Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Johnson, Douglas and Saleh statements 01.19.21

Statement from New York Jets
Chairman & CEO Christopher Johnson:
“I am excited to announce Robert Saleh as the Head Coach of the New York Jets. After a thorough process and meeting with a number of talented coaches, it was clear to us that Robert was the right person to help us move forward. He is a collaborative leader with proven success in the NFL. In addition to his work as a coach on this level, his passion and knowledge of the game along with his vision for establishing an identity for this team sold me. It was also clear that he will partner with Joe to help foster and develop the winning culture we are striving to establish. For us as a group, we were impressed with the way he commanded the space and his ability to communicate his vision throughout the process.
“I know he will develop the players on our roster, hold them accountable, and put them in a position to succeed. Most importantly, I believe they will connect with him. We all know there is a lot of work to get done but we have a tremendous opportunity to improve and are thrilled to have Coach Saleh lead this team going forward.”
Statement from New York Jets
General Manager Joe Douglas:
“Coach Saleh is an exceptional teacher, motivator and communicator. He has earned every opportunity he has gotten and made the most of each of them. We spoke to some tremendous coaches, but Rob is the right partner and leader for us. His vision for this team aligns with what we have been working to establish here the last two years. Coach Saleh’s energy, knowledge and focus are contagious and will serve our team well as we continue to develop our culture, our foundation, and move this organization in the right direction. I am excited to work closely with him to build this team into the winner that our fans deserve and will be proud of.”
Statement from New York Jets
Head Coach Robert Saleh:
“It’s an honor to be the head coach of the New York Jets. To Christopher Johnson, thank you for this opportunity, it is one I’ve worked extremely hard for and will give everything I have to it. Throughout the interview process, it became clear that this is the right place to call home. The passion Christopher, Joe [Douglas] and Hymie [Elhai] have for this team is evident and I look forward to partnering with them to bring us where we want to be.
“You never travel these roads alone and there are so many that have helped along the way, but without my wife, Sanaa, this journey would have been impossible. Thank you for everything. We have six amazing children, with one on the way, and now we are all proud to be part of Jets Nation.
“There are no shortcuts to success, and I am committed to working with Joe to build this team the right way: with talented players that play fast and smart, and a staff that supports and helps develop them through it all.
“To Jets Fans, your passion and commitment are priceless. I understand your expectations and embrace them. We have a lot of work to do and can’t do it without your support. Thank you for your warm welcome and please stay safe and healthy.”

What are the Jets getting in Saleh? 01.15.21

The Jets got their man.

On Thursday night, the Jets have agreed in principle with San Francisco 49ers DC Robert Saleh to become their head coach.

He has certainly paid his dues in preparing for this moment:

  • Michigan State (2002–2003)
    Defensive assistant
  • Central Michigan (2004)
    Defensive assistant
  • Georgia (2005)
    Defensive assistant
  • Houston Texans (2005)
    Defensive intern
  • Houston Texans (2006–08)
    Defensive quality control coach
  • Houston Texans (2009-10)
    Assistant linebackers coach
  • Seattle Seahawks (2011–13)
    Defensive quality control coach
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (2014–16)
    Linebackers coach
  • San Francisco (2017–20)
    Defensive coordinator

Saleh is coming off perhaps his most impressive coaching job in 2020. With the 49ers ravaged by injuries on defense, they still had a top-10 defense in total yards (fifth), rush yards (seventh) and pass yards (fourth).

In Saleh, the Jets aren’t just getting a very good defensive coach, but an alpha dog leader, who commands the room, and should be able to do a good job leading their entire team, not just one side of the ball.

Also, the Jets are in dire need of a strong football culture, and Saleh worked under two of the best culture-builders in the NFL, Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco and Pete Carroll in Seattle, so knows what it looks like, and should be able to build one in Florham Park.

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For the best coverage of the Robert Saleh era, subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans. So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!


1 reason you need to hurry, but not rush, when looking for HC 01.13.21

There is an old saying about making decisions: “Hurry, but don’t rush.”

And this is a good approach for the Jets with their head coaching search.

You need to do your proper due diligence with the interview process and not cut corners, so you don’t want to rush.

However, you need to hurry, because of another huge factor when hiring a coach, and that’s his ability to put together a top-shelf coaching staff.

So the longer you wait to hire a head coach, you risk losing some assistant coaching candidates to other teams.

Let’s say the Jets hire Robert Saleh as their head coach. Well, two guys who could’ve been defensive coordinator candidates for Saleh, Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley, just got other jobs, Quinn went to Dallas, and Bradley to Las Vegas. Saleh is close with those guys, and they are all part of the Pete Carroll coaching tree. They both could have been ideal defensive coordinators for Saleh because they are former NFL head coaches he could he leaned on during his learning curve.

Look, it’s probably not the end of the world that Saleh, if he gets the job, wasn’t able to hire one of these guys, but it just points to the fact that you need “hurry, not rush” when picking a new head coach.

And that’s so the new coach can get going hiring his staff, and not lose too many quality assistants to other programs.

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Jets candidate Saleh deserves a lot of credit for this 01.12.21

NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo both reported (it was a photo finish for the scoop) that 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is flying to New Jersey for a second interview for the Jets’ head coaching job.

Saleh has the been the 49ers’ defensive coordinator since 2017. In 2002, even though it was a down year for the 49ers, it was one of his most impressive performances as San Francisco’s defensive chief.

They were absolutely ravaged by injuries on defense, including losing DE Nick Bosa against the Jets in Week Two, but Saleh never made excuses, and his unit continued to perform at a pretty high level in most games with tremendous tenacity. Next man up.

Like in Week 16, with a lot of backups playing against an Arizona team that needed the game for their playoff chances, the 49ers held the Cardinals to 12 points in a 20-12 victory.

There is no doubt Saleh built a strong defensive culture in San Francisco, a band of brothers.

It’s well-documented the Jets need to improve their football culture.

Maybe Saleh is a guy who can do that. He did it with a defense; can he do it with an entire team? Who knows?

But one thing we do know – man did the 49ers’ defense play hard this year, and never backed down after losing myriad players to injuries.

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Jets must figure this out about candidate Brandon Staley 01.11.21

There is an important question the Jets must answer about Los Angeles Rams DC Brandon Staley, who they interviewed for their head coaching job on Sunday.

It’s kind of a “chicken or the egg” question.

Was the Rams’ defensive success this season because of great coaching by Staley, or was it driven by elite personnel, led by perhaps the NFL’s best player, defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and the game’s best cornerback – Jalen Ramsey.

Throw in some other really good players like DE Michael Brockers, edge-rusher Leonard Floyd and cornerback Darious Williams, and Staley has definitely been dealt a very good personnel hand in Los Angeles.

So was the Rams’ defensive success this year driven by great talent or great coaching?

Maybe it was both.

This is something Jets GM Joe Douglas needs to determine.

Because how often have we seen assistant coaches from top-shelf teams get head coaching jobs elsewhere, but when they can’t bring the great talent with them, they don’t succeed.

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5 college coaches who could make sense for Jets 01.07.21

Many Jets fans were excited to hear that Joe Douglas will spearhead the team’s search for a new coach.

So what is the Jets’ GM looking for in a head coach?

“I think we’re looking for a person with great character and integrity,” said Douglas. “I think we’re looking for a person that’s going to have outstanding vision of what they want the identity of this team to be moving forward, and then what’s the detailed plan on how they want to achieve this identity.”

And he’s going to be looking at all kinds of different coaches.

“We’re going to cast a very wide net, we’re not going to look at just offense, just defense, special teams, we’re going to look at everybody,” Douglas said.

Douglas wants a skillful communicator.

“It’s important that we find a person with high integrity, outstanding leadership skills and communication skills,” Douglas said.

He added he wants a “great communicator.”

And hiring a successful college coach isn’t off the table.

“If there’s a coach on the college level that meets that criteria of leadership, communication and collaboration, has a strong vision of what they want this team to look like and the identity of this team, I don’t think we’re going to shy away from that,” Douglas said.

Some college coaches who might be options for the Jets are Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Florida’s Dan Mullen, Stanford’s David Shaw, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell.

But whoever gets the job, Douglas feels it’s a good landing spot for the next coach.

“I think there’s a lot of resources here to help a coach succeed,” Douglas said. “I think we’re in a good position in terms of draft capital. I think we’re in a good position in terms of cap space. So, I think there’s a lot of positive things for us moving forward.”

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How far away are they? 01.06.21

The Jets are going through some tough times.

But if they play their cards right, it might not be for long.

In 2021, they are armed with bunch of premium draft picks, a lot of salary cap space entering free agency, and a very good talent evaluator occupying the GM office, Joe Douglas.

They also have an opportunity to hire a transcendent coach – a leader, a visionary, a great teacher known for a strong attention to detail. The Jets need to hit a grand slam home run with their next head coaching hire. There is no way around it.

Another thing there is no way around – they must let Douglas conduct the head coach search, and pick the next coach.

So if the Jets play their cards right, with so much draft capital, cap space for free agency, and the chance to hire a top-shelf head coach picked by Douglas, better times could lie ahead.

“It’s our responsibility to make the best decisions in terms of the leader that we bring in, the players that we choose from in free agency, the players that we draft,” said Douglas. “And so, obviously, we’re excited about the resources we have. We’re excited about talking to a candidate to come to this great city, to this great market and this great fan base and really do something, build something special that hasn’t been done here in a long time. And so, I think these are exciting times for this franchise, for this fan base. Obviously, it’s important that we get all these decisions right moving forward.”

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and available at convenience stores. So much good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. A deep dive into college head coaches who could fit the Jets. Also, an extensive look at the top corners in the draft, and tons of Jets Whispers. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4).


Don’t hire a coach with 1 position in mind 01.05.21

You shouldn’t hire a coach with one player/position in mind.

It seems like the Jets were very focused on Sam Darnold during their 2019 head coaching search.

“With a potential franchise player in Sam Darnold, the Jets wanted a coach with a background in developing quarterbacks,” wrote ESPN’s Rich Cimini on January 9, 2019. “(Adam) Gase has worked with many, most notably Manning, who set passing records as the Denver Broncos quarterback in 2013 with Gase as the offensive coordinator. Multiple sources told (ESPN’s Jeff) Darlington that the Jets wanted to make sure they got the right person to help Darnold, and the QB believes they did.”

This approach to hiring a head coach probably isn’t ideal.

What you need to do is hire the best available head coach, an alpha dog leader, who commands the room, and has a great football mind, regardless of what position, or side-of-the-ball is his specialty.

The coach probably shouldn’t be hired with so much focus on one position. The coach should be hired with all 53 men in mind.

And then after you hire that person, he can hire the best OC and QB coach available, to work with the QB.

The bottom line is you need to hire the best coach available for your entire team, and not obsess over his impact on one position.

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Check out the new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine, on news stands now, and by subscription, by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4).


Jets must ignore the insiders on hot candidates 01.05.21

Don’t listen to people with compromised positions.

A lot of times coaches become “hot candidates” with NFL media insiders because they are media-leakers, so it’s payback. Some coaches reach “guru” status because they’re media-friendly. Always keep that in mind: I scratch your back, you scratch mine.

And just like lawyers/business executives, reporters aren’t well-equipped to evaluate coaching prospects.

So the Jets must ignore ALL media white noise about who their next coach should be.

Remember, in 2015, when the Jets were close to hiring Doug Marrone as their head coach, they reportedly got cold feet due to a hatchet job on the Bronx-native by the Daily News.

Whatever you think of Marrone, no NFL team should have a coaching search impacted by ANYBODY in the media.

So ignore all these NFL insiders telling you who the “hot candidates” are. They might be compromised, either by their relationship with the candidate himself, or an agent who represents the coach, who’s leaking stuff to them.

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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). A must-read for Jets fans, with so much good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. Check it out!


Jets can’t do this to candidates like in 2019 01.04.21

In their 2021 coaching search, the Jets can’t do this one thing they did in 2019.

If you try to force assistant coaches on a head coaching candidate, you could have some really good candidates drop out.

That happened to the Jets in 2019, when somebody in the interview with Baylor coach Matt Rhule, now with the Carolina Panthers, was trying to force assistant coaches on the NYC-native.

“At the end of the day, I’m never going to be in an arranged marriage,” Rhule told the radio station 1660-AM in Waco, TX. “I’m never going to subcontract jobs to the offense and defense. I always want to hire people that believe in what I believe, that are going to do things our way, that are going to believe in process, that are going to be part of a program. I truly believe that programs win.

So the Jets knocked themselves out of contention for this top-shelf coaching candidate by wanting a say on his staff.

According to the New York Post, Bill Parcells told Rhule not to take any job where he couldn’t hand-pick his own staff.

The Jets must learn from this mistake, and never do this again.

When you hire a coach, he should be allowed to hire the staff he wants.

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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A great read for Jets fans with so much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.


Jets must avoid the allure of celebrity endorsements! 01.04.21

This time around, the Jets must ignore this kind of stuff at all costs.

They must ignore celebrity endorsers, or at least keep their endorsements in the proper perspective. These kind of endorsements are often are rife with personal agendas.

You have to ask yourself the question – “Do these endorsers have the Jets’ best interest at heart, or are they just looking to help a friend land a job?”

As you all know, Peyton Manning called Christopher Johnson to endorse Adam Gase for the Jets’ job in 2019, and this endorsement seemed to carry some weight with the owner.

“I’m told Jets CEO Christopher Johnson took a phone call on Tuesday night from an especially impressive reference who advocated for Adam Gase: Peyton Manning,” tweeted ESPN’s Jeff Darlington the day before Gase was hired.

Why was it a “especially impressive reference?” Yes Manning is a legendary NFL QB, but he NEVER played under Gase as a head coach, so how would he know what kind of head coach Gase is? They only worked together as offensive coordinator and QB in Denver, and that is totally different than head coach and QB.

So moving forward, Jets decision-makers must take these kind of suggestions with a major grain of salt.

Take the call, listen to what the celebrity endorser has to say, but don’t let these agenda-laden endorsements weigh heavily in the decision-making process.

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The monthly Jets Confidential magazine is a must-read for Jets fans. So much good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else! Great Jets coverage without the cheap shots. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!

 


Jets statement on Adam Gase 01.03.21

Statement from New York Jets
Chairman & CEO Christopher Johnson
“This evening, I informed Adam Gase he will no longer serve as the Head Coach of the Jets. During his time here, I had the pleasure to get to know Adam and his wonderful family and wish them nothing but the best moving forward. While my sincere intentions are to have stability in our organization – especially in our leadership positions – it is clear the best decision for the Jets is to move in a different direction. We knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done when Adam joined us in 2019. Our strong finish last year was encouraging, but unfortunately, we did not sustain that positive momentum or see the progress we all expected this season.
“To our fans, it is obvious we have not been good enough. We are committed to building a strong organization, on and off the field, and will continue to provide the necessary resources to field a team that you can be proud of.”

Jets donation to help Community Kitchen & Pantry of Harlem On Thanksgiving 11.23.20

*The New York Jets have teamed up with their longtime partner, Food Bank For New York City, to tackle hunger this holiday season. For Thanksgiving the Jets made a $15,000 donation to Food Bank For New York City. This contribution will provide 75,000 meals for New Yorkers in need and included a delivery of turkeys and fixings to the Community Kitchen & Pantry of West Harlem. This is one of the toughest times of the year for struggling New Yorkers and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it worse. To support Foodbank for New York City go to foodbanknyc.org and click donate now.

*Press Release


Steve Castleton nominated 11.11.20

*New York Jets Military & Law Enforcement Team Liaison Steve Castleton was announced today as the Jets nominees for the “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.” The award, presented annually by USAA and the NFL, honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. USAA holds the designation of Official NFL Salute to Service Partner.

WHO: Steve Castleton, New York Jets Front Office Staff/Military & Law Enforcement Team Liaison

WHAT: Nominated for the tenth annual “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA”

WHEN: Finalists for the award are scheduled to be announced in January. The recipient will be recognized at the NFL Honors awards show, which is set to air the week of Super Bowl LV.

OTHER INFO: Past recipients of the award include Donnie Edwards (2019), Ben Garland (2018), Andre Roberts (2017), Dan Quinn (2016), Vincent Jackson (2015), Jared Allen (2014), John Harbaugh (2013), Charles Tillman (2012), and the late Tennessee Titans owner, K.S. “Bud” Adams, a WWII veteran (2011).

Steve Castleton – Award Nomination Bio

“Steve has been the Jets Military Liaison since 2013 where he first coordinated on-field and satellite activities at numerous military bases in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Bagram, Afghanistan for our U.S. Armed Forces and has coordinated all the pre-game and half-time activities for the Jets at both their Salute to Service and First Responder appreciation days – organizing the enlistment/re-enlistments of over 1,000 members of the armed forces at professional sporting events. Thanks to Steve in 2016 at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the Army held the first “NY Sports Event” where a “sports field” was carved out of the Afghanistan soil and custom jerseys were sent. Since 2016, Steve has coordinated the “Turkey Bowl” flag football game which was held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. In 2019 he organized the first annual Navy vs. Marines Flag Football game at the Jets Florham Park, NJ training facility. During the early stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Steve personally obtained and delivered SUV filled with personal protective equipment (PPE’s) to the New York State Veterans Home and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Northport, New York on over 15 occasions. Coordinating the delivery with the Suffolk County Police Department, he personally funded #FeedOurHeroes, 8 Hospitals in 8 Days, which was an initiative of his to feed the front-line workers in 8 Long Island Hospitals in 8 days. Steve has also been sworn in as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.

*Press Release


This Jets player a pleasant surprise 11.05.20

It was a transaction that didn’t garner a lot of attention, but this player is starting to get people’s attention.

“John Franklin-Myers has really come on,” Jets GM Joe Douglas said on Tuesday.

So September 1, 2109, Douglas claimed Franklin-Myers, a defensive end, off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams. The move didn’t move the needle much, especially since Franklin-Myers quickly got hurt, and landed on injured reserve in early October.

But in 2020, this waiver claim is starting to starting pay some dividends.

At 6-4, 288, he has a nice combination of size and quick twitch, and has made a number of impressive plays this season.

It was a little surprising the Rams released Franklin-Myers on August 31, 2019. This is a player who played a lot as a rookie in 2018, and recorded a sack on then-New England QB Tom Brady in Super Bowl LIII, forcing a fumble (recovered by NE).

Franklin-Myers was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in the 2018 draft out of Stephen F. Austin, a school located in Nacodoches, Texas.

He was under-recruited because his high school team, in Greenville, TX, went 0-40 during his four years there.

But he had a nice career in college for the Lumberjacks, and really helped his draft stock when he ran a 4.75 forty at the 2018 combine, a very good time for his size.

And during a rough Jets season, he’s been one of the few bright spots.

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What is Joe supposed to say? 11.03.20

Jets Douglas will address the media this afternoon. When talking Jets football, this one question is the $64,000 question, but don’t expect the Jets GM to be able to answer this.

Talking about the future of Jets coach Adam Gase. There is speculation he might be on the hot seat. The Jets have been blown out in most games this year, being outscored by 142 points through eight games.

So Douglas will be asked about Gase’s future today.

But don’t expect any concrete answers from him on this topic.

Why?

He’s not Gase’s boss. In the Jets’ current power structure they are equals. Douglas picks the players, Gase coaches the team, and they both equally report to the team owner.

So Douglas is in no position to evaluate the job Gase is doing coaching the team, or whether he should coach the team in the future.

In fact, Douglas can’t even say “boo” about game plans, in-game adjustments or how players are used on game day. None of that is in his wheelhouse according to the Jets’ chain of command.

So when Douglas addresses the media today, reporters might be wasting their time asking him about the job Gase is doing, or if he should be the team’s coach in the future.

Not his job.

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