Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Jets to Recondition/Donate Helmets to NJ Pop Warner 08.21.19

*August 21, 2019 – The New York Jets and M&T Bank are entering the second year of the helmet replacement and reconditioning program with North Jersey Pop Warner through the donation of over 200 new helmets to teams throughout the youth football league. In addition, the Jets and M&T Bank will cover the reconditioning costs of over 750 helmets. This donation marks the continuing commitment to North Jersey Pop Warner to supply new helmets to players of every team and age level over the next three years.

The Jets and M&T Bank have provided 2,500 tickets to North Jersey Pop Warner for the Jets vs. New Orleans Saints preseason game on Saturday, August 24th. Before the game, there will be a check presentation to recognize the support of North Jersey Pop Warner. A player from each team in the North Jersey Pop Warner league will be invited on stage to showcase his team’s new helmet. Representatives from M&T Bank, North Jersey Pop Warner and the New York Jets will speak at the presentation to commemorate the partnership.

*Press Release


Gase on Williamson decision. Goes in-depth . . . 08.19.19

Q)Do you have any regrets about playing LB Avery Williamson into the second quarter against Atlanta (he hurt his knee)?

Adam Gase: Yes, I do. We had him in a new position compared to what he played in the past, him and Neville (Hewitt) were together, you know, the thought process was getting Neville’s feet wet, as far as playing MIKE linebacker, he’s playing a different position, wanted Avery to be in there because Neville would be with a guy that’s a starter and just looking back on it, hindsight is 20/20. I wish I would have gotten him out of there a series earlier but I’ve talked with him and it’s on me. I’m the one that has to make that call and get him out of there but we didn’t and that’s a shame because he was having a good camp.

Q)What was your conversation with Williamson like?

Gase: He’s as positive as you can get right now. I know it’s going to be some ups and downs but I told him we’re going to need him to help these young guys and we’re going to need him around the building, we’re going to need him around everybody and we talked about plan once he gets on his feet as far as what we want to do with him, with meetings and trying to help him keep learning as a football player.

Q)Did you share a similar message with Williamson?

Gase: Yeah, I did.

Q)Will Hewitt fill in for Williamson?

Gase: Yeah, I mean we’re just going to be working all those guys in there.

Q)Did Williamson’s injury have an impact on you decision not to play Bell in the preseason?

Gase: Like I said, I was about 99.9% sure what we were going to do, that probably made it 100%.


A sleeper player who can help Jets at ILB 08.18.19

East Rutherford – Jets head coach Adam Gase was spotted having a chat with him on the sideline at Sunday night’s practice.

It went on for several minutes.

And then they continued their talk walking down the sideline.

Talking about injured inside linebacker Harvey Langi.

With the season-ending injury to starting inside linebacker Avery Williamson, the Jets are looking to fill the void.

Neville Hewitt is a possible replacement, but don’t forget about Langi.

He was having a strong camp before suffering an injury, but he will be back at practice this week.

And he should be in the mix to either start at ILB next to C.J. Mosley or get a lot of playing time.

The former New England Patriot is mobile (runs 4.6), tough, smart and plays with a lot of passion.

Don’t forget this guy in the Jets’ ILB picture.

Clearly Gase hasn’t.

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Brian Poole returns to Atlanta-Why did he depart? 08.15.19

Atlanta – Jets nickel back Brian Poole returns to Atlanta where he played for the Falcons the last three years. Why did they let him go?

The Falcons didn’t want to let him go. People act like they dumped them. It’s not true.

The Falcons didn’t want to lose him, but had cap issues, and also had a talented, cheaper nickel back option in the building (Damontae Kazee).

Last summer, Poole competed with Kazee for the nickel spot. Poole won, but Kazee ended up starting at strong safety after Keanu Neal blew out his knee in Week One. Kazee had a great year, ending the 2018 campaign with seven picks. But at 5-10, 184, Kazee is a much better fit at nickel back then at safety, so the Falcons want to move this talented ball-hawk back to his more natural nickel spot. Also Neal is coming back, so they don’t need Kazee at strong safety, but they want him on the field. Also, Falcons starting cornerback Dez Trufant is good in the slot.

The Falcons didn’t want to pay Poole a first or second-round tender. The first-round tender was $2.9 million and the second-round tender, $2.1 million. Poole made $630,000 last year, so when the Jets offered him a one-year deal for $3.5 million, the Falcons let him walk.

So while the Falcons liked Poole, they didn’t want to pay him what the Jets did.

The nickel back spot was problematic for the Jets the last few years. The Jets need better route-recognition, diagnostic ability and anticipation at this position, so Poole is just what the doctor ordered.

Poole has sophisticated coverage eyes and top-shelf instincts.

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Boyer explains Cantanzaro’s surprising decision 08.13.19

What went into kicker Chandler Cantanzaro’s decision to retire last weekend? Here is what Jets special team’s coach Brant Boyer had to say:

“[Chandler] walked in in the morning, text me that night and said, ‘Can I talk to you in the morning.’, I said, ‘Sure.’ And he was waiting for me when I got in. When I saw him, he sat down and said, ‘I just don’t feel like I’ve got anymore, I don’t want to put you guys in a tough situation.’

“In my 12th year, I was there myself and I flew in to take a physical for the Giants and I didn’t have it anymore. I knew right where he was at, I totally understand, and I totally respect it and I wish him nothing but the best. I have a lot of great things to say about the young man, he’s a lifelong friend to me and I’m sorry to see him go. I really like him.

“It’s really tough. But when you finally [retire], every athlete knows when it’s time and it was his time, it was my time. Every athlete knows when it’s time and he felt good about his decision and I’m genuinely happy for him because when you know like that, it’s time to go. You wake up and you can’t do it anymore, you can’t mentally get yourself ready, you can’t physically get yourself ready anymore. If you feel like that, it is what it is, you can’t do it anymore.”


Should the Jets be concerned about CB? #nyj 08.12.19

Florham Park – The Jets’ cornerback situation is far from ideal right now.

In Sunday’s practice, their #1 cornerback Trumaine Johnson, pulled his hamstring, and then in Monday’s practice, the man replacing him, Kyron Brown, tweaked his hamstring.

But you know what, the situation could be a lot worse.

On the injury scale, pulled hamstrings rank pretty low, and considering the season is around a month away, you would have to think Johnson and Brown should be back by then, unless they actually tore a hamstring, and that doesn’t seem to be the case.

And you know what, in training camp, it’s pretty common for teams to have corners get nicked, with all the running and hitting they do back there, over the course of a lengthy camp.

Think about it. The Jets waived CB Derrick Jones on Saturday, who wasn’t having a great camp, but he was picked up immediately by the Green Bay Packers. Why? Because they have injury issues at cornerback.

It happens.

So the Jets’ CB situation could be a lot worse when you consider there is a good chance both Johnson and Brown are ready for the regular season, and also, their #2 cornerback (Darryl Roberts) and nickel back (Brian Poole) are still out there.

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This Jets’ player is underrated&can help them a lot #nyj 08.09.19

This player looks like more than a flash-in-the-pan and should be a big part of the Jets’ defensive plan this year.

Talking about linebacker Frankie Luvu, who tied for the team-lead in tackles with five against the Football Giants.

He flashed last summer, and at times last season, and this summer he has picked up where he left off, with a strong camp thus far, and a terrific preseason debut in the Jets-Giants game.

Two of his better plays against the Giants:

*On the last play of the first quarter, Luvu shot into the backfield and stopped the Giants runner Paul Perkins for no gain.

*Late in the second quarter, Luvu crushed Perkins after a catch, causing a fumble, recovered by LB Neville Hewitt, deep in Giants territory, leading to a Chandler Catanzaro field goal.

Luvu, a native of American Somoa who attended Washington State, is athletic, tough, instinctive and plays with great passion. Jets DC Gregg Williams, who loves to move pieces around, has to like Luvu’s ability to play inside and outside linebacker.

Luvu is no longer just a feel-good long shot story.

This guy is legit, and should be a boon to the Jets’ defense in 2019.

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The monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is a must-read for Jets fans. So many goodies about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).


Not playing for the Jets tonight 08.08.19

No. Pos. Name
9 WR Jeff Smith
20 S Marcus Maye
26 RB Le’Veon Bell
29 RB Bilal Powell
37 CB Arthur Maulet
41 CB Bless Austin
44 LB Harvey Langi
55 C Ryan Kalil
76 T Calvin Anderson
79 OL Brent Qvale
92 DL Leonard Williams
99 DL Steve McLendon


Key position for Jets to evaluate in preseason 08.08.19

The Jets need better play from this position than the last couple of years.

Talking about the cornerback position.

And we will get to see this group in action, the starters and reserves, in the Jets’ 2019 preseason debut tonight against the Football Giants.

What is Adam Gase looking for from his corners?

“Executing what’s called,” Gase said. “Whatever Gregg (Williams) decides to go with, whether it’s zone coverage, or we’re going to play man coverage”

That might sounds like an obvious answer, but it’s an important point to make, because there were too many blown coverages the last two seasons. Jets corners need to be more assignment-savvy in 2019.

Gase also wants guys getting their hands on as many passes as possible.

“How much are we around the ball? Gase asked. “How many times are we touching the ball? How are we tackling? Are we getting involved? Are we having ball production which is, hey, you’re either tackling, you’re intercepting, you’re breaking up a pass, getting around the football and being productive.”

The Jets’ starting corners, Trumaine Johnson and Daryl Roberts, have had pretty good camps, and nickel back Brian Poole has clearly upgraded that position for Gang Green. Let’s see what they do tonight working together in an actual football game.

Also, which reserves will shine, and start to stake their claims on the backup cornerback spots?

Keep an eye on rookie free agent Kyron Brown (Akron), who has flashed in camp with a nice combination of instincts and ball skills.

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Not Polite today to offensive tackle #nyj 08.05.19

Florham Park – It was why he was picked and it was on full display in Monday’s practice.

Jets outside linebacker Jachai Polite, their 2019 third-round pick, had several QB pressures today. There are no sacks in practice since you aren’t supposed to touch the quarterback.

But on three occasions, Polite beat left tackle Eric Smith off the edge to pressure the QB.

Man, do the Jets need this to continue.

They need Polite to emerge as a difference-making edge-rusher.

The Jets’ defensive line is in good shape with Leonard and Quinnen Williams to go along with Henry Anderson.

However, they desperately need somebody from the OLB room to emerge as a player who can consistently take the edge with great first-step quickness and flexibility.

Perhaps Polite can turn into that guy.

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Now Kalil coming out of retirement makes more sense 08.03.19

Florham Park – Now it makes a lot more sense.

A lot of us were wondering why center Ryan Kalil retired from a team he was a legend, the Carolina Panthers, and then came out of retirement two days ago to join the Jets.

The picture is now pretty clear.

Coming off a couple of injury-plagued seasons in Carolina (2016-17), he announced 2018 would be his last season.

But then in the 2018 season, he stayed healthy and had a very good season.

However, he’d already announced he was retired so he followed through on it, and the Panthers signed Matt Paradis to replace him.

But as the off-season wore on, it became very clear to him he could still play, so it wasn’t the time to walk away.

Obviously he couldn’t go back to the Panthers who signed Paradis, so his agent, Tom Condon, started talking to other teams, and now he’s a Jet.

The bottom line is his plan to retire after 2018, while well-intentioned, turned out to be a mistake, because he stayed healthy that year and played so well.

So he reversed course a couple of months ago, and started working out getting ready for this season knowing a team would eventually sign him.

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Gase says his job is to ‘coach the players’ 08.02.19

Florham Park – Adam Gase was asked a lot of questions on Friday about the Jets’ decision to talk former Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil out of retirement to sign with the Jets.

But the coach didn’t know all the details on how this deal came to fruition on Thursday.

“I don’t know exactly, I think you’re going to have to ask (GM Joe) Douglas,” Gase said. “That’s what those guys do, those guys are doing a lot of types of things to always try to improve the roster and see what’s out there. My job’s to coach the players and it’s fun to be able to work the way we’re working right now; everybody is just trying to do their job.”

So Gase, who had final say in Miami, and helped force out Mike Maccagnan after butting heads with the former GM over personnel decisions, is just going to focus on coaching the Jets moving forward, and let Douglas run the personnel side.

It will be interesting to see if a leopard can change his spots and distance himself from player personnel decisions.

Hey, it could work out tremendously well. Time will tell.

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A few thoughts about the rugby player on the Jets 08.01.19

Florham Park – The Jets have an Australian rugby player in camp with them.

His name is Valentine Holmes, and he plays rugby for Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks in the National Rugby League

While Holmes isn’t getting a ton of reps in camp, when he does get a chance, he has displayed outstanding hands.

Holmes is being used as a running back with the Jets, and when he gets a chance to catch passes out of the backfield, he has displayed soft, natural, confident hands. He doesn’t fight the ball at all, which many running backs do.

Holmes also looks like he has very good speed. I don’t have a 40-yard dash time on him, but watching him, he has good wheels.

While he’s a long shot to make the team, with his terrific hands, good speed and top-shelf toughness, he could make a fine candidate for the Jets’ practice squad where he could spend the season honing his football skills.

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Jets need to cut down on his hits 07.31.19

Florham Park – He’s a very important addition to the Jets, and they need him to be healthy for the season.

Talking about Jets slot receiver Jamison Crowder.

The Jets had a scare on Monday when he left practice with a foot injury.

Today, he caught a pass over the short middle and got popped by linebacker Avery Williamson.

On July 28, he took two big hits from nickel back Brian Poole in practice.

Here is the deal folks:

The guy is a heck of a player, and very tough, but he’s 5-8, 177 pounds, so he’s not a big guy, and he’s taken some pretty significant friendly fire in practice so far.

And not only is he working as a slot receiver (and having a terrific camp), but is also returning punts. This Jets need this cat to stay healthy. He’s a very valuable player for them.

I asked Crowder today about taking big hits in practice and he said it’s “good and bad.”

That is exactly right. His defensive teammates need to get ready for the season, but he also needs to be protected a little more.

Remember, last year he struggled with injuries in Washington and missed seven games.

The bottom line is he’s taking too many big hits from teammates in practice so far. He’s kind of taken a beating this summer already with the foot injury and the big hits.

The Jets might need to pull back his workload a little in camp, and perhaps give him a few days off (which many teams do with veteran players in training camp).

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S. Smith’s rant on Jets receivers-What it means#nyj 07.30.19

Former NFL receiver Steve Smith, after watching one practice, had some harsh words for the Jets’ wide receivers.

Smith, who works for the league’s network, after viewing Sunday’s practice, said the following:

“You know what is a question mark for me – wide receivers,” Smith said. “I don’t see anybody on that roster and watched (practice), that has a PHD in route-running. Not one. And until they get a guy that can step up and be reliable, consistently for 16 weeks – 1,000 yards – somebody that strikes fear into opposing defensive coordinators and DBs – this team isn’t dethroning anybody.”

Was this a fair thing to say after Smith saw such a small sampling of the receivers (one practice)?

Maybe not.

To say none of the Jets’ receivers has a “PHD in route-running” seems a little hyperbolic.

Maybe some of the Jets’ receivers need some work on route-running, but to paint the whole room with the same brush, after watching the entire group practice one day, seems a little strong.

And also perhaps a little unfair to the Jets’ assistant head coach Shawn Jefferson, who coaches the wide receivers.

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Is Steve Smith’s criticism of Jets receivers fair? #nyj 07.29.19

NFL Network did a remote from Jets camp on Sunday with Kimberly Jones and Steve Smith.

During the broadcast, Smith, a former standout NFL receiver, didn’t seem to be a big fan of the Jets’ wide receiving corps.

“You know what is a question mark for me – wide receivers,” Smith said. “I don’t see anybody on that roster and watched (practice), that has a PHD in route-running. Not one. And until they get a guy that can step up and be reliable, consistently for 16 weeks – 1,000 yards – somebody that strikes fear into opposing defensive coordinators and DBs – this team isn’t dethroning anybody.”

Another panelist (not at Jets camp but on the same show) pointed out that Jamison Crowder (now nursing a foot injury) is very good.

“Jamison Crowder is an outstanding slot receiver, but for you to eat in the slot, you got to have somebody outside threatening them,” Smith said.

Jones brought up Robby Anderson who she said is a “burner.”

“He is a burner – he’s not a route-technician,” Smith said.

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