disagree with the scribe writing, “Idzik had a terrible draft last spring.”

No matter how you feel about Mr. Idzik right now, it’s not fair to label a draft as “terrible” five months after it took place.

Two picks are on injured reserve, others are developing.

You really need to wait a couple of years before assessing an NFL draft.

This was Vick and Idzik’s fault 10.09.14

Michael Vick played in the second half against the San Diego Chargers and didn’t fare that well.

He said he didn’t prepare well enough.

“Maybe I didn’t prepare or I wasn’t prepared, but I’ll tell you what, it won’t happen again,” Vick said. “I learned a lesson last week: Always stay ready, always be prepared. That left a bitter taste in my mouth that I wasn’t able to go out and put points on the board or even help this team in any fashion. So this week has been a different work week. From me throughout the rest of the year, it’s going to be totally different for me as far as my preparation.”

This is inexcusable.

Vick deserves most of the blame for this, but I also blame John Idzik.

To basically tell an athlete you have no chance to compete for a job is a horrific approach from a motivational standpoint.

“He didn’t feel he got a fair shot, so he moped,” said ESPN’s Mark Schlereth.

I’m not sure where Idzik came up with this idea that you don’t allow competition against a hand-picked player, but he needs to drop it from his blueprint on how to build a champion.

Like I said, most of this is Vick’s fault. It’s mostly on him.

But for Idzik to not allow Vick to even compete, and on top of that redefine what “competition” means, made little sense.

For the life of me . . . 10.07.14

I don’t understand Rex’s handling of Geno Smith.

After a week Smith cursed out a fan, missed a meeting and had a very poor half in San Diego, why would the coach say immediately after the San Diego game, he will start against Denver.

Why not sleep on it a little bit?

At least say, “I need to think about this for a few days. I will make an announcement later in the week.”

Make the kid sweat for a few days and think about his actions.

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