Dan Leberfeld's Blog
Sidney Rice – may the buyer beware 04.16.14
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is on fire.
“Former Seahawks WR Sidney Rice is in New Jersey today, visiting with the Jets. Busy day for Jets,” announced Schefter on twitter.
Some teams announce visits, like the Miami Dolphins. Others don’t. The Jets don’t.
This opens the door for Schefter to break a lot of news on the Jets’ beat.
And he’s doing a heck of a job.
Rice is a very talented receiver, with nice size (6-4, 202), but is a medical risk after having hip surgery in 2011 and knee surgery in 2013.
So a one-year deal is probably the way to go.
**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and it’s chock full of the good stuff about Gang Green. Pick one up on a news stand or by subscription (1-800-932-4557, M-F, 9-5).
Thoughts on Johnson signing 04.16.14
The Jets signed free agent running back Chris Johnson. The announcement was made by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Johnson is a very good fit for the Jets’ offense. The team’s offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg loves dialing up passes to his running backs, and Johnson is a very good receiving back, with world class speed.
It was a smart move by the Jets to get him signed now, so Johnson has the entire off-season and summer to get comfortable in their offense.
Schefter announced it’s a two-year deal worth up to $9 million.
They got Johnson at a reasonable price since there weren’t a lot of suitors for the running back.
And if the deal isn’t too costly, how can you argue with it?
Even with some wear-and-tear, Johnson is a rare talent.
**The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine will be on news stands Thursday. Tons of great draft stuff along with a lot of Jets Whispers. Don’t miss out. You can pick it up on a Tri-State area news stand, or by subscription by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).
Bob Costas, of NBC Sports, during an interview with Seth Meyers, commented on guns and sports.
“Let’s make a bet, you and me,” Costas said to Meyers. “Let’s say over the next five years we’ll do a Google search. We’ll have an independent party monitor it. You keep track of how many good and constructive things are associated with athletes having a gun, and I’ll keep track of all the tragedies and criminality and folly. And let’s see who comes out ahead or behind as the case may be.
“There is in fact a gun culture, no matter how you feel about the Second Amendment or gun control, leave that aside. There is a gun culture in sports. Since I made that commentary in December of 2012, just since then, forget about the dozens if not hundreds of sorry incidents prior to.”
Jets running back Mike Goodson is battling a gun charge in New Jersey, and had another court date yesterday in Morristown. Goodson was accused last year of carrying a gun with hollow bullets, and he claims it wasn’t his gun. His next court date is May 19.
The Jets are interested in free agent cornerback Dimitri Patterson.
With some in the press, local and national, they can’t win either way with this player.
If they sign him, they will get ripped for inking a second-tier corner.
If they don’t sign him, they will get ripped for missing out on another free agent.
But while they can’t win with many in the media, he could help them win on the field.
Patterson is a solid player, with starting experience, who intercepted four passes in six games for Miami last season.
Jets aren’t desperate at CB 03.31.14
The Jets aren’t desperate at cornerback.
Do they need to add a few – perhaps a free agent and a couple of draft picks? Yes.
But this narrative out there that they are “desperate,” is coming from people outside One Jets Drive.
The season opens in September.
Why would any team be “desperate” on March 31?
And I keep hearing that the Jets need to fill the void left by the departure of Antonio Cromartie.
They moved on from him. They decided to turn the page. So let’s not overplay the “void” angle.
Cromartie is a great athlete with good ball skills, but as a press corner, too often, he opens the gate and gets beat off the line.
***The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is one of our best ever. It’s loaded with great stuff on Gang Green. Pick one up on a news stand or by subscription (1-800-932-4457, M-F, 9-5).
Pretty impressive reporting 03.30.14
ESPN’s Rich Cimini was able to uncover information from behind-the-scenes meeting at the Jets’ complex. The subject was free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
“They held internal discussions on Jackson, with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg giving his blessing,” Cimini wrote for ESPN’s New York website. “Mornhinweg, who coached him with the Philadelphia Eagles, told people in the organization that Jackson — known for his bad-boy reputation — wouldn’t be a problem in the locker room. That apparently wasn’t enough to sway Idzik, who reportedly hadn’t reached out to Jackson’s agent as of Saturday.”
To find out what Mornhinweg said to Idzik, about Jackson, in a private meeting, is terrific reporting.
There is no way around it.
And I’m not being sarcastic.
Lee brings a lot to the table 03.30.14
When the Jets are on the clock at 18, they are going to have to take a long, hard look at USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.
If they pick him, what will they be getting?
“Pretty much everything they see on film,” Lee said. “Somebody who is going to go out there and get it, to honestly tell you the truth, give it your all, 120 percent, just go out there and make plays.
“I’m going to compete, 24-7, no matter what vet is there, who is coming in, what free agent they got, I’m always going to compete and bring a positive mindset to the game. No negativity, not going to question anything, just going to get the job done.”
While Lee brings a lot to the table, he knows he needs to display more consistent hands. Why the drops at times?
“Loss of focus as far as not looking the ball all the way, not looking the ball all the way in before I make a run, running before catching the ball, things like that,” Lee said.
Another question about Lee is durability. Last season, he dealt with shoulder, knee and leg injuries.
But when healthy, he’s a dynamic talent, who runs very good routes and is very skillful at running after the catch. He’s also a talented kick returner.
He’s a bonafide #1 wide receiver who could really help the Jets.
***Another information-packed issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out. You can pick one up on a news stand or by subscription (1-800-932-4557, M-F, 9-5).
The X-Factor QB in the draft 03.29.14
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is likely going to slip to the middle rounds due to a knee injury as a senior, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he turns into one of the draft’s better quarterbacks. Here is a chat with the Tampa-native . . .
Q)What do you think teams think of you?
Murray: I have 52 games for them to watch. They have a lot of film to analyze and critique and watch and see what they like.
Q)Does it give you advantage over some prospects because you had so many college starts?
Murray: Yeah, the success, how long, playing in the SEC definitely helps as well, playing against top competition week-in and week-out. So like I said, a lot of film, so we’re just going to try and find the right match.
Q)How much do you think your knee injury as a senior will hurt your draft stock?
Murray: It might, but like I said, I have 52 games. I think I have more film than any other quarterback in this draft right now. So, I think they have plenty of film to watch of myself.
Q)How do you prevent your height from being a disadvantage?
Murray: I really haven’t had any trouble at all. I think it was two or three years ago we had, on paper, the biggest offensive line in the world. We had the biggest offensive line in college and pro. We averaged like 6-4, 6-5, like 320 pounds, and I threw for like 35 or 36 touchdowns that year. So, no problems at all.
As a quarterback you’re not really looking over offensive linemen, you’re looking through throwing lanes. You just have to be able to use your feet, maneuver around the pocket, be able to stay in the position and throw the ball accurately and deliver the strike.
**Jets Whispers galore in the new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine. You can pick one up on a news stand or by subscription.
Louisville safety Calvin Pryor has the potential to be special on the next level. He’s a ferocious hitter who also has good instincts in coverage. He’s likely going to go in the late first round, or somewhere in the second. Here is a Q-and-A with this terrific prospect . . .
Q)What can you tell us about your physical style of play?
Calvin Pryor: I love the game of football and I was brought up on toughness. To play the game of football you have to be tough and it’s a thinking game.
Q)Where did the toughness come from?
Pryor: My father really instilled it in me at a young age. When I used to fall on the ground and I think I hurt myself, he would just tell me to get back and just keep going and it caught up with me later in life.
Q)People talk about your skills in the box. How are you playing deep?
Pryor: I feel like I’m a very versatile player. I can drop in the middle of the field and cover a lot of range and just break on the ball.
Q)Who is a safety you like in the NFL?
Pryor: I became a huge fan of Kam Chancellor after this past season, just seeing the things that he does on the field and how he can affect the game so much.
Q)Do you feel like you’re the top safety in this draft?
Pryor: I do feel like that. I’m very confident in my game and my film speaks for itself.
Q)What makes you the top safety in this draft?
Pryor: Just all the things I can do. I can play strong safety, free safety, I can come up and hit, I feel I can cover. Just a playmaker. And I’m a leader.
****Don’t forget to pick up the new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine loaded with good stuff on Gang Green. It’s on news stands and by subscription (1-800-932-4557, M-F, 9-5).
The Jets will be very busy in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft. They currently have three picks. Here is the current draft order in the fourth round . . .
4- 1-101 Houston
4- 2-102 Washington
4- 3-103 Atlanta
4- 4-104 New York Jets from Tampa Bay
4- 5-105 Jacksonville
4- 6-106 Cleveland
4- 7-107 Oakland
4- 8-108 Minnesota
4- 9-109 Buffalo
4-10-110 St. Louis
4-13-113 New York Giants
4-14-114 Jacksonville from Baltimore
4-15-115 New York Jets
4-21-121 Green Bay
4-24-124 Kansas City
4-25-125 San Diego
4-26-126 New Orleans
4-27-127 Cleveland from Indianapolis
4-29-129 San Francisco
4-30-130 New England
4-33-133 Detroit (Compensatory Selection)
4-34-134 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)
4-35-135 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
4-36-136 Detroit (Compensatory Selection)
4-37-137 New York Jets (Compensatory Selection)
4-38-138 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)
4-39-139 Atlanta (Compensatory Selection)
4-40-140 New England (Compensatory Selection)
***Pick up the new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine, on news stands now and by subscription (1-800-932-4557, M-F, 9-5).
Jets Confidential Radio is on the air tonight with host Greg DePalma and special guest, JC editor Dan Leberfeld. Greg & Dan will give in-depth analysis on the Jets’ roster and the potential prospects ahead before the draft. JCR airs tonight at 10pm, est on PrimeSportsNetwork.com.
The NFL is now going to allow officials to confer with Dean Blandino in the league office when reviewing instant replays. Here are Blandino’s thoughts on the change . . .
Q)Do you expect the rule change to replay to speed up the process and improve efficiency?
Dean Blandino: Yes, we expect it to speed up the process and be more efficient for us. We can communicate with the referee immediately as soon as he’s done making his announcement, we can start that conversation as to what we’re going to look at and what he is going to see. There isn’t that delay of getting over to the monitor, putting the headset on and having a 45 second discussion. We think it will be more efficient, accurate and consistent.
Q)Will your involvement be limited to replay reviews or can you discuss rules with referees at various point during the game?
Blandino: This is strictly tied to replay reviews. The referee is the only official that we can communicate with. We can’t communicate with the other six officials.
QWhat happens if there are multiple replays at the same time?
Blandino: There will be a small group; myself, Al Riveron, the senior director of officiating, will have monitors, but there will be a small group of people that will actually be speaking to referees so we can adjudicate multiple reviews that happen at the same time.
**The new issue of JC Magazine is out. It’s loaded with good stuff on Gang Green. Don’t miss out. You can pick one up on a news stand or by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).
Jeff Fisher, a long-time member of the NFL Competition Committee, addressed the media today, and commented on the rise in taunting calls in the NFL last year.
“We had some very lengthy discussions with respect to sportsmanship,” Fisher said. “After looking at a lot of tape and after talking and consulting with different entities – the coaches subcommittee, the Players Association and others – we agreed that we have an issue on the field.
“We agreed that we are going to get it under control as soon as we possibly can. We will be working with Dean [Blandino] to put tapes together. Our taunting numbers increased from nine in 2012 to 34 last year and we are going to effect change immediately and that change will be effected as early as the OTAs when players come back.
“We’ve got to change our conduct on the field. We’ve got to bring the element of respect in its highest level back to our game. We are going to clean the game up on the field between the players. The in-your-face taunting, those types of things. The language, it’s all in the book, it’s all under unsportsmanlike conduct. There is no change in the rule, we are going to enforce the current rule.
“The penalty is there – it’s black and white. The penalties increased, but we also feel like we missed some penalties. The incidents on the field have increased as well. We may not have flagged them all but we are going to raise the standard and Dean’s guys are definitely going to raise the standard.”
Former NFL offensive guard Conrad Dobler, one of the tougher players from the 1970′s, doesn’t think a shrink is the best person to decide whether Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and John Jerry are ready to return to the NFL.
“I have a tough time thinking that a psychiatrist who has not played in a pugilistic sport like football can make an intelligent decision on the mental makeup of the individual who does participate in those activities,” Dobler told Breitbart Sports. “They work on what the average of society is. Those 1,600 guys aren’t the average.”
*** New issue of JC Magazine is out, and loaded with page-after-page of good stuff on the Jets. Don’t miss out. Pick one up on a news stand or subscribe by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).
Dunking the football over the goalpost has been outlawed by the NFL.
“I think the reasoning behind it is disruption of the game and the inability to in some stadiums to be able to correct the goalposts themselves because of the way they are put in,” said Rich McKay of the NFL Competition committee. “(In some venues) when you get them off angle, they’re not coming back during that game time, which creates a little bit of a problem of where the kicker is going to kick.
“We said the ‘Lambeau Leap’ was ok and you can do it because it was a traditional thing. I don’t think we ever contemplated that the goalpost would ever be thrown off kilter in games and there be a 20-minute delay of the game as they try to right them. When you add five feet to the top and make them even heavier, I think we were concerned about how it would impact a game from a competitive standpoint. That’s why the rule modification took place.”
***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and loaded with Whispers along with tons of good stuff on free agency and draft. Eric Decker is on the cover. You can pick one up on a Tri-State area news stand, by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or on this website.