Dan Leberfeld's Blog

The Raiders, Vegas and N.J. sports books – 03.27.17

Phoenix – Now that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, can other states now open sports books?

Sports books are obviously where you can bet on games, legally.

Obviously many states have casino gambling, but only one has sports books – Nevada.

The NFL (and other leagues) have successfully fought tooth-and-nail, in court, to keep other states from opening sports books. They don’t want players and coaches living near sports books.

New Jersey has been trying for years to get legal sports books to help struggling Atlantic City, but have lost in court.

Now that there will be an NFL team in Las Vegas, with sports books aplenty, shouldn’t places like New Jersey and Delaware (another state that lost in court), be allowed to have sports gambling?

Stay tuned.


NFL Names New Chief Medical Officer 03.26.17

*NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL today named DR. ALLEN SILLS as the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), a new full-time position based in New York.

Dr. Sills joins the NFL from Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he serves as Professor of Neurological Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation, and Founder and Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center.

Dr. Sills, a neurosurgeon who has specialized in the treatment of athletes, will strengthen the NFL’s ongoing efforts to advance the health and safety of the sport. He will work closely with team medical staffs across the league, the NFL Players Association and its advisors and the many medical and scientific experts who comprise the NFL’s medical committees and guide the NFL’s health and research efforts.

“There is no higher priority for the NFL than player health and safety and we continually seek to raise our standards and then surpass them,” said Commissioner Goodell. “We sought a highly-credentialed physician and leader with experience as a clinician and researcher, and Dr. Sills’ extensive experience caring for athletes makes him the right choice for this important position.”

“We conducted an intensive international search which included many leading experts in sports medicine,” said Dr. John York, Co-chairman, San Francisco 49ers and Chairman of the NFL Owners’ Health and Safety Advisory Committee. “Dr. Sills stood out among the highly credentialed and qualified applicants.”

The appointment follows a rigorous search conducted by a premier panel of health and medical experts led by DR. BETSY NABEL, Chief Health and Medical Advisor to the NFL and President of Brigham Health, and including DR. ROB HEYER, President of the NFL Physicians Society and Team Internist for the Carolina Panthers, RONNIE BARNES, Senior Vice President, Medical Services and Head Athletic Trainer for the New York Giants, DR. ROBERT CANTU, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Co-Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine, and PETER FOSS, GE Healthcare.

The panel worked closely with DR. JOHN YORK, and JEFF MILLER, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives. The NFL consulted with the NFL Players Association, including interviewing the final candidates. Dr. Sills will be reporting to Miller.

“I have been impressed by the talent and experience of the candidates I have met during this process,” said Dr. Betsy Nabel. “Dr. Sills has years of experience on the frontlines of both research and patient care, and I am confident that Dr. Sills will use this platform to continue his work to improve sports health and safety in the NFL and for all athletes.”

“Hiring Dr. Sills is a touchdown for the NFL,” said Dr. Robert Cantu. “He is an international leader for his work on concussions in sports. I look forward to working with him to further advance the NFL’s ongoing commitment to the health and safety of sports.”

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Sills has worked with numerous professional and collegiate sports programs. In addition to providing care for players on NFL sidelines as an Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultant, he has served as a neurological consultant to the NCAA and the International Equestrian Foundation (FEI). He has also worked as consulting neurosurgeon for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, the NHL’s Nashville Predators, the US Equestrian Foundation and all Vanderbilt University, Belmont University and Mississippi State University athletic teams.

“Allen Sills is an exceptional leader who will bring the perspective of a practicing neurosurgeon to this important position,” said Dr. Reid Thompson, Chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “He is an avid athlete and gifted surgeon with a passion for the care of elite athletes. With a combination of energy, vision and absolute integrity he is an inspired choice to become the first Chief Medical Officer of the NFL.”

Dr. Sills is an active researcher who has published more than 150 scientific articles and presentations including more than 40 in the last five years on the topic of sports concussion. He is a member of the Concussion in Sport Group, which publishes international standards regarding concussion in sport. Dr. Sills is also a fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American College of Surgeons and currently serves as Section Editor for Sports and Rehabilitation for the journal Neurosurgery.

Previously, Dr. Sills has served as Founder and Executive Director, Memphis Regional Brain Tumor Center; Director of the Neuroscience Institute at Methodist University Hospital, Memphis; Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee, Memphis and the Semmes-Murphey Clinic; and Chief, Division of Neurosurgery at the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. Sills graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University with a degree in engineering and received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also completed his internship in General Surgery, his residency training in Neurological Surgery and an NIH-funded Neuro-Oncology Fellowship.

Dr. Sills and his wife Shawne live in Tennessee and have four children. He serves on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County Tennessee and has served as a youth baseball coach for more than 20 years.

*Press Release


NFL Rule Change Proposals 03.23.17

2017 Playing Rules Proposals

1 By Philadelphia; Gives additional protections for long snappers on kick plays.

2. By Philadelphia; Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

3. By Philadelphia; Expands the “crown of helmet” foul to include “hairline” part of helmet.

4. By Philadelphia; Amends the challenge system by granting a third challenge if a club is
successful on at least one of its initial two challenges, and expands reviewable plays outside
of two minutes of each half.

5. By Washington; Eliminates the limit of three total challenges per team per game and
eliminates the requirement that a team be successful on each of its first two challenges in
order to be awarded a third challenge.

6. By Washington; Moves the line of scrimmage to the 20-yard line for any touchback where
the free kick travels through the uprights.

7. By Buffalo and Seattle; Permits a coach to challenge any officials’ decision except scoring
plays and turnovers.

8. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is
penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

9. By Competition Committee; Changes the spot of the next snap after a touchback resulting
from a free kick to the 25-yard line for one year only.

10. By Competition Committee; Reduces the length of preseason and regular season overtime
periods to 10 minutes.

11. By Competition Committee; Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player
protection.

12. By Competition Committee; Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who
is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is
snapped.

13. By Competition Committee; Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device
and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision
on replay reviews.

14. By Competition Committee; Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls
during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

15. By Competition Committee; Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute
warning of either half.


McCown mentor angle a bit overblown 03.21.17

It has been said one reason the Jets signed Josh McCown was to be a mentor to Christian Hackenberg/Bryce Petty.

This angle is so overrated.

He was brought to Cleveland to help mentor Johnny Manziel. How’d that work out? And I’m not even talking Johnny’s off-the-field problems. I’m talking about Johnny on the field, his bad decisions, and his tendency to feel pocket ghosts and take off running too much. There wasn’t much the QB mentor could do about that. It’s about instincts.

How much did mentor Mark Brunell help Mark Sanchez with the shortcomings in his game? How much did David Garrard help Geno Smith? How much did Ryan Fitzpatrick help Bryce Petty?

Sanchez, Smith and Petty aren’t great at going through their progressive scans. They tend to fall in love with their first read. Not much a mentor can do about that when the real bullets are flying.

Can Josh McCown help Hackenberg and Petty with little things here and there – like studying film and line calls? Perhaps

But other that that, don’t expect him to be some magical quarterback whisperer.

And it’s Jeremy Bates job to coach the quarterbacks, not McCown.

The Jets need McCown to go out in 2017 and do a solid job quarterbacking their team.

If he’s able to teach the Jets’ young quarterbacks a thing or two along the way, that is gravy.

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Jets have a lot of company 03.20.17

The New York Post had a headline today – “Chase Daniel visits Jets in increasingly desperate QB hunt.”

I’m not sure the situation is “increasingly desperate.”

What has changed from a few weeks ago?

They are looking at guys like Josh McCown, Jay Cutler, Daniel and perhaps Cincinnati’ A.J. McCarron (in a trade).

That hasn’t changed. They are bringing guys in for visits and evaluating their options.

And honestly, about half the league is the same boat, the same “desperate QB hunt.” There is a dearth of elite quarterbacks in the NFL, and the first round of the draft hasn’t been that helpful.

“From ’07 through ’14, there have been 21 first-round quarterbacks,” NFL.com’s Mike Mayock said. “Out of that group, there are either four or five franchise quarterbacks. There’s Matt Ryan, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and if you want to put Joe Flacco in there.

“After that, there are nine first-round kids not even in the league anymore. Then, as far as starting quarterbacks go, you’ve got Bortles, Tannehill, Bradford, and Flacco. Again, depending on what category you want Flacco in. Then there are four back-ups, or Teddy Bridgewater, who has been hurt, E.J. Manuel, RG3, and Mark Sanchez. So it gives you a pretty good feel for the hit rate of franchise quarterbacks in the first round. So, the numbers aren’t real good. The four franchise guys out of 21, five, if you include Flacco, you’re looking at about a 20% chance of drafting a franchise quarterback for the first-round pick.”

There have been a few elite quarterbacks landed outside the first round like Russell Wilson and perhaps Kirk Cousins.

But the bottom line is the Jets have plenty of company in their QB quandary.

They will sign a veteran QB, continue to develop their youngsters, perhaps draft another one, and try to reach the QB brass ring at some point.

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Why is Cutler to Jets so controversial? 03.10.17

So many people are making such a big deal about Jay Cutler and the Jets/New York market being a potential nightmare. Get real people.

First of all, he played in Chicago the last eight years. That is a vicious, large media market as well. So he’s used to a feeding frenzy and blocking out white noise.

Secondly, all these people predicting it won’t end well, keep in mind, almost every Jets quarterback since Joe Namath has been run out of town by the media and some fans. They usually leave as war criminals. Just like the offensive coordinators. It’s happened over and over. So if Cutler comes to the Jets and it doesn’t work out, how will that be any different than Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, Browning Nagle, Mark Sanchez or Ryan Fitzpatrick? So many people worried about how Cutler would work in New York, were involved in running myriad quarterbacks out of town. So why are they concerned about Cutler? Worst thing that will happen is it doesn’t work out, and they run him out of town also. We have seen this play many times.

If Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles, leaning heavily on John Morton, Jeremy Bates and Rex Hogan (former Bears executive now with the Jets) think signing Cutler is a good idea, they should go for it.

What is the worst that can happen?

He’s chased out of town by the media and some fans like basically every Jets QB since Namath?

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A good fit for system and a good mentor 03.02.17

He wants out, and the Jets need a quarterback. He played in the system that John Morton just came out of.

He should be on the Jets’ radar.

He’s a poor man’s Drew Brees.

His name is Chase Daniel.

And remember, he spent four years in New Orleans in Sean Payton’s offense (2009-2012). The Jets’ new offensive coordinator John Morton worked under Payton the last two years as his wide receiver’s coach. Morton is bringing large elements of the Saints’ offense to the Jets. Daniel is very comfortable in that system.

After backing up in New Orleans for four years, Daniel spent the next three years as a Kansas City reserve in Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense.

That experience also makes him a good fit for the Jets because Morton is a West Coast offense proponent.

And then the Eagles, who hired former Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson to be their head coach last year, gave Daniel good money to come in and compete for the starting job in 2016. The job went to Carson Wentz. And with the Eagles signing Nick Foles, Daniel wants out.

Look, I’m not putting Daniel in Canton, but he’s a cerebral game-manager who could be a perfect bridge-QB until one of the Jets’ young quarterbacks are ready. He could serve as a veteran mentor (did a nice job helping Wentz last year) and help teach them the team’s new offense (not easy for young quarterbacks to have new playbooks thrown at them).

If I’m the Jets, Daniel is on the short list of potential quarterbacks in 2017.

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I don’t agree with NY Post headline writer 03.01.17

Yesterday, the New York Post ran a headline – “Jets waving white flag on 2017, so Brandon Marshall could be next cut.”

I don’t know what they are going to do with Marshall (I’d keep him if he leaves Showtime), but I totally disagree with the premise – “Jets waving white flag on 2017.”

Let’s see what they do in free agency and the draft. Let’s see who their quarterbacks is. It’s way too early to state, “Jets waving white flat on 2017.”

Yes, they got rid of some veteran players over the last few weeks, but all those moves were pragmatic, aside from Nick Folk.

Offensive tackles Ryan Clady and Breno Giacomini have health issues and make too much money. You could make the same argument about Nick Mangold.

Darrelle Revis made $17 million last year, and performed like a player making the league minimum. It was time for the Jets to move on.

What is the big deal about all these releases, and why do they signal that the “Jets are waving the white flag on 2017?”

Let’s see what they do in the draft and free agency before we proclaim they are writing off the season.

I’m sorry, I’m just not buying the premise right now that they’re “waving the white flag on 2017.”

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Top 32 Players in the draft 02.28.17

Here is how NFLDRAFTSCOUT.COM ranks the Top 32 players in the draft as of February 28:

First number is overall rank; second is position rank . . .

1/1. *Myles Garrett, DE, Texas AM, 6-4, 268, 4.57, 1
DB — The presumptive No. 1 overall pick, Garrett is a fantastic athlete with an NFL frame, but how much weight is he carrying? And how long are his arms?

2/1. Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama, 6-3, 291, 4.82, 1

3/2. *Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford, 6-2, 275, 4.84, 1
DB — A projected top-10 pick, Thomas is going to drop some jaws with his workouts, according to a Stanford assistant coach. At 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, he has some tweener traits, but with his blend of speed, burst and power, coaches and scouts will bang the table to add him to the defensive line rotation.

4/1. *Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State, 6-2, 205, 4.47, 1
DB — Hooker isn’t expected to work out prior to the draft due to recent hernia and labrum surgeries. How is his rehab? Will he be 100 percent for training camp? Two key questions that need answered before a team invests a top-10 pick on the talented Buckeyes safety.

5/1. *Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1
DB — Dating back to high school, Cook has undergone three shoulder surgeries, and the long-term effects of those injuries are the only road-block keeping him from landing in round one.

6/1. *Jamal Adams, SS, LSU, 6-0, 211, 4.54, 1

7/1. Reuben Foster, ILB, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1
DB — With his violent playing demeanor, Foster is bound to have bumps and bruises lingering from the 2016 season. He has a history of shoulder stingers, he sustained a concussion last October, and he recently underwent right rotator cuff surgery.

8/1. *Mike Williams, WR, Clemson, 6-3, 225, 4.50, 1
DB — No one expects the talented Clemson wideout to run a 4.3 40-yard dash. But is Williams a 4.52 athlete? Or more of a 4.58 athlete? With Western Michigan’s Corey Davis unable to work out due to an ankle injury, Williams has the stage to prove why he should be the first wide receiver drafted.

9/2. *Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1
DB — Fournette missed five games in 2016 and parts of others due to a re-occurring issue with ligaments in his left ankle. Teams are crossing their collective fingers that there isn’t any permanent damage.

10/1. *Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1
DB — Although he stayed healthy in 2016, Lattimore struggled to stay on the field his first two seasons in Columbus due to a history of chronic hamstring issues, dating back to his high school days. Doctors will need to sign off on his medicals before a team uses a top-10 pick on him, which is where Lattimore’s talent belongs.

11/1. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama, 6-6, 249, 4.57, 1

12/1. *Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina, 6-3, 220, 4.74, 1
DB — Listed at 6-foot-3, Trubisky might not reach that mark during official measurements, but as long as he comes in over 6-foot-2, NFL teams will be satisfied.

13/2. *Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan, 6-0, 205, 4.52, 1

14/1. *Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1
DB — Ramczyk is the best offensive line prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he is recovering from hip surgery. The medical reports will be crucial to him landing in the top 20.

15/2. *Teez Tabor, CB, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1
DB — A brash player on the field, Tabor has the cocky attitude that will sometimes extend off the field as well, rubbing some the wrong way. And those immature tendencies led to multiple suspensions while he was at Florida.

16/2. Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan, 6-3, 213, 4.48, 1
DB — Unfortunately, teams won’t have the opportunity to see Davis run at the Combine due to recent ankle surgery. The issue has been described as minor, but the medical information still will be crucial to his evaluation.

17/3. *Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee, 6-3, 265, 4.76, 1

18/1. *Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1

19/3. *John Ross, WR, Washington, 5-11, 190, 4.35, 1
RR — No list of players to watch at the Combine this year is complete without Ross, who is expected to prove among the fastest players in Indianapolis but comes with a lengthy history of serious injuries that will make him just as popular with teams’ medical personnel as their scouts. The speedster caught 17 touchdown passes last season and has four kick returns for scores over his career.
DB — A candidate to run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indy, Ross has speed to burn. However, the most important step for him at the Combine is the medicals. Since the 2014 season, he has had surgeries on both knees and plans to have another operation in March to repair a torn labrum. The medicals, not the 40-yard dash, likely will determine whether Ross lands in round one.

20/2. *DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.76, 1
DB — Several NFL teams should have Kizer as the No. 1 quarterback on their board. But there will be important questions for him to answer during meetings, including why the Irish managed only four wins in 2016. NFL teams have seen the tape and will have their own opinions, but they will want to hear Kizer’s opinion.

21/3. *Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1
DB — A physically impressive corner, Humphrey could be a big winner if he comes in at over 6-foot-1, 200 pounds and 33-inch arms. According to early snooping by NFLDraftScout.com, Humphrey measured 6-feet and 5/8 inches tall.

22/2. *Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State, 6-5, 276, 4.89, 1
RR — Like Bolles, there is no denying McDowell’s raw talent. His combination of size, power and burst warrant top 10 consideration, though he recorded “just” seven tackles for loss (including 1.5 sacks) in 2016 before entering the draft. McDowell flashed rather than flourished throughout much of his career at East Lansing, however. An impressive workout and passion during interviews may be able to convince scouts that he is maturing and ready to turn his potential into production.
DB — Based strictly on talent, McDowell belongs in the top five overall of the 2017 draft class. But his football makeup is a concern, and teams will want to know why he appeared to shut things down once Michigan State’s season went south in 2016.

23/4. *Sidney Jones, CB, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1
DB — A lean-framed corner, Jones was pushed around by physical receivers on tape, especially in press. He arrived at Washington under 170 pounds and played this season around 180 pounds. Scouts are hoping to see him reach 190 pounds at the Combine.

24/3. *Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1
DB — Regardless of his playing weight, McCaffrey will be more of a versatile weapon than true workhorse at the NFL level. But is he closer to 215 pounds or 200 pounds? A physical build would help teams feel confident in his durability.

25/2. *Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1
DB — Although the district attorney decided not to purse prosecution, Robinson still will need to answer for an incident last May in which he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a stolen gun.

26/2. Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1
DB — With McKinley’s current shoulder issue, medicals will be crucial to his draft grade. But his workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium will take the focus off his injury and allow everyone to appreciate his impressive athleticism. McKinley, who ran a 10.71 in the 100 meters as a 235-pounder in high school, might break the 4.5 mark in the 40-yard dash at 250 pounds.

27/3. Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1
DB — Labeled as potentially another Randy Gregory situation, Williams needs to ace interviews and quell the notion that marijuana and other activities are more important to him than football if he wants to land in round one.

28/4. Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan, 6-5, 272, 4.87, 1

29/3. *Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson, 6-2, 215, 4.64, 1-2
DB — A lean-muscled athlete, Watson doesn’t have ideal body armor for the position, and scouts are interested to see if he comes in over or under 215 pounds. And if under — how much bulk can he add? Is his body maxed out?

30/2. *David Njoku, TE, Miami (FL), 6-4, 240, 4.53, 1-2
DB — A national champion high jumper in high school, Njoku has freakish athleticism and could leave Indianapolis as one of the big winners. He shows impressive speed, agility and burst on film, but producing the numbers to match could give him the edge over O.J. Howard as the draft’s top tight end for some teams.

31/4. Haason Reddick, OLB, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2
DB — After his Senior Bowl performance, the secret of Haason Reddick is already out. But that doesn’t mean he can’t help himself even more with his athletic testing. A former defensive back, Reddick is an explosive mover with the fluidity that will impress in Indianapolis.

32/5. *Charles Harris, DE, Missouri, 6-3, 255, 4.74, 1-2


Revis fight should have little to do with football decision 02.17.17

Darrelle Revis was reportedly involved in a street fight in Pittsburgh last weekend.

Revis was charged with aggravated assault, robbery and a couple of other things.

Let’s give him due process and see where this ends up.

But whatever happened, it should have little or no bearing on his future with the Jets.

Any good football operation would look at how he performed the last two years and say, “we’re moving on.”

The film doesn’t lie.

He’s nowhere near the player he used to be. He’s lost speed and quickness, often gives up too much cushion in coverage, and doesn’t tackle like he used to.

What he did his first time around with the team, and his legacy, should have no bearing on the decision here. Woody Johnson made a mistake re-signing him in 2015. Hey, we all make mistakes.

Sentimentality should have nothing to do with the Revis’ decision in 2017. It should be all about what he can do right now. And he self-admittedly said, he’s “old” and his “body is breaking down.”

Incident or no incident, it’s time for the Jets to move on from this player.

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Time to cut Hack some slack 02.16.17

Jets Confidential ran a poll yesterday. The question was – “Is it unfair to harshly judge Christian Hackenberg after one season when he didn’t play?”

501 people voted. 74 percent said “yes” it’s unfair. 26 percent said “no.”

I would have voted “yes.”

There are way too much too many shots being taken at this player at this stage of the game, some from unnamed cowards.

Hackenberg didn’t play last year because he wasn’t ready. If he did play, he likely would have looked like Los Angeles rookie QB Jared Goff, who started seven games, losing them all, throwing just five touchdowns.

The Jets did the right thing sitting Hackenberg last season. He came in needing a lot of work on mechanics after two rough years at Penn State playing behind a bad offensive line.

Hackenberg has ideal NFL size, a great arm and works really hard.

None of us know how this is going to turn out.

It might not.

But to trash the kid right now is irresponsible. It’s too early.

Let’s see how this turns out.

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The top five prospects at each position from NFL.com’s Mike Mayock 02.14.17

NFL.com and NFL Network’s Mike Mayock just listed his top five draft drospects at every position. Here are those lists . . .

Quarterback

1. DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame
2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
3. Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina
4. Patrick Mahomes II, Texas Tech
5. Davis Webb, California

Running Back

1. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
2. Leonard Fournette, LSU
3. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

Wide receiver

1. Corey Davis, Western Michigan
2. Mike Williams, Clemson
3. John Ross, Washington
4. Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
5. Zay Jones, East Carolina

Tight end

1. O.J. Howard, Alabama
2. David Njoku, Miami
3. Evan Engram, Ole Miss
4. Jake Butt, Michigan
5. Gerald Everett, South Alabama

Offensive tackle

1. Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin
2. Garett Bolles, Utah
3. Antonio Garcia, Troy
4. Roderick Johnson, Florida State
T-5. Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
T-5. Jermaine Eluemunor, Texas A&M

Interior OL

1. Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
2. Cam Robinson, Alabama
3. Dan Feeney, Indiana
4. Ethan Pocic, LSU
5. Dion Dawkins, Temple

Interior DL

1. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
2. Caleb Brantley, Florida
3. Malik McDowell, Michigan State
4. Larry Ogunjobi, Charlotte
5. Chris Wormley, Michigan

Edge rusher

1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
2. Tim Williams, Alabama
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
4. Solomon Thomas, Stanford
5. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA

Linebacker

1. Reuben Foster, Alabama
2. Haason Reddick, Temple
3. Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt
4. Jarrad Davis, Florida
5. Alex Anzalone, Florida

Cornerback

1. Sidney Jones, Washington
2. Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
3. Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
4. Teez Tabor, Florida
5. Tre’Davious White, LSU

Safety

1. Malik Hooker, Ohio State
2. Jamal Adams, LSU
3. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan
4. Budda Baker, Washington
5. Obi Melifonwu, Connecticut


Chris Long raises money for another well for East Africa 02.07.17

*PATRIOTS DE CHRIS LONG CELEBRATES SUPER BOWL WIN WITH HIS 17TH WATERBOYS WELL

Long’s Waterboys Initiative raised $21,744 towards its “Super Bowl Well” in less than one week

BOSTON, MA – The Chris Long Foundation announced today that its cornerstone initiative, Waterboys, raised over $20,000 in just six days leading up to Super Bowl LI for the construction of the its 17th well in East Africa.

NFL fans around the world joined in the Waterboys’ campaign to make Super Bowl Sunday more than just about football and were encouraged to give $9.95 in honor of the New England Patriots’ ninth Super Bowl appearance and the first for Waterboys founder Chris Long, who dons jersey No. 95. Fans contributed a total of $21,744 during the week-long campaign, which not only completed funding of Well #17, but also 20 percent of Well #18. In celebration of Long’s Super Bowl championship and the giving spirit of football fans everywhere, Well #17 will be commemorated as the “Waterboys Super Bowl Well.”

“Winning the Super Bowl was one of the greatest moments of my life, but to cap it all off with enough funds to build our 17th well is surreal,” Long said. “I am eternally grateful to all of the fans that came together to support me during my Super Bowl journey and help further the mission of Waterboys.”

Since The Chris Long Foundation launched Waterboys in August of 2015, over $965,000 has been raised, resulting in the funding of 16 wells in East Africa. Fourteen wells are already completed with the remaining two wells to be completed by summer 2017.

Fans can still get involved and support the Waterboys mission to transform communities through the gift of clean water at www.waterboys.org.

For more information, media should contact Nicole Woodie at (786) 863-7096 or Nicole@fruitiongiving.com.

About Waterboys:

Waterboys began during a 2013 trip by Long to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Long was struck by the beauty of Tanzania and the vibrancy of its’ people; he also witnessed great suffering due to a lack of clean water. While in Tanzania, Long met Doug Pitt, Goodwill Ambassador for Tanzania, and John Bongiorno, President of the non-profit WorldServe International, and was further educated on the needs and available solutions to the clean water crisis.

Returning home, Long began to envision a pathway to champion the need for clean water in East Africa while engaging other NFL players in the cause. In 2015, Long created the Waterboys Initiative, selecting WorldServe International as its benefiting charity. Waterboys will work with WorldServe International to build wells to provide life-giving water and all that comes from it – the opportunity for education, good health, and economic stability. There are currently 12 “Waterboys,” including Long, who are committed to the effort.

*Press Release


Watson’s interest in Jets 02.03.17

During a radio appearance on ESPN New York, Clemson QB DeShaun Watson was asked whether he’d like to play for the Jets.

“I wouldn’t mind it,” the national championship quarterback said. “I wouldn’t mind coming to New York.”

That is fine, but it doesn’t mean anything.

It’s about the Jets’ personnel department wanting him. His interest in the team is irrelevant.

And the Jets are picking sixth in the first round, and that is probably too high to pick Watson, who was a terrific college QB, but threw too many many picks. He threw three interceptions in Clemson’s only loss this past season, at home against Pittsburgh.

Watson is probably more of a late first-round pick.

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A QB who could be a good fit for the Jets 01.30.17

Florham Park – The Jets need to add a veteran quarterback as insurance in case Christian Hackenberg isn’t ready.

I’m going to throw a name out you don’t hear mentioned much, but I think would be a good fit – Chase Daniel.

Daniel is currently the backup in Philadelphia. He signed there last year because he thought he’d have a chance to compete for the starting job. That never happened. He was pretty ticked off about it.

Daniel’s contract is a little pricey for a backup, so perhaps the Eagles would be willing to trade him to the Jets for a middle-round pick.

The reason I bring up Daniel as a good fit for the Jets is that he played in New Orleans from 2009-2012.

The Jets’ new offensive coordinator John Morton spent the last two years with the Saints.

While Daniel and Morton didn’t overlap in New Orleans, Morton is going to bring a big chunk of the Sean Payton’s Saints playbook to the Jets, and Daniel knows that system like the back of his hand. He’s very comfortable in it.

Also, during his four years in New Orleans, Daniel learned a ton from Drew Brees. He’s almost like a poor man’s Brees – a smart QB who spreads the ball around nicely.

If I’m the Jets, I’m making a call to Eagles GM Howie Roseman to see if Daniel is available.

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The bio of new Jets offensive coordinator John Morton 01.29.17

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on Sunday Jets intend on hiring John Morton as their new offensive coordinator.

Morton spent the last two years as the New Orleans Saints WR coach. Prior to that, Morton was a part of a staff as wide receivers coach in San Francisco from 2011-14 that helped lead the 49ers to three appearances in the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVII. During his 49ers tenure, Morton’s top pupils were Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree.

The wide receiver corps continued to make strides under Morton’s supervision in 2014. Boldin led the 49ers in receptions (83) and receiving yards (1,062) and became just the fourth player in club history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons with the 49ers and the first player to do so in his first two campaigns with the team. Crabtree finished second on the team with 68 receptions.

In 2013, Boldin set the franchise record for most receiving yards in a season-opener in his first game with the team after recording 208 yards vs. Green Bay. Boldin went on to register his sixth-career 1,000 yard season, his first since 2009. It marked the first time since 2002-03 that the 49ers had a 1,000 yard receiver in consecutive seasons.

In 2012, Crabtree became the first 49ers wide receiver to surpass the 1,000-yard mark since 2003, notching career highs in receptions (85), receiving yards (1,105) and touchdowns (nine). Under Morton’s direction in 2011, Crabtree led the team with then career-highs in both receptions (72) and receiving yards (874), while adding four touchdowns.

Morton, 47, has spent the previous four years at the University of Southern California as the school’s wide receivers coach. He also held the position of the Trojans passing game coordinator in 2007-08 and 2010, while serving as the school’s offensive coordinator in 2009. Under Morton’s tutelage, WR Damian Williams earned All-Pac-10 first team honors and, along with WR Patrick Turner, was a third round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

Prior to joining USC, Morton served at the passing game coordinator/offensive assistant with New Orleans in 2006, helping the Saints earn a berth in the NFC Championship game that season.

Morton worked under Harbaugh at the University of San Diego as the passing game/wide receivers coach in 2005. That year, QB Josh Johnson set school records in completions (260), completion percentage (70.1) and passing yards (3,256), while WR Adam Hannula set a school record in 73 receptions.

From 1997-04, Morton worked for the Oakland Raiders in several capacities and served alongside Harbaugh for two years (2002-03). He began in the Raiders personnel department and then worked as an offensive assistant working with the wide receivers for two years (1998-99). Morton then became the offensive quality control coach in 2000 and again worked with the wide receivers until 2001. He was then elevated to senior offensive assistant in 2002, when Oakland played in the Super Bowl, and was later names the team’s tight ends coach in 2004.

Morton originally signed with Oakland as an undrafted rookie wide receiver in 1993, and spent part of the next two seasons (1993-94) on the Raiders practice squad. He also spent time with Green Bay in 1993 and was in training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. Morton returned to training camp with the Raiders again in 1996. He played for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts in 1995 and 1996, and later with the World League’s Frankfurt Galaxy in the spring of 1997.

Morton played at Western Michigan for two seasons (1991-92), where he finished 10th on the school’s all-time receiving list (78 receptions) and eighth in receiving yards (1,278), earning All-Mid-American Conference honors as a senior, in 1992. He later received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Western Michigan in 1997. Morton came to Western Michigan after two years (1989-90) at Grand Rapids (MI) Community College, where he received his associate’s degree in 1990.


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