Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes 12.21.14

If the Jets make a coaching change after the season, Jim Harbaugh would have to be at the top of their candidate list.

Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers are likely headed for divorce after this season.

Harbaugh wins wherever he goes, from the University of San Diego to Stanford to the 49ers.

So where might he land?

Miami was a possible landing spot, but their owner announced today that coach Joe Philbin will be back in 2015.

The Oakland Raiders might be a suitor for Harbaugh, but Tony Sparano is certainly making a strong case for that job, with recent wins over Kansas City, San Francisco and Buffalo.

Chicago, a team that Harbaugh played for, is a possibility.

The University Of Michigan, his alma mater, is very interested in his services, but you get the sense, Harbaugh, wants to stay in the NFL.

If Woody Johnson makes a change, he needs to make a serious run at this guy, perhaps making him the highest paid coach in the NFL.

If Johnson makes changes, he needs to hit a grand slam with his next hire.

Harbaugh would constitute a grand slam.

Jets need a little bit more 12.21.14

East Rutherford – The Jets lost 17-16 to New England today.

Two weeks ago, they lost 30-24 to the Minnesota Vikings, in overtime.

Three weeks ago, the Miami Dolphins beat them 16-13.

They were so close in these three games.

What could help them get over the hump in these type of games?

Perhaps more from the quarterback position.

Geno Smith has had his moments, and he flashes at times, but like a lot of young quarterbacks, he’s inconsistent, and struggles in the red zone.

In a quarterback-driven league, the Jets need a little more production from this position, to help them get over the hump.

Smith is trying his best, and in his defense, was forced to play way before he was ready. He was a project coming out of West Virginia.

So, for the most part, I don’t blame him for his shortcomings. He wasn’t instant coffee.

I’m just saying, one reason the Jets keep coming up short, is they aren’t getting enough plays from the quarterback spot.

And this league is much about the quarterback.

Rex and John have some explaining to do on this one. 12.18.14

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press just tweeted, “New Lions CB (Josh) Thomas said he wasn’t coached at all by Jets staff.”

This is surprising.

This is the NFL.

You need to be coaching up every player on your roster, regardless of them starting or backing up. You never know when you might need them.

The Jets’ brass needs to get to the bottom on this.

FCC complaints over Brady cursing 12.17.14

Here are some complaints filed with the FCC over Tom Brady’s cursing binge on CBS at the end of the Patriots recent 26-21 loss to Green Bay.

Indianapolis viewer:

“Greetings. My six year old children know how to read lips even if there is no sound. So why during the telecast is CBS going out of their way with 1:53 left in the first quarter between the Patriots and the Packers game to show tom Brady screaming the F-word on national TV? The commentators even bought attention to the frustration expressed by Mr. Brady by focusing on his muted foul language. It happened again before the 2:00 minute warning in the fourth quarter where again the CBS telecast focused on Mr. Brady expressing foul language. I understand it is football and foul language will be used. I am wondering why CBS is going out of their way to showcase it? Twice?”

York, PA viewer:

“During the Patriots/Green Bay football game the camera showed multiple times Tom Brady on the Side lines yelling, “F—.” He said it multiple times and they showed it multiple times. My 8 year old grandson was watching the game with me and even commented that he should not have said that. I understand the first time it happened the camera man would not have expected that but to keep the camera on Tom Brady as he kept yelling was uncalled for. I put down as 4:30 as the time but that may not be the exact time of the incident.”

Cedar Rapids viewer:

“Throughout the broadcast, the camera repeatedly cut to New England quarterback Tom Brady when he was visibly upset and saying F***. At 1:53 left in the first quarter, the announcers even called attention to it by prefacing the clip they showed with, “Brady’s reaction after failing to pick up the first down on that series” and then showed a clip of him saying F*** on the sidelines. They clearly knew he was saying it and so did my 10 year old son. Other instances with other players and coaches occurred in the broadcast, but none were as blatant. Just because there was no sound, it was clear enough to everyone. It was almost as if the announcers got away with it, because-they didn’t actually say it. Very unprofessional.”

Revis put it perfectly 12.17.14

Darrelle Revis put it perfectly when asked about the 3-11 Jets, and their head coach Rex Ryan, who seems to be on thin ice.

“It’s kind of sad for the position that Rex is in right now, but at the same time [the record is] something that they’ve got to change,” Revis said.

He nailed it.

Perhaps it is sad seeing Ryan running out of answers as he sits on the hot-seat, but the Jets will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

And obviously they are going to finish this season with a pretty darn bad record.

So yes, “[the record is] is something they’ve got to change.”

Especially with their ticket prices.

So it’s likely major changes are coming to Florham Park after this season.

***The picture above is the cover of the latest issue of Jets Confidential Magazine. It’s on news stands tomorrow. We have plenty of Whispers and plenty of ideas of how to fix the Jets. Don’t miss out. To subscribe to this must-read for Jets fans, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

A possible landing spot for Rex 12.17.14

Jets coach Rex Ryan is likely going to be fired after this season.

So where might he land?

You’d have to think the Atlanta Falcons are a possibility.

There is a good chance the Falcons will fire coach Mike Smith after this season.

Ryan to Atlanta makes sense on a few fronts.

First of all, they switched to a 3-4 defense last off-season, and drafted and signed a number of players to fit that front. Ryan is a 3-4 guy, and his system and coaching could help improve that underachieving defense.

Secondly, Atlanta is a tough market to sell tickets. Ryan sells tickets.

Also, if Ryan has a choice of jobs, this is the likely the job he’d prefer.

Most of the probable openings have bad quarterback situations. Often it’s not having a quarterback that ultimately gets an NFL head coach fired.

The Falcons have a good quarterback in Matt Ryan.

After six years of shaky quarterback play, the chance for Rex Ryan to go to a place where they have a solid quarterback in place, is something he’d likely jump at.

Rex Ryan to Atlanta makes a lot of sense.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out, and loaded with great stuff on Gang Green, including tons of information on the GM and coach situations. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A Jets Confidential subscription makes a great holiday gift for a big-time Jets fan.

Big question about Marcus Mariota 12.16.14

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner, should be a top five prospect in the NFL draft, if he choses to come out.

But scouts wonder if he can make the successful transition from college spread offense to an NFL system.

“That one thing that scares me are the windows are so large (that he’s throwing in to),” said former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. “I worry about guys coming out of this system, not just Oregon, but any spread system. You just see these enormous windows to throw.

“Can (spread) guys translate to the next level? NFL open and college open are two different things. You see these college guy (in the NFL) and they don’t want to pull the trigger because they think the guy isn’t open. In that NFL that is open.”

La Canfora left out a big name in process 12.15.14

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote a story yesterday on the Jets’ potential coach search.

“To this point the franchise is not using a headhunter or search firm — Johnson has in the past — and while that could change at some point, for now it has been Johnson, Idzik and team president Neil Glat who have been handling the behind-the-scenes stuff,” wrote La Canfora.

You can’t leave out Johnson’s right-hand man, Ira Akselrad, who is also very involved in the process. Akselrad has enormous power in the Jets’ organization.

Trump’s message is a bad one 12.15.14

Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday, “The Jets should have let them score to get the number one draft pick, who will be really good. It will just never change for them!”

First of all, he has no idea if the number one draft pick, “will be really good.”

Secondly, as a business mogul, what kind attitude is that?

If your casino is struggling, do you start offering bad service to make sure it absolutely goes out of business?

If you have a half-filled condo, do you stop cleaning the hallways or providing landscaping?

You’d expect better from major American business figure, who has toyed with the idea of running for President.

Not a very stately comment.

***The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine will be mailed out today. Loaded with inside stuff on the Jets. Loaded with ideas on how to fix the Jets. A subscription to this monthly inside look at the Jets makes a Christmas gift for a big-time Jets fans. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to subscribe.

Boomer asks Mariota about the Jets 12.14.14

CBS Sports interviewed Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota today.

BILL COWHER: If there is one quarterback you look at in the National Football League and try to emulate and follow, who would that be?

MARCUS MARIOTA: Definitely Aaron Rodgers. I love watching that guy play. He’s in such command of that offense, and he understands the weaknesses in coverages. I hope to emulate that someday.

BOOMER ESIASON: Are you ready to be the Jets quarterback or no?

MARIOTA: Of course. If anybody is willing to give me a shot, I’m ready to be the best that I can be.

NFLPA blasts NFL over Peterson decision 12.12.14


“The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer’s relationship and financial ties to the NFL. The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective bargaining agreement. This decision also represents the NFL’s repeated failure to adhere to due process and confirms its inconsistent treatment of players. Our union is considering immediate legal remedies.”

Woody Johnson speaks 12.11.14

Jets owner Woody Johnson spoke to Gary Myers of the Daily News at an NFL Meeting on Wednesday, and here is what he had to say about the state of the franchise . . .

“In the business — I got to win games. I’m a fan, I represent the fans. We’re both frustrated by this. Ultimately, I am going to have to look for something that I believe is going to right the ship, whether it’s the current way, the way we are doing it now with the people we have now or going down a different pathway. I’m looking at everything. I’m analyzing what’s happened and why it’s happened.

“I’ve always thought [Rex Ryan is] a very good coach. He’s an excellent coach, excellent teacher. The fans are going to want to see something different. They’re not going to let us get along and I don’t want to do exactly the same thing. So it’s going to be either the way we coach or the way we approach it. It could be with the same people. It might be with different people. That’s the case each and every year.

“Oh my God. I would never have imagined (such a bad season). I thought we were going to be actually very good. That’s how much I know.

“It’s hard to lose. This is the hardest year I’ve had in terms of losses. You live and die with it. It’s been extremely painful. For me, I go out and see fans every week. I know they are loyal Jets fans. But it’s hard every week to be disappointed with the thing you love, which is your team, is frustrating. They love their team, but they don’t like seeing it go through this kind of agony.

“It’s safe to say you got to do things differently that you did to get you to this point. The thing about football is that after every season, everybody is up for grabs. You take a look at everything. You’re trying to get to the Super Bowl. It doesn’t sound like I should even be saying that at this point. But that’s what my goal is. That’s what the fans want. They want to have a clear direction in terms of how they get to where they want to go. I have to give them confidence they are going to have a chance to get where they want to go.

“There’s been a lot of pressure on John (Idzik). This is a team sport. There are a lot of people involved.”

Roger Goodell Letter to NFL Fans 12.10.14

Dear Fans,

You give so much to our game and its success. In return, as you should, you hold us to high standards, both on and off the field. We have listened and we have heard you. We hold ourselves to these high standards as well.

The majority of people in the NFL are individuals of high character who make incredible contributions to the game and their communities. However, a small percentage conduct themselves improperly at times. We recognize these actions damage the entire league. We now are taking significant steps to strengthen our programs to prevent and address incidents of misconduct.

Today at a league meeting in Dallas, our teams unanimously endorsed a revised and strengthened Personal Conduct Policy for all NFL employees. The policy was developed after an extensive series of meetings and discussions over the past four months with a wide range of experts and others inside and outside of the NFL, including current and former players, the NFL Players Association, domestic violence/sexual assault experts and advocates, law enforcement officials, academic experts, and business leaders. The revised policy is clear, consistent, accountable and transparent and applies to everyone including owners, general managers, coaches, players, other team employees, game officials, and all league employees.

Our communities are the heart of our teams and we put everything into making a positive impact on them. While we are stewards of the game of football, we know that virtue isn’t earned on the field alone. Character and values sits above everything else because we represent something that means so much to so many people.

Thank you for your passion and support of the NFL, and for helping make us better. Enjoy the rest of the season.

Roger Goodell

Interesting commentary from a backup Jets writer 12.09.14

Jane McManus is Rich Cimini’s backup on the Jets’ beat for the ESPN New York website.

She is also a columnist for “ESPN W,” a website that focuses on women’s sports.

In her December 9 for “ESPN W,” one item she focused on was athlete activism by LeBron James and NBA players.

“The killing of black men and boys by law enforcement has sparked demonstrations across the country — why not on a basketball court? asked McManus. “Two weeks ago, several St. Louis Rams came out of the tunnel with their hands up, a stance some witnesses say Michael Brown assumed before he was killed by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. A grand jury in that case also chose not to indict the officer involved, Darren Wilson.”

It’s going to be interesting to see if the athlete activism will impact ticket and jersey sales.

Time will tell.

Powerful words from London Fletcher on Jim Haslett 12.07.14

Former NFL linebacker London Fletcher, who now works for CBS Sports, had some powerful comments today on his defensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins, Jim Haslett.

“Why does Jim Haslett still have his job as defensive coordinator after five years of ineptitude at the defensive coordinator position? asked Fletcher.

“He is clueless as a defensive coordinator. He lacks attention to detail. He lacks feel on how to call a game. Some of the calls he used to call when I was playing were head scratching. They were so bad I used to change them.

“Mike Shanahan recognized early that this guy does not know what he is doing. And he tried to help him out. And what does Jim Haslett do? He threw (Shanahan) under the bus just like he throws everybody under the bus, players and coaches included.

“He is a guy that does not know what he is doing. And the Washington Redskins and Jay Gruden in particular better watch his back and get Jim Haslett out of the door, because he’s probably back stabbing Jay Gruden like he did everybody else – like he did to Scott Linehan in St. Louis and like he did to Mike Shanahan in Washington.

“This is a guy that would take the ’85 Bears and turn them into a mediocre defense. He is clueless. He has no idea what he is doing. Believe me. I had a front row seat for four years.”

What you want to hear from an owner of a losing team 12.04.14

Tennessee owner Tommy Smith isn’t happy with his 2-10 Titans, and had this to say to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean . . .

“The roster is going to look a lot different next year. Players need to be playing to the best of their abilities right now, and that will determine their future. There may be some players whose contracts might be up, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to be here. There may be some players with multiyear contracts, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to be here.

“I can assure you this: I am committed to making this thing right. And we are going to build a team that this town and the fans can be proud of. I am going to build an organization and a team that is going to be known for winning, not losing. People will say, ‘How can you say that with a 2-10 team?’ I know there is a lot of work to do. It’s taking longer than I hoped. But this thing is going to get fixed.”

Well put.

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