Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Something I noticed in the first open practice 04.23.19

Florham Park – This one thing was obvious watching the Jets’ first open spring practice to the media.

There was a tremendous amount of chatter on the field between defensive players.

In other words, guys trying to communicate on a high level, get on the same page.

Considering all the blown assignment the Jets had on defense in recent years, this level of communication is of the utmost importance moving forward.

It was very loud out there today.


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Jets lose an assistant coach to college 04.22.19

A Todd Bowles assistant coach, who was retained by Adam Gase, has left the Jets’ coaching staff to join the West Virginia Mountaineers.

New West Virginia football coach Neal Brown has hired Jets defensive assistant Robby Brown as the special assistant to the head coach for football and senior analyst (offense). Brown was with the Jets since 2015.

“Robby brings outstanding organizational skills and great attention to detail,” Brown said. “I have known him for many years and have watched him develop into an excellent administrator and coach. He also brings offensive experience to our coaching staff, including several years in the NFL. He will be a good addition to our staff.”

While with the Jets, Brown assisted the offensive and defensive coordinator in all aspects of day-to-day operations and also assisted the wide receiver and outside linebacker coaches. He was responsible for all instant replay and time management decisions, assisted the head coach in all point after and fourth-down decisions and was the coaching staff liaison to the analytics department.


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Jets Schedule With Times and TV Networks 04.17.19

Game 1 — vs. Buffalo Bills, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 8, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 2 — vs. Cleveland Browns, MetLife Stadium, Monday, Sept. 16, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Game 3 — at New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 4 — Bye week, Sunday, Sept. 29

Game 4 — at Philadelphia Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, Sunday, Oct. 6, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 5 — vs. Dallas Cowboys, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 13, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Game 6 — vs. New England Patriots, MetLife Stadium, Monday, Oct. 21, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Game 7 — at Jacksonville Jaguars, TIAA Bank Field, Sunday, Oct. 27, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 8 — at Miami Dolphins, Hard Rock Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 3, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 9 — vs. New York Giants, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m., FOX

Game 10 — at Washington Redskins, FedEx Field, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 11 — vs. Oakland Raiders, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 24, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 12 — at Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 1, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 13 — vs. Miami Dolphins, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 8, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 14 — at Baltimore Ravens, M&T Bank Stadium, Thursday, Dec. 12, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFLN/Amazon

Game 15 — vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, MetLife Stadium, Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m., CBS

Game 16 — at Buffalo Bills, New Era Field, Sunday, Dec. 29, 1 p.m., CBS


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What Gregg Williams told Steve McLendon 04.17.19

After veteran nose tackle Steve McLendon re-signed with the Jets on March 14, he got a call from the team’s new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

“He told me ‘congratulations’ and that he’s ready to get to work,” McLendon said recently on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He said he understands how I feel about a championship.”

McLendon didn’t come back just to play another season, he wants to win a championship.

“I play this game to try and win a championship,” McLendon said. “You don’t want to be 50-50, win this week, lose [the next] week. That is not how I am.”

McLendon said Williams totally agrees with him and told the nose tackle, “I’m with you on that.”

And according to McLendon, Williams said to him, “I’m coming in here with one single focus to help this team bring a Lombardi (Trophy) here.”


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Okay, we get it! 04.16.19

Maybe it’s time for AB to turn the page.

How many times does the story need to be rehashed?

On March 11, 2019, it was announced by NFL media insiders that linebacker Barr agreed to a multi-year deal with the Jets. But he changed his mind, and re-signed with the Vikings on March 13, 2019

On March 15, Barr told NFL Network on why he backed out of the Jets deal, “It was mostly when I hung up the phone after saying, ‘Yeah, I can do New York. My stomach dropped, I kind of get some cold sweats. It was like you’re about to go down the altar and marry the wrong woman. I think I’m making a bad choice. I did what I felt was right for myself.”

And now this week Barr told ESPN in an extensive feature on his decision to back out of the Jets’ deal, “I was trying to convince myself of something I knew that in my heart didn’t feel right, and I think if you follow the heart, I can live with the results.”

Okay, we get it, you backed out of your agreement with the Jets to follow your heart. Point made.

But perhaps it’s time for Barr and his camp to focus 100 percent on the Vikings and move past this saga already.

Or maybe make a TV movie about it.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out – it’s our draft preview issue. It’s available at convenience stores and by subscription. You can subscribe to this must-read magazine for Jets fans by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Bilal situation needs to be handled with care 04.15.19

There’s been speculation that Bilal Powell is likely done with the Jets after the signing of running back Ty Montgomery.

Along with Montgomery, the Jets have Eli McGuire, Trenton Cannon and De’Angelo Henderson behind starter Le’Veon Bell.

So they might be set at the position. I have no idea if Powell is done with the team, but if he is, his exit needs to be handled with aplomb.

This is a player who toiled for Gang Green for eight years with class and professionalism. He hardly said a word, just went out and did his job, and usually did it very well.

So if it’s indeed the end of Powell’s time with the Jets, the team needs to be careful, and not allow him to be a player who leaves on bad terms, like D’Bricksashaw Ferguson, David Harris and Jerricho Cotchery.

Powell deserves the royal treatment on his way out. Maybe even offer him a job in the organization.

All parties involved need to make sure this ends the right way.


The new issue of Jets Confidential is out; it’s on news stands and at convenience stores. It’s our draft preview issue, loaded with previews of all the top prospects, and an extensive breakdown of the Jets’ need at every position. Also tons of Jets Whispers. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must read for Jets fans.

What to make of Rap’s Lee announcement 04.08.19

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced on Monday that the Jets are shopping linebacker Darron Lee.

“One player whose name has been mentioned in trade talks is Jets former first-round pick LB Darron Lee, thanks to the big-money addition of CJ Mosley,” Rapoport said via Twitter. “Lee will be there for the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program, as his status remains unchanged, I’m told.”

Rapoport’s announcement makes sense since Lee isn’t an ideal fit for the inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense because he’s not great at shedding blocks, a big part of the job. He’s a much better fit in a 4-3 defense as a run-and-hit weakside linebacker.

But it might be a little surprising the Jets are reportedly shopping Lee, since Adam Gase raved about the linebacker at the combine, blaming the media for the negativity surrounding the linebacker’s play.

“He was always getting beat up by you guys (media) a lot of the times,” Gase said. “And he would play a great game against us (the Dolphins). We would have problems blocking him. We have would have problems making sure he was accounted for. He would do a good job in coverage.”

But now he’s on the trade block according to Rapoport’s announcement.

A fresh start in a 4-3 defense might be a good thing for Lee, who might be miscast in a 3-4 defense.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and available at convenience stores and by subscription. It’s our of extensive draft preview issue with tons of prospect bios and Jets-related previews of every position; also lots of Jets Whispers. To subscribe, click below, or call the number below.

Approved 2019 Playing Rule Change 03.26.19

Approved 2019 Playing Rules Summary

1. By Competition Committee; Makes permanent the kickoff rule changes that were implemented during the 2018 season.

2. By Competition Committee; Expands protection to a defenseless player.

3. By Competition Committee; Changes the enforcement of double fouls when there is a change of possession.

4. By Competition Committee; Simplifies the application of scrimmage kick rules for missed field goals.

5. By Competition Committee; Allows teams to elect to enforce on the succeeding try or on the succeeding free kick an opponent’s personal or unsportsmanlike conduct foul committed during a touchdown.

Tim McGraw to perform at NFL Draft in Nashville 03.18.19

*NASHVILLE – The NFL and the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp today announced plans for the 2019 NFL Draft Experience, presented by Oikos® Triple Zero, a free three-day football festival held outside of Nissan Stadium during the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25-April 27. The Experience will be the largest NFL Draft festival footprint to date, and in recognition of Music City, will be the first to integrate a free live music concert series featuring 20 Nashville-based artists of all genres.​

GRAMMY-winner Tim McGraw will headline the concert series at the Draft Main Stage in downtown Nashville. McGraw, who serves on the Nashville Local Organizing Committee for the Nashville Draft, has had 43 number-one radio singles, 16 number-one albums and countless industry awards and accolades. McGraw recently performed for the NFL’s official Tailgate party at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.

“We’re excited to show NFL fans from around the country why there’s no better place for the Draft than Music City,” said Steve Underwood, President and CEO of the Tennessee Titans. “Along with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, and some of Tennessee’s most talented artists, musicians and businesses, we’d like to welcome the NFL family to our team’s hometown.”

In addition to the Draft Main Stage performances, GRAMMY-nominated CeCe Winans will sing the National Anthem to open NFL Draft activities on Thursday, April 25. Throughout the week, the Draft Experience Stage will feature 15 Nashville-based acts representing diverse genres of music ranging from pop and indie rock to country. Additional performances and headliners will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Each year, the NFL strives to make the Draft weekend a memorable experience for our fans. The passionate fan base and iconic location will ensure a unique experience that is unlike anything fans have ever seen” said NFL Executive Vice President, Club Business & League Events, Peter O’Reilly. “We want to thank the Tennessee Titans and the city of Nashville for being a gracious host for the 2019 NFL Draft. We would also like to thank Tim and CeCe for generously giving their time to our fans to make their experience even more memorable.”

NFL Draft Experience hours of operation:

April 25 (Thursday): 12PM to 10PM
April 26 (Friday): 12PM to 10PM
April 27 (Saturday): 9AM to 6PM​

*Press Release

Raising the Barr 03.11.19

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced that former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr will sign with the Jets.

Barr was a good player for the Minnesota Vikings, but he can be an even better one with the Jets.

During his five seasons with the Vikings, he played 4-3 outside linebacker, not a lot on the edge.

You put Barr in a 3-4 defense, and play him on the edge as an outside linebacker, he could help the Jets’ pass rush quite a bit.

His last two years at UCLA, playing on the edge, he had 23.5 sacks.

Before the 2014 draft, Nolan Nawrocki wrote, “He has exceptional take-off speed, acceleration and closing burst.”

Nawrocki added, “A highly-productive athletic specimen with pass-rush potential to effortlessly emerge as a double-digit sack producer.”

In Minnesota he had just 13.5 sacks in five seasons.

But the way the Jets will use them, more on the edge, expect a lot more than that, and numbers closer to what he produced in college.


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Gase/Williams must be incredibly blunt with Macc 03.07.19

Telling people what you think they want to hear about players doesn’t help a team win on game day.

So Jets new coach and offensive overlord Adam Gase, and his defensive chief Gregg Williams, need to be brutally honest with Jets GM Mike Maccagnan about the players they inherited – the good and the bad.

Sugarcoating things so you don’t hurt the GM’s feelings won’t help the Jets be successful.

If Gase and Williams think certain guys can’t cut it, no matter where they were drafted, or how much they make, they need to tell that to Maccagnan.

They need to keep things real at all times.

No BS-ing.

Keep the best 53, start the best 22 – don’t worry about draft and free agent records.

No politics.


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Jets out of running for Antonio – Good or bad thing? 03.06.19

On Tuesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced the Jets are “in the mix” for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.

On Wednesday, Rapoport announced they are no longer in the running.

This isn’t necessarily bad news for the Jets.

Adam Gase is trying to establish a strong culture with his new team, so why bring in Brown, who recently said on ESPN, “I don’t even have to play football if I don’t want. I don’t even need the game. I don’t need to prove nothing to anyone. If they wanna play, they going to play by my rules. If not, I don’t need to play.”

Why would you want a guy in your locker room with this attitude if you are trying to build a new culture?

Also, do you want a diva receiver, who needs the ball a lot, getting in the head of your young, developing QB. A prima donna receiver is the last thing Sam Darnold needs now. He needs to learn to go through his progressions better and throw to the open guy, not worry about forcing the ball to a receiver demanding the rock.

Brown is obviously very talented, but the wrong guy at wrong time right now for Gang Green.


The Jets Confidential free agency preview is out now, loaded with tons of great info previewing the marketplace. Also lots of Jets Whispers and a deep dive into the mysterious relationship between Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt. Pick one up on a news stand or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to subscribe. You can also click below to subscribe.

Costello good point about Maccagnan and Bell 03.05.19

New York Post reporter Brian Costello made a point about the coverage of the Jets’ supposed interest in Le’Veon Bell that bears repeating.

“The people I spoke with seemed to be deducing that the Jets would be in on Bell, not that they were told that by anyone from the Jets. (Mike) Maccagnan has a reputation for keeping things close to the vest and he has done that with his plans for Bell,” Costello wrote for the Post today.

This is a very important point that needed to be made.

Anybody who claims they know what Maccagnan is going to do on the Bell front, might be leading you astray.

As Costello points out, Maccagnan keeps things “close to the vest.”

He’s not a guy who gives stuff to NFL media insiders. He once mistakenly called Adam Schefter, “Adam Schechter” when talking about the ESPN reporter. Maccagnan doesn’t live in that world.

The point is there is a lot of logical guessing right now, but to think anything is coming from Maccagnan on Bell is far-fetched.

The Jets’ GM doesn’t roll that way.


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Risky business with big money free agent RB’s 03.04.19

It’s a position that takes a tremendous physical toll on the human body.

So giving running backs lucrative second-contracts in the NFL can be risky business.

The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reports Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, who was hobbled late in the season with knee issues, actually has arthritis in his left knee, the same knee that required surgery in 2014 at Georgia. The team is considering stem-cell treatment.

On July 24, 2018, Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million contract extension with the Rams with $45 million guaranteed.

Less the one-year into the deal, he has a medical red flag.

Running backs take an awful beating. There is no way around that fact. And when you look at all the carries Gurley had in high school, college and four years in the NFL, that’s a lot of mileage on his odometer.

This is a cautionary tale to teams like the Jets who might be interested in signing 27-year-old free agent Le’Veon Bell to a big-money deal.

The man’s had a ton of carries from Groveport High School to Michigan State to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He’s taken a lot of hits and has already blown out a knee in his career.

While he’s a heck of player, may the buy beware.

Giving running backs huge second contracts (following their rookie deals) in free agency can be risky business.

On March 14, 2018, former Minnesota Vikings Jerick McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers. He never played a game last year, blowing out an ACL in practice on September 1.

Teams looking to give Bell a monster deal should probably proceed with caution.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out on news stands and at convenience stories. It’s our free agent preview issue with scouting reports on the top players available at every position. Also tons of Whispers and a deep dive into the complicated Gregg Williams-Joe Vitt relationship. To subscribe, click on the banner ad below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.

Is Sam Darnold a franchise QB at this point? 02.18.19

You see stuff on social media talking about Sam Darnold being a franchise QB.

You could make a strong argument that talk is premature right now.

He has a lot to work on, and will be the first to admit it.

Not only must he learn to read defenses better and cut down on picks, but he now has a new offense to learn in Year Two. It’s a big challenge for a rookie, going into his second year, having to learn a new playbook.

He’s clearly a terrific prospect; a guy loaded with talent.

But is he a franchise QB yet?

Probably not.

Does he have the potential to be one? Absolutely.


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Another example of Gase and accountability 02.07.19

The Jets desperately need more accountability, and new coach Adam Gase seems like a guy who will bring it.

In October of 2018, Gase cut Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips after he complained about his role and getting his playing time cut.

“DT Jordan Phillips apparently not happy to leave field before that play. Threw helmet angrily on ground on sideline and sat on bench after brief exchange with a coach,” tweeted Chris Perkins, formerly of the Sun-Sentinel, during a Patriots blowout win over Miami.

Gase was asked why Phillips’ playing time was cut.

“There’s a reason why we’re doing that,” Gase said. “There’s a reason why we’re subbing the way we’re subbing against that team. It’s not a secret why we’re doing it. Whatever (defensive line coach) Kris Kocurek wants the D-linemen to do, that’s what we’re doing.”

In other words, DO YOUR JOB or get out.

The Jets clearly need this kind of accountability badly.

There was perhaps too much unconditional player love in recent years.


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