Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Will be interesting to see how these two Jets turn out 05.14.21

It certainly makes sense on paper. It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

As you know by now, the Jets picked two safeties in the 2021 draft (Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasirildeen), and are moving them to linebacker.

Jets coach Robert Saleh is a big believer in the concept.

“It’s not traditional but what you can see out of those guys is the ability to read, diagnose, run, hit, play coverage, understand route concepts that are in front of them,” said Saleh. “So, we feel like they’ll be able to translate to linebacker pretty easily.”

Saleh feels Sherwood and Nasirildeen each playing a lot of box safety in college will help their transitions.

“When you’re a box safety, the reads are pretty much the same,” Saleh said.

And they won’t have to take on a lot of offensive linemen, like linebackers in a 3-4 defense often have to.

“The way they’ll learn the way we play at linebacker, it’s not a 3-4 Mike linebacker that goes and [takes on] the guard to get him off the tackle; that’s not the way we play,” Saleh said. “We play with a little more speed, fast flow. We try to put them in space and allow them to close that space as fast as possible, so those guys usually fit pretty good in our scheme.”

The Jets struggled with linebacker pass coverage in recent years, so Sherwood and Nasirildeen should help in this area.

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Focused on everybody equally 05.13.21

This was an important change for the Jets.

After several head coaches who were perhaps focused too much on one side of the ball, they now have a head coach who is equally focused on offense, defense and special teams.

The M.O. of new Jets coach Robert Saleh was on full display at the Jets’ recent rookie mini-camp.

“You walk from position to position and you’re just making sure that everybody’s on their P’s and Q’s, and things are being recited the way you want it to be, and taught the way you want it,” said Saleh. “You want to see players responding the way they need to respond. Instead of just hanging around the defense, go onto the offense, special teams, observe practice and make sure that everybody’s doing what they need to do to get better. It’s just a bigger scope.”

And that bigger scope is just what the Jets need from their head coach. The old approach of the head coach taking a myopic view, and spending more time on one side of the ball, didn’t work that well for them.

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Needs to get to Level 501 05.12.21

When will Zach Wilson be ready to start?

When he gets to the 501 level.

Let’s have Jets coach Robert Saleh explain:

“As far as bringing along a quarterback and just overall philosophy, it’s no different than how you would want to bring along your Mike linebacker or your offensive linemen or whatever it is,” said Saleh. “There’s a process at which we’ll go through. Not to give too technical of a detail, but there’s football 101 coaching, there’s football 301 coaching and there’s football 501 coaching. We have to be able to introduce our scheme. We have to be able to show them the techniques and fundamentals, and we have to be able to get them to a point where they understand the overall scope of football.”

So whether it’s quarterback or cornerback, under Saleh, players much reach the 501 level before they start.

“As far as Zach, I get it, the magnitude of the quarterback position, but the development of all these rookies are really the same with regards to trying to reach them from a 101 level and try to get them to their graduate degree of a 501 level,” Saleh said.

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Looking for players who love it 05.11.21

There are player who pretend they love it, but really don’t.

Talking about playing the sport of football.

Some are just in it for the money, which can be quite lucrative. They do just enough to get by, but sometimes, if you look closely, they make “business decisions” on the field, like “ankle-biting” when they tackle, or an offensive lineman finesse blocking.

So Jets GM Joe Douglas and coach Robert Saleh are obsessed with filling their roster with guys who love football.

They feels QB Zach Wilson is a perfect example of what they are looking for.

“He’s a young man that really loves football,” said Saleh. “You guys hear me and Joe (Douglas), obviously, talk about it. We want guys who absolutely love football. He’s a guy who loves football.”

So what does loving football look like to Saleh?

“When you love football, and I’m not just talking about Zach, but the entire free agency class, the entire draft class, these guys really love football: when you have a love for football, you’re going to do everything you can to help yourself, not only get better at it, but you’re going to do everything you can to protect it, which means your off the field stuff is going to be right,” Saleh said.

And you when you load up with players who take this approach, it can help turn around a football culture.

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Wilson needs to be like a point guard 05.10.21

Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson isn’t going to put extra pressure on himself entering the NFL at a very difficult position.

“I don’t have any pressure on myself to do more than I’m supposed to,” said Wilson.

Wilson’s view of his job is similar to being a basketball point guard.

“Get the ball out of my hands and let the play-makers around me make plays,” Wilson said. “I really don’t need to put more thought into that than.”

And he does have many weapons to work with, including wide receivers Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims and Corey Davis.

But right now, the most important job of the BYU-product is to study hard to get the Jets’ offense down.

“[It’s about] understanding the offense and what I’m supposed to do, simplify my reads and make quick decisions,” Wilson said.

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Zach very high on one of the Jets’ new weapons 05.10.21

It didn’t take long during the Jets’ recent rookie minicamp, for QB Zach Wilson to see one of his fellow rookies was special.

Wilson had high-praise for Jets second-round pick, wide receiver Elijah Moore.

“His speed is obviously a huge factor for him as to why he’s so good, but then how he runs routes,” said Wilson. “The patience he has (running routes), the ability to get out of breaks and win one-on-one, and his ability to make catches look easy. He just does it all very well.”

Wilson loves Moore’s approach to the mental parts of the game.

“I think his best attribute is his ability to want to learn, almost like a quarterback, he wants to learn every aspect of the game, and know why everything is happening, even if he doesn’t have to do with him,” Wilson said. “He wants to know exactly what the defense is going.”

Wilson thinks the former Ole Miss WR is going to make a seamless transition to the pro game.

“He’s going to adjust to the NFL game well,” Wilson said.

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The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine comes out later this week. To subscribe to this must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.

 


What to make of the Quinnen Williams timetable 05.04.21

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero announced Tuesday morning that Quinnen Williams will likely have surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot, an injury suffered working out at One Jets Drive. The two men, who simultaneously broke the news, also announced that the player is expected to be sidelined 8-10 weeks.

He should be ready for the season, but this concept that he will be ready for training camp is a little overblown.

Why is it overblown?

Yes, he could be healed by the time camp starts, but do you really think he’s going to be practicing a lot this summer coming off a broken foot? C’mon now. He’s going to be on a major pitch-count in camp. Duh.

But based on the timetable that Garafolo and Pelissero announced, he certainly should be full go by Week One.

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Expect calls for Jets 2nd and 3rd round picks for this reason 04.28.21

Obviously the Jets aren’t going to trade the #2 pick overall where they are expected to pick a QB,

But after that, they have four other premium picks at 23, 34, and then two third-round selections.

And with limited medical information on a lot of the later round prospects, expect Jets GM Joe Douglas to get a lot of calls for these picks.

Because with just 140-150 players getting thorough physicals at the recent medical combine, some prospects in later rounds, likely won’t have medical reports. Teams don’t like picking players they don’t have medical reports on.

“The math doesn’t work out,” said former scout Daniel Jeremiah, now with NFL Network. “When you look at the number of picks, and you look at the number of physicals, there’s going to be a lot of guys that get picked this year that teams are not comfortable with medically. That’s why I think you’re going to see teams very willing to part with late picks in this draft, to move up in rounds 3 and 4 and all the way up into round 2, and you’re going to see teams comfortable with trading some picks this year for picks next year, just because once we get to the back half of the draft, you’re literally flying blind on these kids medically.”

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Should Jets mostly pick offensive players? 04.27.21

The Jets should probably ignore this narrative being pushed by outsiders.

The narrative is they need to load up on offensive players in the draft to support the young QB, because they supposedly didn’t do that for Sam Darnold (who had a tendency to fixate on his first read).

Jets GM Joe Douglas would probably be best served ignoring this narrative. He needs to stick to the board, and pick the best players, regardless of position. That’s what the smart teams do. That’s why you spend weeks setting up the value board.

Now, of course, if you’re on the clock, and you have close grades on a couple of players, and one is at a position of need, and the other is not, you pick the position of need. That is a no-brainer.

And the Jets’ biggest need right now is probably cornerback. They need to draft a couple of corners, without reaching for them, and honestly, this should help their young QB.

Why?

Because the NFL is a passing league, so if you don’t have enough corners, the opponents are going to light you up, score a lot, and put your young QB in a tough position, having to score a lot of points, and win shootouts. That isn’t ideal for a young signal-caller.

So the Jets need to stick to the value board in their war room. Pick the best players available at all positions, and build a strong all-around team, which will be good for their young quarterback.

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Former scout on potential Jets pick at 23 – ‘His movement stuff is phenomenal’ 04.22.21

The Jets need a player at this position, and could address it at 23, and this player’s name has been speculated.

Talking about Northwestern CB Greg Newsome, who some think would be a good pick for the Jets with their second first-round pick.

“He’s a really loose, fluid athlete so you start there – his movement stuff is phenomenal,” said former Ravens, Eagles and Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah, now with NFL Network. “He’s got incredible ball skills. He can find and play the ball, which to me is like the number one non-negotiable for me at that position. You’ve got to be able to find and play the ball. He does that really well.”

Watching his game action the last couple of years, Jeremiah wondered about his speed.

“The only knock when you watched him on tape, I questioned just how much pure juice does he have, how much top speed – he wasn’t really challenged vertically in any of the games I studied, so I was curious about that and he goes and runs 4.38,” Jeremiah said. “So he answered the bell on that one.”

But now the part that could scare off some teams:

“The one thing in talking to teams, they have concerned about, you put it in the negative column, he’s missed a lot of games,” Jeremiah said. “He’s missed some games in just about every year, so from a durability standpoint he gets dinged a little bit. But everything else checks out. Everything I’ve heard about the kid, he’s a great kid. You’re in good shape there.”

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The challenge – New Jets coaches and existing scouts getting on same page 04.21.21

With five picks in the first 87, Jets GM Joe Douglas needs to hit this draft out of the park.

And with about a week of draft prep to go, they continue to turn over every stone possible on the prospects.

“We will have updated spring reports from our scouts to discuss what has happened since the end of the season, how their opinions might have changed about players since the end of the season,” Jets Director of Personnel Operations Dan Zbojovsky told newyorkjets.com on April 16. “We will hear how those players fit our schemes according to the coaches, which this year is specifically is huge for us.”

Douglas and the Jets’ scouting department had to change some of the criteria for what they are looking for in players, based on changes to the team’s offensive and defensive scheme, under a new coaching staff.

The team’s personnel department, and the new coaching staff, had extensive meetings this off-season to get on the same page.

“We spend a lot of time in February getting familiar with the new schemes, making adjustments to what we are looking for, which players fit us a little better than they did previously,” Zbojovsky said. “The more we can be together and discuss those things, hear our coaches, discuss players, how they fit, and what traits they are looking for, the better for all of us.”

You see, in the NFL, it’s not just about picking talented players, but landing players who are good scheme fits.

And if the Jets play their cards right, they could perhaps land 3-5 starters with five picks in the first 87.

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Jets added a couple of good players at this spot, but need more 04.20.21

The Jets added two solid free agents at the position who will likely be the starters . . .

in Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry.

While both are very good defensive ends, with great motors, who will get their share of sacks, neither has registered a double-digit sack season in the NFL. So look for the Jets to draft a player to compliment them, ideally a loose-hipped cat with great first step quickness.

At pick 23, Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari is a possibility, and Miami’s Jaelen Phillips could be a good fit, but his injury history is a concern. Another possibility at 23 is Washington’s Joe Tryon, but his limited film makes scouting him a little bit of a challenge. He started one year in 2019, and then opted out in 2020. If Michigan’s Kwity Paye slips to 23, he’s somebody they would need to consider.

Somebody in the building who could help them moving forward is Bryce Huff, who showed a lot of potential as a rookie. It will be interesting to see what the new staff can do with Jabari Zuniga, a 2020 third-round pick, who has good raw skills to mold, but had a somewhat quiet rookie year.

But as they say, you can never have enough good edge-rushers, so look for the Jets to add one early in the draft.

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You don’t want to miss the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine. It’s filled with page after page of great info on the Jets without the snark. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fans. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.


Could help the Jets’ passing game if used more 04.19.21

This I never understood.

We are talking about a player who runs 4.52 in the 40 and can stretch the seam, but he was an afterthought in the passing game.

Talking about tight end Daniel Brown, who re-signed with the Jets today.

Brown was on the Jets the last two years, and had seven catches in 2019, and two last year.

His main role was on special teams where he got high marks, but it’s baffling why the Jets didn’t throw to the 6-5, 247-pound James Madison-product more. The former college wide receiver has good speed, runs terrific routes and has very good hands.

Look, I’m not making him into Tony Gonzalez, but this is a tight end who can threaten all parts of the field with his speed, so why not use him more in the passing game?

Perhaps this will change moving forward with a new coaching staff.

Under new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, the Jets are installing an offense similar to Kyle Shanahan’s system in San Francisco, a scheme that features the tight ends a lot in the passing game.

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The monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is a must-read for Jets fans. So much good stuff about Gang Green delivered to your mailbox every month. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Get it, you won’t regret it!

 

 


Is Ryan Kalil right? Do we know yet? 04.16.21

A former Jets player, who had a brief stint with the team, thinks the Jets’ offense held back QB Sam Darnold.

Center Ryan Kalil played for the Jets in 2019, but appeared in just seven games due to injuries. He feels that Adam Gase’s offensive system hindered Darnold.

“It was a system that didn’t allow a lot of individual freedom. It was very, ‘You do it this way and that’s it,'” Kalil told The Athletic. “A lot of the scheme was pre-determined (plays) based on what they thought they were seeing from the sideline. It didn’t give Sam a lot of room to grow, in my opinion, to make decisions on the fly. It worked in some instances, but it handicapped him in the long run. It wasn’t a system that allowed him to evolve and make decisions on his own. I think that was the hardest thing. And I think that’s why ultimately the Jets made some (coaching) changes, too.”

That last sentence begs the question – If the Jets made the coaching change because of this, why didn’t they keep Darnold with a new staff?

And you could make an argument that one problem Darnold had in 2019 was having a center thrust on him in training camp, and then that center having issues staying healthy. Darnold had good chemistry with the center from the prior year, who just got a nice signing bonus from the New York Giants.

But the bottom line about his whole debate, is it should be settled after a couple of years of Darnold playing with Carolina in Joe Brady’s system.

If Darnold thrives down there, the argument Kalil, and many others, are making, will have a lot of merit.

If Darnold doesn’t play well under Brady in Carolina, then perhaps the system wasn’t the main issue with the Jets.

We will find out in time.

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You don’t want to miss the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, with SO much stuff about Gang Green you won’t ready anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

 

 


A look at the first 86 picks in draft and where Jets five picks are positioned: 04.15.21

2021 First Round

1 1 1 Jacksonville Jaguars
1 2 2 New York Jets
1 3 3 San Francisco 49ers from Houston Texans through Miami Dolphins
1 4 4 Atlanta Falcons
1 5 5 Cincinnati Bengals
1 6 6 Miami Dolphins from Philadelphia Eagles
1 7 7 Detroit Lions
1 8 8 Carolina Panthers
1 9 9 Denver Broncos
1 10 10 Dallas Cowboys
1 11 11 New York Giants
1 12 12 Philadelphia Eagles from San Francisco 49ers through Miami Dolphins
1 13 13 Los Angeles Chargers
1 14 14 Minnesota Vikings
1 15 15 New England Patriots
1 16 16 Arizona Cardinals
1 17 17 Las Vegas Raiders
1 18 18 Miami Dolphins
1 19 19 Washington Football Team
1 20 20 Chicago Bears
1 21 21 Indianapolis Colts
1 22 22 Tennessee Titans
1 23 23 New York Jets from Seattle Seahawks
1 24 24 Pittsburgh Steelers
1 25 25 Jacksonville Jaguars from Los Angeles Rams
1 26 26 Cleveland Browns
1 27 27 Baltimore Ravens
1 28 28 New Orleans Saints
1 29 29 Green Bay Packers
1 30 30 Buffalo Bills
1 31 31 Kansas City Chiefs
1 32 32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Second Round

2 1 33 Jacksonville Jaguars
2 2 34 New York Jets
2 3 35 Atlanta Falcons
2 4 36 Miami Dolphins from Houston Texans
2 5 37 Philadelphia Eagles
2 6 38 Cincinnati Bengals
2 7 39 Carolina Panthers
2 8 40 Denver Broncos
2 9 41 Detroit Lions
2 10 42 New York Giants
2 11 43 San Francisco 49ers
2 12 44 Dallas Cowboys
2 13 45 Jacksonville Jaguars from Minnesota Vikings
2 14 46 New England Patriots
2 15 47 Los Angeles Chargers
2 16 48 Las Vegas Raiders
2 17 49 Arizona Cardinals
2 18 50 Miami Dolphins
2 19 51 Washington Football Team
2 20 52 Chicago Bears
2 21 53 Tennessee Titans
2 22 54 Indianapolis Colts
2 23 55 Pittsburgh Steelers
2 24 56 Seattle Seahawks
2 25 57 Los Angeles Rams
2 26 58 Baltimore Ravens
2 27 59 Cleveland Browns
2 28 60 New Orleans Saints
2 29 61 Buffalo Bills
2 30 62 Green Bay Packers
2 31 63 Kansas City Chiefs
2 32 64 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2021 Third Round (Up to Pick 86)

3 1 65 Jacksonville Jaguars
3 2 66 New York Jets
3 3 67 Houston Texans
3 4 68 Atlanta Falcons
3 5 69 Cincinnati Bengals
3 6 70 Philadelphia Eagles
3 7 71 Denver Broncos
3 8 72 Detroit Lions
3 9 73 Carolina Panthers
3 10 74 Washington Football Team from San Francisco 49ers
3 11 75 Dallas Cowboys
3 12 76 New York Giants
3 13 New England Patriots (Choice Forfeited)
3 14 77 Los Angeles Chargers
3 15 78 Minnesota Vikings
3 16 79 Las Vegas Raiders from Arizona Cardinals
3 17 80 Las Vegas Raiders
3 18 81 Miami Dolphins
3 19 82 Washington Football Team
3 20 83 Chicago Bears
3 21 84 Philadelphia Eagles from Indianapolis Colts
3 22 85 Tennessee Titans
3 23 86 New York Jets from Seattle Seahawks


By hitting the reset button, Jets in a great spot for roster building 04.15.21

Last week, Joe Douglas called it hitting the “reset button.”

Talking about the trade of Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for three draft picks, and the Jets’ decision to pick a QB with the second pick of the 2021 draft.

“We felt like this was the best decision for the entire organization moving forward, and hitting the reset button,” said Douglas. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, we felt really good with the value and compensation we were able to get from Carolina. As we’re sitting here now, we have a lot of opportunity in front of us. With that opportunity, we know we have to make the most of it and hit on these picks.”

This hitting of the reset button for the Jets represents an amazing opportunity for them to build a great roster the next few years.

Now, the Jets will reset the QB contract clock, likely with BYU’s Zach Wilson, and will have him locked in for four years at a sensible cost (along with a fifth-year option).

So with a bunch of high draft picks the next two years, and plenty of cap space, and the QB contract set for the foreseeable future, Douglas has a chance to build a really strong roster, without cutting corners at certain positions due to an highly-expensive QB cost.

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The monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is a great read for Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A JC subscription makes an ideal gift for a Jets fans. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

 

 


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