Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Q-and-A with Mike Macagnan on Fitzpatrick possibly retiring 04.30.16

Q)Adam [Schefter] reported that Ryan Fitzpatrick might retire if the Jets don’t improve their offer. Are you concerned Ryan might retire?

Maccagnan: I will say this, and I’ve tried to be very consistent with this. We’re not going to comment, per se, on speculation with anything with any of our players that we’re currently in negotiations with. I would just leave it at that.

Q)Do you think Fitzpatrick could retire?

Maccagnan: Again, as I said, I’m not going to comment on any of that stuff. All our negotiations are with the player and the agent and we try to basically keep that between the two of us and not talk through the media in terms of weighing in on that.

Q)Would you prefer the other side didn’t negotiate though the media?

Maccagnan: Again, I think it’s been our policy with the agent and the player that we’re trying to conduct ourselves in a certain way and not negotiate this through the media. I don’t know how else I can phrase that, but at the end of the day, that’s kind of our policy.


Lee covered Braxton in practice 04.29.16

It’s no secret a big reason the Jets picked Ohio State LB Darron Lee in the first round are his coverage skills.

He can not only cover tight ends and running backs, but wide receivers as well.

Lee often covered speedy OSU wide receiver Braxton Miller in practice.

“I practiced against Braxton Miller every day, so I had a lot of experience going against somebody as shifty as he is,” Lee said.

If he can keep up with the speedy Miller, running with NFL tight ends shouldn’t be a big problem.

And dealing with the New York media shouldn’t be a problem for him either. His mother is a long-time TV news anchor (now in Columbus), and Darron grew up around news rooms. The media thing comes easy to him.

“I think it helped me,” Lee said. “I picked up things – how to speak, how to answer questions, what to you look out for.”

His mother’s work habits also rubbed off.

“Her work ethic is unbelievable – she is very respected in the news room,” Lee said. “She taught me there is nothing wrong with having pride in your work.”

And the Jets expect to have a lot of pride in how Lee covers tight end, and maybe a receiver now and then.


Lee often covered receivers in college 04.28.16

Here is an interview with Jets first round pick Darron Lee from before the draft . . .

Q)What is your ideal playing weight?

Darron Lee: Between 235, 238. That’s ample for me carrying it around.

Q)Did you play any safety at Ohio State?

Lee: No, I did not play any safety.

Q)Will your weight have an impact on your career?

Lee: I can play at that weight. I have really no concerns about it, to be honest with you. As long as I’m able to play fast, that’s all that matters to me.

Q)What do you bring to a defense?

Lee: I know a lot of teams are looking for speed. I feel that’s something I’ll be able to do.
I feel linebackers are changing in the league, to be honest – a lot smaller. There aren’t really too many bigger guys. The game is getting faster and you need guys to cover.

Q)What do you need to work on?

Lee: Consistency in technique for sure. I think if I can show being consistent in my technique and even showing that on the field, that will get you out of some tough situations and help you play fundamentally sound.

Q)What were your main responsibilities in college?

Lee: It was a mixture. It was a mix of everything, zone coverage and man coverage. It really depended on who we were playing that week and what coaches wanted to do. So it really depended on game plan.

Q)Cover a lot of backs?

Lee: No. Sometimes it would be tight end and sometimes it would even be speed receivers. I probably have some help here and there a little bit with a safety, but there’d be sometimes I’d have to cover speed receivers.

Q)What’s the attitude when you’re out on the field?

Lee: Play with a passion and energy, that’s just my game. I like getting my guys hyped up so they can go and make a play. That’s what I’m all about. I’ve always been about that from when I was yay high and that won’t stop when I get to the league.”


Q-and-A with WR Laquon Treadwell. The next Dez Bryant? 04.27.16

Q)Do questions about your speed bother you?

Laquon Treadwell – WR – Ole Miss: The questions, they don’t really bother me. I still have to go out there and play and have the production on the field. I don’t let it get to me.

Q)Do you think it’s fair you’re pegged a possession receiver?

Treadwell: I don’t. I think I’ll only get better. I’ll just continue to push myself to get better, and my game will show eventually. Learn from guys that’s already there on the team that I’m drafted to.

Q)What is your favorite route?

Treadwell: I don’t have a favorite route honestly. I work on them all just as much as I would work on a slant or a fade. Just love playing football, love the game. Passionate for it, and just ready to get back to work.

QIs there anyone in the NFL that you model your game after?

Treadwell: I do like the way Dez Bryant plays, the way he attacks the ball and makes plays, makes the difficult plays, so there are similarities there, but I don’t like to model myself after anyone. I have learned to create my own style of play.

Q)Who is the toughest DB you ever went against in college?

Treadwell: I mean, I wouldn’t consider anyone tough in college. You had teams that had great players. I just never got a one-on-one matchup where I (thought) that guy would stop me or that guy would shut me down. There were some great guys. Cyrus Jones, the guy from Florida, not Vernon Hargreaves, the younger guy. The Mississippi State cornerback was great.

Q)How tough was it to come back from such a tough injury (broken fibula and ankle)?

Treadwell: I feel blessed for sure. Coming back from that, having the team around me, the players to push me and my family to push me to get back, to inspire me to chase my dreams and believing in me.

Q)How did you get through it?

Treadwell: The first night I just told myself I knew how I got where I was. I knew what I had to do was work. Some days I would be down and be like, “Aw man, it’s tough,” but I just stayed with it, kept my faith. I just continued to work hard. It was night and day from 6 in the morning to 11 at night. Sometimes I would sleep in the facility and just stay up there and watch film, watch myself before and just try to get that comfort level, that confidence back.

Q)What do you think of the draft being held in your hometown (Chicago)?

Treadwell: It’s amazing. They say God works in mysterious ways. Just the draft being in Chicago, me being hurt last year then being back healthy and being able to be drafted in my home city, family going to be there. It’s going to be an amazing time for me. I’ll cherish it, and that’s something I’ll never forget.


Jets Schedule 04.14.16

2016 New York Jets Schedule

Preseason

8/11 Thursday Jacksonville 7:30 p.m. CBS

8/19 Friday at Washington 7:30 p.m. CBS

8/27 Saturday NY Giants 7:30 p.m. CBS

9/1 Thursday at Philadelphia 7:00 p.m. CBS

Regular Season

9/11 Sunday Cincinnati 1:00 p.m. CBS

9/15 Thursday at Buffalo 8:25 p.m. CBS/NFLN/Twitter

9/25 Sunday at Kansas City 4:25 p.m. CBS

10/2 Sunday Seattle 1:00 p.m. FOX

10/9 Sunday at Pittsburgh 1:00 p.m.^ CBS

10/17 Monday at Arizona 8:30 p.m. ESPN

10/23 Sunday Baltimore 1:00 p.m.^ CBS

10/30 Sunday at Cleveland 1:00 p.m.^ CBS

11/6 Sunday at Miami 1:00 p.m.^ CBS

11/13 Sunday Los Angeles 1:00 p.m.^ FOX

11/20 Bye Week

11/27 Sunday New England 8:30 p.m.* NBC

12/5 Monday Indianapolis 8:30 p.m. ESPN

12/11 Sunday at San Francisco 4:05 p.m.* CBS

12/17 Saturday Miami 8:25 p.m. NFLN

12/24 Saturday at New England 1:00 p.m.* CBS

1/1 Sunday Buffalo 1:00 p.m.* CBS

^Subject to Week 5-10 Flex Scheduling

*Subject to Week 11-17 Flex Scheduling

Flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time.


Q-and-A with TE Jerell Adams (4.6 speed) 04.13.16

Q)What did you think of your senior season?

Jerell Adams – Tight End – South Carolina: It was not as good as I thought it was going to be. We struggled with the quarterback situation. Of course, the coach leaving in the middle of the year. I feel like it could have been a whole lot better than what it was.

Q)How did the Senior Bowl go?

Adams: I thought I had a good week down there. I think I raised my stock a little bit.

Q)You have worked with Anthony Becht . . .

Adams: Anthony is a good guy. We worked on one-on-one drills and catching drills. A good bit of stuff. He helped me out a lot.

Q)How difficult is it to be productive when you have three starting QBs?

Adams: It was kind of hard, but you just had to focus on yourself and do the best you can when you got the ball in your hands. The game plan kind of stayed the same.

Q)What do you bring to a team?

Adams: I feel like I’m a great teammate, a great leader, very coachable. I just play hard, give it 100 percent in everything I do.

Q)Do you think you’re an every down TE?

Adams: Yes, I believe so.

Q)Do the NFL folks ask you why you weren’t more productive at South Carolina?

Adams: Sometimes they do but a lot of them know we struggled offensively with the quarterback and the coaching staff. Some of them, do but a lot of them don’t.
I just tell them I am what I put on film. I tried to make the best on what I do.

Q)What was the feedback you got at the Senior Bowl?

Adams: A lot of scouts said I had a great week down there. A lot of coaches said they didn’t think I was as tough as I was, that I could hold a block as long as I could. I felt like I had a great week down there.

Q)Do you feel like your draft status has improved since the end of the season?

Adams: Yes, my draft status has improved a lot.

Q)Do you have an idea of what it is now?

Adams: No, I only set one goal in life and that’s to get better every day no matter what I am doing, be better than the day before.

Q)How much did you play with your hand on the ground?

Adams: It was kind of split 50-50.

Q)Do you pattern your game after anybody else?

Adams: No, I try to set the pattern for myself.

Q)Do you have a favorite?

Adams: Gronkowski, because he’s a good blocker and a good catcher.

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Q-and-A with Alabama DT A’Shawn Robinson (6-4, 320) 04.12.16

Q)Are there things you’d like to get better at?

A’Shawn Robinson – defensive tackle – Alabama: Everything. I feel like I can improve on everything. No matter what’s good and what’s bad, I feel like I can improve. But I most want to improve on my pass rush.

Q)How can you improve pass rush?

Robinson: Just get off the blocks faster. Stop patty-caking with the offensive linemen and just get off the block and go make the play.

Q)What attributes do guys who come through the Alabama system have?

Robinson: You develop discipline. You know exactly what you have to do, playing for Coach Saban. To be the best we can. To go out every day and give 100 percent no matter what it is – on and off the field. Just being a better man. So it really helped us playing for the University of Alabama.

Q)You are good with your hands. How did you develop that?

A: Coach Booth—he tells us try to choke someone. Anybody that ever just made you mad, just try to choke ‘em, choke ‘em to death . So I start squeezing, grabbing pads, just start squeezing, shaking, shaking the fillings out of ‘em. So that’s what we try to do every time we get our hands inside and grab em.

Q)What sets you apart in a great defensive line class?

Robinson: Strength. Power. Film. The way I use my hands. My athleticism, the way I’m coming off blocks, using my hands, running to the ball.

Q)How did you and Jarran Reed play off each other?

Robinson: We had each other’s back. If I was getting double-teamed, I knew he was going to make that play. If he was getting double-teamed, he knew I was going to make that play.

Q)3-4 end?

Robinson: I do see myself as a 3-4 end. I feel like that’s something I’ve been working on, working in Baton Rouge with coach Pete Jenkins, has really helped me to be a better rusher and to use my hands if I was out there on the edge.

Q)Can you describe what an NFL team will get in you?

Robinson: A great player. A high-motor player. Give great effort. Plays to best of his ability every single play. So they’re going to get all of that. I’m not gonna give them less than that.

Q)Did you grow the beard for intimidation?

Robinson: It wasn’t really intimidation thing. I got into college and I was going bald. So it was time to shave and grow a beard. I don’t really smile too often so people were like, “That dude looks old! He looks like he’s about 40 years old!” So I just OK. I like it. So it’s cool, looking old.

****To subscribe to Jets Confidential, click below. Don’t forget to pick up our draft preview issue on news stands now.


Q-and-A with Jaylon Smith 04.11.16

Q)Do you expect to play in 2016 (after blowing his knee out last season)?

Jaylon Smith – LB – Notre Dame: That’s the goal. As soon as possible. I can’t tell when I’ll be back, but I’ll be back 100 percent.

Q)Who has been most instrumental in your rehab?

Smith: The most instrumental in my rehab has been AWB Sports in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They’ve really taken care of me.

Q)Did you suffer any nerve damage?

Smith: No, the nerve wasn’t stretched at all. It’s just the healing game. That’s all. It’s a process. I’ll be back 100 percent. We just don’t know when.

Q)What was the exact nature of the injury?

Smith: Torn ACL and LCL. Both repaired.

Q)How do you feel about having to go through this?

Smith: It’s the game of football and it happened. I have no choice but to live with it. I’m just moving forward. That’s all I’m focused on.

Q)Any hard feelings?

Smith: No, no hard feelings. Me and Taylor (Decker) talked. All is well.

Q)Are you still hoping to be taken in top 10 even with the uncertainty?

Smith: I’m hoping to go top 10. I view myself as the best player in the draft, you know? It’s just a matter of waiting and enjoying the process and controlling what I can control.

Q)Former NFL team doctor said it appeared you have nerve damage . . .

Smith: I feel great. There’s no soreness in the knee or there’s no pain. I’ve been off pain pills for almost a month. It’s the matter of the recovery process.
I don’t know when the nerve and everything will heal, but it’s just a matter of me taking it day-by-day and controlling what I can control.
The nerve isn’t stretched at all.

Q)Do you understand teams might be leery?

Smith: It’s a long-term decision for whoever drafts me. I’m a guy who will be around for a while playing at an elite level. An impact player. It’s great watching a guy like Todd Gurley do it last year and come back almost mid-season and perform. It’s very encouraging.

Q)Does this rehab process test your patience?

Absolutely. It tests your patience. First time I’ve been injured in my life. It’s making a man out of me. Like I said, it’s just a process and having great guys around you to encourage you and support you.

Q)Navarro Bowman came back from a similar injury. Is that encouraging?

Smith: Absolutely. It’s the NFL. There’s a lot of knee injuries and guys come back and perform well. There’s no doubt in my mind. It’s just a matter of when I’ll be healthy.

Q)What are your biggest strengths?

Smith: I think being versatile. I can pass rush. I can cover. I can stuff (the run). It’s just being able to be in the right spot at the
right time. That’s something I challenge myself on on each and every play.

Q)Did you have insurance?

Smith: Yes sir. There’s a loss of value policy that I applied for and was granted before the Notre Dame 2015 season.


Broncos Press Release on Clady Trade 04.10.16

BRONCOS AGREE TO TERMS TO TRADE T RYAN CLADY TO N.Y. JETS

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos on Sunday agreed to terms to trade veteran tackle Ryan Clady and a seventh-round pick (No. 235) in the 2016 NFL Draft to the New York Jets in exchange for a fifth-round selection (No. 157) in 2016, Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway announced.

“Ryan was a great Bronco who made a tremendous impact on our team during his eight seasons in Denver,” Elway said. “In addition to becoming a Pro Bowl player, he was such a positive presence in our locker room and community. Our organization thanks Ryan for his many contributions and wishes him all the best in the next chapter of his NFL career.”

Clady was Denver’s longest-tenured player, starting all 98 regular-season games played and all four postseason contests since he was selected by the club with the 12th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft from Boise State University.

A three-time Associated Press All-Pro selection (1st team – 2009, ’12; 2nd team – 2008), Clady’s four Pro Bowls (2009, ’11-12, ’14) represent the most in team history by an offensive tackle.

Clady was Denver’s starting left tackle from his first game in 2008, finishing third in the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. The following year, he was named a first-team All-Pro selection to make him just the fifth tackle since the 1970 NFL merger to earn that distinction by his second professional season.

After an offseason knee injury in 2010, Clady recovered to start all 16 games for the Broncos and was voted as the team’s recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. He opened all 16 games in each season from 2011-12, earning consecutive Pro Bowl honors.

Clady missed his first career games in 2013 after suffering a Lisfranc injury in the team’s third contest and being placed on injured reserve. He returned in 2014 to start every game for Denver and earn his fourth career Pro Bowl. A knee injury during the 2015 offseason kept Clady off the field during his final year with the Broncos.

Clady played 39 career games (37 starts) in three seasons at Boise State University, where he earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors during his final two years. A defensive lineman at Eisenhower High School in Rialto, Calif., Clady was born on Sept. 6, 1986.


This left tackle can do the job 04.08.16

ESPN’s Rich Cimini announced today that Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson is retiring.

So where do the Jets turn from here?

To me the answer is simple – Ben Ijalana.

Ijalana, who is currently a free agent, was the Jets’ backup swing tackle the last two seasons.

He was a second-round pick of the Colts in the 2011 draft, but had injury issues in Indianapolis, and was waived on the final cut-down in 2013, and claimed by the Jets.

He is 6-4, 317 pounds with long arms and quick feet. He’s a very athletic lineman who is extremely bright and does a nice job recognizing stunts and blitzes. He has a very quick kick slide, which is important at left tackle.

Ijalana is a viable candidate for the Jets’ left tackle job. He knows the system and will come cheap.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. It’s our blowout draft preview issue. Pick one up on a news stand or you can subscribe by clicking the ad below.


Entire NFL Pre-season Schedule 04.07.16

NFL/HALL OF FAME GAME – AUGUST 7

Green Bay vs. Indianapolis (ESPN, 8/7)

WEEK 1 – AUGUST 11-15

Dallas at Los Angeles (ESPN, 8/13)
Carolina at Baltimore
Cleveland at Green Bay
Denver at Chicago
Detroit at Pittsburgh
Houston at San Francisco
Indianapolis at Buffalo
Jacksonville at NY Jets
Miami at NY Giants
Minnesota at Cincinnati
New Orleans at New England
Oakland at Arizona
San Diego at Tennessee
Seattle at Kansas City
Tampa Bay at Philadelphia
Washington at Atlanta

WEEK 2 – AUGUST 18-22

Arizona at San Diego
Atlanta at Cleveland
Baltimore at Indianapolis
Carolina at Tennessee
Chicago at New England
Cincinnati at Detroit
Kansas City at Los Angeles
Miami at Dallas
Minnesota at Seattle
New Orleans at Houston
NY Giants at Buffalo
NY Jets at Washington
Oakland at Green Bay
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
San Francisco at Denver
Tampa Bay at Jacksonville

WEEK 3 – AUGUST 25-28

Atlanta at Miami (NBC, 8/25)
Cleveland at Tampa Bay (CBS, 8/26)
Tennessee at Oakland (CBS, 8/27)
San Diego at Minnesota (FOX, 8/28)
Arizona at Houston (FOX, 8/28)
Cincinnati at Jacksonville (NBC, 8/28)
Buffalo at Washington
Dallas at Seattle
Detroit at Baltimore
Green Bay at San Francisco
Kansas City at Chicago
Los Angeles at Denver
New England at Carolina
NY Giants at NY Jets
Philadelphia at Indianapolis
Pittsburgh at New Orleans

WEEK 4 – SEPTEMBER 1-2

Baltimore at New Orleans
Buffalo at Detroit
Chicago at Cleveland
Denver at Arizona
Green Bay at Kansas City
Houston at Dallas
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Jacksonville at Atlanta
Los Angeles at Minnesota
New England at NY Giants
NY Jets at Philadelphia
Pittsburgh at Carolina
San Francisco at San Diego
Seattle at Oakland
Tennessee at Miami
Washington at Tampa Bay


Q-and-A with Stony Brook pass-rusher Victor Ochi 04.07.16

Q)Is you height an advantage in leverage?

Victor Ochi – OLB – Stony Brook – Most people would call me undersized because I’m 6-1 coming off the edge, but I feel like it helps me get under tackles and I still have a very large wingspan at the same time. My height and my leverage and my hands gives me a great advantage over other people.

Q)What are your thoughts on the comparisons to Elvis Dumveril?

Ochi: We have some similarities. We both like using our leverage to press tackles back. I definitely watched his film. He’s a great, phenomenal player. I tried to learn something for myself from him.

Q)How important are your hands as an undersized pass rusher?

Ochi: You have to create separation. I’m going against bigger guys, and if they get their hands on me, half of the battle is done for them. I have to do a good job of getting my hands on them first and creating separation so I can impose my will.

Q)Other than Dumveril, who do you model yourself after?

Ochi: I like to watch all types of pass-rushers. I watch Dumervil, I like watching James Harrison and Von Miller. And when I put my hand on the ground I like watching Cameron Wake too. His get-off is phenomenal.

Q)What kind of player will the team that drafts you get?

Ochi: A player who is committed, who is going to go 100 percent every play, and a player who wants to win most importantly. You play to win the game and I’m going to do my best to help my team win.

Q)How did your four years in Nigeria (ages 9-12) impact you?

Ochi: It was definitely a different culture from America. It gave me the same
philosophy of working for everything. It really put me in shape mentally because I was a little out of control when I was a kid, but my family there got me right.

Q)Did you meet with the Jets?

Ochi: I met with the Jets at the East-West game.

Q)Are you good at setting the edge?

Ochi: Getting off the ball and using my long arms and hands to separate the offensive linemen from it. But it’s really the get-off, though. Get-off determines a lot on the field. If you get to your lineman first you win the game half the time.


What would you do if you were Fitz? 04.06.16

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets are engaged in a contract battle royale right now.

According to Jimmy Sexton’s surrogates in the media, Fitzpatrick has been offered a deal in the neighborhood of $7 million a year, but wants $16 million.

A lot of people are ripping Fitzpatrick for not signing yet.

I don’t understand the vitriol.

It’s April 6. Training camps don’t start until late July.

What is wrong with Fitzpatrick playing the waiting game and trying to get the Jets to improve their offer?

It’s not like his camp is engaging in mudslinging. We have seen that in the past with other players and agents. The Fitz camp has kept this classy.

We live in an instant gratification society. People want things to happen yesterday.

This could take some time.

The Jets probably need to offer more than $7 million-a-year, and they seem to know that.

“Hopefully at some point and time, we can find a middle ground we are both happy with,” Jets GM Mike Maccagnan said last month.

“Middle ground” doesn’t mean pay him $7 million-a-year, an offer he clearly doesn’t like. Maybe it’s means $9 million-a-year. Who knows? We shall see.

“It’s free agency, so I think you go through this process like with any player and I think both parties are basically trying to look at what they feel is fair and it’s a process you have to work through and we’ll see how it plays itself out,” Maccagnan said. “We like Ryan, we’d like to have Ryan back, but I think at the end of the day, it’s free agency. You go through this.”

That is exactly right, “you go through this.”

It’s called “negotiations.”

And the player is doing nothing wrong being patient right now.

No matter how painful that is to some.

**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out. It’s our blowout draft preview issue! Pick one up on a Tri-State area news stand, or you can subscribe to this monthly unfiltered look at the Jets by clicking below.


Q-and-A with DE Bronson Kaufusi 04.05.16

Q)Where are you most comfortable on the field?

Bronson Kaufusi – DE – BYU: I feel most comfortable in a five-technique with my hand in the ground just because rushing is what I like to do. Being in the five-technique is my base.

Q)Why should a team invest a high-round draft choice on you?

Kaufusi: I feel like I can make a difference right away. I’m a quick learner. I pick up things fast. I have the ability to get on the field and make plays right away.

Q)How do you think you will handle the transition?

Kaufusi: Being able to learn the defense and pick it up fast is what’s really going to help me.

Q)Your father, Steve, is the defensive line coach at BYU. What was it like growing up around a father who is a football coach?

Kaufusi: When you’re growing up, you’re around the game. I remember my family, for fun, we’d go to practice. I loved it. Football games were huge. Bowl games – we look forward to that time of year. There’s no off-season. I learned that real fast when I was young. Going to spring ball, workouts. As a kid, I wanted to be all around it as much as I could. It’s been a big help being around that since I was born.

Q)You went to BYU for football and hoops. Has football always been your No. 1 sport?

Kaufusi: Definitely. That’s why I elected not to play basketball my second year of college. I knew I was switching positions and wanted to put everything into that.

Q)What was your experience at linebacker in college?

Kaufusi: I felt like it was a great experience for me. I learned the defense from a different point of view. Learned the coverages, learn a lot I wouldn’t have learned as a defensive lineman.

Then to go back (to the defensive line), I knew where guys were fitting behind me. I knew where everyone needed to be as a defensive end, so it was a great opportunity for me to learn even more to help the defense.

Q)What was it like watching film with you dad?

Kaufusi: When I was a kid, he watched a lot of film. I’d go in there and he’d be grading stuff. He’d take me with him and I’d just be sitting there as a kid watching him. He didn’t say too much. As time went on, it got more serious. High school, I’d come out and watch film with him.

Q)Did you pick his brain a lot?

Kaufusi: I’d ask him questions as soon as I put the pads on. I started playing in eighth grade. I’d ask him a lot and he’d share things with me. Come to my games and watch and, at halftime, share things with me. It helped a lot. Having a guy who played at the highest level (1989-90 with the Eagles) and coached for so many years give instant feedback was really special.

Q)How would you describe your basketball game?

Kaufusi: When I played, I had a role. Get rebounds, set hard screens. That was my main job. I felt like I wasn’t able to show my full basketball game of scoring because I had a role.


Q-and-A with an offensive tackle rising up charts 04.04.16

Q)You seem to be gaining momentum since the college season ended . . .

Jason Spriggs – OT – Indiana: I think the Senior Bowl went well. Just trying to continue to be positive about it and keep my head down and keep working

Q)Describe yourself as a lineman . . .

Spriggs: I describe myself as more of an athletic lineman than most. I use that to my strength.

Q)How?

Spriggs: Especially in a zone scheme and being able to get around edges and get back against pass rushers.

Q)What kind of offense did you play in at Indiana?

Spriggs: I was very blessed to be in an offense that did a lot of things. We were multi-dimensional and that helped me a lot. We ran a very up-tempo offense, but we kind of hit everything . . . power schemes.

Q)Do you pride yourself on your durability – 46 starts in college . . .

Spriggs: That’s something I hold very highly. I had that black [mark] of the one missed start. It’s something I set out to do and I’m very happy I was able to do that.

Q)What is your most natural position?

Spriggs: I feel more natural at left tackle, but I’ve been working at both.

Q)How has your work on the right side gone?

Spriggs: It’s definitely not an easy thing to do, just switch from left to right. It wasn’t an easy thing for me. I’ve had to work on it quite a bit.

Q)What is something you need to work on?

Spriggs: I think late in the run game I tend to get a little bit high on my toes.

Q)Where do you expect to go in the draft?

Spriggs: I’ve seen I’ve been all over the board. It varies quite a bit. I’ve been all over the place, really. Anywhere from first, second, third round. I don’t pay attention to that.

Q)How did you fair against end Josy Bosa in the Ohio State game?

Spriggs: I think we both had our shots. I wouldn’t say either one of us came out of that game as the victor.

Q)Who was the toughest match-up you faced in college?

Spriggs: Honestly if I can take it to the Senior Bowl, Noah Spence was one of the best I played this year. Just the speed I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t something we knew. It really put an emphasis on (making a) quick decision.


Q-and-A with Germain Ifedi 04.03.16

Q)Are you prepared for NFL pass blocking?

Germain Ifedi – OT – Texas A&M: I definitely think I’m prepared. We threw the ball a lot and had two really good defensive ends at our school right now that will probably be coming out next year. We have some good pass rushers so I think I’m pretty ready pass-rushing wise.

Q)Can you talk about the influence of your parents (Nigerian immigrants) . . .
Ifedi: I credit them tremendously. They instilled that hard work in me from the very beginning from where I first started elementary school.
It’s grown throughout my life and through college – work hard and you’ll reach your different goals and pinnacles you want to reach.

Q)What do your parents do?

Ifedi: My mom is a parole officer. My father works for United Airlines. My mom is also a part-time nurse.

Q)Do you think you will go in the first round?

Ifedi: I always have hope. I’m always confident in my abilities, confident in the product I put on the field. It comes down to what the teams like, but I just feel confident I can be a first-round pick.

Q)It was a rough year for the Aggies. How do you think you played?

Ifedi: I thought I played well. The team struggled, but I thought I played well. Every offensive lineman has some plays where they struggled, but overall I thought I played very well and had my best season in my short college career.

Q)Why should a team pick you in the first round?

Ifedi: Just the player I am, the football intelligence, the aggressiveness and nastiness I play with, the versatility I bring to the field, a lot of things you want in an offensive lineman, I think I bring to the table, the leadership aspect, everything you want I think I bring to the table.

Q)Tackle or guard on the next level?

Ifedi: I like both positions. I play both positions and I think I’ve excelled at both positions. I don’t prefer either one. Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play and enjoy it.


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