Dan Leberfeld's Blog

My take on Fitzpatrick-gate 10.23.16

As you all know by now, Ryan Fitzpatrick lashed out following his relief appearance in the Jets’ 24-16 win over Baltimore.

The quarterback was benched earlier this week. Who did it? That remains a mystery.

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “is to have a belief in yourself, because when the owner stops believing in you, and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself.”

If I were Fitzpatrick, I’d be agitated also.

I’m not saying he played well during the Jets four-game losing streak. He did not. But he had plenty of company. Plenty of company – poor pass protection, anemic running game, pedestrian pass rush, suspect pass defense, underwhelming coaching. In other words, plenty of blame to go around.

And that losing streak came during the most brutal part of the Jets’ schedule. And then he was benched when the schedule was lightening up, with injury-ravaged Baltimore Ravens, the winless Cleveland Browns, the inconsistent Miami Dolphins, and the mediocre Las Angeles Rams on tap.

Don’t you think Fitzpatrick can fare just as well against these teams as Geno Smith?

So perhaps his anger is understandable.

Ravens very banged-up 10.21.16

The Ravens just issued their official injury report for Week 7, and it’s not pretty.


LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), LB C.J. Mosley (thigh)


S Kendrick Lewis (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Shareece Wright (thigh), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)


WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), QB Joe Flacco (right shoulder), WR Devin Hester (thigh), CB Jerraud Powers (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (concussion), T Ronnie Stanley (foot).

A lot of key players on that list, including both starting edge-pass rushers, Suggs and Dumervil.

It remains to be seen if all these injuries will help the Jets’ cause.

Gang Green has struggled mightily recently, losers of four straight, and injury problems on opposing teams haven’t seemed to help them much.

Jets fans can only hope Bowles handled this differently behind-the-scenes 10.20.16

Here is what Todd Bowles had to say about Geno Smith’s comments to ESPN’s Lisa Salters and his sideline histrionics after a Ryan Fitpatrick pick in Arizona . . .

Q)What are your thoughts on Smith’s comments [to Lisa Salters about getting “antsy”]?

Bowles: My thoughts are that it’s just gossip and I don’t pay it any mind.

Q)The comments aren’t gossip because he said it?

Bowles: He said it to you all and you all write what you want to write. For me, it’s gossip. It had no bearing on him playing or not playing or anything else he has to say on the field. It has no bearing. It’s really a waste of my time.

Q)Do you take stock in a backup quarterback demonstrating visible frustration after the starting quarterback throws an interception?

Bowles: I’ve seen starters throw frustration. I’ve seen backups at every position have frustration. His story is no bigger than what it is.

Q)Does it worry you that Smith verbalized his frustration to a national broadcaster?

Bowles: It’s like dirt off the back of my shoulder. I have no issues with that. Ok? Me and Geno talked. We have our discussions. I talk with everyone on this team. He knows where I stand. We have a good understanding.

Jets fans can only hope that Bowles doesn’t have the same mindset about this behind-the-scenes, and he did talk to the player about his behavior.

Because if Bowles truly thinks this behavior is okay, the Jets’ program has a problem.

A couple positive aspects of the Jets’ QB change 10.19.16

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced today the Jets are making a QB change, going from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Geno Smith.

A couple of tangible positives come out of this move.

First off, Smith has a better arm, so this will expand the team’s route-tree.

Secondly, the QB dynamic will improve on the Jets’ sideline and in practice.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a tremendous teammate and will have Geno Smith’s back. He will give Smith all the support he needs.

Smith didn’t seem to be a very supportive backup.

So now that the roles are reversed, it should be a better QB room dynamic for the Jets.

Memo to Todd, Mike, Woody – What Jets should do on defense 10.18.16

Tempe – If I were running the Jets’ defense, here is my plan:

I’m going to a pure 3-4 defense with Mo Wilkerson at nose tackle and Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams at the end spots.

I’m going with Lorenzo Mauldin and Jordan Jenkins at outside linebacker.

It’s time for Todd Bowles to forget this hybrid system he’s running, and go with what he’s most comfortable with, and what they were playing last year, and most of the off-season and summer. Changing things right before the season turned out to be a little bit of a mistake.

Steve McLendon is a nice player, but he’s not on the level of Wilkerson/Richardson/Williams were you MUST get him on the field at all costs – all costs has been playing a four-man line, which isn’t Todd’s defense.

Let McLendon rotate in and spell Wilkerson/Richardson/Williams. McLendon is the consummate team player. He will do whatever you ask.

I’d also rotate in Josh Martin at outside linebacker. He has good speed, quickness, power and is very smart (he won’t blow assignments). Why he doesn’t play more is a mystery to me. He learned a ton about getting to the quarterback as a 3-4 OLB in Kansas City backing up Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

Mike Catapano has a tremendous motor and gives you everything he’s got, but he’s miscast as an outside linebacker.

There you go.

Instead of taking cheap shots at the Jets, I’ve offered a constructive plan that I think will work.

Time for a change on defense 10.09.16

Pittsburgh – The Jets gave one of the NFL’s top 3-4 ends, Mo Wilkerson, a 5-year deal for $17 million per in July.

Now they are playing him quite a bit as a 4-3 end. That probably isn’t the best way to use him.

Wilkerson earned that big contract by often dominating guards and centers.

So once you give him big money, why change his position? It’s like you are paying for one item at a store, and getting another.

The Jets are often playing him over offensive tackles like he’s Jason Pierre-Paul or Dwight Freeney. That isn’t Mo’s game. He’s not 6-4, 270 with 4.6 speed. He’s 315-pound 3-4 end.

The Jets need to move back to the 3-4 defense and play Mo Wilkerson and Leonard Williams at end. They are both quintessential 3-4 ends. And Steve McClendon is a 3-4 nose tackle, so he’s also playing out of position on a four-man line. Rotate Sheldon Richardson in, or trade him before the deadline.

Today in Pittsburgh, a third-string right tackle stifled Wilkerson for the most part. That is startling.

Wilkerson consistently lining over tackles isn’t a good idea, and it’s not putting him in the best position to make plays.

When you give a guy $17 million-a-year for his work at one position, and then move him to another after position, that doesn’t make a heck of a lot of sense.

Report: It’s all Fitzpatrick’s fault 10.09.16

Pittsburgh – CBS NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported today that Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing for his job in Pittsburgh.

“Jets coaches have become increasingly frustrated with Fitzpatrick’s play after he missed all of the spring offseason work mired in an ugly contract stalemate,” wrote La Canfora. “Through their review of tape, they believe the team has played generally well enough to win three of their four games, but the Jets have only one win due primarily to the performance of the quarterback.”

Perhaps the source(s) hadn’t reviewed the film of the pass defense when they made that assessment.

Join Brandon Marshall in NYC for a great cause on Friday 10.06.16


WHEN: Friday, October 7, 2016

WHO: NFL Star, Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets and PROJECT 375 will host a celebrity packed Ping-Pong Tournament to raise funds and awareness for Mental Fitness.

Celebrity guests include NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith, Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Kelly Osborn, Nick Mangold, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eric Decker, Matt Forte, Malik Yoba, Sabina Gadecki, Sammi Giancola, Maverick Carter, Boomer Esiason and more.

WHAT: A fun night of ping-pong, food, drinks and fun, all for a great cause. Event sponsors Showtime Networks, Jim and Linda Robinson Foundation, Cognitive Behavioral Center, McLean Hospital, WME, Blackridge Capital Group, Metro NYC DBT Center, TriNet HR, and Skybridge Capital as well as our event ticket holders and tournament participants will be raising funds to support PROJECT 375’s PROJECT PREVENT™ program. SPiN New York has generously donated their entire space to PROJECT 375 for the evening. PROJECT PREVENT™ provides schools with much needed on-site mental fitness support for children and teachers. To purchase tickets or find out how you can become a sponsor visit PADDLEBATTLENYC.EVENTBRITE.COM

WHERE: SPIN New York, The Ping-Pong Social Club , 48 E 23rd St., New York, NY 10010

PROJECT PREVENT™ is designed to provide community resources to those in need as well as evoke productive conversations about mental fitness in an effort to stimulate early intervention and prevention. You can help us raise money for PROJECT PREVENT™ and ensure the delivery of extraordinary support while nurturing a willingness among children and parents to seek out and utilize services and resources. To make a donation today visit http://project375.org/support-items/


Project 375 is an extraordinary leader in the mental health space. Founded in 2011 by New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall and his wife Michi, PROJECT 375 is a national non-profit dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health and early intervention and prevention of mental health disorders in children and adolescents. With offices in New York City and Chicago, PROJECT 375 responds to these needs by introducing technology driven support and by providing parents, teachers and staff members with Youth Mental Health First Aid Training. The foundation has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows such as The View and Inside The NFL on Showtime, as well as local news outlets throughout New York and Chicago. In 2015, PROJECT 375 along with its founders Brandon and Michi Marshall, received the Child Mind Institute Change Maker Award which celebrates people and organizations that are creating real, meaningful change for children struggling with mental health disorders.

*Press Release

Bowles needs to make some changes 10.06.16

Florham Park – Todd Bowles was asked if he’s worried about the state of his team at 1-3.

“Actually, no I’m not,” Bowles said. “I think we have a chance to still do some things. We lost the first quarter, we still have three more to do.”

But unless he tweaks the lineup, and makes some schematic changes, the second quarter of the season could end up resembling the first quarter.

“The biggest thing is we can’t have guys running free in the secondary,” Bowles said. “I can see if they’re getting beat one-on-one or those types of things. We have guys running free in the secondary and we can’t have that.”

The status quo isn’t going to cut it in the secondary. Every game there have been problems, even in the Jets’ lone win.

It’s time for the Jets to get some new guys in the mix – perhaps giving more playing time to players like safety Antonio Allen and reserve cornerbacks Justin Burris and Darryl Roberts. Maybe call up one of the two corners from their practice squad. It’s time to mix it up a little bit.

To paraphrase Albert Einstein, it’s not a good idea to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. So much good stuff you won’t read anywhere else, including why Darrelle Revis fired his long-time agents. To subscribe, click below, or call 800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Special offer for Jets and Steelers fans at the Hall of Fame 10.05.16


CANTON, OHIO – The Pro Football Hall of Fame is inviting Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets fans traveling to Pittsburgh this weekend to experience “The Most Inspiring Place on Earth!” The Steelers take on the Jets this Sunday (Oct. 9) at 1:00 p.m. on Heinz Field. Pittsburgh is just a two-hour car ride from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Any Steelers or Jets fan dressed in their team’s gear who mentions the promotion at the Hall’s box office will receive a $5 discount on regular price adult, senior, or child museum admission. The promotion runs from Friday, Oct. 7 through Monday, Oct. 10. The Hall of Fame is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For additional information about visiting the Hall of Fame, please visit: www.ProFootballHOF.com/visit/.

The Steelers have 21 longtime members enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame – the third most by any current NFL franchise after the Chicago Bears (27) and the Green Bay Packers (24). Longtime Pittsburgh players include: JEROME BETTIS (Running Back, 1996-2005, Class of 2015), MEL BLOUNT (Cornerback, 1970-1983, Class of 1989), TERRY BRADSHAW (Quarterback, 1970-1983, Class of 1989), JACK BUTLER (Cornerback, 1951-59, Class of 2012), DERMONTTI DAWSON (Center, 1988-2000, Class of 2012), BILL DUDLEY (Halfback, 1942, 1945-46, Class of 1966), JOE GREENE (Defensive Tackle, 1969-1981, Class of 1987), JACK HAM (Linebacker, 1971-1982, Class of 1988), FRANCO HARRIS (Running Back, 1972-1983, Class of 1990), JOHN HENRY JOHNSON (Fullback, 1960-65, Class of 1987), WALT KIESLING (Coach, 1937-1944, 1954-56, Class of 1966), JACK LAMBERT (Linebacker, 1974-1984, Class of 1990), BOBBY LAYNE (Quarterback, 1958-1962, Class of 1967), CHUCK NOLL Coach, 1969-1991, Class of 1993), ART ROONEY (Founder-Owner, 1933-1988, Class of 1964), DAN ROONEY (Administrator-Owner, 1955-Present, Class of 2000), JOHN STALLWORTH (Wide Receiver, 1974-1987, Class of 2002), ERNIE STAUTNER (Defensive Tackle, 1950-1963, Class of 1969), LYNN SWANN (Wide Receiver, 1974-1982, Class of 2001), MIKE WEBSTER (Center, 1974-1988, Class of 1997), and ROD WOODSON (Cornerback-Safety, 1987-1996, Class of 2009).

Six other Hall of Famers spent a minor portion of their Hall of Fame careers with the Steelers, including: BERT BELL, LEN DAWSON, KEVIN GREENE, JOHN “BLOOD” McNALLY, MARION MOTLEY, and CAL HUBBARD.

The Hall of Fame Museum has numerous artifacts from the Steelers franchise currently on display. A few notable items include: the gloves worn by GREENE when he sacked BRETT FAVRE on Dec. 24, 1995; a helmet worn by DAWSON during the 1988 season; and a jersey worn by Antonio Brown in 2011 when he became the first player in the NFL to compile both 1,000 receiving yards and 1,000 total return yards in the same season.

The Jets have five longtime members enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They include: WEEB EWBANK (Coach, 1963-1973, Class of 1978), CURTIS MARTIN (Running Back, 1998-2005, Class of 2012), DON MAYNARD (Wide Receiver, 1960-1972, Class of 1987), JOE NAMATH (Quarterback, 1965-1976, Class of 1985), and JOHN RIGGINS (Running Back, 1971-75, Class of 1992).

Additionally, five other Hall of Famers spent a minor portion of their careers with the Jets, including: FAVRE, RONNIE LOTT, ART MONK, BILL PARCELLS, and RON WOLF.

Numerous artifacts of historical significance from the Jets franchise can be found throughout the Hall of Fame museum. They include: a Jets cap worn by EWBANK during the first Monday Night Football game when the Jets played the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 21, 1970; a ticket from the Jets vs. Minnesota Vikings game on Oct. 11, 2010 when FAVRE threw his 500th touchdown pass and surpassed 70,000 career passing yards; and numerous NAMATH rookie cards in the recently opened Hunt/Casterline Pro Football Hall of Fame Card Collection exhibit.

Hall of Fame Village, a $500 million development of the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus, began in September 2015 and includes significant enhancements to the museum that opened this past summer.

The Hall is now home to an extraordinary cutting-edge, multi-sensory immersive theater, “A Game for Life,” featuring holographic representations of Hall of Fame legends JOE NAMATH, GEORGE HALAS, and VINCE LOMBARDI. The experience provides great inspiration to fans by showing them how the game of football also teaches lessons about life. The stories of numerous Hall of Famers, including JIM KELLY, STEVE LARGENT, ALAN PAGE, JIM BROWN, WARREN MOON and CURTIS MARTIN, are shared.

The Hunt/Casterline Pro Football Hall of Fame Card Collection exhibit recently opened at the Hall. The exhibit showcases the rarest, highest graded, and most valuable football card collection in the world featuring a rookie card for each Hall of Fame player to date. The most-significant pieces of the 300,000-plus collection that dates back to 1888 are displayed. The collection’s creators are Dan Hunt, President of FC Dallas and son of LAMAR HUNT, the Hall of Fame founder of the American Football League and Kansas City Chiefs; and Robert Casterline from Casterline Goodman Gallery, Partner.

*Press Release

Nick Mangold lighting Empire State Building today for special cause 10.04.16

New York Jets Center Nick Mangold will illuminate the iconic tower lights of the Empire State Building in blue, white and red on behalf of Answer the Call – The New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund to raise awareness of and support for the families of New York City Police Officers, Firefighters, Port Authority Police and EMS Personnel who were killed in the line of duty. It will happen at 4:30 p.m.

Answer the Call will host its 31st Anniversary Gala on October 5, 2016.

About Answer the Call

Answer The Call – The New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund provides assistance to the families of New York City Police Officers, Firefighters, Port Authority Police and EMS Personnel who have been killed in the line of duty. Since its inception in 1985 by Daniel J. “Rusty” Staub, the charity has distributed over $130 million to hundreds of families. The Benefit Fund provides immediate and ongoing financial assistance in the form of annual distributions to grieving families after they lose their loved one. In addition, the Benefit Fund provides an ongoing network of support and gatherings for these families to cope and connect after such tragedy. The Benefit Fund serves approximately 600 families, and the goal is to provide meaningful assistance to the beneficiaries for the rest of their lives.

Brandon says real Jets will emerge next Sunday 09.25.16

Kansas City – Jets star wide receiver Brandon Marshall had some powerful words after the team lost 24-3 to Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium.

“We can only go two ways as a team after a smack in the face like this,” Marshall said. “We can fold and not gel as a team or you can use this as a character-building and look at what is going on internally. Our leaders need to step up and do a better job. (We need to) look at the X’s and O’s, see how we can correct it. We have too much firepower on this team to be sitting in a stadium like this. We have a lot of work to do. This one hurts. It’s embarrassing. It should sit with us for a while. But as soon as get ready to roll on Wednesday after watching the film, it needs to be in the past. But this is a character-building game. And next week, the real team should emerge, whatever on it is.”

The Jets play the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Q-and-A with former KC Chief on the Jets 09.23.16

Florham Park – Jets outside linebacker Josh Martin played for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013-14. We caught up with him this week to get a scouting report on his old team.

Q)How would you describe the Chiefs’ offense?

Josh Martin: It’s a West Coast Offense – short quick passes, spread offense, check down and let their guys make plays; safe, don’t take a lot of shots (down field).

Q)What kind of challenges does Alex Smith present?

Martin: He’s a smart quarterback, savvy quarterback. He doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions. He’s comfortable in the offense, he knows it well, he’s been doing it for a few years out there with Andy Reid.

Q)You played in Arrowhead as a home player. What is it like for opposing teams?

Martin: Loud, it’s really loud and it’s a fun place to play. If I remember correctly, it is the loudest. It’s a combination of the architecture of the stadium and the fans. They really get rowdy. I’ve never played there as a visitor, but it’s a fun place to play regardless. I’m looking forward to going back.

Q)What is Bob Sutton’s defense all about?

Martin: They are a solid defense, A 3-4 defense with two good outside linebackers. Their defense is built around the Front Seven, and they have a great secondary with Eric Berry and Marcus Peters back there.

Q)With Justin Houston out of the lineup at outside linebacker, Dee Ford will start. You played with him. What does he bring to the table?

Martin: He’s fast and athletic and he’s not a small guy. He can pose a problem for sure.

Q)How much does the deafening crowd noise help the pass rushers?

Martin: It’s great (for pass rushers). When the offensive tackle has to worry about hearing the cadence and getting off with a good kick step for pass protection it makes a big difference.

Q)What is it like facing Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher?

Martin: He’s very athletic. He moves really well. Obviously he was the first overall pick. He’s a good player.

*****To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Jets DE Jarvis Jenkins helping to tackle Illiteracy 09.23.16

*Barbershop Books CEO Alvin Irby and NFL Jets defensive end Jarvis Jenkins will unveil a new Barbershop Books reading space alongside elementary students at Alaine L. Locke Magnet School at the International Hair Studio in Harlem.

In addition to Irby discussing his approach to tackle the low literacy rates among African-American children, Jenkins will also explain his personal literacy and education experiences and why it was important to him to donate a new reading space at the Harlem barbershop.

About: Barbershop Books is a community-based literacy program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops for boys ages 4-8. It leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in Black communities to help black boys identify as readers. This innovative approach connects black men and families to black boys’ early reading experiences.

*Press Release

Q-and-A with Chiefs QB Alex Smith 09.21.16

Q)What are you seeing from the Jets’ defensive line from your film study?

Alex Smith: They’re good; pretty good group. Every guy up there can go and get after it, run and pass. Definitely a big, big challenge. Those guys really set the tone for the defense.

Q)What makes Jeremy Maclin so good?

ASmith: Maclin to me is a guy who does a lot well. He has a lot tools. We can move him around. He’s extremely smart, extremely competitive.

Q)What was it like last week being without both your starting guards?

Smith: Nothing new around here or for any team. That is the nature of the O-Line. It’s a physical, physical position. Those guys are going to get banged up. Things are going to happen. Guys (backups) need to be flexible. That is the nature of the game in the NFL.

Q)How good can Travis Kelce be?

Smith: A guy that has a lot tools. He can move around and do a lot of different things. As he’s gotten older, he can handle everything – run and pass. Everything we asked him to do, he’s handled it and taken off with it.

Q)What has it been like having Nick Foles there?

Smith: It’s been great to add a guy who has that kind of experience in the NFL in the quarterback room, to be able to bounce things off of, talk to on the sideline, in the film room, help prepare. He’s been a great addition.

Food ordered by Jets and Giants fans during wins 09.21.16

According to Seamless.com these are the top 5 most ordered foods during game day wins in New York vs. game day losses . . .


spicy chicken empanada — 240.3% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
cuban empanada — 230% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
korean taco — 208.6% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
hush puppies — 185.2% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
dal makhni — 183% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses


chicken katsu curry — 215.4% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
spicy grilled chicken — 184% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
breaded chicken — 182.5% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
chicken teriyaki bowl — 175.3% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses
grilled salmon salad — 173% more commonly ordered on NY football wins vs. losses

According to Seamless, these are the most ordered foods in each NYC borough during football Sundays . . .


assorted bagels
paneer butter masala
jumbo chicken wings

Staten Island:

potato croquette
french fries


grilled chicken strips
stuffed cheesy bread
shanghai wonton soup


aco poblano
guacamole de la casa
chicharron de pollo sin hueso


grilled pork sandwich
shredded chicken sandwich

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