Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Is this really big news? 04.28.15

ESPN’s Adam Schefter had a report today that is drawing a lot of attention.

“At least two teams, and possibly more, have approached the Jets about trading for the 25-year-old (Mo) Wilkerson, a league source told ESPN,,” wrote Schefter.

I’m not sure why this is a big deal.

Teams call about players all the time.

They are doing their due-diligence. These conversations transpire about players and scenarios quite a bit.

And if teams called about Wilkerson, that really has nothing to do with how the Jets feel about the player.

Now if the Jets called teams about trading Wilkerson, that would be a big story.

Grayson grew on him 04.23.15

Some will tell you there is a big drop-off from the top two quarterbacks in the draft, to the next tier.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Colorado State Garrett Grayson is in that supposed second-tier.

Grayson has grown on NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

“Garrett Grayson, the more tape I watched, the more I felt like I appreciated his game,” Mayock said today. “He’s one of the few quarterbacks you can see that throws with anticipation, his timing, throws people open. He doesn’t overwhelm you with physical traits. Kind of average sized, pretty good arm, pretty good athlete. But when you add all the individual parts together, the components all fit really well.”

Grayson will likely be a 3rd-5th round pick.

Youth football grants available through Jets 04.22.15

Youth leagues, middle schools and high schools eligible for more than $1 million in equipment grants

The New York Jets, in association with USA Football are providing youth, middle school and high school football programs the opportunity to apply for football equipment grants through May 31.

Based on need, merit and a program’s commitment to coaching education and best practices, USA Football will award more than $1 million in grants this summer.

Recipient programs redeem USA Football grant funds through Riddell, the official helmet and protective equipment partner of USA Football. Grants range from $500 to $1,500 for youth organizations and from $1,000 to $2,500 for high school programs, offering new equipment, uniforms, equipment reconditioning and flag football equipment to advance the fun and benefits of the sport.

USA Football’s grant program has delivered the following since 2006:

Awarded more than $7 million in equipment grants to school-based and youth football programs
Benefitted more than 200,000 youth and high school football players in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Assisted more than 5,500 youth and high school football programs in all 50 states

Youth leagues that are 501(c)(3) compliant and schools may submit applications by 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 31, at http://www2.usafootball.com/grants. Applications must be submitted online.

USA Football’s equipment grant program is made possible through the NFL Foundation and is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. USA Football trains more high school and youth coaches combined than any organization in the United States.

The NFL Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and safety of sports, youth football and communities. The NFL Foundation represents all 32 NFL teams.

The New York Jets, with the assistance of the NFL Foundation, are dedicated to promoting the game of football in communities via our youth football programs.

Provide youth football leagues with new equipment to assure children have the chance to play football
Partner with New York City Department of Education providing more than 6,000 students with an opportunity to learn the skills and techniques with NFL Flag Football
Annually donate $150,000 to the Public Schools Athletic Leagues (PSAL) football programs for new and developmental football teams, reconditioning every helmet, providing two college scholarships at $5,000

Click the link for more information on youth football programs http://www.newyorkjets.com/community/youth-football.html

About New York Jets Foundation: The New York Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation look to positively influence the future for countless young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting and supporting youth football, particularly in underserved communities. From launching football teams at urban high schools, providing Heads Up coaching certification that teaches coaches proper tackling techniques and providing new and reconditioned football helmets and shoulder pads, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others.

About USA Football: Indianapolis-based USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is the sport’s national governing body, leading the game’s development for youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and sport to establish important standards rooted in education. USA Football trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the U.S., advancing coaching education and player skill development for safer play and positive experiences through athletics. Follow USA Football at www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter @USAFootball.

A mock draft that means a little something about Jets 04.21.15

Most mock drafts are meaningless.

They are fun and entertaining, but generally are pure guesswork.

But sometimes you can glean a little from certain picks, based on who the “mocker” is.

In his latest mock draft, NFL.com’s Charley Casserly has the Jets picking Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray with the sixth pick.

Casserly is very close with Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. Casserly was Maccagnan’s boss with both the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans.

On top of that, Casserly was a consultant to Jets owner Woody Johnson during his GM/coach search in January. Casserly was pivotal in Maccagnan getting the Jets’ GM job.

I’m not saying Casserly knows who the Jets are going to pick, be he certainly has a strong feel for the thinking of his former protege, and they do talk from time to time.

So to me, Casserly’s pick shouldn’t be summarily dismissed as just mock draft conjecture.

Does anybody know what he means by this? 04.15.15

Rex Ryan in his exclusive interview with MMBQ.com said about the Jets’ organization, “They were trying to pull away from me. Like it was my fault, somehow, that people identified the Jets with me, and that was a bad thing and not a good thing. I was just being who I was. From that point on I knew I wasn’t going to be long for that job.”

I’m not going to lie. I don’t really understand the quote.

So I can’t really offer any analysis here.

I can’t analyze something I don’t understand.

If Bowles is looking for another QB 04.10.15

Jets coach Todd Bowles said last week that his team “(hopes) to add somebody else to help compete with” the teams’ current quarterbacks for the starting job.

The Jets recently worked out UCLA’s Brett Hundley. The announcement was made by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

In the current media landscape, private workouts connote to many that teams are very interested in drafting the player. To me, it means a team is just doing it’s job leading up the draft. They workout many, many players.

So now it’s all over the internet that the Jets are very interested in Hundley.

But let’s say they are, it shouldn’t be to compete for the starting job in 2015; he’s not ready. He’s a major project who needs to sit for a while to learn how to read defenses and develop better pocket-presence.

Hundley could be good in time, but he’s currently a project of biblical proportions and needs to sit for a while (probably a couple of years).

So anybody who surmises Hundley could be a guy who will “complete” for a starting job in 2015, is probably barking up the wrong tree.

***Don’t forget to up the draft preview issue of Jets Confidential Magazine. It’s on news stands now, by subscription at 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or you can subscribe on this website 24/7. Page after page of the good stuff on Gang Green.

Shane Ray’s pitch to NFL teams 04.09.15

Missouri’s Shane Ray is one of the top pass rushers in the 2015 draft.

He has met with myriad teams during the draft process.

What is his pitch to teams considering him?

“My main message is for all these coaches and GMs is, I’m your guy,” Ray said. “If you need somebody to
go attack from anywhere on the field, and be unstoppable, if I get a one on one, I’m gonna win it. You want to a guy you want to make the play on third down, go get the quarterback, strip the quarterback, I’ll go do that. That’s what I did for my team, when they needed somebody to make a play, or go chase down a guy with the football, I was the guy to go do that.”

That sounds good, but it remains to be seen if he can translate college domination to NFL excellence.

**The latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. Page after page of the good stuff on Gang Green and the draft. Pick up your copy today. Or you can subscribe to the magazine on this website.

A Ray of pass rush 04.09.15

Missouri outside linebacker Shane Ray seems like a possible fit for the Jets with the sixth pick of the draft.

Ray had 14.5 sacks this past season for the Tigers.

The Roeland Park, Kansas-native plays with high-revving motor.

“I play with a lot of passion and a lot of energy,” Ray said. “I’m really physical.”

He also has a very quick first-step, something very important for edge pass-rushers.

“Most of the time, you get a good enough [first step], you’re able to beat offensive linemen out of their stance,” Ray said. “As I started understanding that was a skill that I have and an advantage I’ve been blessed with, I just kind of used it more to my advantage, and it worked out for me.”

It’s hard to tell what the Jets think of Ray without seeing their draft board, which is under lock-and-key in their facility.

But on paper, he certainly seems like a player who can help the Jets.

***The blockbuster draft preview issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands now (with Shane Ray on the cover). So much terrific information on the draft and Gang Green. So much good stuff from One Jets Drive. Don’t miss out. Pick one up on a news stand, or subscribe by calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Jets host event for moms of youth football players 04.08.15



The New York Jets will host mothers of local youth football players for the second Moms Football Safety Clinic from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Saturday, April 11th, at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. Additionally, the clinic will contain components of USA Football’s Heads Up Football.

USA Football master trainer Chris Cappazuto and assistant master trainer Emmanuel Capers will lead the group in proper equipment fittings and Heads Up Football instruction. Dr. Dean Padavan and Dr. Tim Leier from Atlantic Health will lead the discussion on concussion and sports injury prevention. Mary Finckenor, CSSD from Atlantic Health will speak about the importance of proper nutrition and hydration.

Created and administered by USA Football, Heads Up Football establishes important standards in coaching education, concussion recognition and response, heat preparedness and hydration, equipment fitting and proper tackling fundamentals. The program is designed to further the game’s development, inspire participation and ensure a better, safer experience for players at youth and high school levels.

More than 5,500 youth football organizations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., representing approximately 150,000 coaches and nearly 1 million players have registered for the Heads Up Football program this season. More than 750 high schools spanning 44 states have registered for the program this season as well.

New York Jets Heads Up Football Moms Clinic Itinerary:

9:00-10:00 a.m. Registration

10:05-10:10 a.m. Moms to Auditorium & Welcome

10:10-11:10 a.m. Informational Session; Dr. Padavan, Dr. Leier, Mary Finckenor, CSSD (Atlantic Heath)

11:10-11:30 a.m. Heads Up Football Program; Chris Cappazuto and Emmanuel Capers, USA Football

11:30-11:45 a.m. Field house – Proper Equipment Fitting; Chris Cappazuto and Emmanuel Capers, USA Football

11:45-12:15 p.m. Field house – for Heads Up Football Instruction, USA Football staff

12:15 p.m. Clinic Ends

For more information or to register, visit http://www.newyorkjets.com/community/momsclinic.html.

Jon Gruden makes a good point about Mariota 04.07.15

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a terrific prospect.

But he’s coming out of a college spread offense, and is a major project.

ESPN’s Jon Gruden thinks Mariota can be a very good NFL QB, if a team handles him right.

“If someone takes the time to do it right, this guy is going to be a ball of fire because he is really talented,” Gruden wrote on ESPN.com. “We live in this world of, ‘Put him out there, send him out there.’ Remember, Aaron Rodgers did not do it. Brett Favre did not do it. Troy Aikman went 1-15. Donovan McNabb started out behind Doug Pederson. There was a time where we said, ‘Hey, let’s just bring these guys along and make sure the developmental process is done right.’ I think if it is done right, you have a can’t-miss prospect in Mariota.”

Gruden is right.

Mariota is a very good prospect, but not instant coffee.

***The draft preview issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is in the mail, and will be on news stands later this week.

I don’t get Rodney Harrison’s logic 03.30.15

Former NFL safety Rodney Harrison now works for NBC Sports.

On their radio network he said recently, “I don’t believe in Geno Smith. Hopefully in this draft, they try to address this quarterback situation, because if they go into the season with Geno Smith they might win five or six games.”

I don’t get his logic.

It’s his right not to believe in Geno Smith.

However, what I don’t understand is his theorem that the Jets might do better than five or six wins if they pick a quarterback in the 2015 draft.

So a rookie, who will have no NFL experience, and who faces an enormous learning curve, will give the Jets a better chance to win more games this year than Geno Smith or perhaps Ryan Fitzpatrick.

That really doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Todd Bowles on the current NFL QB landscape 03.28.15

It’s no secret the NFL has a dearth of franchise quarterbacks.

The Jets were very active this off-season adding talented new players, like CB Darrelle Revis and WR Brandon Marshall.

Jets coach Bowles was asked by a reporter in Phoenix something to the effect – “Even if you sign a lot of good players in free agency, how far can you really go if you don’t have a franchise quarterback?”

Pretty good question.

What say you, Todd Bowles?

“With 32 teams in the league, you aren’t going to have 32 franchise quarterbacks,” Bowles said. “That is just a fact. You can name five, 10 if you want to stretch it in two type of tiers. There are 12 playoff spots. There aren’t going to be 12 franchise quarterbacks in the playoffs. There are different ways to skin a cat. You have to try and win in different ways. It’s not that your quarterback is bad. As long as he understands not to lose the game and be smart with the football, you have a chance to win the ball game. You don’t have to win with a franchise quarterback. Every year there are playoff teams that don’t have franchise quarterbacks. You have to play team football and understand what your team is.”

What does Marcus Gilcrist bring to the table? 03.25.15

Todd Bowles was asked about the Jets’ new free safety, Marcus Gilcrist, during his press briefing at the NFL’s Owners’ Meetings in Phoenix.

Here is some of what he had to say . . .

“Marcus is very heady,” Bowles said. “He has very good cover skills. He’s a lot tougher than he looks size-wise (5-10, 198). He is very smart. He knows how to play football. Marcus can do a lot of things covering tight ends and slot receivers. He gives us a lot of versatility from a coverage standpoint. He can flex out on a running back out of the backfield, ala Reggie Bush or those type of guys. He has the ability to go out and cover and for us not to be mismatched as much as we would be mismatched in a [base] capacity.”

Gilcrist came into the league as a corner with the San Diego Chargers. He ran a 4.45 forty before the draft. While he morphed into a safety a couple of years into his career in San Diego, he still covers like a corner.

He will give the Jets excellent range at their free safety spot.

Bowles views Coples a lot like Geno 03.24.15

Phoenix – This is a big year for Jets DE/OLB Quinton Coples.

He is entering his fourth year, and is still attempting to carve a niche in the NFL.

Coples needs a breakout year, a statement year, if you will.

What does Todd Bowles think of the Jets’ 2012 first round pick?

“You see potential,” Bowles said in Phoenix today. “You see potential. He’s a lot like Geno, so to speak. You see him make plays, and then you see him do other things at times. He can make strides this year and become a better player. Everybody can become better players. Guys that had decent years, that think they had better years, probably. Everybody has to become a better player, especially our younger guys who have to come along, and our older guys have to prove they can still do it.”

One problem for Coples in his development was being moved around too much by the previous coach. He wasn’t allowed to settle in at one position, and grow.

So does Bowles view Coples as an outside linebacker or defensive end, the two spots he manned for the previous coaching staff.

“I really have to see what he can do,” Bowles said. “Right now he can play some outside, he can play some D-Line. I have to see what he’s better at. He was moved around a lot. I have to get him out on the field and see what his strengths are. He will do a little bit of both until I can see what he is.”

***To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, you can do so on this website, or by calling 800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Magazine content is different than our web content.

For Bowles, judging quarterbacks isn’t that hard 03.24.15

Phoenix – So often in quarterback competitions there are a lot of politics involved.

And the decision on which quarterback will start, isn’t always based on who is better.

But to Jets coach Todd Bowles, deciding who the starter should be, isn’t that complicated.

“You know when a guy is throwing interceptions, a guy is throwing picks, who is playing better, who isn’t playing better,” Bowles said on Tuesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore. “It’s not just who is throwing better, it is who has a better command of the offense. Who is the team responding to? (Who is) understanding everything they need to do and you kind of go from there. We will let that play out as it goes.”

Sounds like a good approach.

Todd Bowles on QB reps in camp 03.24.15

Phoenix – So will the Jets have a legitimate quarterback competition, unlike last year?

It certainly sounds that way.

However, they don’t plan to split the reps equally between Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick in training camp.

“You can’t have even first team reps with a quarterback,” Bowles said at the Arizona Biltmore on Tuesday morning. “Geno will start out taking them, but that doesn’t mean Ryan can’t take his spot. If Ryan is playing better and performing better, we will have to cross that bridge when we get to it for him to take that position. But to give a quarterback evens reps, I would be sitting here lying if I said they would get equal reps. Geno is going to take reps with the first team. Ryan will take reps with the second team and we will let it play out.”

**Don’t forget to pick up the latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine on news stands or by subscription.

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