Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Rex to CJ – “They are all meaningful.” 10.31.14

When asked if he’s excited about the rest of the season, Chris Johnson told ESPN New York, “If it’s going like it’s been going, there’s nothing to be excited about or look forward to. I don’t know what’s really going to change.”

What did Rex Ryan think of this quote?

“I think first off, I know nobody expected us, we expected to be right in the middle of this thing and not with the record we’ve had,” Ryan said. “But, you’re a professional football player and there’s a lot to get excited about in my opinion. We’ve got half a season in front of us. You’re a rare guy to be able to play at this level and to be chosen to play at this level. So, I think to put your physical skillset out there each week I think’s an honor.

“At the same time, I understand where Chris is coming from in the fact that nobody thought this is where we’d be. You want to play, as they say, ‘meaningful games’. But they’re all meaningful games. It just might not be where we want them to be right now.”


Jets should keep these systems 10.29.14

There is so much speculation about what the Jets might do after this season – who will stay, who will go.

IMO (“in my opinion” for you non-twitter people), the Jets should keep their offensive and defensive systems. They are sound. Don’t keep throwing new playbooks at players. New England certainly doesn’t do that.

Marty’s offense and Rex’s defense are sound systems. And both guys are solid player-callers.

In fact, Rex’s system is so respected around the league, Kansas City coach Andy Reid wanted it for his Chiefs defense. That is why Reid hired former Jets assistant Bob Sutton to be his defensive coordinator last year.

“He’s a Rex (Ryan) guy and that he knows that defense and that’s a phenomenal scheme,” Reid said. “He was kind of the right hand man for Rex at that time. I competed against that defense for so long as a coach and I really wanted that kind of person and that defense for my defense.”

IMO, whatever changes happen after this season, the Jets need to keep their offensive and defensive playbooks intact.


Some info on new Jets PS linebacker 10.29.14

LB Chris Young – Arizona State – 6-0, 244

ASU: Started all 27 games at ASU since he joined the team prior to the 2012 season…Earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors in 2013…Earned Ron Pritchard Outstanding Linebacker Award at the 2013 team banquet…Named Pac-12 Player of the Week Nov. 25, 2013…His 82 tackles in 2012 were the third-most by an ASU junior college transfer in his first season in the past decade… In 2013: Tallied a team-high 112 total tackles and became the second player in as many years to reach 100 tackles in a season…Earned Second Team All-Pac-12 honors.

High School: Graduated from Seattle (Wash.) Auburn High School in 2010…Was rated a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 24 outside linebacker recruit by Scout.com as a high school senior…Was listed by Rivals.com as the No. 31 safety in the country and the state of Washington’s No. 5 overall recruit in 2010.


Did Idzik say everything is great? 10.28.14

While one New York columnist claimed John Idzik said everything was “great” in his press conference yesterday, that really isn’t accurate. Here is some of what the GM said about what needs to improve with his team . . .

“I think it is that lack of consistency. We do it, but we don’t do it all the time. And our inability to finish, finish drives, our red zone efficiency, red zone efficiency both offensively and defensively, we must improve.

“I am not big on stats (to) explain things. I think sometimes it can come off as excuses and we aren’t about excuses. But there is one telling stat that we all know holds true in our league and it governs or significantly effects the be-all, end-all stat and that is the score. That is turnovers, we are dead last in the league in turnover ratio. We stress it. We preach it. We study it. We practice it. We need must apply it. It is no more evident than [against the Bills], turning the ball over six times. We turned the ball over four times and we still got it within a score. Not good enough. We know it, we need to do it now.

“I guess what I am saying is, we have done these things in spurts. It is not enough to do them in spurts in the National Football League. You need to do it continuously. That is habitual. That is something that you learn on Monday, you apply it on Wednesday and (you) take it right into Sunday.”

The Jets also need to improve their personnel evaluation process.

But to act like Idzik said everything is “great” is a little bit of mischaracterization of what took place on Monday.


Some info on new Jets CB Marcus Williams 10.28.14

CB Marcus Williams – North Dakota State

* 2011, 2012, 2013 College Football Performance.com DB Watch List
* 2012, 2013 American Football Coaches Association FCS All-America Team
* 2012 Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year
* 2011, 2012, 2013 Walter Camp FCS All-America Team
* 2011, 2012, 2013 Associated Press FCS All-America First Team
* 2011, 2012, 2013 The Sports Network All-America First Team
* 2011, 2012, 2013 College Sporting News FCS Fabulous 50
* 2011, 2012 College Sports Journal FCS All-America Team
* 2011, 2012, 2013 All-Missouri Valley Football Conference First Team

Consensus All-American … Selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game … Set NDSU record with 21 career interceptions … His seven interception returns for touchdown set an FCS record … Also returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdown during career … NDSU career record holder for all-purpose running with a 27.4 average … Credited with at least one pass defended in 41 games … Joined the Houston Texans in May 2014 as an undrafted free agent


Rex Ryan various points on QB change 10.27.14

Here are some of Rex Ryan’s thoughts on his decision to replace Geno Smith with Mike Vick at quarterback . . .

“I have decided to go with Mike Vick this week. Give him an opportunity to work extensively with the first team offense, and have Geno (Smith) take a step back for the first time in his career. Maybe get (Smith) a different perspective of it, maybe just kind of sit back and observe it from a different perspective.

“This is not looking long term, this is about the immediate. My focus is just on Kansas City and trying to find a way to get a win. That’s why this decision was made.

“I think when Mike came into the game I thought it did give us a spark. I felt the energy on the sideline.

“I think given an opportunity, that he really hasn’t been given, which is to run with the first team all week, we will see how it plays out.

“I think Geno had a tremendous game against New England. I felt great about it. I really thought we were going to have a great game this week, and clearly that didn’t happen. Our execution was off to say the least.

“[Geno] just wasn’t accurate. I mean, we all saw that. The first one I think started with timing. The ball’s got to come out quicker and then when he released it to (Eric) Decker, it ended up clearly it was behind him. The overthrow, Percy (Harvin’s) clearly open on it and the ball just came out of his hand poorly. The ball just sailed on him.

“[Smith's shoulder] doesn’t seem to be a serious injury, but there is an injury to his shoulder, so it’s not 100 percent right now. We’ll see. Hopefully, he’ll be able to throw the football on Wednesday. I’m not so sure he could do it right now.

“I think this is the right decision at this time.”


Bill Cowher on Geno Smith/MIchael Vick 10.26.14

On the CBS NFL post-game show, analyst Bill Cowher said the Jets need to go with Michael Vick at quarterback.

“Right now, you need to start Michael Vick,” Cowher said. “Geno Smith right now needs to sit back and watch this game. Give Michael Vick all the snaps with the first team. Let him try to infuse some degree of purpose, of direction, with them because he is a veteran.

“Geno Smith was not seeing things in this game. He was missing wide open players. He was making very poor decisions. I think the thing you do is let him sit on the sideline, let him watch right now. I would say Michael Vick is my starter. I’m giving him a week’s work, and I work from there. That is what you have to do at this point because right now Geno needs to take a step back. Otherwise, you’re going to throw him in there, you’re going to lose this kid.”


I don’t understand why they would do this . . . 10.26.14

East Rutherford – From an NFL football standpoint, this didn’t make a lot of sense.

The Jets acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin nine days ago, and made him the focal point of their offense today.

Why do that?

You spend an entire off-season and summer installing a system, and then in a mid-season game, you make a new acquisition, who doesn’t know the playbook, the centerpiece in his first outing?

I know the Jets weren’t necessarily loaded with weapons, but that still is no excuse for marking Harvin “the man” offensively so quickly.

If this was high school or Division III college football that is one thing, but you don’t do that in Week 8 of the NFL season. The NFL is a very complex league schematically.

Let Harvin return kicks, and give him a few plays on offense. Don’t blow up the playbook to cater to a new player.

Were they trying to appease Harvin?

Were they trying to justify the trade?

I don’t know, but Harvin led the Jets in touches today with 19. That is crazy.

On pass plays, he has little chemistry with the quarterback(s). On kick returns, he has little chemistry with the blockers.

I’m sorry, this was a bad plan for a player who just got into town.


Foolish premise by noted columnist 10.26.14

East Rutherford – I can’t remember the last time Mike Lupica was at Jets camp, or at a game. It might have been when Joe Klecko was playing.

He’s almost never around the team.

He wrote a column with a bizarre premise, at least to me.

Headline – “NY Jets better off losing in order to get high pick in 2015 NFL Draft.”

He went on to write a column supporting this headline.

“The Jets say they’re better than their record,” Lupica wrote in today’s Daily News. “Right. So do the Raiders. But if the Jets lose to the Bills on Sunday and go to 1-7, the reality of their situation becomes this: It would be better for them to finish 3-13 and move way up into the draft, instead of kidding themselves and their fans with the kind of finish a year ago that saved Rex Ryan’s job.”

Better off losing games?

Tell that to Mo Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson who are playing their tails off.

Tell that to Chris Ivory who is running over defenders like a Brahma bull.

Tell that to Rex Ryan who is trying to save his job.

The idea of tanking games to get a better draft pick is a concept foreign to anybody who is a competitor, whether it’s players, coaches or fans.

It’s also a concept devoid of integrity.

As a former Jets coach once said, “You play to win the game.”

I could not agree with him more.

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Rex breaks down Mo Wilkerson’s season 10.23.14

Rex Ryan was asked a number of questions about the Jets’ best player, Mo Wilkerson, today, and here is some of what he had to say . . .

“I think Mo’s having a great year, phenomenal year. Here’s a guy that’s (high on the) charts in everything. Sacks, tackles, PBUs, all those type of things. He’s a big-time player.

“He is seeing a lot of double teams. There’s no surprises. Everybody knows him. They all know Muhammad Wilkerson. Maybe this time, they’ll vote him to a Pro Bowl, which he should’ve been All-Pro last year.

“I think his technique (has improved). Clearly he’s got one of the best teachers in the game. I think Karl Dunbar does a great job with our D-Line. So, I think Mo is, from a technique standpoint, he’s probably better than he’s ever been.

“I think he’s taken on a little bit more of the leadership role and sometimes that happens when your play dictates that. For some reason, the best players sometimes are looked at as the leaders and I think he’s accepted that.”


Russ Wilson on Percy Harvin 10.23.14

There has been speculation that the Seattle Seahawks traded Percy Harvin due to a poor relationship with Russell Wilson.

What say you Russell?

“Percy and I never had differences,” Wilson said. “We had a lot of similarities, probably, more than anything. We’re both guys who want to compete at the highest level, want to win every time we’re out there and want the ball in our hands every single play.

“Percy is a great football player, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work here. We wish him nothing but the best. But our locker room is great. We have guys that are very positive and really want to work and want to win. We rely on the positive mentality in our locker room.”


This narrative is unfair to Geno 10.22.14

There is a popular narrative going around: Now that Geno Smith has a big-time weapon (Percy Harvin), he has no more excuses, and must show he’s “the man” for the Jets’ QB job, in the final nine games.

Yes, he definitely needs to play well over the second half of this season to solidify his position as the Jets’ starting quarterback.

But it’s somewhat unfair to say now that Harvin is with the Jets, Smith now can truly show what he can do.

He has no QB-WR chemistry with Harvin. That sort of thing can take months, and sometimes longer. Also Harvin only knows a scintilla of the Jets’ playbook.

So to act like a mid-season addition at receiver is going to allow people to now evaluate Smith properly, is a concept being a little overblown.

***Grab a copy of the latest edition of Jets Confidential Magazine, a monthly must-read for Jets fans.


A battle of two excellent fronts 10.22.14

The Jets’ defensive line of Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison is the strength of their team.

The same can be said for the Buffalo Bills.

“They’re present a huge challenge for anybody and not just our offensive line, but anybody’s offense line,” said Rex Ryan about the Bills’ defensive line. “The (Marcell) Darius kid leads the league in sacks. I’m a huge Kyle Williams fan. I think he’s one of the most underrated players. Then you have Mario Williams as an outside guy.

“I think another guy that’s really underrated is Jerry Hughes. And it took him awhile, never burst on the scene that maybe the way people thought he would, but right now he’s starting to be that player that I think people envisioned when he was a first-round pick. He’s got explosiveness, he’s an up-the-field pass rusher and he’s got a real good inside move and plays hard.”

So on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, be prepared to watch some of the best defensive line play in the league.

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But then again . . . 10.22.14

Yes, Mike Vick can be a good mentor to Percy Harvin.

However, you wonder if he’s in any mood to be doing the Jets any favors.

After the way things have gone down for Vick in the off-season and season, with the eschewing of competition at the quarterback position, he can’t be happy.

Perhaps his motivation to bend over backwards for them isn’t there.

We will see.


Vick’s importance can’t be minimized 10.22.14

Percy Harvin and Michael Vick are both from “The 757.”

That is what a lot of players from the Virginia Beach-area call their home turf.

Vick is a legend in that area – an iconic figure.

Harvin has enormous respect for Vick.

You can see a bond watching them interact in the locker room.

Vick can be like a big brother to Harvin, a positive, calming influence.

Vick’s impact on whether the Harvin-trade works out can’t be minimized.

**The new issue of JC is out loaded with Jets Whispers. Don’t miss out. Pick one up on a news stand, or by subscription at 1-800-932-4557 ( M-F, 9-5).


Jets and Harvin must listen to Santayana 10.21.14

As the philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

The Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin might turn out to be a steal.

But only if Harvin learns from his past mistakes.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now,” said motivational-speaker Denis Waitley

Harvin and the Jets shouldn’t ignore what happened in the past, but learn from it, to help the player forge a bright future.

“The hardships that I encountered in the past will help me succeed in the future,” said Nigerian engineer mathematician, computer scientist and geologist Philip Emeagwali.

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