Dan Leberfeld's Blog

How did Sam Darnold’s 3 games on the shelf help him in Buffalo? 12.09.18

Buffalo – Prior to starting today in Buffalo, in the Jets’ 27-23 win over the Bills, Sam Darnold sat out the previous three games with a foot injury.

Aside from getting his foot healthy, Darnold feels the time away helped his maturation process.

“Just being able to watch Josh [McCown] and how he goes about practice, walk-throughs, the way he watches tape, what he does to get ready for a game plan, all of that stuff
helped me a ton,” Darnold said. “I can’t thank Josh enough for that.”

The three games away helped him look at things differently.

“For me, just to fill the backup role almost and watch the tape differently than I normally would than if I was playing,” Darnold said. “It was just good to get that experience
a little bit. Obviously, I want to be playing. That’s always what I want to be doing. I want to be out there on the field playing, but in hindsight, it was good to be able to experience behind Josh and watch him go about.”

Kelvin Beachum Gives Orange, NJ Student Super Bowl Tickets 12.06.18

*December 6, 2018 – As part of Kelvin Beachum’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nomination, the New York Jets hosted United Way at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center Thursday afternoon to present Beachum with the award. In return, the Jets tackle surprised Ca’moore Jones, a student of the Character Playbook powered by EverFi course with two Super Bowl LIII tickets.

Jones is in an eighth grade student at Orange Preparatory Academy in New Jersey who was nominated by his teacher Glenn Gamble for his performance and growth with the Character Playbook course.

As a 2018 nominee, Beachum will receive a donation of $50,000 in his name to expand Character Playbook and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to his charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation and United Way Worldwide.

*Press Release

NFLPA and Sleep Number form partnership 11.29.18

*Minneapolis – November 29, 2018 – Sleep Number (NASDAQ: SNBR) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), through its licensing and marketing division, NFL Players Inc., announced an unprecedented and historic milestone, with more than 1,600 NFL players investing in their sleep and performance with the Sleep Number 360® smart bed.

Earlier this year, Sleep Number and the NFL announced a partnership to jointly provide every active player a Sleep Number 360 smart bed. Now, Sleep Number and the NFLPA are partnering to use SleepIQ® technology’s aggregate player data and insights to holistically advance player well-being.

“This partnership is a testament to how much we value the impact of quality sleep on performance and recovery. It is apparent that players across the league agree with us, with over 1,600 actively pursuing this unique opportunity,” said Gina Scott, vice president, partner services, NFLPA. “The Sleep Number 360 smart bed provides the players highly accurate biometric data and we are excited about the future possibilities to use this aggregated data to improve player performance on and off the field.”

Sleep Number’s proprietary SleepIQ® technology is built into the 360 smart bed, enabling it to automatically adjust comfort throughout the night. Each morning, players receive a SleepIQ® score and biometric data – such as average breathing and heart rates – to help them understand the quality of their sleep. With this information, players can adjust their training regimens to improve their performance and recovery.“Last year was my first year on the Sleep Number 360 smart bed, and it was my sixth year in the NFL,” Minnesota Vikings All Pro safety Harrison Smith said. “The way I felt physically and mentally toward the end of season was nowhere near how I felt the five years prior. I had a lot more energy, I was thinking more clearly, my body felt better…I really felt good all season long.”

Sleep Number will continue to work with the NFLPA, teams and head athletic trainers as players begin to integrate sleep insights into their training and performance regimens.

“We are able to directly impact the game on and off the field. For world-class athletes, the benefits of sleeping on the Sleep Number 360 smart bed are game changing,” said Kevin Brown, chief marketing officer at Sleep Number. “This is an exciting milestone for Sleep Number and the NFLPA as players invest in the importance of proven quality sleep to their overall health, wellness and performance.”

*Press Release

Williams nails what’s wrong with Jets run defense 11.25.18

The Jets gave up 215 yards rushing to New England in the Patriots’ 27-13 win over Gang Green.

Jets defensive end Leonard Williams feels it’s not a lack of effort that is leading to the Gang Green’s porous run defense, but something else entirely.

“It’s just a matter of executing,” Williams said. “Every time we watch film we’re always like, ‘Oh guys are playing fast, guys are hitting hard, guys have that want too and desire.’ You can tell that in the way they play. But then it’s like instead of being in the ‘A’ gap they’re in the ‘B’ Gap.

So while the Jets are playing hard, some guys aren’t playing smart.

“Instead of having that high motor and high energy over there, do it where you are supposed to,” Williams said. “It’s just like guys are just not where they’re supposed to be.”

And clearly some of those guys need to be replaced in the lineup because this problem rears its head almost every week.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, at convenience stores and on news stands. So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. A JC subscription makes a great holiday gift for a Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

The reason for one Jets issue is pretty obvious 11.25.18

The Jets dropped their fifth game in a row, losing to New England 27-13 on Sunday.

And a big problem for them today was their run defense, with the Patriots’ finishing with 215 yards on the ground.

The Patriots consistently had big holes to run through.

The Jets continue to have major issues with their gap control, something that has plagued them all year.

“Giving up a lot of yards, giving up runs and getting out of our gaps, and not being sound on in back end,” Jets safety Jamal Adams said. “We just have to be better as a whole and play fundamentally sound.”

They clearly need to make some lineup changes because this gap control issue has been going on all year.

But for some reason, they aren’t keen on benching people.

Why? Hard to tell.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must read for Jets fans. Blunt, but fair.

Lombardi: ‘This is not a good Patriots team.’ 11.21.18

Former NFL GM and New England Patriots executive, Mike Lombardi, doesn’t think the 2018 Patriots are a great team.

“I think the Patriots’ problems on the road have showed up every single time,” Lombardi said on ‘The Ringer’ podcast. “They are 2-3 on the road. The last time they were 2-3 on the road — the last time they were sub-.500 on the road was 2013. They are just not a good road team. I think [Tom] Brady averages just under seven yards per pass completion on the road. The yards per attempt he’s under seven [yards]. He’s been sacked 10 times on the road. They can’t establish any kind of run game on the road. They’ve won two road games. They beat Buffalo and that was a tough game. They struggled in that game as well. The one game they won was in Chicago with Mitch Trubisky.

“To me, this is not a good Patriots team. I have been saying it all year. They struggle to make explosive plays. Josh Gordon doesn’t look as fast as he once was. I think he’s been covered up. Whether they have Gronk or don’t have Gronk, I think it is really problematic for them. When they are on the road — they didn’t have Shaq Mason at right guard, Ted Karras had to play in there — I thought the Titans did a great job. What was shocking was that [Marcus] Mariota as able to throw the ball as well as he did. And Corey Davis, here is a guy who has had one play over 25 yards all season. He had a 23-yard against the Eagles and a 55-yarder. The guy really makes plays down the field and he had seven [catches] for 125 [yards] in the game. That is not good.”

Belichick not a fan of analytics sites 11.21.18

A lot of reporters and fans rely on websites that grade players. Patriots coach Bill Belichick wonders how these sites grade when they don’t always know player assignments.

“You see a play on film and a receiver goes uncovered down the field. So you know it’s probably one of two guys’ mistakes, so you don’t know which guy it is,” Belichick said on “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” on WEEI. “A lot of times the announcer will say, ‘[This guy] should’ve taken him,’ or, ‘[That guy] should have taken him.’ And I’m looking at the play saying, it could have been either guy, depending on what the call was.”

“In terms of analytics, you get a lot of, ‘This guy should have him. That guy should have him.’ I know from our team, there are times when we don’t know exactly what went wrong until we sort out the play,” Belichick said on WEEI. “So it’s impossible someone else could have known. Sometimes what it looks like is not what it is.”

To say an entire team quit is silly! 11.12.18

Brilliant analysis!

Any radio, TV host or writer who claims the Jets quit as a team against Buffalo isn’t exactly a Mensa candidate.

That doesn’t make any sense.

Did safety Jamal Adams quit against the Bills?

Did linebacker Avery Williamson look like he quit, finishing with 11 tackles?

Did Jets returner Andre Roberts quit against the Bills?

Did Jets kicker Jason Myers quit against the Bills?

The way receiver Quincy Enunwa plays the sport, does he look like the quitting type to you?

Did a few Jets quit during their loss to Buffalo, probably,

Bu the Jets’ biggest problem against Buffalo was a defense that got totally out-schemed and out-coached by Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. The Jets’ two-man defensive line scheme was an unmitigated disaster and Daboll took advantage of it repeatedly. Another huge problem was an offense line that was absolutely dominated by the Bills’ front seven.

But to say a whole team quit is an intellectually bankrupt statement.

And lazy analysis.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans. Blunt, but fair. Makes a great holiday gift for a Jets fan.

Did Adam Gase dis Sam Darnold? 11.09.18

The Miami Dolphins are coming off a strong defensive performance in their 13-6 win over the New York Jets.

The Jets managed just two field goals against the Dolphins’ defense. Jets QB Sam Darnold finished with four picks and a 31.8 QB rating.

Will the Dolphins be able to sustain that level of defense in Green Bay this week?

“Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said this week.

Was this a shot at Darnold, or just dealing with the reality of going from facing a rookie QB, to squaring off against a future Hall-of-Famer?


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans. A subscription to JC makes a great holiday gift for a Jets fan.

Darnold to miss Bills game. What it means. 11.07.18

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network announced that Sam Darnold will miss the Jets’ upcoming game with the Buffalo Bills due to a foot injury.

While no injury is good news, this announcement won’t necessarily hurt the Jets on the field.

Some might argue that Josh McCown, who will start in Darnold’s place, gives them a better chance to win.

And they’re certainly in dire need of a win, currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

And maybe it’s a good thing for Darnold to watch for a few games from the sideline, get a different perspective, recharge his battery, get his foot healthy, and then reemerge.

After all, he might have been rushed into NFL action. He’s only 21-years-old and came out of college after his red-shirt sophomore year.

Maybe a time-out is a good thing.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fan. Blunt, but fair.

Who said Bowles is on hot-seat? Where is this coming from? 11.06.18

You read all this stuff about coaches on the hot-seat.

And you see things like, “Hot-Seat Rankings.”

Todd Bowles names appears on some of these lists.

What’s that based on?

It’s certainly not coming from anybody at One Jets Drive, like Christopher Johnson.

Johnson called the coach “quite extraordinary” last off-season and gave him a two-year contract extension.

Does that sound like “hot-seat” material?

And maybe Bowles got the go-head from higher-ups to use this season to develop Sam Darnold and not worry about his job security, in case it didn’t go well. Because usually when you start a rookie QB, it can be rough sailing.

Look, I have no idea what’s going to happen after this season. I don’t have a crystal ball.

But what I don’t get is how people discern that a coach is on the hot-seat, when none of his bosses are saying that, on-, or off-the-record.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans. Blunt, but fair.

I disagree with Sam Darnold 11.05.18

Sam Darnold said after his four interception performance in Miami, “There’s no excuse for how I played out there.”

He’s wrong.

There is an “excuse.”

The “excuse” is he’s a rookie who seemed to be rushed into the starting lineup.

He was just a two-year college starter, and came into the league after his red-shirt sophomore season.

He’s only 21.

Maybe he wasn’t instant coffee on the NFL level.

Terrific prospect, but had a lot to work on. Remember he had a turnover issue at USC, with 20 interceptions in his last 20 games.

He probably needed to sit and learn for a year like Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

I understand that Darnold isn’t going to make excuses publicly.

But to me, there is an “excuse” for how he’s playing.

Perhaps he was thrown the car keys too soon.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans. Blunt, but fair.

Does the Jets’ current football structure need to be tweaked? 11.04.18

In Florham Park, the GM doesn’t report to the head coach, and the head coach doesn’t report to the GM.

They are equal and both report to the owner.

The problem with Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles being on equal footing, is whose going to force changes on the scouting side, or the coaching side, if they’re needed?

With the current set-up, Maccagnan can’t tell Bowles what to do, and Bowles can’t tell Maccagnan what to do.

So where is the football oversight?

Like if somebody doesn’t like benching struggling players due to stubbornness, who is going to step in and DEMAND it?

That would have to be Christopher Johnson, but he doesn’t seem like that kind of guy, at least not yet. He’s a great guy, but always reminds us he’s not “Jerry Jones.”

So if both guys report to the owner, not to each other, whose going to oversee the decisions each is making, if the owner is pretty hands off?

The Jets should take a long, hard look at hiring a VP of football operations who oversees the coach and GM, somebody not only with great football acumen, but alpha dog leadership qualities.

Having the coach and GM on equal footing, and no football guru overseeing what they do, just doesn’t seem like an ideal way to go.

And can lead to inertia.


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).

Dolphins make roster move 11.02.18

*MIAMI – The Miami Dolphins today announced they have activated center Jake Brendel off injured reserve and placed cornerback Cordrea Tankersley on injured reserve.

Brendel has played in 17 career games, all with the Dolphins, during his NFL career (2016-17). He was signed to Miami’s practice squad on Oct. 11, 2016 and promoted to the active roster on Nov. 19, 2016. Brendel appeared in one regular season game and the AFC Wild Card game at the end of the 2016 season before playing in all 16 regular season games in 2017. He was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 3, 2018.

Tankersley played in six games this season and recorded four tackles (two solo) and one special teams stop. He’s played in 17 career games with 11 starts during his two-year NFL career (2017-18). Tankersley started 11 games in 2017 and made 31 tackles (24 solo) and had seven passes defensed. He originally entered the NFL as a third-round pick (97th overall) by the Dolphins in the 2017 NFL draft.

*Press release

Adam Gase’s Heated Back-And-Fourth with Some Reporters Over Tannehill 11.01.18

*Q)There are some people, whether it’s media, fans or whatever, who have made their case that they’ve seen enough of Ryan Tannehill. I want to know why you maybe don’t feel that way . . .

Adam Gase – Dolphins Head Coach: What qualifications are we talking about with the people saying that? None, so I don’t really care what anybody else thinks.

Q)I want to ask you in a different way. Why do you still believe that QB Ryan Tannehill is…

Gase: Because we’ve made a lot of strides since we started in 2016. He had some good seasons before I got here, I know that. We did some different stuff that year. We leaned on the running game and worked off the play-action stuff. He does a great job with the zone-read stuff. When you have an athletic guy that can move around as much as he can and then his arm strength has been something that I’ve never been around before, where we hit the pass like we hit against Tennessee where he throws it 50-plus yards in the air and the guy never breaks stride.

He has some rare qualities that you can’t find in a lot of guys physically. The more that he keeps playing, he keeps learning game to game. That’s something to me that puts him in position to where where’s our ceiling at? I don’t think we’re close to it. I think we just keep getting better (and) keep finding ways to maximize his skillset because it becomes a problem for the defense. It’s hard to defend him when you don’t know what he’s going to do. Is he going to do zone read? Is he going to sprint out? Is he going to run a naked (bootleg)? Is he going to go play action? Is it drop back? Are we running the ball? There’s a lot of things they’ve got to defend.”

Q)So why wasn’t it better when QB Ryan Tannehill wasn’t hurt?

Gase: It was. The first three games, we played pretty good.

Q)And then the next two . . .

Gase: Yeah, that happens. That happens sometimes in the NFL. Quarterbacks … when you play New England, that’s not easy. There’s a reason they win a lot of games every year.

Q)[Unclear question]

Gase: The first three games he played pretty good. You’re asking me that question and you don’t even know what you’re talking about. It’s hard for me to defend anything when you don’t know what you’re talking about. You don’t. I’ve watched the film. I sit there. We evaluate the scheme we’re asking him to do and he does a good job on it.

Q)I know what results are and I know that…

Gase: That’s fine. That’s how you look at things. Everything is results to you. We’re going through a process because that’s what it is. That’s what the season is. It’s about trying to get guys to trend upward. We were headed in the right direction. We hit a speed bump with New England. Then (at) Cincinnati, he was playing well and then we lose our left tackle and we make two bad decisions.

*This is from Adam Gase’s Thursday press conference in Miami.

Adam Gase on Ryan Tannehill 10.31.18

*Q)Do you have anything on the quarterbacks for us?

Adam Gase: Yeah, Ryan (Tannehill) will be out this week. Brock (Osweiler) will be starting.

Q)Are you surprised that QB Ryan Tannehill hasn’t shown more to this point?

Gase: I think it’s just unpredictability. Some days it feels a lot better and some days he doesn’t feel as good. He’s throwing. We’ll just keep working through it, keep talking with the doctors and see if we can do anything else, anything more than what he’s doing, or if we need to do less. We just have to keep going through this process.

Q)We didn’t see QB Ryan Tannehill throw anything out there today. Did he throw anything?

Gase: He has. I mean he’s been throwing when he’s with the trainers and they do certain things. He’s being monitored closely.

Q)How much does the concern grow that this can be something that either needs to be surgically repaired or could possibly impact QB Ryan Tannehill’s career?

Gase: Surgery has not been brought up to me. This is just a rest-type thing.

*This is from Gase’s press conference today in South Florida.

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