Dan Leberfeld's Blog

“Confirmation Bias” can prevent a team from being successful 09.29.20

On October 22, 2019, the New England Patriots acquired WR Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for a second-round pick.

On September 2, 2020, the Patriots released Sanu, who is now with the San Francisco 49ers.

So less than a year after trading a valuable second-round pick for a player, the Patriots moved on.

These kind of decisions are easy for Bill Belichick, because he rejects “confirmation bias” in his personnel decisions.

“Confirmation bias” is the tendency to search for, interpret and favor information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs.

If you do this with personnel decisions, and roll with players too long to save face, it’s going to be very hard for your team to be successful.

Some NFL GM’s might keep a player around due to where he was drafted, or how much he makes, or in this case, what he gave up for him in a trade. Belichick doesn’t roll that way.

You can’t worry about your draft-record, free agent-record, trade-record when making roster decisions, You need to view everyone on the field equally, regardless of how they were acquired, and always keep and start the best players.

Belichick releasing Sanu so quickly, after giving up a high draft pick for him, is a perfect example of how to ignore “confirmation bias” in all decisions.

“When Belichick stands in front of the team and says look, the only players who are going to play here are the best players,” wrote former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi. “So if we drafted you in the first round, or you were an undrafted college free agent, who’s ever the best player is playing. He says that to the team, he’s got to believe that and act that way. Most teams when we drafted you in the first round, we don’t care if the other guy is better than you, we are going to keep you.”
If you don’t approach player personnel decisions sans “confirmation bias,” it’s hard to win in the NFL.
**********************************
To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Hard-hitting, unfiltered Jets coverage without the cheap shots and snark. Check it out!

No excuses, no explanations – Next man up! 09.25.20

This excuse isn’t going to fly. Most teams are dealing with it.

As Tony Dungy always said: “No excuses, no explanations.”

Talking about injuries.

Injuries are a part of the NFL’s fabric. Look at the nature of the sport; one of the most violent games around. Of course there are going to be injuries.

So you deal with them and move forward, and never use them as an excuse.

If you think your favorite team is the most ravaged by injuries, just look around the league.

Like the Dallas Cowboys last week, with myriad players out, including both of their superb offensive tackles, they staged an amazing comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 40-39.

Look at the San Francisco 49ers down three defensive ends, two corners and more, and they still managed to win big last week.

Regardless of injuries, you still have to figure out a way to win games.

There are SO many teams with SO many injuries.

Just look around the league.

But as good football cultures always say: “Next man up.”

And they never bring up injuries as an excuse, publicly – ever!

**********************************************************************

The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out! So much info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Check it out!


You can’t use this as excuse – most teams are dealing with it 09.25.20

This excuse isn’t going to fly. Most teams are dealing with it.

Talking about injuries.

As Tony Dungy always said: “No excuses, no explanations.”

Injuries are a part of the NFL’s fabric. Look at the nature of the sport; one of the most violent games around. Of course there are going to be injuries.

So you deal with them and move forward, and never use them as an excuse.

If you think your favorite team is the most ravaged by injuries, just look around the league.

Like the Dallas Cowboys last week, with myriad players out, including both of their superb offensive tackles, they staged an amazing comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 40-39.

Look at the San Francisco 49ers down three defensive ends, two corners and more, and they still managed to win big last week.

Regardless of injuries, you still have to figure out a way to win games.

There are SO many teams with SO many injuries.

Just look around the league.

But as good football cultures always say: “Next man up.”

And they never bring up injuries as an excuse, publicly – ever!

**********************************************************************

The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out! So much info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Check it out!


When a defense can’t do this, they’re toast! 09.24.20

It’s one of the most important things a defense needs to do, and if they don’t do it, they’re in heap of trouble.

Talking about setting the edge? What is that exactly?

“Setting the edge is a descriptive phrase and coaching term/point used to describe the ability of a perimeter defender – most often a defensive end or outside linebacker, but can also be a defensive back – to keep a ball carrier from running outside of the offensive tackle,” wrote Insidethepythlon.com.

If you don’t have players who can do this, your going to have significant defensive problems.

“If a defense has no player there who can ‘set the edge’ against the run, then an offense can run outside for big-time yardage,” according to a post called “Football 101” for “The Fans Guide to Football” website.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is obsessed with setting the edge, and players who don’t do it properly, are on the bench.

************************

The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out tomorrow, and has page after page of great info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). JC = blunt, but fair Jets analysis. Hard-hitting coverage without the cheap shots. Check it out!


To have success as NFL team, everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction 09.23.20

This team’s reported internal battles should be a teachable moment for other NFL teams.

In order to have success in the NFL, and have a strong football culture, everyone in the building needs to be rowing in the same direction.

According to Detroit sports talk host Mike Valenti (97.1-FM), no one outside of Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn was in favor of taking Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah at No. 3 in the 2020 draft.

“Your head coach didn’t want Okudah at 3. Bob Quinn decided, ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room, I don’t really care what anybody has to say, I’m taking Okudah at 3,’ ” said Valenti. “Nobody wanted this kid at 3. And if you’re asking me – oh, and it gets better, from what I’ve been told, your coach wanted (DT) Derrick Brown, that’s what I keep hearing. Player personnel, it was (QB) Tua (Tagvailoa) or (LB Isaiah) Simmons.”

It’s hard to win this way. A house divided cannot stand.

This is why the late, great San Francisco 49ers coach/GM Bill Walsh used to say: “We are only competing against eight teams here.”

In other words, most other organizations aren’t aligned properly, aren’t in lockstep, and this hinders their ability to be successful.

In order to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page, and you can’t have “subcontractors.”

“It’s not good to have subcontractors on a football team – this guy runs the offense, this guy runs the defense, this guy runs the personnel department,” said one former NFL GM.

In New England, there are no subcontractors.

“Nothing goes on in that building that [Bill Belichick] doesn’t approve,” said VISN’s Mike Lombardi, a former Patriots executive under Belichick.

The bottom line is if you don’t have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet in an NFL football operation, it’s hard to compete for a championship.

*******************************

The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is coming out later this week. Page after page of the unfiltered bottom line about Gang Green. Blunt, but fair – no cheap shots or snark. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A must-read for Jets fans!

 

 

 


NFL AND NFLPA COVID-19 TESTING RESULTS 09.22.20

*The National Football League and NFL Players Association today announced the COVID-19 monitoring testing results for September 13 – September 19.

During this period, players and Tier 1 and 2 personnel were tested daily. Tier 3 individuals were tested weekly. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 follow the joint NFL-NFLPA Treatment Protocol. They are immediately isolated, not permitted access club facilities, or have direct contact with players or personnel. Club medical staff are in regular communication with individuals who test positive to monitor symptoms.

Monitoring Testing results for September 13 – September 19:

  • 36,664 tests were administered to a total of 7,845 players and team personnel.
  • 14,074 tests were administered to 2,438 players; 22,590 tests were administered to 5,407 personnel.
  • There were zero confirmed positive tests among players and five new confirmed positives among other personnel.

*Press release


You can find players at this spot without spending a lot 09.22.20

People made a big deal when they released their long-time starter in the summer

ESPN Headline – “James Robinson making Jaguars forget Leonard Fournette.”

Robinson is an undrafted free agent running back out of Illinois State. Fournette was the team’s 2017 first-round pick, fourth overall.

The Jaguars released Fournette on August 31, and he signed with Tampa Bay (he had a solid game on Sunday).

Robinson, who makes $610,000 this year, has done a nice job for the Jaguars in their first two games as the starting tailback, rushing for 164 yards.

“What you guys are seeing now is probably what I’ve been seeing all of camp,” Jags coach Doug Marrone said, according to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. “Just a real steady, good football player. If there’s something there, he’s going to find it. He’s not going to make mistakes and lose yardage for you, and [he’s going to] try to keep the chains going. He’s a tough runner. He’s got a little burst getting through the second level. I was happy to see him take that one to the end zone.”

The lesson here is simple: While Fournette is a good player, you don’t need to pick running backs high in the first round, or pay them big money in free agency, to have success at that position.

You can find players in the later rounds, or as undrafted free agents, or street free agents (like Raheem Mostert), and do just fine.

****************************************

To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Our new issue comes out later this week, and has brutally honest assessments of what is going on with Gang Green, without the cheap shots, course. Check it out!

 


It was ridiculous this Jet didn’t play more last year 09.16.20

The two guys they will likely roll with this Sunday at the position are fine . . .

The question is about depth at this point.

Talking about the Jets inside linebacker position.

With injuries to Avery Williamson (hamstring), Patrick Onwuasor (knee) and Blake Cashman (groin), and another player taking this season off (C.J. Mosley), the Jets are very thin at inside linebacker now.

However, come Sunday, they should be fine at the starting positions with Neville Hewitt and Harvey Langi, who came in for Cashman in Buffalo after he pulled his groin.

Anybody who thinks Langi is a downgrade from Cashman is probably mistaken.

In fact, the big mystery is why Langi didn’t play more last year. That was clearly a big mistake. The BYU product is a big (6-2, 251), fast (4.62 forty), tough, instinctive linebacker who plays with great intensity.

His playmaking ability was on full display in Buffalo, late in the third quarter, knocking down a pass to running back Devin Singletary, preventing a touchdown.

The Jets should be fine at the starting positions, but depth is another story.

Will Williamson be able to come back this week? Will practice squad linebackers Alex Ogletree and Paul Worrilow be ready to roll with very little practice time?

So the question this week is about depth.

The starters are solid.

*******************************************************

To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A new issue is coming out next week loaded with page-after-page of the good stuff on Gang Green. Check it out! Makes a great gift for a Jets fan!


Surprise this guy didn’t play more against Buffalo 09.15.20

This player looked really good in Jets training camp, but then got just eight snaps in Buffalo.

Talking about tight end Trevon Wesco.

The West Virginia-product displayed velcro hands all summer, and we already know he’s a road-grading blocker.

Wesco’s not a burner, but he’s very good in the short to intermediate passing game, and is really hard to bring down after the catch.

He’s a good guy to have some passing plays designed for in a game, because the defense expects him to stay in to block, so when he slips out, there’s often little or no coverage on him.

After the way he shined this summer, it’s surprising how little he played in Buffalo.

********************************

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. Hard-hitting without the cheap shots. Check it out!


Joe Douglas nails what Darnold must improve 09.14.20

During a press conference on September 7, Jets GM Joe Douglas was asked: “What are your expectations for Sam (Darnold), and specifically what areas would you like to see him improve?”

At the end of his answer, he probably hit the bullseye on what the quarterback must improve to take the next step.

“His ability to digest [the] playbook and just operate at a quicker pace,” said Douglas. “You know, there’s just that half second, quicker decision, quicker release, you see that in training camp and that fires you up.”

Bingo!

And saw that issue with quick decisions on display in Buffalo on Sunday in the Jets’ opening day loss.

Darnold clearly needs to speed up his internal clock. Too often, he waits a tick to long to get rid of the ball. He needs to do a better job of knowing when to pull the trigger and let it rip. Sometimes he lacks anticipation and waits too long to cut it loose. Darnold also needs to do a better job cycling through his progressions, and manipulating defenders with his eyes.

So yes, Adam Gase has some things to improve upon as a play-caller (like stop dialing up SO many screens), but his QB needs to make “quicker decisions,” as Douglas pointed out on September 7.

*******************************************

To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). The unfiltered bottom line about the Jets without the cheap shots and snark.


Darnold: ‘We need to fix those things, because they’re fixable’ 09.13.20

Q)It just looked like you guys couldn’t get anything going there early in the game . . .

Darnold: First off, we didn’t execute the way that we wanted to, especially in the first half. I put that on my shoulders. I missed way too many throws today. We had opportunities and I just missed guys. We’ve got to look at the tape and see what happened, but I just flat-out missed guys and that’s on me. And so I’ve got to be better and we’ve got to execute better. It’s as simple as that.

Now we do have to go into the meetings tomorrow, kind of understand how we need to fix those things, because they’re fixable. It’s the first game of the season—and so we’ve just got to go in with our heads up and be ready to learn from our mistakes and leave it at that.

Q)You were hurt by penalties quite a bit today. Can you speak to that?

Darnold: We try to limit penalties as much as we can. Obviously, there were too many today. And then the delay of game, I put that on my shoulders. We didn’t break the huddle fast enough and we weren’t ready and that’s on me.

Q)Was there anything that Buffalo did today that was confusing schematically or that you haven’t seen during practice at all?

Darnold: They always try to bring different looks, but Buffalo, their defense is going to do what they do. We were ready for it, we just didn’t execute.

Q)On the drive right before half that ended up with the field goal, right before the kick, you threw a completion to (Jamison) Crowder in the middle of the field with the clock running. Were you supposed to go there? 

Darnold: Yeah, they were bringing pressure so I had to get the ball out. Hindsight, if we look at the tape we might say that we want to do something different, but that’s what I thought in the moment, so I did it, but I knew we’d have to slow kill it and execute the field goal. So, that was kind of my thought process in the moment.

Q)Is this one demoralizing?

Darnold: I think for us, we’re all competitors. Losing sucks no matter who it is. Obviously, it’s Week One. There were some details, guys, that we’ve got to figure out and we’re going to figure out. But it’s Week One and we’ve just got to figure out what we did wrong and correct those mistakes and not let them happen again.


Bills front seven twists could create challenge 09.10.20

It’s probably not the best thing for a newly-formed offensive line, in their first game, to face a defense that’s been together for a while.

But’s that’s the challenge the Jets face heading to Buffalo on Sunday.

“I think their continuity is something that I would say gives them an advantage compared to a lot of other defenses,” said Jets coach Adam Gase. “I mean this is the seventh time I’m playing Sean (McDermott) – I feel like I’m talking about the same guys that are playing for him, for a long time.”

And when they make additions to their defensive core, they generally find very good scheme fits.

“And the pieces they’ve added have all been the right guys, very highly intelligent, good athletes, fit into the scheme very well, execute his vision extremely well,” Gase said. “You can tell those guys play great as a group and they all know their role. So, that’s the first part that makes it difficult outside of them just having a lot of really good players.”

The Bills’ front is likely going to really come after the Jets new-fangled offensive line with a lot of stunts and twists.

“They make it tough on you, they create enough negative plays, it’s chaotic,” Gase said. “When you play them, you feel like they’re playing with 12-13 guys on the field sometimes because they’re penetrating, there are guys blitzing all over the place, you’re lining up with a bunch of different stuff. They cause you a lot of problems.”

So this matchup is going to going to be a be challenge for the Jets new O-Line of Mekhi Becton, Alex Lewis, Connor McGovern, Alex Van Roten and George Fant, who are attempting to get on the same page.

***************************************

To subscribe to the one-and-only Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). JC takes you behind the scenes at 1 Jets drive like nobody else. Check it out!


Mims role on Sunday a mystery 09.10.20

After missing most of training camp, what can we expect to see from Jets rookie receiver Denzel Mims on Sunday in Buffalo?

“It’s about understanding kind of what’s going on in the game plan and locking in that way,” Jets QB Sam Darnold said about Mims. “But he was great [on Wednesday], we just got to continue to build off of it.”

While he couldn’t physically participate in camp due to a hamstring injury, Mims watched his fellow receivers closely from the sideline.

“I had a (play) script on the field,” Mims said.

He also stayed after school, if you will, to learn the playbook.

“I did extra meetings with the coaches to make sure I was ready when I came back,” Mims said.

Expect the Jets to put in a limited package for him on Sunday, and not expect him to know the entire playbook, just this week’s game plan.

Darnold is excited to have this player as a weapon on Sunday, and moving forward.

“He’s explosive, quick in and out of his breaks, I think that’s the biggest thing and he’s a big target,” Darnold said. “I mean those are all the things you want in a receiver, so whenever you got a big guy like that who can run, who can get in and out of his cuts, that’s what you want.”

************************************

To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). All the good stuff on Gang Green without the cheap shots. Get it, you won’t regret it!


Are the weapons an excuse for Gang Green? 09.08.20

Can we chill out with the weapons angle?

“Does Sam Darnold have enough weapons?”

It seems like this question has been asked since he arrived in 2018.

We will certainly find out, but he also needs to improve. It’s not all about the weapons.

He needs to speed up his internal clock.

“There’s just that half second, quicker decision, quicker release, you see that in training camp and that fires you up,” said Jets GM Joe Douglas.

And when you talk about weapons, you shouldn’t have a myopic view and just focus on receivers. The Jets will be throwing a lot to tight ends and running backs in 2020.

“I do think getting Chris Herndon back is one of the guys that nobody really talks about, which obviously him and Sam have phenomenal chemistry together, and with Lev (Le’Veon Bell) and Frank (Gore) back there and now (La’Mical) Perine,” said Jets coach Adam Gase.

And with the tight end group, not only is Herndon a guy to watch, but also Ryan Griffin, who was a pleasant surprise for the Jets last year, and Trevon Wesco, who looked superb in training camp.

At receiver, don’t be shocked if slot receiver Jamison Crowder (on our latest cover pictured above) catches between 80-100 passes this year.

Obviously they need to get Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims healthy, which seems to be happening, but Chris Hogan, who won two rings in New England, is more than capable of helping them a lot, as is Braxton Berrios. Hogan and Berrios are both very good route-runners with soft hands.

The weapons should be okay.

But it’s not all about the weapons.

Darnold needs to improve at things like going through his progressions (not fixating on his first read) and throwing with more anticipation.

And there is a good chance he will, entering his all-important third year in the NFL, and his second season in Gase’s offense.

As an old NFL coach once said: “Quarterbacks make receivers, receivers don’t make quarterbacks.”

**************************************

Jets Confidential Magazine is a must-read for Jets fans. So much great information on Gang Green, without the cheap shots and snark. Get it delivered to your home by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Get it, you won’t regret it!

 

 


Are Gase/Douglas trying to show united front? 09.07.20

At first, their press conferences today, to address the roster cuts, were scheduled to be separate.

Based on the original schedule, sent out Sunday, Jets coach Adam Gase was scheduled to address the media at 11:45 today, and then GM Joe Douglas, at 12:30.

Now, Gase and Douglas, will both address the media at 12:30.

Clearly, there is some symbolism at work here, perhaps too show a united front; that the Jets two top football decision-makers are in lockstep.

Not saying they weren’t united before this. There is no sign of division between these two men, at least, not yet.

But clearly having them appear together was a strategic decision, and one to show unity, and that they have a shared vision for the Jets’ football operation, a single-mindness of purpose

Something that wasn’t the case with Gase or Todd Bowles with former GM Mike Macagnan, or with Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik.

************************************

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the latest issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, on sale now at convenience stores, and by subscription. Nobody takes you behind the scenes at 1 Jets Drive better than JC. A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan! To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-832-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

 


Best to avoid a bunch of waiver claims right now 09.06.20

The Jets didn’t claim any players from other teams on the NFL cut down to 53.

And that’s probably a smart thing this year.

It’ll be hard enough to get players up to speed who were in camp, with limited practice time, and no preseason games, so why bring in new guys now, who know nothing about what your doing?

Just keep working with the guys you have, for now.

One former Jets GM used to call waiver claims at the final cut-down a “mini-draft.”

Well it was best for the Jets to avoid the “mini-draft” this year.

There are going to be enough continuity challenges with the guys who were already here, after so little prep time, so why add to it?

*********************************

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, with so much stuff about Gang Green you will not read anywhere else. Great Jets info without the cheap shots! Check it out!


Next Page »