Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Houston, they have a problem 11.23.15

Houston – It was a game that should have alerted the Jets and their fans that this team had a big problem. It was a harbinger.

On November 1, Raiders second-year quarterback Derek Carr threw for 333 yards, four touchdowns and had a 130.9 QB rating, in an Oakland win over the Jets.

The Raiders have lost three games since, and in the last two losses, including one in Detroit yesterday, they had issues scoring points.

Against the Lions, Carr was 13-25 for 169 yards and no touchdowns.

After the Jets’ game, I’m sure many people thought Carr had arrived and was on his way to great things.

Perhaps he will be very good in time, but the Jets made him look like Tom Brady, now.

And that game was illustrative of a big problem on the Jets – the cornerback position.

How do you allow Carr to rip you apart like that? He’s still a major work-in-progress. Inexcusable.

The Jets spent a ton of money on corners in the off-season. Last year they were ripped for not spending enough. Is there a big difference in the results?

Here is the biggest issue – they signed two older corners to start, who don’t run like they used to, and have little quick twitch left to break on passes.

Moving forward this season, the Jets should allow more competition at the cornerback spot in practice. They actually have some depth at the position. Let them all fight it out on the practice field, and play the best players. Stop the politics.

In a cap sport, you don’t pay players big bucks for what they have done in the past, you sign them for what they can do for you now.

***What to do with Revis? We have a plan in the latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine on news stands now and by subscription (1-800-932-4557, M-F, 9-5).

Mike and Todd – stop the politics – play best players 11.22.15

Houston – When I saw the inactive list before the Jets-Houston game, I was a little surprised.

WR Kenbrell Thompkins was inactive, and WR Devin Smith was active.

Over the previous three games, Thompkins had done a nice job, hauling in a 11 catches, including an important 38-yard diving catch against Jacksonville.

Thompkins is a polished, savvy receiver, a nice in-season addition by the Jets.

“He has been awesome,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said about Thompkins a few weeks ago. “He’s a true pro in terms of the way he has come in, learned everything, and knows multiple positions. He’s got a great football IQ.”

Smith has a lot of potential, but is a major work-in-progress, and needs to get a lot stronger.

So to me, if a team has Smith active, and deactivates Thompkins, it’s an example of playing draft pick politics. In other words, they picked Smith high in the second round, so he’s going to play come hell or high water.

That is no way to run a program, and Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles should know better.

Always play the players who give you the best chance to win on any given Sunday, whether it’s at cornerback or receiver – all positions.

With all the double coverage that Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker received yesterday, Thompkins would have been nice secondary option.

Highlights of Bowles from Friday 11.20.15

Q)Do you think Sheldon Richardson will play on Sunday?

Todd Bowles: I’ll see him warm up before the game. I’ll make a decision after that. It will be a game-time decision.

Q)Does having a few extra days to prepare for a game, after playing on Thursday, help a team?

Bowles: From an injury standpoint I would say (yes). The fact that it’s the middle of the season and the grind of it all, to get some of those guys back like Bilal (Powell) and Calvin, but other than that, no.

Q)Do the few extra days help with game planning?

Bowles: It helps the coaches that way because they get extra time and they’re not rushed (like) a normal week. That way, it helps out.

Q)Is Ryan Fitzpatrick in a similar situation now, right after surgery, as he was before the surgery?

Bowles: As far as what could happen to him, yes. It’s not any better than it was before he got surgery as far as taking the pain, but he got surgery to get better. It won’t get any worse. I think the tolerance of the pain will be the same.

Q)With left thumb brace he’s wearing this game, will his limitations be the same as the last game?

Bowles: Right now, yes. Basically, it’ll be the same.

Q)How does Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense differs from the Jets’ system?

Bowles: They’ve got some big guys down there. They probably play a little more (five) technique and they probably don’t blitz as much. We do a lot of the things the same. We just do some things differently in terms of how we deploy personnel.

Time to stand up and be counted 11.20.15

Florham Park – On November 1, Raiders second-year quarterback Derek Carr threw for 333 yards, four touchdowns passes and had a 130.9 QB rating, in an Oakland win over the Jets.

On November 8, Jacksonville Jaguars second-year QB Blake Bortles threw for 380 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets.

Hey, both of these guys look like they are going to be very good, but they are still developing, still learning the whys and wherefores of being an NFL quarterback.

The Jets’ pass defense made them look like they are both Pro Bowlers.

Look, it’s understandable when New England’s Tom Brady goes for over 300. That happens to almost every opponent.

However to allow developmental quarterbacks, who are generally married to their first read, to light you up, is unacceptable.

Moving forward the Jets’ pass defenders need to take their collective level of play to another level.

Perhaps they needed a half-season to get on the same page. There are a lot of new parts back there. Chemistry doesn’t happen overnight.

But from this point on, no more excuses.

To spend all the money the Jets did in free agency on defensive backs, and then to allow as many big plays as their secondary has, is problematic.

And if the play doesn’t improve, some changes need to be made.

***Page after page of the stuff they don’t want you to know in the new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine, on news stands now. Get it, you won’t regret it! A Jets Confidential subscription makes a wonderful holiday gift for a Jets fan. The gift that keeps on giving. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to order a gift subscription for a friend or relative.

DD is a good player, not perfect, but solid 11.19.15

Jets inside linebacker DeMario Davis is taking a lot of criticism from some in the media.

I think it’s a little over-the-top.

The guy is a good football player.

He’s tough, durable, studious and hard-working.

He makes a lot of plays in the box, whether it’s tackles (second on the team) or as a blitzer.

He missed a tackle in Oakland on Taiwan Jones’ 59-yard touchdown run. So did Marcus Williams and Marcus Gilchrist. It happens.

He has taken some heat for his coverage.

Yes, he’s given up some plays in coverage, but what inside linebacker in football doesn’t get beat in coverage here and there?

A friend of mine used to play inside linebacker in the NFL. He always points that if you give a quarterback 5-7 seconds to throw, it’s too much time for most inside linebackers to hold up in coverage, and they are going to get beat at times. In other words, a good pass rush certainly helps inside linebackers have more success in coverage.

Is Davis the best coverage linebacker in football? No, but overall he’s a very solid player.

I think one reason some in the press are quick to rip Davis, is that he doesn’t like to talk to them. A lack of of media cooperation will generally get you blasted quicker.

****The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands now. All the stuff they don’t want you to know. Pick one up today. To subscribe, or give a gift subscription, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Marshall’s approval ratings just soared in the locker room 11.17.15

Inside the NFL’s Brandon Marshall had some harsh words for the media on this week’s show.

“We have an epidemic right now and the epidemic is, the clash between our local media and our players,” Marshall said. “In fact, I struggle with it at times I personally think that the media has too much access. Let’s face it, we get out the shower and there’s 10, 15, 20 reporters standing there looking at you waiting to ask you a question while you’re getting dressed. I think it’s too much. I think we’re put in tough positions. And I think we need to figure this thing out.”

Many Jets players clearly don’t enjoy dealing with the press.

So Marshall calling out the media is going to get him a lot of high-fives and fist-bumps in the players’ lounge at One Jets Drive.

His approval rating with his teammates, which was already high, just went up exponentially.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is in the mail to our subscribers, and will be on news stands later this week. It’s one of our best issues ever. Don’t miss out. Pick one up on a news stand on Thursday or Friday, or subscribe by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Some good news for Jets on injury front 11.13.15

The Jets should have starting safety Calvin Pryor (ankle) back for their next game.

Jets Confidential asked Pryor after the Jets-Bills game if he will play in Houston, he replied, “I will be.”

This should help the Jets’ defense.

Pryor, the Jets’ first round pick in 2014, is one of the hardest hitting safeties in football, and has shown marked improvement in his second season.

Also, he showed leadership last week by slamming Rex Ryan for naming IK Enemkpali a captain for the Jets-Bills game. The same IK Enemkpali who punched Geno Smith in the face this summer, breaking the quarterback’s jaw.

Pryor had his teammate’s back.

And his teammates will be happy to have him back, in the line-up, at Reliant Stadium.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine will be printed on Monday. It’s loaded with great stuff, great inside information on Gang Green. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5), or you can subscribe to this monthly magazine on this website. Get it, you won’t regret it.

Eric Decker helping America’s Heroes 11.10.15

Eric Decker was announced as the Jets nominee for the “Salute to Service Award presented by USAA.” The award, presented annual by USAA and the NFL, honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. USAA is the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL.

Eric was nominated by the Jets because of his work thru the Eric and Jessie Decker Foundation, which strives to positively impact the lives of United States military service members and veterans as well as animals. EJDF is committed to service to those who have served via Deckers Dogs, which helps fund the rescue, care and training of service dogs for military veterans returning home with physical disabilities and emotional challenges. To read more about Decker’s nomination, please visit NFL.com/salute.

Finalists for the award are announced in January. The winner will be recognized at the “5th Annual NFL Honors” awards show in San Francisco on CBS on Saturday, Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50.

Past winners include Jared Allen (2014), John Harbaugh (2013), Charles Tillman (2012), and the late Tennessee Titans owner, K.S. “Bud” Adams, a WWII veteran (2011).

U.S. Soccer makes move to cut down on concussions 11.10.15

*(Boston) – U.S. Soccer announced Monday the adoption of a series of safety initiatives aimed at addressing concussions in youth soccer, including rules that will strictly prohibit players 10 and younger from heading the ball, and will reduce headers in practice for 11 to 13-year-old players.

The regulations will be mandatory for U.S. Soccer youth national teams and academies, including M.L.S. youth club teams. The guidelines resolve a proposed class-action lawsuit filed against U.S. Soccer and others last year.

The rules changes come just 17 months after the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the Santa Clara Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) launched the Safer Soccer campaign to delay the introduction of headers until high school. Safer Soccer has amassed considerable public support including from U.S. soccer legends Brandi Chastain, Taylor Twellman and Cindy Parlow Cone, top concussion experts, and from dozens of organizations including the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Positive Coaching Alliance.

“These guidelines are a major victory for the Safer Soccer campaign and a fantastic first step in making the world’s most popular sport safer to play for children,” said Concussion Legacy Foundation Founding Executive Director Chris Nowinski. “Together the supporters of the Safer Soccer campaign showed there is widespread support for the elimination of headers for children, and U.S. Soccer heard our message.”

“We’re thrilled that progress is being made, but there is more we can do,” said Concussion Legacy Foundation Founding Medical Director Robert Cantu.”Research has shown that delaying the introduction of headers to age 14 would prevent over 35,000 concussions in middle school players per year. These new rules still leave many of those middle schoolers at risk, so we will continue to campaign to raise the age further.”

*This is a press release

Jets need to fix their pass defense 11.09.15

The last three games, the Jets have given up over 300 yards passing in each contest.

What is wrong?

“They were different,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “We had three busted plays yesterday that went for a ton of yards. That can’t happen. The Raiders were missed tackles and before that New England threw the ball about 50-something times, which that can nickel and dime you and get you up to 300. But, we have to make our share of plays. The biggest thing is the missed tackles and busted assignments that we can’t have, that we have to shore up.”

While all these yards aren’t the fault of the secondary, a lot of them are, and considering how much money the Jets spent this off-season on defensive backs, they certainly expected better results.

***The next Jets Confidential Magazine comes out next Monday and is loaded with good stuff on Gang Green.

Jets have some tough decisions to make tonight 11.09.15

The Jets’ personnel department, along with Todd Bowles, are having a meeting tonight.

They have some tough decisions to make on their roster.

If they promote CB Dee Milliner from the short-term injured reserve list, who will they release to make room for him?

They need to sign a placekicker to replace Nick Folk who will be out a month. Will they put Folk on injured reserve? Or will they carry two placekickers, and if so, who will they release to make room for the interim guy?

With two safeties out with high ankle sprains – Calvin Pryor and Dion Bailey – will they promote safety Ronald Martin from their practice squad? If so, who will they release, or might they put Bailey on injured reserve.

Stay tuned.

*** New issue of the Jets Confidential Magazine comes out next Monday. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to subscribe or you can subscribe on this website.

Jets have nothing to apologize for 11.09.15

Florham Park – The Jets have nothing to apologize for.

Whether you win “ugly” or you win “beautiful,” it’s a win.

As Bill Parcells likes to say, “You are what your record says it is.”

The Jets are 5-3 and legitimate Wildcard contenders.

Were they sloppy in their win over Jacksonville yesterday? No doubt.

But the Jets figured out a way, even though it wasn’t their best outing, to come out on top.

Obviously they have some things to work on. Their secondary needs to play a lot better, after giving up their third straight 300-yard passing game. And they need to get their running game back to its early season form.

But this is football, not diving or gymnastics. You don’t win based on the score of judges. This isn’t about style points, it’s about winning.

And the Jets beat the Jaguars.

That is the bottom line.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out next Monday, loaded with Jets Whispers. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or you can subscribe on this website.

Q-and-A with Ryan Quigley on handling placekicking 11.08.15

Q)When did you find out Nick Folk was injured?

Ryan Quigley: We went through our normal warm-up and everything was fine. I think Folk was doing some kickoffs. It happens. He pulled a quad and they said, “Get ready to kick-off and kick field-goals.” Immediately your mindset changes. It’s something that we’ve prepared for. Coach April’s done a good job of keeping us ready. If Folk goes down I go in; if I go down Folk goes in.

Q)When was the last time your served as a kicker in a game?

Quigley: I didn’t get the opportunity in college. It’s one of those things where I was there in case something happened. Same scenario. But not since high school. It’s been a long time.

Q)Was so little time to think about it a good thing?

Quigley: I think it’s almost better sometimes (when you don’t have time to think about it). You go into the game and you just don’t think about it. I knew that what they were going to ask me to just (kick) the extra points. Of course with the move back this year it’s a different kick. But I knew I could make those kicks and Tanner (Purdum) did a great job putting the snaps on the money. Folk, he’s never held either. He had great holds. I wouldn’t have been able to make it without those guys.

Q)How did it go?

Quigley: Anytime you go 100% it’s a good thing. But I just went out there with the idea that I was going to put them through. That was my mindset. I was going to make them.

Q-and-A with Nick Mangold about his neck 11.08.15

Q)Was it pain in your neck that caused you to leave the game?

Nick Mangold: No, it just didn’t respond well, which is unfortunate, but (I have to) keep treating it, keep trying to get better.

Q)Is it soreness?

Mangold: Yeah, (my neck) just didn’t do what I wanted it to do today. It’s disappointing not being out there with the guys.

Q)Are you pessimistic about playing on Thursday?

Mangold: No, (I) can’t live that way. I’m very optimistic to get in there and get back to work and hopefully things go better.

Q)Do you need more tests on your neck?

Mangold: No, no more tests. Just need to give it the tender love that it requires.

Good move by Idzik 11.08.15

East Rutherford – You have to wonder what was going through John Idzik’s mind in the press box, when Jets corner Marcus Williams hauled in pick to ice a Gang Green win.

It was Idzik, the former Jets GM, now a Jacksonville executive, who signed Williams to the Jets’ practice squad on September 26, 2014.

Williams was on Houston’s practice squad early last season. However, the Texans had to free up a practice squad spot for a punter, so they told Williams they were going to release him for a few days, but wanted to bring him back.

The Jets’ personnel department, led by Idzik, jumped in and convinced Williams to sign with them.

On October 28, 2014, Williams was signed to the Jets’ active roster, and started the second half of the season, doing a solid job.

This season, he had a game-clinching interception against the Miami Dolphins in London, and then did the same today against the Jaguars.

Williams also had a key defensed pass to end a Jaguars drive at the end of the third quarter.

This was a nice signing by Idzik, and the player certainly helped the Jets today.

And hurt Idzik’s new employer.

The best of Bowles from today . . . 11.06.15

Q)Will Brandon Marshall play on Sunday?

Todd Bowles: He has to get a little better, but I’m hopeful that he will.

Q)Which is more of a problem, Marshall’s toe or ankle?

Bowles: They’re both equally sore.

Q)Who took reps at Calvin Pryor’s safety spot?

Bowles: Rontez (Miles), (Dion) Bailey, Marcus (Williams), Dee (Milliner), we have everybody taking reps.

Q)Aside from tackling, what other improvements do you want to see from your defense this week?

Bowles: Just getting back to fundamentals and playing our type of football, fast, getting off blocks a little more.

Q)Would a better pass rush help the corners?

Bowles: It would help the corners, just like covering better would help the pass rushers. We just have to play better overall.

Q)How hard is it for Buster Skrine to tackle with his injured shoulder?

Bowles: It was tough last week. He’s gotten a lot better this week. He put the pads on and put his shoulder on a few people this week so he’s gotten a little better in that regard.

Q)Did you change your approach with the team after back-to-back losses?

Bowles: No, we practiced with a little more urgency. We had the pads back on for the first time in a little while and we got used to some hitting and some tackling a little bit.

Q)On why Dion Bailey didn’t start last week at safety . . .

Bowles: He hasn’t been here long, so some of the things we were running, he wasn’t as familiar with during the week and it turned into an open passing game, so we just played the corners.

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