Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Creative Gase is going to love this chess piece 06.25.19

He’s a player who can hurt opponents in more ways than one . . .

We all know what a rare running talent Le’Veon Bell is, but you can’t minimize what a great receiver he is.

He runs routes and has the hands of an elite wide receiver. Bell had 85 catches in 2017 playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Adam Gase, who has a creative offensive mind, plans on lining Bell up all over to confuse defenses.

“You’re not one-dimensional (with Bell),” Gase said recently. “When you have a running back that the defense isn’t sure if he’s going to be in the gun, offset, strong, weak. Is he going to be under center? Is he going to be split out wide? Is he going to be the single receiver? Is he going to be the empty? Is he going to be in the slot? There’s five different spots.”

Bell will create a lot of defensive challenges for Jets opponents.

“If you’ve got a guy that can do all of those different types of things and he’s good at it and he’s able to catch the ball and run the routes like that, it makes it very difficult for the defense to defend,” Gase said. “You start seeing coverages where they simplify it because you’re moving so many pieces around. And when you have that kind of flexibility it puts a lot of pressure on the defense, it’s hard to cover everything. So they have to simplify the defense and that’s what helps the other guys as well. Because they’re focused on [Bell] so much.”

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Late August In Florham Park Could Be Wild! 06.24.19

This could be a day loaded with surprises. Circle it on your calendar.

Talking about August 31 when the Jets (and all NFL teams) have to cut from 90 to 53 players.

Some Jets players you might assume are safe, probably aren’t.

The new GM and coach have little allegiance to most of the players on this roster. They didn’t sign or draft a lot of them, and that pertains to some guys added this year.

This could be one of the most interesting final cut down days we have seen in Jets-land in a long time.

Some people are saying that most of the roster is set. Probably not.

I’m telling you right now, there are going to be names on the cut list where Jets fans will say, “Whoa!”

And that is they way it should be.

The object is assemble the best 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad you can, minus agendas.

In the past at One Jets Drive, there have been too many agendas, not always driven by keeping the best players.

August 31 should be quite an intriguing day in Florham Park.

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The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out on news stands and at convenience stores. Tons of info on the Jets you won’t read anywhere else! To subscribe to this must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Great beach reading material!


Very smart move by the Jets . . . 06.21.19

It’s hard to argue with this decision which should benefit the Jets a great deal.

Talking about the Jets adding Phil Savage as a senior adviser.

Savage has a tremendous amount of experience in the player personnel world.

He was the GM of the Browns from 2005-08 and director of college scouting for the Baltimore Ravens before that. He also worked for the Philadelphia Eagles as a personnel consultant.

From 2012-18 he ran the Senior Bowl in his hometown of Mobile, AL. He picked the players for that game which improved a great deal under his watch.

He was also the radio color commentator for Alabama Crimson Tide football from 2009-18, so he was around the SEC the last decade; the best conference for college football talent in the country.

What a terrific right-hand man for Douglas, a first-time GM; a man with a ton of player personnel experience who’s been an NFL GM before. What a great sounding board for Douglas!

He’s the perfect “bench coach” for Douglas to borrow a baseball term.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential is out and loaded with stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. A must-read for Jets fans! You can pick up a copy at a convenience store or subscribe by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Get it, you won’t regret it!


Gregg Williams Tells His Players This . . . 06.20.19

Gregg Williams, the Jets’ defensive coordinator, was asked last week about what his expectations are for the Jets’ defense this year.

“One of the things about measurables as I talk to the young men daily about this; when you put a quantifiable score on something like ‘I want to be the best in the world that’s ever played this game’ – why can’t you just be the best you can be today,” Williams said. “Why can’t we just be the best we can be today. Why can’t we just be the best that day we are playing and after the year we will get all the measurables later? It’s about improvement.”

This is the best approach.

Forget about Pro-Bowl or Hall-of-Fame proclamations or preseason player rankings; just worry about getting better every day.

Williams is good friends with Alabama coach Nick Saban who is a huge proponent of “process thinking.”

“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship,” Saban said. “Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

That means focus on the next rep in practice or the weight room; the next play in a game. Just work hard at the very next task right in front of you, and if you bust your butt doing that, there is a solid chance the results at the end of the road will be good.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and loaded with page after page of the good stuff on Gang Green. So much stuff you won’t read about the Jets anywhere else. A must-read for Jets fans. You can pick up a copy at a convenience store. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Makes a great gift for a Jets fan!


Jets hire Douglas. What it means . . . 06.07.19

When you look at the field of candidates, you could make a strong argument that this candidate always made the most sense.

Of course, I’m talking about Joe Douglas.

The Jets have hired Douglas as their GM. He will have final say over their 53-man roster.

The Jets needed a GM who Adam Gase knew. To put Gase with a stranger would’ve been a recipe for disaster. A stranger telling Gase who his players will be is just a bad idea. We already saw how that scenario can be a problem.

Gase likes and trusts Douglas after they worked together for a year with the Chicago Bears in 2015. They have the same agent – Mr. Sexton.

And Douglas has paid his dues.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 as a VP, Douglas spent the 2015 season as the director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears after working in the Baltimore Ravens’ personnel department for 16 years (2000-15).

Gase respects him, gets along with him, and Douglas is a “grinder” as one league source put it.

“Gase likes grinders,” the source said.

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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.


How’d Darnold look? 06.04.19

How did Sam Darnold look in the Jets’ first mini-camp practice?

Average.

He threw a telegraphed interception to Jamal Adams, and most of his completions were on check down passes.

But you know what, who cares?

The spring isn’t about style points, it’s about learning, and Darnold has to digest an entirely new playbook, which is far from ideal for a QB going from his first to second year.

So yes, Darnold didn’t look great today.

But it’s irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is how he looks when the regular season starts.

This time of year is for getting the kinks out.

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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must read for Jets fans. So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.


Are they really a mess right now? 05.30.19

They are 0-0.

As is every team in the NFL.

So to describe the Jets as a “mess” right now probably isn’t accurate.

Just like it would be wrong to say that about the Giants.

That is unless you’re Nostradamus and can actually see a disastrous season on the horizon. Then that’s a different story.

Nobody wins or loses in the off-season.

Let’s see how this all turns out in time.

I personally have no idea.

So I’m not going to trash people now.

If the Jets play like garbage in the fall, and lose a lot of games, then the gloves will come off.

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To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans.


Schrager – Fired Jets Executive has “Genius Touch” 05.23.19

Manish Mehta reported that NFL Network’s Peter Schrager “could be contacted for assistance on [GM] prospective candidates.”

A team official told myriad beat reporters this wasn’t accurate.

“A Jets source said that while the team respects Peter Schrager, the only conversations the team has had with the broadcaster are about him working on their preseason telecasts,” tweeted Brian Costello.

Mehta added that Schrager is friends with Christopher Johnson, and was invited to his recent wedding, to illustrate how close he is with the Jets’ owner.

So who knows where the actual reality sits with this story. You can decide that.

But if Jets do consult Schrager, he might ask them why they fired VP Brian Heimerdinger, who recently was let go with GM Mike Maccagnan.

In the fall of 2017, Schrager raved about Heimerdinger on an NFL Network segment called, “Schrager’s ones to watch.”

“I always give a front office executive to watch for: It’s Brian Heimerdinger,” Schrager said. “The young VP of player personnel out there for the New York Jets. Look at this kid – baby-faced (they showed Heimerdinger’s picture on the screen). He is in his early 30’s, but Brian is one of these guys around the league that everyone points to he’s the next one.”

Schrager praised the work Heimerdinger did assembling the Jets’ defense.

“He has a bright mind,” Schrager said. “You look at that young Jets’ defense, whether it be Jamal Adams or Jordan Jenkins; look at the developing corps the Jets have as young talent on that team, Brian Heimerdinger is one of the reasons why.”

Schrager stated Heimerdinger has a “genius touch.”

“[Heimerdinger] worked with Mike Maccagnan in Houston and came with him too New York,” Schrager said. “He is now a highly ranked official with the Jets’ front office in his early thirties and a guy who has a genius touch when it comes to scouting and the draft.”

And Schrager felt that Heimerdinger would be a huge help to the Jets in landing a QB.

“If the Jets are looking for a quarterback in this upcoming draft, Brian Heimerdinger is likely the guy who will be watching him on the road,” Schrager said. “Week to week to week, he’s the one doing the visits – a true one to watch – Brian Heimerdinger right there for the New York Jets.”

So Schrager probably would have been against the Jets firing Heimerdinger.

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To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans.


Chicken Little attitude is foolish this time of year 05.21.19

Was there a power struggle leading to the bloodless coup that toppled Mike Maccagnan?

Adam Gase, the man accused of executing the coup d’etat, claims there wasn’t.

“I disagree with that, as far as a power struggle,” Gase said on Monday. “Because whoever is getting hired [as the new GM] is going to have the same role — control of the roster. I will coach the football team. That’s what I’m going to do. Nothing is changing in that structure. In this business, s— like that happens all the time. It happened to me last year [in Miami].”

Word games. Semantics.

Yes, the new GM will have final say, but that doesn’t mean Gase didn’t win a power struggle forcing Maccagnan out.

Apples and oranges.

Gase battled with Maccagnan in front of the owner, the owner saw a untenable relationship between the GM and coach which made him comfortable, and this led to the owner giving the GM the boot. So yes, Gase won a power struggle.

But with all that being said, the Jets are 0-0 right now. They could end up landing a pair of prime candidates for their GM and VP-Player Personnel roles, and things could turn out fine.

Nobody knows how this is going to turn out.

Was there a power struggle? Yes.

Will this turn out bad?

Who knows, so chill out with the Chicken Little crap.

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


Can you wear a “dunce hat” when you are 0-0? 05.20.19

Mike Westhoff is a very wise man, but here is the issue with what he said.

Westhoff was asked by NJ.com about what’s going on with the Jets. Recently, new coach Adam Gase pulled off a successful coup d’état leading to the ouster of Jets GM Mike Macccagnan. Gase is now the interim GM until the Jets find a replacement for Maccagnan.

Westhoff told NJ.com the Jets are now wearing the “dunce hat” in New York.

“It’s almost like the Giants were wearing the dunce hat in the city, and all of a sudden, the Jets came along and took it,” Westhoff said.

A fair question would be – “What is an off-season dunce hat?”

The Giants got destroyed by some fans and reporters for moves like trading WR Odell Beckham to Cleveland and drafting QB Daniel Jones sixth overall this off-season.

Do any of us know how those moves are going to turn out? So why where they supposedly wearing a “dunce hat” before the Jets this off-season.

Even though Gase’s coup against a man who helped get him the job is a terrible optic, nobody knows what kind of job he will do as Jets coach.

And Westhoff kind of admitted to NJ.com that he doesn’t know what kind of job Gase will do.

“I’m not knocked out on the guy,” Westhoff said. “What do you want me to say? I don’t know everything there is to know about him, but what I do know, I’m not knocked out. Maybe he’ll be fine. Maybe he is a heck of a coach.”

So with that being said, how can the Jets become the off-season dunces before they’ve played one game in 2019?

This isn’t a defense of Gase’s nefarious coup d’état, but just dealing with the reality that none of us can see the future.

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Does anybody know how Jets will fare after coup? 05.17.19

The New York Daily News back page stated “The Jets are the biggest joke in town again.”

This after the Thursday firing of GM Mike Maccagnan after he just ran free agency, the draft and helped pick the new coach.

WFAN’s Evan Roberts called Christopher and Woody Johnson “fools” after the news came out.

But the thing is none of us know how Adam Gase’s successful coup d’etat will turn out.

Don Mattlingly once said, “Nobody can see into the future. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

So it’s probably too early to call the Jets “the biggest joke in town” or “fools” before we see who they hire, and how they do once the real games start.

Now some might want to blast Gase for his bloodless coup, but that is an entirely different matter than how this is going to turn out.

So to label the Jets “a mess,” which is all over the internet following Adam Schefter’s announcement that Maccagnan was dismissed, might be premature.

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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Jets Confidential – blunt, but fair.


Chris Johnson Explains His Decision to Fire Mike 05.15.19

Jets owner Christopher Johnson was at One Jets Drive more the last few months than in the past.

And he didn’t like what he saw observing the GM, so he fired GM Mike Maccagnan today.

“I watched this process,” Johnson said about the last few months at One Jets Drive. “I understood more fully Mike’s role in this building and what I’m hoping for in a future GM. It was a decision that evolved. It took a while. Maybe I was slow with that decision. I finally came to it in the last few days.”

He added, “The more I saw, the more I saw I wanted to move on.”

He wants a different kind of GM.

“I want to find a better fit for this building,” Johnson said. “Not talking about Mike. I want a great strategic thinker. Somebody who can collaborate well with the building.”

Johnson feels there is more to the GM job than being a great “talent evaluator.”

“There is more to the job of a GM than adding great players,” Johnson said. “[Jets fans] should be excited about Le’Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, Jamison Crowder, Quinnen Williams and all the rest. This is more than Mike, more than Adam, it’s about this team moving forward.”

Johnson dismissed the nation that Gase won a power struggle over Maccagnan.

“This wasn’t one person or another winning a power struggle,” Johnson said. “This is completely my decision.”

And the new GM will have final say on the draft, which has always been the case since the Johnson family bought the team in 2000.

“There is going to be no change in the structure going forward,” Johnson said.


How will Gase/Bell deal with Ian’s announcement? 05.15.19

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced that Mike Maccagnan and Adam Gase fought over the value of two Jets free agent additions.

Rapoport announced today that Gase thought the Jets overpaid for running back Le’Veon Bell and linebacker C.J. Mosley in free agency.

“Adam Gase likes Le’Veon Bell, just did not love spending that much money for a player at that position,” Rapoport said of the Jets signing Bell to a four-year, $52.5 million deal. “It’s really just the running back position itself. So he likes the player just didn’t love the price tag.

“I was told Gase didn’t want to pay more than about $13 million (for Mosley). So the disagreements on the price were something that were clearly issues.”

Considering Gase must coach these two key free agent additions moving forward, how are these two players going to feel about their coach thinking they’re overpaid?

If somebody from Gase’s camp leaked this, perhaps they should have thought twice about.

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Strange timing indeed . . . 05.15.19

It’s very common to make moves with people in the scouting department following the draft.

Often teams let scouts stay until the draft and then fire them.

But for a GM to help pick the new coach, run the draft, spend $120 million (in guarantees) of the owner’s money on free agents, and then get fired shortly after the draft, is very unusual.

Adam Gase won.

And a hat-tip to Mike Lombardi, Tony Pauline and Jason La Canfora for being ahead of the curve on this story.


If you don’t think they’ll argue, you’re delusional 04.27.19

Board room arguments over personnel decisions have been going in on pro football since the league started in 1920.

It’s the nature of the beast.

General managers and coaches often don’t see eye-to-eye on certain players.

There’s reportedly already been some strife between Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Adam Gase behind the scenes.

There will be more.

And wait until they have to cut down from 90 to 53 in the summer. That could get real ugly.

Gase reportedly ripped into Dolphins owner Stephen Ross at the end of his coaching tenure in Miami.

He clearly has a temper. Hey, so do I. A lot of us do.

But if Gase is willing to get in the face of Ross, you don’t think he’s going to go after Maccagnan at times over player decisions? Remember, Mr. Coffee has final say on the draft and 53-man roster based on the Jets’ corporate structure. If you don’t think this will bother Gase at times, you’re kidding yourself.

So maybe they have had fights.

And you know what, get used to it.

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Three Jet players who can mentor Jachai Polite 04.26.19

The Jets picked Florida outside linebacker Jachai Polite with their first pick of the third round.

He’s a gifted 21-year-old edge-rusher, who had 11 sacks last year, but reportedly didn’t interview well at the combine, and perhaps needs to mature.

The Jets have three players who can be like big brothers to Polite upon his arrival in Florham Park.

They have two former Florida teammates on their defense in safety Marcus Maye and nickel back Brian Poole. These two guys already know Polite, and will a big help to their former Gator teammate in his acclimation to the Jets and the NFL.

Also, Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams is from the same hometown (Daytona Beach) and high school (Mainland) as Polite, which will create a strong bond. Williams will be a good mentor for his fellow Mainland Buccaneer.

These three guys should help Polite a great deal in his maturation process.

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