Dan Leberfeld's Blog

A huge decision that probably didn’t get enough attention 03.02.21

It was one of the most important quotes in recent New York Jets history:

“That structure has changed. Joe (Douglas) will report to (ownership), Robert (Saleh) will report to Joe. It seems a clean and simple way to do things.” – Christopher Johnson, January 21, 2021.

This is so, so important. The old way, where the coach and GM were equals, wasn’t working, and was hurting the Jets’ chances at success.

There was a stretch of time that Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan weren’t even speaking to each other.

Whether it was John Idzik and Rex Ryan, or Maccagnan with Todd Bowles or Adam Gase, it just wasn’t working.

And even with Gase and Douglas, who liked each other, it wasn’t totally working, with the Frank Gore situation being a perfect example. Gase playing the 37-year-old Gore as much as he did, with talented young running backs on the roster, was beyond odd. But the way the Jets were set up, Douglas had no power to stop it. Yes, Douglas picked the players, but the coach decided who played on game day.

So now, if Saleh pulls something like Gase did with Gore, which he probably never would, Douglas is empowered to stop it.

So with all the excitement about the Jets now with five picks in the first 87, a ton of cap space and a new coach, this new power structure change should excite fans just as much.

This is a game-changer in Florham Park.

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Trading him makes little to no sense 02.26.21

To paraphrase Steely Dan, “The things that pass for news, I can’t understand.”

There is this story all over the internet quoting Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams responding to HYPOTHETICAL trade rumors.

“I’d be disappointed,” Williams said to CBS Sports Radio when asked about the possibility of being traded. “I really want to be a Jet for life. I like New York, and I want to play in New York.”

Who said they were interested in trading him? Nobody at One Jets Drive. Some NFL reporters brought up Williams’ name as a player the Jets might have to include in a trade for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson.

So how is that news?

Plus, the Jets, right now, have so few standouts on their roster, why would they trade one of the few they have?

And by the way, the new coach is a huge fan of Williams.

“Absolutely love Quinnen,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh. “I’m really excited to get the seat belt off his harness and let him go in this scheme, to get him going vertical, to get all that mass moving in the direction that it needs to go. Really excited about the potential that he’s going to have. Loved them coming out, obviously, we took (Nick) Bosa (in San Francisco). He was right there as part of the discussion, I can assure you that.”

The gushing didn’t stop there.

“With regards to that young man, his mindset, his athleticism, his power, his love for football, really, really excited to see him in our system, especially up front in the way we designed with that attack style in regard to penetration and all that stuff, so excited. Obviously, he’s got to do his part and put in the work, but everything I know about him and everything that we’ve studied with regards to draft and what I’ve heard here is he’s going to be up to the task, and can’t wait to see what he does.”

Does that sound like a coach who wants the organization to trade the player?

This is kind of a non-story.

I’m sorry, reporters speculating on what it would take to make a trade doesn’t constitute news.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out next week, and it’s chock full of great stuff about the Jets you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!


A wildcard in the Jets’ QB picture 02.23.21

Not saying this guy is a candidate to start for the Jets, or have any bearing on whether they pick at QB at 2, but Joe Douglas seems to like him.

Talking about Mike White, who was their #2 QB in a few games this season, and one of nine players Douglas signed a reserve/futures contract after the season.

The former Western Kentucky QB, from Pembroke Pines, FL, has good size (6-5, 220), a strong arm, and flashed last summer in camp. There were days in camp he looked better than Sam Darnold.

The Jets clearly like White, a 2018 fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.

“White has good size and a live arm,” wrote NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zeirlein before the 2018 draft.

Once again, not saying he’s a candidate to start, or will have any impact on the QB moves they make this off-season, just saying Douglas likes him, and he’s somebody to keep an eye on.
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This former scout feels Zach Wilson a good fit for Jets 02.22.21

This former NFL scout thinks BYU QB Zach Wilson would be a good fit for the Jets with the second pick of the draft.

“When you look at the skill set of Zach Wilson, he fits beautifully into the Shanahan-offense they are going to run under Robert Saleh and (Mike) LaFleur; off-schedule, on-schedule, he’s outstanding in those areas,” said former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah on NFL Network.

And these next two points are perhaps the most important ones about Wilson:

“He’s an accurate thrower; he gets quickly through his progressions,” Jeremiah said.

First off, accuracy is huge in the NFL, which is why you often see some of the top quarterbacks around 65 percent in their completion percentage. For example, Aaron Rodgers career completion percentage is 65.05 percent, and last season, he completed 70.72 percent of his passes.

As for going through progressions well, that’s something the Jets must do better at the QB position moving forward.

Now in fairness, it should be pointed out, that going through your progressions against Texas-San Antonio, Western Kentucky and Texas State is a little different than doing it against the New England Patriots. Let’s be honest, BYU didn’t have a very tough schedule last season.

So Jets GM Douglas must discern whether Wilson’s accuracy and progression scans will continue to be excellent on the NFL level against much more complicated, skillful defenses. That determination can be very tough to make.

But Jeremiah clearly feels Douglas should pick Wilson at #2.

“To me, he’s clearly the 2nd best quarterback (behind Trevor Lawrence),” Jeremiah said. “[This gives] Joe Douglas  a chance to get his QB of the future. It makes a lot of sense.”

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More cornerbacks Jets could consider 02.18.21

The Jets will likely pick a player at this position in the first few rounds, and here is Part III of our series detailing some cornerback options for Gang Green in the 2021 draft:

Elijah Molden, Washington (5’10, 190)

The son of former first-round cornerback Alex Molden (New Orleans Saints), so he has good bloodlines; he had a terrific 2019 season, finishing with 4 picks and 12 PD’s. He should be a good slot corner on the NFL level.

Aaron Robinson, Central Florida (6’1, 193)

A transfer from Alabama, he three interceptions, 10 passes defensed in 2019 for the Golden Knights. The Deerfield Beach-native also had 7 defensed passes in 2020. He’s a big corner who is a very willing tackler.

Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State (6’0″, 195)

A three-year starter who has started every game since the beginning of his freshman season. The brother of Cleveland Browns cornerback Greedy Williams, he had 2 picks in 2018, but none the last two years.

Kary Vincent, LSU (5’10”, 185)

A cornerback with world-class speed, who is also on the LSU track team, he can run with any burner. He didn’t play this season after opting out. but had 4 picks on LSU’s National Championship Team.

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Here are some Jets could consider 02.17.21

Here is Part II of our look at college players the Jets could consider at a position of need – cornerback:

Eric Stokes, Georgia (6’1″, 185)

A true ballhawk who had four picks and returned two for touchdowns in 2020; he also had 9 passes defensed in both 2018 and ’19. He needs to bulk up a little bit, but it’s hard to ignore his nose for the ball.

Asante Samuel Jr., Florida State (5’10”, 184)

He’s the son of the former NFL cornerback of the same name, who played 11 years in the NFL. Often played on an island on FSU with little help and did a solid job. He has good ball skills, ending his FSU career with 4 picks and 29 PD’s.

Tyson Campbell, Georgia, (6’2″, 185)

A five-star recruit out of American Heritage High School in South Florida, where he was coached by Patrick Surtain, he didn’t have his first career pick for the Bulldogs until 2020. He had a team-high 4 PD’s in 2020.

Paulson Adebo, Stanford (6’1″, 190)

He has very good ball skills, as he showed in 2018-19 with 8 picks and 38 passes defensed. However, he didn’t play this past season after opting out. Originally signed with Notre Dame out of high school, but flipped to Stanford.

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To subscribe to the one-and-only Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else!


Jets could use one 02.16.21

While it probably won’t happen with the #2 pick overall, it could happen if the Jets trade down in the first round, or at 23, with the pick they got from Seattle in the Jamal Adams’ trade.

Talking about the Jets picking a cornerback, which is one of their top needs. Here is a breakdown of some of the top corners in the draft they could consider:

Patrick Surtain II, Alabama (6’2″, 202)

A big, physical, durable, shutdown cornerback with great bloodlines, as the son of a terrific NFL cornerback of the same name, who was also his high school coach in South Florida. Surtain II is very good in press coverage.

Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech (6’2″, 207)

Tall, physical cornerback with great ball skills, who had 4 picks and 12 PD’s in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season, so teams will have to go off 2019 film, which was excellent. He’s terrific in press coverage.

Jaycee Horn, South Carolina (6’1″, 205)

The son of former NFL wide receiver Joe Horn, he had 2 picks and 6 PD’s in seven game this year, before opting out mid-season. He has a nice combination of size and athleticism, and does a terrific job in man-to-man coverage.

Shawn Wade, Ohio State (6’1″, 195)

Played in 27 of 28 games over the past two seasons with 57 career tackles, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 19 passes defended. A five-star recruit out of Jacksonville who played this past year as a graduate student.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and one of our best ever, with tons of Jets Whispers and plenty of Robert Saleh coverage. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A must-read for Jets fans!


A need for Jets this off-season 02.15.21

When people talk about Jets needs this off-season, you often hear about things like edge-rusher, shutdown corner. and maybe a quarterback.

But another need that isn’t brought up enough, is for an elite coverage linebacker. The pass coverage of the Jets’ linebackers was pedestrian in 2020.

The last game of the season, a loss to New England, was a perfect example, when we saw two running backs wide open for TD passes – James White for a 7-yarder, and then Sony Michel for a 31-yard TD.

The bottom line is there were too many running backs and tight ends wide open against the Jets last season, so new head coach Robert Saleh, a defensive guru, needs to fix this.

And one thing Saleh had in San Francisco were pretty good coverage linebackers, who covered a lot of ground, so expect him, along with Joe Douglas, to add some guys like this for Gang Green.

Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich had one of the NFL’s best coverage linebackers, Deion Jones, while coaching in Atlanta.

So Saleh and Ulbrich know what it looks like.

Some coverage linebackers the Jets could consider in the draft are North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt, Missouri’s Nick Bolton and Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

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This has to be the Jets’ rebuilding strategy, don’t you think? 02.12.21

These three words should be the mantra for the Jets’ rebuild under Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh:

“Draft, develop, re-sign.”

In other words, draft well, develop the heck out of those players, and if they realize their potential, re-sign them when their rookie deals are up.

That’s best way to build a team.

No more quick fixes, where you break the bank on free agents, who, in some cases, don’t even want to be with the team, but couldn’t turn down the largesse of the contract. There are a few glaring examples of that in recent Jets history.

Now this doesn’t mean you avoid signing free agents. Of course you add a few here and there, but don’t spend recklessly, and don’t expect that to be the driving force behind building a champion.

It’s time for the Jets to build this thing the right way – “Draft, develop, re-sign.”

And you get the sense Douglas and Saleh know this.

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The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out, on news stands and by subscription. Page after page of the good stuff on Gang Green. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

 


Not being shopped, but taking calls, is a good strategy 02.10.21

This is a very diplomatic way to present trade rumors, that isn’t as damaging to the team-player relationship, if you keep the player:

“Quarterback trade talks across the league already have heated up, and multiple teams have reached out to the New York Jets to express interest in trading for Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, per league sources,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Sunday.

The semantics being used by the sources is important to consider here. The sources are telling the reporter that teams are calling about Darnold, and isn’t saying the Jets are shopping Darnold.

This delineation is very important to point out, because if it’s just teams calling about the player, and the team is not actively shopping the player, this perhaps doesn’t damage the relationship with the player, as much, if they decide to keep the player. After all, the Jets aren’t the ones doing the calling.

Any team is allowed to call any other team to inquire about the availability of a player. There was a report that teams have called Seattle about Russell Wilson. There is nothing to prevent a team from calling another club to see if a player is available.

This is a skillful way for a team to perhaps increase trade value without overtly shopping the player, which can be a major bridge burner, in a team-player relationship.

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The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out. So much good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4).


If Jets can get this for Darnold, don’t you need to give it serious consideration? 02.09.21

Not bad. Not bad at all.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on the “Haberman and Middlekauf Show,” that the Jets should be able to get a late first-round pick for Darnold.

“I headed into the off-season thinking they would get a second-round pick and maybe something else for him,” Schefter said. “I thought that would be his value if they decided to trade him. I think with all the movement going on, I think with what Matthew Stafford went for, I think his value, in then, again if they trade him, will be some sort of late one. That’s my sense and belief.

“Do I think they’re getting a top-10 pick for Sam Darnold? No. Do I think that they could get a first-round pick, a later first-round pick? Yes.”

To get a first-round pick, for a quarterback, coming off a season, where, in 12 starts, he threw nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a 72.7 quarterback rating, and a 59.6 completion percentage, some would consider that a pretty good trade.

To get a first-round pick for a QB with a career completion percentage of 59.8 and QB rating of 78.6, some would consider that a halfway decent trade.

Not saying all of Darnold’s pedestrian stats are his fault, but perhaps some of the numbers are his fault. It depends how you look at it. As Alabama coach Nick Saban likes to say, “Everyone looks at the world through a different set of eyes.”

But one of the reasons the Jets could possible get a late first-round pick for Darnold is there are so many NFL teams desperate for quarterbacks.

So if a team shows that level of desperation, and is willing to give up a first-round pick for Darnold, the Jets probably need to give that offer serious consideration.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and pictured above. It’s loaded with so much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!


Do you agree with Feely’s quote about what’s best for Darnold’s future? 02.08.21

CBS Sports’ sideline reporter Jay Feely made a strong statement about Sam Darnold during the Jets’ 40-3 loss at Seattle on December 13.

“I think Sam Darnold going somewhere else, and starting fresh, is probably the best thing for him,” Feely said during the second half.

Could be.

Sometimes a fresh start for a player can rejuvenate a career.

Sometimes, it makes no difference, because they’re the same player wherever they play.

But perhaps other teams think that Darnold can improve with a change of scenery, because ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Sunday that “multiple teams have reached out” out to the Jets about trading for the quarterback.

So these teams clearly think they can help the QB take his game, and field vision, to another level.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and loaded with the good stuff on Gang Green, including lots of Jets Whispers, Saleh coverage, a breakdown of college edge-rushers and much, much more. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a GREAT gift for a Jets fan!


According to research-firm Savanta, 74 percent plan to watch Super Bowl 02.04.21

Savanta polled 500 Americans about their viewing plans for Super Bowl Sunday, and here are the results:

*Preferred way to watch Super Bowl 2021

  • 74% of the consumers plan to watch Super Bowl this year
    • 33% of the consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl on TV
    • 21% of the consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl at home with family
    • 5% of the consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl at home with friends
    • 3% of the consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl in a mobile app
    • 3% of the consumers plan to watch the Super Bowl in a bar/restaurant/eating joint

 

Preferred parts of Super Bowl to watch this year

  • 53% of the consumers plan to watch the actual game
  • 42% of the consumers plan to watch the halftime music show
  • 41% of the consumers plan to watch the advertisements
  • 31% of the consumers plan to watch the national anthem
  • 26% of the consumers plan to watch the pre-game show
  • 42% of the consumers plan to watch the halftime music show

 

Plans to watch the Puppy Bowl this year

  • 32% of the consumers plan to watch the Puppy Bowl
  • 25% of the consumers are not aware of the Puppy Bowl

 

Activities Planned on Super Bowl

  • 85% of consumers plan to cook/ order food / eat out on Super Bowl
  • 53% of the consumers plan to cook traditional Super Bowl foods (nachos, chili, wings, hot dogs, etc.) at home
  • 26% of the consumers plan to order food for home delivery
  • 15% of the consumers plan to order take out food from a restaurant/bar/pub and pick it up
  • 11% of the consumers plan to eat out at a restaurant/bar/pub

 

Preferred type of food in this Super Bowl Sunday

  • 87% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to celebrate the game with food
  • 47% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat chips and dips
  • 46% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat chicken wings
  • 45% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat pizza
  • 35% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat Nachos
  • 30% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat Burger and sliders
  • 30% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to barbecue
  • 26% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat cheese and crackers
  • 24% of consumers who intend to watch the Super Bowl game plan to eat cookies

 

Opinion on popular brands deciding not to air ads in this Super Bowl

  • 56% of the consumers have a neutral feeling about Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi after hearing the news that they are not airing the ads this Super Bowl
  • 31% of the consumers have a positive feeling about Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi after hearing the news that they are not airing the ads this Super Bowl
  • 13% of the consumers have a negative feeling about Budweiser, Coke, and Pepsi after hearing the news that they are not airing the ads this Super Bowl
  • Savanta is a fast-growing data, research and advisory firm with five global offices and 347 staff.

*Press Release


You need a special player at this position – Do the Jets have one? 02.04.21

We have heard this same cliche mantra over and over, but this year’s Super Bowl match-up proves it once again.

“The NFL is a QB-driven league.”

And in this season’s Super Bowl, you have two of the NFL’s top three quarterbacks from this season squaring off – Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady.

The top three guy from this season not in the game is Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, who lost to Brady’s Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.

One thing those elite guys can do, like Mahomes, Brady and Rodgers, is read defenses on a high level. They’re also full field readers and can throw with great anticipation.

That last part is huge, and a lot of young quarterbacks don’t do that enough. NFL throwing windows are often so small, you often have to get rid of the ball when your receiver is hitting his break. Too many young quarterbacks wait to see the receiver flash wide open, and then try to throw a rocket. It’s hard to have consistent success doing this because on too many plays receivers aren’t flashing wide open, and you need to throw with anticipation.

The moral of this story is if you don’t have an elite quarterback, your chances of playing on the final Sunday of the NFL season, aren’t great. Once a while a team with a pedestrian QB sneaks in, but it doesn’t happen that often.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is in the mail to subscribers and will be on news stands next week. It’s one of our best issues ever, with tons of Jets Whispers, Saleh coverage, and much more, including a feature on what a “tank” would have looked like. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a friend or relative!


Saleh has a request for the history buffs 02.03.21

Jets coach Robert Saleh is aware of it, but doesn’t want to be judged by it.

The new Jets’ coach is aware of the team’s struggles in the past, including 57 losses in the last five years, and missing the playoffs 10 straight seasons, but wants people to judge him and his team “moving forward.”

“With regards to what’s happened in the past, what we do is challenge everybody to really judge us moving forward,” said Saleh at his introductory press conference.

Then when asked again about the Jets’ rough history, in a breakout session with beat writers following his main press conference, he once again asked people to judge his club on what they do “moving forward.”

“You can’t hide from the past, but you can encourage people to judge you on the future, from this day forward, what we do, and how we operate as an organization, and the words we say, and the things that we do moving forward,” Saleh said.

So he wants people to throw out the rear view mirror when it comes to the Jets.

As American inventor Charles Kettering once said, “You can’t have a better tomorrow if you’re thinking about yesterday.”

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The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and pictured above. A must-read for Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!

 

 

 

 

 


Douglas on Saleh’s big decision 02.02.21

Robert Saleh decided not to do this, and Joe Douglas understands his thinking.

As you know by now, Saleh, the Jets new head coach, has decided not to call the defensive plays. Remember, he came to the Jets after four years as the San Francisco 49ers’ defensive coordinator.

A lot of new coaches come in, and they want to call the plays on the side of the ball that’s considered their wheelhouse. For instance, new Philadelphia Eagles coach Nick Sirianni will call the offensive plays in Philly.

“There’s a lot of different ways to manage a team,” said Douglas.

But Saleh has decided not to call defensive plays, and he told the Jets’ brass his reasoning while interviewing for their head coaching position.

“When we talked to Robert, we specifically asked him what his plan, his thoughts were on the day-to-day management of the team,” Douglas said. “It was important for him to not be bunkered in with play calling, but to be present, to be a part of every aspect of the team, to manage his staff, give his staff the ability to coach their positions. And he trusts the people that he brings in.”

The Jets, who have had quite a few coaches in the past call plays on one side of the ball, liked the idea of trying a different approach.

“We were impressed with his plan for managing, not only the team and the locker room, but his staff,” Douglas said.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential was mailed today, and one of our best ever. So many goodies about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else, with lots of Jets Whispers and Saleh coverage. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

 


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