Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Bio on Jets new assistant offensive line coach David Diaz-Infante 02.09.16

The Jets have hired David Diaz-Infante as their assistant offensive line coach.

Diaz-Infante spent the 2013-14 seasons with the Cardinals as an offensive assistant.

Diaz-Infante played seven seasons in the NFL as a guard and center with the San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles. During his NFL career, he played in 69 games with nine starts and earned Super Bowl rings with the Broncos in 1998 and 1999.

He also played in the World League of American Football with the Frankfurt Galaxy (1991-92), the Sacramento Gold Miners in the Canadian Football League (1993-94) and the Las Vegas Outlaws in the XFL (2001).

Diaz-Infante entered the NFL in 1987 with the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent and played in three games as a rookie. The first of his two stints with the Broncos came in 1995-98 before playing with the Eagles in 1999 and finishing his career with Denver in 2001.

Following his playing days, Diaz-Infante worked in television as a studio analyst with FSN Rocky Mountain from 2003-04 before joining ESPN in 2004 as a college football and high school football analyst. He also served as an analyst for the Broncos radio network from 2005-08

A native of San Jose, CA, Diaz-Infante attended Bellarmine Prep (San Jose, CA) where he was the conference lineman of the year in 1981. He played college football at San Jose State where he was an honorable mention AP All-American, a first-team all-conference selection and a four-year letterman while also serving as a team captain. He was inducted into the San Jose State Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Diaz-Infante earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science. He and his wife, Audra, have a son, Dante Antonio, and a daughter, Alexis Maria.


Super Bowl lesson for Jets 02.08.16

The Jets’ brass can learn a valuable lesson from Denver’s championship season.

If you are going to be a high-level 3-4 defense, you better have a pair of dynamic, edge pass-rushers at outside linebacker.

It’s a must.

Jets are loaded on the defensive line, but they need to add a game-wrecker or two at outside linebacker.

Lorenzo Mauldin showed flashes as a rookie, and could be a solid #2 or #3 outside linebacker, but the Jets need to find their own Justin Houston, Von Miller or Elvis Dumervil.

So in the first round, at 20, they need to take a long, hard look at players like . . .

Noah Spence – 6-3, 261 – Eastern Kentucky

Jaylon Smith – 6-3, 235 – Notre Dame

Emmanuel Ogbah – 6-3, 275 – Oklahoma State

Other players will be added to the list of possibilities moving forward, but you get the idea.

The Jets must land a player who will wreak havoc coming off the edge.

There is no way around that.

The Broncos hammered that point home on Sunday.

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


Info on new Jets assistant coach Jeff Hammerschmidt 02.05.16

Jets assistant special team’s coach Jeff Hammerschmidt at a glance…

Named to Mike Bobo’s Colorado State staff Jan. 2, 2015, retained from Jim McElwain’s staff.

Brought to CSU in 2012 eight years of experience coaching special teams, all in the Pac-10/12 and Big Ten.

Has seven years of experience as a defensive coordinator, having coached every defensive position.

Coached a consensus All-American, Tony Bouie, and a host of future NFL players, including Antwaan Randle El, Adewale Ogunleye and Kapri Bibbs.

Has significant postseason experience, including the Fiesta Bowl and Division I-AA national championship.
Brother of former CSU player and longtime assistant coach Dan Hammerschmidt.

Personnel file

Age on Sept. 1, 2015: 46

Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

High School: Helix; San Diego, Calif.

College: Arizona (sociology, 1991).

Family: Wife Felicity; children Bryn and Bode.

Career background

Seasons Team/School Title/Position Coached

1992 Arizona Graduate Assistant
1993 Arizona Safeties
1994-95 Arizona Defensive Backs
1996-97 Southern Utah Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers/Defensive Line
1998-99 Indiana Special Teams Coordinator/Outside LB
2000-02 Saint Mary’s Defensive Coordinator
2003-04 Montana Defensive Coordinator
2005 Cal Poly Linebackers
2006 Stanford Special Teams/Outside LB
2007 San Jose State Linebackers
2008-11 Arizona Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Ends
2012-14 Colorado State Special Teams Coordinator/Running Backs


Revis still a solid player, but give the cat more help 02.02.16

Bart Scott was interviewed by Newsday about cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Scott nailed it when he said, “Nobody is undefeated when it comes to Father Time.”

That is exactly right.

Especially in football, a sport that really takes a toll on the human body, perhaps expediting the athletic aging process.

And because that’s the case, you need to be very careful with the kind of contracts you give 30-year-old players, especially at positions that require speed and quickness.

But what is done is done. The ink has dried on the contract.

So moving forward with Revis, the Jets need to forget how much money he’s being paid, and handle him appropriately.

Give him safety help at times, give him double-team assistance at times.

Revis can still be a very productive player for the Jets, but it’s time to stop living in the past.

Close the island.

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


Woody can’t win with the media. Why bother? 02.01.16

Shortly after Woody Johnson addressed the media last week, I read a headline on a website, “Jets owner questions Geno’s desire.”

Johnson was asked if he thought Geno Smith was a franchise quarterback.

“I mean, that’s up to the eye of the beholder,” Jets owner Woody Johnson said. “But he has all the skills. It is a question of what his desire is. And from what the coaches told me and from what I have seen myself, I think he has matured a lot. And he is working on his game and he knows he’s a professional and he has the ability if he sticks with it.

“We will see in the summer how he (does) but I think the coaches are pretty optimistic about what he has learned and maturity. We know he can throw a ball. I think he has taken it to a new level and we will see how it plays out.”

I could be wrong, but I don’t think he questioned his desire.

Not sure why Johnson even talks to the media. There are no NFL rules that make owners speak.

It seems every time he does, some people go out of there way to make him look bad.

**Subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine (1-800-932-4557) or pick up a copy on a news stand. You can also click on the link below to subscribe.


Bowles knows the Jets need to get one 01.27.16

Mobile – It’s pretty obvious what the Jets need to get.

But they don’t grow on trees.

The Jets need a dynamic edge-passer, a game-wrecker coming off the edge.

But Todd Bowles made it clear, the guy needs to be more than just a speed-rusher.

“It’s more than speed,” Bowles told Daily News writer Manish Mehta in an exclusive interview at the Senior Bowl. “You have to an array of moves and have a passion for getting to the quarterback as well as the speed. … Yeah, it’s what you’d love to have, but those guys are like rare quarterbacks. You don’t see them much. And it’s hard to get them if you’re not picking very high.”

Picking 20th, would the Jets take a chance on Eastern Kentucky outside linebacker Noah Spence, who had an off-the-field issue (with Ecstacy) a couple of years ago?

He might be the best edge-rusher in the draft.

Are his problems behind him?


Saw two Jets scouts talking to this guy in Mobile 01.26.16

Mobile – After today’s North squad practice at the Senior Bowl, I saw two Jets scouts talking to Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib.

This past season, Nassib set the Penn State single-season sack record with 15.5. He also had six forced fumbles.

He has a motor that never stops.

It’s unclear what position he will play on the next level, but you can never have enough good pass rushers.

And the 6-6, 270-pound Nassib certainly knows how to get to the quarterback.


Q-and-A with Senior Bowl LB who could help Jets 01.26.16

Q)What weight do you want to play at on the next level?

Reggie Ragland – Alabama: I want to play about 250 or 245. I’m getting my weight down now training a little bit. I know I can play at this weight now, but I want to be faster on the field.

Q)Moving from inside to outside linebacker, have you talked to any outside linebackers what it takes to play the position on the next level?

Ragland: No, but I’ve seen and watched them and I know it takes a lot. You got to be able to jump in the flats and cover those guys.

Q)Why do you ask to play outside linebacker this week?

Ragland: I just want to show that I can cover and rush the passer. I want to show that I can do multiple things at the next level. I know I can play inside, but I want to be able to show that I can play outside too. If a guy goes down, I want to show I can go out there and play it too and not miss a beat.

Q)You’re only two weeks removed from playing in the national title game, why was it important to play in the Senior Bowl?

Ragland: It’s a prestigious game. Also getting to play in this game with some of my brothers that I won’t probably get to play with in the league. I get a chance to play with some guys I’ve heard about over the years of playing college football.

Q)What are some of the things you’ve picked up from him (Nick Saban) that are going to help you over the next week and in the NFL?

Ragland: Coach Saban taught me a lot. He taught me as a player to really pay attention to the detail of things. That’s the type of coach he is. When we game plan, he’s going to go over every necessary thing we need to do as a team. I’m going to learn a new scheme (in the NFL), so I’m going to go into it with the right mindset and I’m going to try to pay attention to the details of that scheme.

Q)What was it like waiting to get on the field for a couple of years at Alabama and being a backup?

Ragland: It was rough. You play in middle school, high school and coaches are throwing you out there getting a chance, but Coach Saban taught me about being a man. I was going to wait my turn behind guys like C.J. Mosley, Nico Johnson and Trey DePriest and all those guys and it really made me a better football player and I had to become smarter as a player too.

C.J. Mosley (Baltimore Ravens) is one of the smartest players I’ve ever played with and if I had a question, I didn’t have to go to coaches because I could go straight to him and he broke it down to me the best way that I could understand it.


Bobby April and Dave DeGuglielmo 01.25.16

Three days after their season ended in Buffalo, the Jets fired special teams coach Bobby April.

One day after losing the AFC Championship Game, New England fired offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

Both guy were dealt really bad hands personnel-wise.

But their firings speak volumes about the NFL, as in “Not For Long.”

Even if you aren’t given the ideal players to succeed, or you suffer myriad injuries, it really doesn’t matter.

As a coach, you must figure out a way to get the job done.

The NFL is a bottom-line league.


Perhaps he can take a pay cut to help team 01.21.16

Entering the 2015 off-season, the Jets were in the top five of available salary cap space.

Now, they are in the bottom five.

And they have a lot of key free agents like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Mo Wilkerson and Damon Harrison.

One reason for the rough cap situation is the largesse of the contract given to cornerback Darrelle Revis. Last March, he signed a five-year deal for $70 million, with $39 million fully guaranteed.

Some might consider this profligate spending for a 30-year-old cornerback. Some might not.

Revis had a so-so first season, including a rough outing in the Jets’ season-finale at Buffalo, in a must-win game.

He’s still a solid player, but his speed and quickness have slipped a tad. It happens to all of us.

So his contract might not be commensurate with his current skill set.

So considering the Jets’ rough cap situation, and all the key players they need to re-sign, Revis should do the right thing, and take a pay-cut.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential is out, and is one of our best ever, loaded with inside info, and tons of ideas on how the Jets can take the next step. On news stands now. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to subscribe, or you can subscribe on this website.


Maccagnan never believes in targeting 01.20.16

During his press briefing last Thursday, Jets GM Mike Maccagnan was asked if he would target another quarterback in the draft.

This led him to wax philosophical on the importance of never targeting positions in the draft.

“I think when you go in the draft, the draft is such an opportunity to add players at any position,” Maccagnan said. “The one thing I learned over my years before I took this job, was when you sort of target players in the draft, there’s more uncertainty with that.

“Once we sort of establish our board, we’ll make that determination if the best player available at our pick is a quarterback or another position and go from there. I also think [targeting positions is} kind of a flawed approach to a certain degree.

“I always find that when people start factoring things in that don’t have any bearing on the evaluation of the players, you run the risk of forcing a pick or skewing your evaluation of them and sometimes make mistakes.”

In other words, In Maccagnan’s football world-view, you always stick to your value board, regardless of position.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out. A blunt look at what the Jets need to do to take the next step. Also, tons of Jets Whispers and so much more. A must-read for Jets fans. To subscribe to this monthly magazine, call 800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5), or you can subscribe on this website.


I don’t agree with the premise of this answer 01.14.16

Rex Ryan said this in Buffalo last week.

And Mike Maccagnan said it today in Florham Park.

When asked about players on the roster about to become free agents, Maccagnan said, “In a perfect world. we’d like to bring everybody back.”

I don’t get that.

Why would you want to bring everybody back from a middle-of-the-road team that missed the playoffs?

Look, I understand he’s not going to tell us the names of players he doesn’t want back. I get that.

But why say you want “everybody back?”

If I were the Jets or the Bills, I would not want all the free agents back.

And there is nothing wrong with saying that.

Actually it sends a strong message about the need for improvement.

*The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out next Monday. To subscribe to this monthly, a must-read for Jets fans, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or you can subscribe on this website.


Key NFL 2016 Dates 01.08.16

January:

1/23: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL.
1/30: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL.
1/31: Pro Bowl – Aloha Stadium, HI.

February:

2/7: Super Bowl 50, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA.
2/8: Waiver system begins for 2016.
2/16: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
2/23-29: NFL Combine – Lucas Oil Stadium, IA.

March:

3/7: 4PM NY time deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.
3/12-15: Beginning at 12PM, NY time, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 player contracts at 4PM NY time, on March 15. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4PM, NY time, on March 15.
3/15: The 2016 League Year and Free Agency period begin at 4PM, NY time.
3/15: Trading period for 2016 begins at 4PM, NY time, after expiration of all 2015 contracts.
3/20-23: Annual League Meeting – Boca Raton, FL.

April:

4/4: Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2015 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.
4/18: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
4/22: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign Offer Sheets.
4/27: Deadline for prior club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents.
4/28-30: NFL Draft – Chicago, IL.
4/30: Clubs may begin signing Undrafted Free Agents who were eligible for the 2016 Draft.

May:

5/6-9 or 5/13-16: Clubs may elect to hold their one three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.
5/9: Rookie Football Development Program begins.
5/23-25: NFL Spring League Meeting – Charlotte, NC.

June:

6/1: Deadline for clubs to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Restricted Free Agents who received a qualifying offer for a Right or First Refusal Only.
6/19-25: Rookie Symposium – Aurora, OH.

July:

7/15: 4PM NY time deadline for clubs that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension.
7/22: Signing Period ends for unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “May 10 Tender” was made by prior club (4PM NY time deadline).
Mid July: Teams are permitted to begin their training camps


He’s not going anywhere 01.06.16

I’ve read speculation that Mo Wilkerson, who suffered a serious leg injury in Buffalo, might have played his last game as a Jet.

No way.

If he’s healthy, he will be on the 2016 Jets, either playing on the franchise tag or a long-term contract.

Wilkerson and Brandon Marshall are the two best players on the Jets.

Wilkerson is one of the top 3-4 defensive linemen in football – an elite talent.

You win in the NFL with difference-makers. Wilkerson is a difference-maker.

He’s not going anywhere.

***The next issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out January 18. A lot of great stuff from behind the scenes at One Jets Drive. To subscribe to this monthly must-read for Jets fans, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Or you can subscribe to the magazine on this website.


As long as Bowles deals with reality behind scenes 01.04.16

Jets coach Todd Bowles said today he believes Darrelle Revis remains an “elite-level” cornerback.

That clearly isn’t the case.

We saw that in Houston, Buffalo and Oakland.

Revis is still a good player, but not an elite cornerback.

“I just think his time as being the elite No. 1 cornerback is pretty much over,” former NFL safety Darrin Woodson said on ESPN in early November. “He’s a 30-year-old corner now. Let’s just call it what it is.”

I agreed with Woodson then, and now.

Revis is a 30-year-old cornerback who has lost some speed and quickness. You saw that in Buffalo on Sunday.

But it’s fine for Bowles to protect Revis publicly from a semantics standpoint and call him “elite.”

However, the Jets better deal with reality behind the scenes, and from this point on, stop treating Revis like the Revis of old, when he could hold up on an island with no help.

Those days are gone.

Revis needs help – whether it’s via double-teams or safety help.

And with help, he can still be a very good player for the Jets.


The honest reality of the 2015 Jets 01.04.16

The Jets had a solid season in 2015 finishing 10-6.

But honestly, they were an average team with a very easy schedule.

They need to make the requisite improvements in the 2016 off-season to move beyond average.

The Jets were 10-6 against a cake schedule and missed the playoffs. That is the bottom line.

Mike Maccagnan has a lot of work to do, and tough decisions to make, for his team to take the next step.


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