Dan Leberfeld's Blog

ESPN Radio host attacks Jets owner for avoiding a free agent 07.20.17

An ESPN Radio host feels the owners of the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are cowards.

Dan Le Batard ripped into teams that he feels need a quarterback, but won’t sign free agent Colin Kaepernick.

“You have six teams that could use him, and all of them pass because their executives are afraid of what comes with him,” Le Batard said on Wednesday. “The Jets owner is a coward. The Jets owner is a coward. The Tampa owner is also a coward. Going with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the backup (in Tampa Bay). Coward. Ryan Fitzpatrick. What? There are a hand full of teams and the cowardice turns into blackballing. Colin Kaepernick has brought this issue to their doorstep and they are all afraid of it.

“I think what’s happening here is his value is not worth what [owners] believe to be the headache and everyone’s afraid of the headache, and that is cowardice.”

While with the San Francisco 49ers last season, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem causing a stir.

You can write Jets stories without cheap shots 07.19.17

Even in a story that doesn’t involve football, Pro Football Talk took two cheap shots at the Jets.

Early this week, the Jets were granted permission by the New Jersey Department of Transportation to land helicopters at their Florham Park training complex.

But even in this nondescript story, that has nothing to do with football, PFT’s Mike Florio worked in a couple ad hominem attacks on the Jets.

“It also will come in handy when trying to impress potential No. 1 overall picks in the draft, who will be touring the facility after the team successfully fails in the standings this season,” wrote Florio on July 18. “Or when owner Woody Johnson declares victory and swaps the day-to-day management of the team for an ambassador gig in England.”

Is that necessary?

You know, it’s okay to write Jets news straight once in a while, without working in salvos.

Power Rankings – The Theatre of the Absurd 07.14.17

I’ve never understand why these things were started, or what they actually mean in the sport of NFL football.

I’m talking about Power Rankings. Myriad websites and newspapers rank NFL teams from 1-32, like this actually means something. They do this periodically in the off-season and weekly during the season.

They mean nothing, but people seem to eat them up. Clearly many people are easily distracted by meaningless stuff these days.

NFL Power Rankings are pretty foolish during the season, but exceedingly foolish in the off-season, when all teams are undefeated, and haven’t played any games yet.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has the Jets ranked 32nd. I’m sure he won’t be alone.

Can somebody explain to me why these are done or why people care about them?

NFL Power Rankings are a waste of time. This isn’t college football where rankings matter.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential is on news stands – an unfiltered look at every Jets position group entering training camp, and so much more. To subscribe click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Great beach reading!

Letter from FanDuel about not merging with DraftKings 07.13.17

Dear FanDuel User,

We have some news to share with you. As you know, we announced last November our intent to merge with DraftKings. We decided to merge because we believed that this deal would have increased investment in growth and product development thereby benefiting consumers and the greater sports entertainment industry.

While our opinion has not changed, we have determined that it is in the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees, and partners to terminate the merger agreement and move forward as an independent company. There is still enormous, untapped market opportunity for FanDuel, and we will continue to execute our strategy to grow our business and further expand the fantasy sports industry.

We’d like to thank you for your support and continued loyalty over the past several months.

– FanDuel

You want Jets predictions – like Aaron Judge will be sent to minors? 07.13.17

None of us can see the future, so perhaps take all these negative predictions about the Jets with a grain of salt.

Who predicted that the Dallas Cowboys would go 13-3 last year with a rookie fourth-round quarterback starting?

Who knew that New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge would have 30 home runs at this point, and win the home run hitting contest at the All-Star game?

“I also think I think Hicks is going to get the (right field) job, and Refsnyder is going to be the extra outfielder, and Judge is going to go to the minors,” WFAN’s Mike Francesa said before the baseball season.

Francesa also said this week the Jets will win two or three games.

You just never know what is going to happen in sports.

Look, the Jets could be terrible this year. They could go 0-16 as the New York Daily News predicted. I have no idea.

I’m not making any predictions because I can’t see the future.

Some people can.

Hat-tip to those soothsayers.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential is on news stands. It’s an unfiltered look at all the Jets’ position groups entering training camp. And so much more! Pick one up on a news stands today or click below to subscribe. You can also call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to order.

Where did all the Jets tanking talk come from? 07.12.17

Sometimes sports talk radio rhetoric and message board chatter turn into real news. Is this particular story a case of that?

It certainly seems that way.

I’m talking about the narrative that the Jets are “tanking” the 2017 season to get USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

Darnold said they shouldn’t.

“Talk that the Jets could tank the 2017 season with an eye on choosing USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft don’t seem to sit well with Darnold,” wrote Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith.

This narrative, “the Jets could tank the 2017 season,” probably qualifies as fake news.

This tanking stuff didn’t come from the Jets. It came from people outside of One Jets Drive.

So perhaps people should stop talking about it like it’s a fact or news.

Sometimes a phony narrative is repeated so many times, it’s taken as fact by many people.

There is too much of this going on these days.

Report the news. Don’t create it.

Look, I have no idea how the Jets will fair this year.

But I can assure you they won’t go into games attempting to lose to get the first pick.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine will be on news stands tomorrow. It’s one of our best issues ever! It’s an extensive training camp preview issue with an unfiltered look at every position group. No bull, just pure football. To subscribe click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

ESPN’s Mike Golic To NFL Players – Take Responsibility For Your Actions! 07.11.17

ESPN Radio’s Mike Golic ripped into free agent running back DeAngelo Williams, who called the NFL’s drug policy “outdated.”

“Players like to smoke,” Golic said last Thursday morning. “They do. Now, if we are finding out that the oils are good for pain and that all works out to where we can use that instead of opioids I am absolutely, positively all for that. But it also is giving [sic] a lot of players saying, ‘Yeah, that’s why I smoke. I smoke so I’m not in pain.’ Bull. you like to smoke. Do I think at the end of the day marijuana’s gonna be legalized everywhere? Yes, I do. And I’m fine with that. I’ll be fine with it if they don’t test for it anymore, I’ll be fine with it when they legalize it everywhere, but right now it’s against the rules. And DeAngelo talking about you’re pushing the guys back out to where they got it — do you realize for recreational drugs you have to have multiple offenses before you are suspended?”

“Accept the responsibility,” Golic continued. “You are not allowed to smoke marijuana in the NFL. Some day maybe you will. You’re the one ingesting it and breaking the rule multiple times before you get suspended. So, to sit there and worry about that part of it and think, ‘Oh my god he now can’t be around the guys can do nothing but hang out with druggies.’ Let’s first get to the real issue. That, to me, is like watching a movie and doing something illegal and blaming the movie. Look in the mirror. That’s where this needs to start.”

Were Pugh’s actions something you’d expect from a Giant? 07.11.17

New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh was looking for a hat at the airport the other day, and this led to a tweet aimed at the Jets.

“At the airport and I forgot a hat,” Pugh tweeted. “They only have [Jets] hats. All of them untouched. Literally not one [Giants] hat left…Wonder why?”

This was clearly a shot at the Jets, who’ve been taking it on the chin this off-season, even though all teams are 0-0 right now.

This ad hominem attack probably wasn’t necessary, and isn’t something you’d expect from a Giants player.

The Giants have a reputation for being a very classy organization.

This gratuitous shot at the Jets wasn’t particularly classy.

It wasn’t Giants-like.

Mike Florio – How does one make this assessment on July 8? 07.10.17

Pro Football Talk made a somewhat odd assessment of the New York Jets considering what time of year it is.

On July 8, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote, “The Jets currently stink.”

How can any team stink on July 8? I don’t get that. They haven’t even played a preseason game yet, let alone a regular season game. All teams are 0-0 right now.

Look, I’m not making any predictions, all I’m saying is stop all the fake news about how bad the Jets are right now.

Let’s see how this team comes together. Nobody knows.

I’m not prescient. I have no idea how the Jets are going to fair this season.

But one thing I know for sure, no team “stinks” on July 8.

SiriusXM NFL Radio special this weekend on Staubach, Bleier, Kotwica 06.30.17

SiriusXM NFL Radio is honoring the heroes of the game and country over the Fourth of July weekend with a two-hour special, “Great Americans of the NFL.”
Highlighted in the special will be several veterans and NFL Legends who have served in the United States military or have family ties to the Armed Forces. Among those featured in “Great Americans of the NFL” is Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who explained to SiriusXM NFL Radio what moved him to serve in the Navy, earning him the nickname of “Captain America.”
“In life, you gotta get that balance of not only what’s in it for me, you gotta give a darn about someone other than yourself,” Staubach said.
Guests include former head coach Herm Edwards, former Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, Redskins Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica, and more.
“Great Americans of the NFL airs Friday, June 30 at 7pm ET, and airs throughout Fourth of July weekend on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Ch. 88.

NFL Game Officials Press Release 06.29.17



The NFL roster of game officials for the 2017 season will include eight first-year NFL officials among the group of 124, the league announced today.

Line judge BRIAN BOLINGER (Big Ten), line judge MIKE CARR (Big Ten), side judge RYAN DICKSON (Pac-12), down judge DAVID OLIVER (SEC), field judge MEARL ROBINSON (Pac-12), field judge BRAD ROGERS (SEC), line judge DANNY SHORT (ACC), and umpire STEVE WOODS (Big Ten) will make their NFL officiating debuts this season.

All 17 referees from 2016 will return in 2017 and lead seven-person on-field officiating crews, led by the dean of NFL officials, WALT COLEMAN, who enters his 29th season.

An instant replay official will work as part of each of the 17 officiating crews, including TERRI VALENTI, who becomes the first female replay official in NFL history. Valenti has worked in instant replay for the NFL for the past five seasons, serving as a replay communicator from 2012-15 and a replay assistant in 2016 before being promoted to her current position. Prior to turning her focus to replay, Valenti was an on-field official at the high school, collegiate and professional level (Arena Football League, United Football League), as well as in various international football leagues.

Five officials will not be assigned to crews and will work with different crews throughout the season. In addition to these five officials, there will be more rotation of officials among the crews to ensure the most consistent officiating across the league.

Twelve officials will work at new positions this season in an effort to capitalize on the particular strengths of each official as well as balance the needs of the overall officiating staff.

In addition, the position formerly known as “head linesman” will be called “down judge” beginning this season to more accurately depict the primary responsibility of the role — ensuring the correct down and distance — as well as to eliminate the gender-based classification of the position.

Three sets of fathers and sons are included among the roster of officials — Coleman and his son, WALT IV; ED HOCHULI and his son, SHAWN; and STEVE FREEMAN and his son, BRAD — and four sets of brothers – ALLEN and RUSTY BAYNES; JEFF and JERRY BERGMAN; CARL, DINO & PERRY PAGANELLI; and GENE and TONY STERATORE.

Steve Freeman and PHIL MC KINNELY are the only current game officials to have also enjoyed NFL playing careers.
Freeman played for 13 seasons, including 12 as a defensive back with the Buffalo Bills from 1975–86. McKinnely played for seven seasons on the offensive line from 1976–82, including five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons from 1976–80.

*Press Release

How do you really determine “worst roster” this time of year? 06.29.17

The “worst roster” talk is all over the place. Is it really fair to go there at this point? . . .

Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, a very good draft analyst for NFL.com, recently quoted an unnamed NFL executive saying, “I think the Jets might have the worst roster I’ve seen in a decade.”

One executive recently told the New York Post – “They have the worst roster in the league and it’s not close.”

Are these body blows to the Jets’ roster accurate?

It’s definitely hyperbolic at this point.

First of all, we are talking about a 90-man roster now. NFL teams will cut down to 53 after the preseason wraps up.

When you talk about “worst roster” now, what are you really talking about? The rosters are bloated this time of year, and we’re not even sure of the make-up of the Jets’ final 53.

And also, for these unnamed cats to make these statements, without being at the Jets’ spring practices and observing the talent, is a little reckless.

Let’s see how this turns out.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

This player addition can certainly help the Jets . . . 06.28.17

He has talent, along with good size (6-3, 205) and speed (4.51). He can help the Jets, there is no doubt about it . . .

The Chicago Bears liked wide receiver Marquess Wilson. That is why they kept him around for four years (2013-16) He just couldn’t stay healthy, breaking his left foot three times. The Jets signed him on June 20.

“When healthy, he’s a pretty fluid route-runner and has good size,” one long-time Bears observer told me. “He’s broken his foot three times and had a collarbone injury in 2014. Each summer there were high hopes for him but he couldn’t stay on the field. The Jets is probably a good spot since he knows (Josh) McCown and (Matt) Forte and they aren’t that deep at wide receiver.”

When Wilson came out of Washington State in 2013, there were questions about his attitude because he quit the team after not getting along with Head Coach Mike Leach. How was his attitude in Chicago?

“He didn’t have any attitude issues (in Chicago),” said the observer. “Never saw any work ethic/attitude issues.”

When he came out of WSU, he was slender and not strong enough. After four years in the Bears’ strength program, that isn’t a problem anymore.

This guy can absolutely help the Jets, but it’s all about the health of his foot. And who knows if it will hold up this time around. The Jets have a terrific training staff and a state-of-the-art training room and rehab center. Jets trainer John “Unchained” Mellody will have a good plan for him. We will see how this works out.

Wilson is certainly a guy worth taking a flyer on.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, loaded with inside info on the Jets you won’t read anywhere else, click below or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Do some in media think Todd is misleading? 06.27.17

Are the New York Jets tanking this season? There is a ton of media speculation that they are.

What is Todd Bowles’ position on this?

On June 13, at the Jets’ veteran minicamp, I asked Bowles for his take on rampant media speculation the Jets are tanking.

“Lucky for me, I don’t read the media, but my expectations are high and the team’s expectations are high and that’s really all that counts,” Bowles said.

I asked a follow-up question – “What are you looking to accomplish this season?”

“I’m trying to get to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl,” Bowles said. “It’s no different than any other year.”

Bowles made a similar statement at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“Football, as a coach, you get energized every year because you’re always trying to get to the Super Bowl and win,” Bowles said. “There is no rebuilding, there’s always trying to win.”

So clearly, some people in the media, who keep writing the Jets are tanking, think Bowles is lying.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Tons of inside info on the Jets delivered to your mailbox monthly. Don’t miss out!

My take on Christian Hackenberg’s accuracy . . . 06.23.17

Jets quarterback coach Jeremy Bates said Christian Hackenberg is “real accurate.” Is that comment accurate?

“I think he’s real accurate,” Bates said. “I think he’s throwing the ball well. He’s throwing it on time. Part of accuracy is knowing where to go with the ball, and each day, he plays faster. He gets in a rhythm. And I think everyone in the building is excited to see where he’s going. I think he’s accurate.”

Look, I understand Bates isn’t going to throw Hackenberg under the bus, but to say he’s “real accurate,” is a little strong.

Hackenberg has definitely improved since he arrived in Florham Park, but his accuracy is still a work-in-progress.

Let’s flash back to the Wednesday practice at the Jets’ recent veteran mini-camp.

While he made a number of pretty throws in this practice, there were a few throws mixed in he needs to work on.

*He threw low to tight end Jordan Leggett on a crossing route.

*He overthrew tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the goal-line.

*He was low to right back Matt Forte on a swing pass to the right side.

He misses some gimme throws that he shouldn’t.

He’s made progress, but he still has a lot of work to do.

And he will put the work in. He has a great work ethic.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). The new issue is on news stands now.

I don’t understand this headline about the Jets 06.22.17

In googling the Jets, a story popped up from foxsports.com, with a headline I really don’t understand at this stage of the game.

Headline – “The New York Jets aren’t tanking (it’s impossible in the NFL). They’re just terrible.”

I don’t understand the concept of calling a team “terrible” in June.

All teams are undefeated right now.

Now somebody can be of the opinion the Jets might have a bad season. That is their right.

But to say a team is “terrible” right now, before one regular season game, and even training camp, seems a bit premature.

Let’s see how this plays out.

*****The new Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. Get it, you won’t regret it! To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

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