Dan Leberfeld's Blog

NFL teams getting nice financial bump 07.21.14

According to Daniel Kaplan of sportsbusinessdaily.com, NFL teams are getting a nice increase in television revenue in 2014.

“Each NFL team will get a 20 percent increase in national television money this year compared with 2013 — up $27 million — as a result of the new TV contracts that commence next month, according to sources who have seen the internal figures,” wrote Kaplan for sportsbusinessdaily.com. “Over the following two seasons, the increases will total an additional $23 million per club, at a minimum.

“That means by 2016, each NFL team will bring in at least $181 million from national TV alone — more than enough by itself for teams to cover their salary cap expenses.”


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Rex and David Harris 07.21.14

Rex Ryan took umbrage with Jets inside linebacker David Harris not being listed in the NFL Network’s Top 100 players poll.

“David Harris is the most underrated player in the league,” Ryan told the Daily News. “You could have a top 100… and he’s not even mentioned. And I’m like, ‘What?!’”

For Harris not to be listed in the Top 100, is another case-in-point as to why the polling process used to determine the list needs to be changed.

Harris had a terrific season last year. He’s instinctive, fundamentally sound linebacker who makes a lot of plays.

Perhaps his soft-spoken, low-key nature, in an era of  “selfies,” hurts him when it comes to notoriety.


***The Jets Confidential Training Camp Preview Issue is on news stands. It’s loaded with great Jets info, the perfect primer to get you ready for training camp. So grab one on a NY-NJ-CT news stand or by subscription by calling 1-800-932-4447 (M-F, 9-5).




NFL hires Matt Birk 07.10.14

Former Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens center MATT BIRK has been named director of football development, the National Football League announced today.

Birk, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, was a standout center for the Vikings and Ravens from 1998-2012, concluding his career by helping Baltimore to a victory in Super Bowl XLVII. He spent the 2013 season working as an NFL-NFLPA appeals officer.

In his new role, Birk will assist in developing the game at all levels of the sport, from players to coaches to front office personnel. He will also assist in the administration of NFL game day operations.

Birk will guide the continued evolution of the Scouting Combine and Regional Combines as well as the annual all-star games for aspiring NFL players, such as the Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game.

“I’m very excited to begin this next chapter of my football career,” says Birk, who becomes the eighth former player to take a job at the NFL office, joining Merton Hanks, Dwight Hollier, Patrick Kerney, James Thrash, David Tyree, Troy Vincent and Charles Way. “It’s a real honor for me to be entrusted with developing the game in so many different ways.”

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Birk will play a leading role in the continuing evolution and emergence of the Career Development Symposium, oversee the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship program and NFL-NCAA Future Football Coaches Academy initiative.

“Matt’s experience as a terrific NFL player, a model citizen in his community and a reputation as a forward-thinking leader make him ideally suited for this role,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations TROY VINCENT. “There is no doubt he will continue to make a positive impact on our game and be a trusted advocate for those who play and coach at every level.”

Birk, who will also serve as a liaison for the Football Operations department on the international development of the game and assist in further strengthening the NFL High School Player Development program, will be based at NFL headquarters in New York.

A graduate of Harvard University with a degree in economics, Birk was the recipient of the 2011 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for his excellence on and off the field, including his commitment to emphasizing the importance of education through his H.I.K.E. Foundation (hope, inspiration, knowledge and education).

Birk and his wife, Adrianna, are the parents of six children.

Chris Johnson is going to platoon, whether he likes it or not 07.03.14

Chris Johnson did a media tour this week, and said something that created some headlines.

“Once the season starts and once we’re playing and I’m doing my thing, I’m pretty sure if I’m making plays they’re going to want to keep handing the ball off to me,” Johnson told NFL.com. “If they want me to continue making plays, I’m pretty sure I can’t do that if I’m on the sideline.”

Johnson is going to be part of a running back rotation. End of story. Chris Ivory is one of the NFL’s best power backs. Bilal Powell is underrated. It doesn’t matter what Johnson wants to do. That is irrelevant.

He will have to get used to being on the sidelines more than he ever was in Nashville.

First of all, he is coming off knee surgery, and has a lot of miles on him. No matter how well he plays, he is going to platoon.

End of story.

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Chris Johnson interview with NFL.com comic Dave Dameshek 07.02.14

Dave Dameshek: What goals have you set for yourself this upcoming season?

Chris Johnson: Basically, I’m just trying to win. Winning, that’s the number one thing on my mind right now. I have been to the playoffs one year since I’ve been in the league so it’s a situation where it’s desperately what I’m focused on.

Dameshek: Has bringing in the new pieces made the New York Jets ready to get back in the playoffs?

Johnson: Yeah I think so. I think we brought in some guys who can make some plays and help this offense out. We already have a great defense. Those guys [will] continue to do their thing. Hopefully we can come in and help those guys out and put points on the board.

Dameshek: Can Eric Decker handle being the leading pass catcher?

Johnson: I think so. From being at practice, seeing how he works, how hard he’s practicing, and seeing how good his hands are—and all those types of things. I think he can be that guy.

Dameshek: What are your thoughts on Rex Ryan?

Dameshek: With Rex [Ryan], it’s a situation where he’s a fine guy, a player’s guy and he wants to win. It’s a situation, anytime like that who can keep all the guys going. The guys love him. The staff and organization loves him. It’s a situation where you want to give your all for a guy like that.

Dameshek: The Jets approach to the media . . .

Johnson: I feel like that’s the Jets’ way. They don’t really tell you what not to say and what not to do. At the end of the day, everybody is their own guy. The only thing they really can do is warn you and prep you on some of the type of things that can happen but at the end of the day, you’re still going to still say what you want to say anyways.

Dameshek: What advice he would share with Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel?

Johnson: Be your own man. Do what you got to do. It’s the offseason. That’s when you get time to do whatever you want to do and live your life. I’m pretty sure once the season gets here, he’ll be alright. He’s going to focus in on football. But this is the time now to where he’ll be able to hang out and do some of the things you want to do. Because once the season gets here, you really have no life. It’s just football and football.

Dameshek: Who’d win a foot-race between you or QB Michael Vick?

Johnson: Of course me.

Key Jets training camp information 06.30.14

Here is some important information on the Jets’ 2014 Training Camp for fans interested in attending . . .

*The Jets will conduct his first public practice on Thursday, July 24 at 10:00 a.m..

*SUNY Cortland will host the first 16 practices of Jets training camp, all open to the public.

*The Jets will break camp prior to their Week Three preseason game against the Giants, then return to the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for the remainder of preseason.

*The Jets will have two open practices in Florham Park on Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug 19-20.

*At each Training Camp location, fans can attend Jets Fest, featuring skills challenges, music, face painting, inflatable rides, and the Jets Shop tent filled with new merchandise for the 2014 season.

*On Saturday, Aug. 2, SUNY Cortland will host the annual Green & White practice beginning at 7 p.m.

*On Thursday, Aug. 21, the Jets will travel to Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island for Jets Family Night, presented by JetBlue. The practice begins at 5:30 p.m.

*Players will sign autographs for fans after practices along the fence line. However, autographs are not guaranteed for every fan in attendance.

*Admission to all Jets Training Camp events is free, but tickets are required. Fans can register and print tickets, as well as find information on parking and directions in the coming weeks on newyorkjets.com/camp.

*Practice may be cancelled or closed to the public in the case of inclement weather. Fans are encouraged to call the team’s fan line at (973) 549-4844 or visit newyorkjets.com/camp for the most up-to-date news regarding practice schedules.

Jets practice schedule in Cortland 06.30.14

SUNY Cortland practices:

Thursday, July 24 — 10:00 a.m.

Friday, July 25 — 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, July 26 — 10:00 a.m.

Sunday, July 27 — 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, July 29 — 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, July 30 —10:00 a.m.

Thursday, July 31 —10:00 a.m.

Friday, Aug. 1 —10:00 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 2 — Green & White Practice at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 4 —10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 5 —10:00 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 9 —10:00 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 10 —10:00 a.m.

Monday, Aug. 11 —10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 12 —10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 13 —10:00 a.m.

Namath: ‘Nothing to me is outstanding’ about Geno 06.30.14

Joe Namath was asked to evaluate Geno Smith by WFAN.com’s Peter Schwartz.

Here is what he had to say . . .

“I don’t see anything outstanding about him. He’s not an outstanding passer. He’s not an outstanding runner. He’s good, but nothing jumps out at me with intangibles that I’m not aware of because I’m not there on an everyday (basis).

“I haven’t seen anything really extra special from Geno, and that’s not to be negative at all. The guy performed really darn well on a professional level against guys that were so much better than he’s ever played against. The upside of Geno is going to be strong. The upside is grasping his offense versus the defenses he sees.

“Just looking at him physically, what’s outstanding about his running ability? What’s outstanding about his passing ability? Nothing to me is outstanding about it, but it’s pretty good.”

***Jets Confidential Magazine is on Tri-State area news stands. You can also subscribe on this website, or by calling 1-800-932-4557. Stuff you can’t read anywhere else.

Pettine’s media-strategy is smart 06.19.14

Mike Pettine made some news this week, when he told MMQB.com that the New England Patriots might have gotten their hands on the Jets playbook, “It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway. He gave one out to Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and [Patriots head coach] Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”

Pettine clearly has a smart media-strategy – you hook up the press with really good information, and this will lead to very positive coverage of your work, and when things go bad, you will be cut slack.

In other words, the guy is consistently throwing raw meat into the lion’s den.

And it really helps his favorability ratings.

There is no doubt about.

Do I like that this goes on? No.

I’m just dealing with reality.

Idzik’s overview of Jets current QB situation 06.18.14

Florham Park – Jets GM John Idzik had these thoughts today on the Jets’ mercurial QB situation . . .

“We have a good mix. Of course, Geno (Smith) has 16 games under his belt now. He came back and participated in his first full offseason. And under the same offensive coordinator, the same quarterback coach so I think that is good for Geno.

“Mike (Vick) has a wealth of experience in this league. Mike Vick is a tremendous competitor. Otherwise you don’t last for as long as he has in our league. You don’t do some of the things he’s done in our league. He’s the ultimate competitor. That’s one of the reasons he’s here.

“Matt (Simms) was with us last year, he, I thought, really grew up last year, developed well. Saw some time as a second. And of course we drafted Tajh (Boyd).

“So we have a nice mix in that room and they are all pushing each other to get better.

“We will let everything play out this summer, and then I think it’s really just defined in an accumulation of things. It’s what they’re going through in the offseason, how they pick up when the pace starts to amp up a little bit. You get the pads on, you go live. It amps up another notch. In the preseason, you get game type experience, so we’ll just let all that play out and see where it lands.”

Q-and-A with Idzik on Goodson release 06.18.14

Q)Why was Mike Goodson released?

John Idzik: We are releasing Mike today with the designation of “left squad”. Obviously it is disappointing. Like we do with all of our players, we gave Mike, we feel in good conscious, every opportunity here with the Jets and unfortunately it didn’t work out. So we made the move ultimately that we felt was best for the team.

Q)Is the team worried about an injury grievance from Goodson?

Idzik: No. We just acted on what we had in front of us.

Q)Has there been contact with Goodson?

Idzik: I won’t get into personal conversations that we have with others (Rex Ryan said there hasn’t been contact).

Q)Is it disappointing to have it end like this with Goodson?

Idzik: Sure it’s disappointing. We had a luxury of time in the offseason. We took advantage of that. We wanted to see this through.

Q)When was the decision made?

Idzik: I don’t know if there was an absolute time. This has kind of been building, but today with minicamp, this is mandatory minicamp, we expect all our guys to be here, so I think this was an appropriate time.

Q)Did they expect him to be here even if he couldn’t practice?

Idzik: It’s a mandatory minicamp so everyone who is under contract should, in our eyes, should be at mandatory minicamp.

Q)Do you regret signing Goodson or feels like the team overlooked something in the course of performing its due diligence?

Idzik: Well, there is a certain element that we’re in the human business. We certainly do our due diligence. You can do as much research as you can, but you’re really not going to know for sure until you get that individual in your organization and try to acclimate them to what you want to do.

Q)Will the team try to recoup his signing bonus?

Idzik: We won’t get into that.

Q)Was “left squad” the reason the team used for releasing Goodson?

Idzik: That’s really an NFL term. It’s really procedural. So this was the first mandatory event of the season and the next of course being preseason training camp. So when you miss a mandatory event like that then we’re able to use that designation.

Vick stirs things up in Newsday 06.18.14

Michael Vick told Newsday’s Bob Glauber it’s “premature” for him to be a backup at his stage of his career.

“It’s different, it’s different,” Vick said of being a backup. “A little premature, if you ask me. I think being a backup this early in my career is premature,” he clarified. “I think there are circumstances surrounding that, but I’m confident I’ll have an opportunity again.”

How is this helpful to Geno Smith?

And in that last sentence, is he making a prediction on how the current starter is going to do?

Vick 100 percent high road on Tuesday 06.17.14

Florham Park – In past interviews throughout the spring, Jets reserve QB Michael Vick showed a little ankle, at times, talking about frustration, and saying he can take the Jets to the Super Bowl.

Today, he traveled 100 percent on the high road during his press briefing.

He was asked where he fits in on the Jets at the quarterback spot?

“Wherever I am supposed to fit in,” Vick said. “Whenever I am asked to go out there and perform and be at my best that’s what I’m going to do.

He also talked about how much he loves helping the team’s starting quarterback, Geno Smith.

“I think that it’s going to be a great situation, and that’s part of why I am here,” Vick said. “I think all of our quarterbacks, you have to take your time with, you have to help them out. There all young, so I am just trying to do my best in perfecting my craft and helping them perfect theirs.

How is Smith doing as a student?

“I think ‘G’ (Smith) is a great listener, first and foremost,” Vick said. “I think any key to success in this sport at our position you have to have to ability to listen. I think Geno wants to learn, he wants to be better. It all starts with your desire and your ambition.”

It sounds like Vick is in a better place right now as far as accepting his backup role.

Decker loves his new position coach 06.17.14

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker loves the approach of his position coach, Sanjay Lal.

“He’s a technician,” Decker said of Lal. “He’s a guy that loves the drill work and loves doing things right and he’ll stay on you, which I really appreciate.

“You get into your latter years as a professional and sometimes you don’t get that push like you always had as a college player or a young player. So, it’s good to have that and it makes me better at my position.”

Aside from coaching receivers for a long time, Lal played the position as well, for the UCLA Bruins and then the Washington Huskies.

It doesn’t work that way with First Amendment 06.17.14

After a few questions on the absence of Mike Goodson, Rex Ryan said, “I’d rather talk about the guys that are here.”

It doesn’t work that way.

In a country with such things as freedom of speech and freedom of the press, if the reporters want to ask 20 minutes of Mike Goodson questions, that is their right.

It doesn’t matter what the public figure holding the press conference would “rather talk about.”

Q-and-A with Rex Ryan on Mike Goodson 06.17.14

Q)Why was Mike Goodson not in attendance today?

Rex Ryan: That’s a good question. I don’t know. But, you’re right Mike’s not here. I haven’t talked to him. But, certainly I recognize the fact he’s not here.

Q)Will Goodson be fined for not being in attendance today?

Ryan: You’re exactly right. By rule, anytime a player misses anything mandatory you’re subject to a fine and all that kind of stuff. But, instead of talking about him specifically, I’d rather talk about the guys that are here and just understand that I recognize the fact that he’s not here and that situation will be dealt with. If we have any updates for you, we’ll make sure you get them.

Q)Has anyone in the organization spoken with Goodson?

Ryan: Not that I’m aware of.

Q)Is it unusual that Goodson is not at mandatory minicamp?

Ryan: I would think so. I don’t think we’ve ever had a guy miss a mandatory something. I think (Darrelle) Revis might have even been here, or whoever (joking).

Q)Will the team will move on from Goodson?

Ryan: Well again, let’s just see what happens and like I said, I basically said what I’m going to say about it.

Q)Why Goodson remains on the team…

Ryan: Again, let’s talk about the guys that are here. We’ve got everybody else here except him. I feel great about the guys that are here.

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