Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Rex Ryan is wrong – Adam Gase was right! #NYJvsNE 09.22.19

After penalties on two straight plays, and his third of the game, Adam Gase pulled Jamal Adams for the last five plays of the Jets’ loss to Cleveland on Monday.

ESPN’s Rex Ryan ripped the decision to pull Adams for five plays.

“They benched Jamal Adams. I was like, ‘What?'” Ryan told ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “That pissed me off because I love that kid. He’s the guy that represents the Jets. I’d kill to have a guy like that. I love that mentality. Hey — you know what? — you may beat us, but by God we’re going to beat the hell out of you. I’d rather go down that way, with people that will go down swinging than, OK, let’s accept losing.

“That pissed me off. If they have that mentality, they ain’t gonna beat anybody. But if they have the mentality of this Jamal Adams, they’ve got a chance.”

Why did Gase do it?

“I thought (Adams) was getting fired up pretty good and I clicked over, and I was like, ‘Hey, we need to be careful here.’ Because I was worried that something bad was going to happen, we need him for the next week,” Gase said. “They were smart and they pulled him off. I said, ‘Just calm him down,’ and then we were off the field. To me, I didn’t look at that as benching, that was more like, ‘Hey, let’s just calm him down.’”

Ryan is wrong. Gase was right.

Gase is trying to fix a football culture that was broken when he arrived.

By pulling Adams, and benching underachieving cornerback Trumaine Johnson, also against Cleveland, he sent a strong message to his team, that anybody is replaceable, no matter where you picked in the draft, or how much you make.

Gase is trying to bring accountability and discipline to the Jets, something that was lacking under the previous two regimes.


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Gase/Douglas/Elhai Must Shut This Down Right Now! 09.19.19

Luke Falk is the Jets’ quarterback this week, but it’s hard to tell.

The Jets need to chill out on the Sam Darnold talk this week. He’s a heck of a prospect, but he’s not playing this week. The focus needs to be on Falk, not Darnold.

Look, I understand that Darnold is a very important part of the Jets, but focus in sports is of the utmost importance, and focusing on a guy who isn’t playing this week doesn’t help the football culture.

You know how they say you shouldn’t look past an opponent. This is kind of like that. So much focus on Darnold possible coming back for the Philly game, and perhaps not enough on playing maybe the best team in football on Sunday, is bad culturally.

On Wednesday, Darnold addressed the media and Falk didn’t. Darnold isn’t playing this week and Falk is.

On Wednesday, Adam Gase answered eight, yes eight, media questions about Darnold, and not one about Falk. I know Gase can’t control what’s asked, but he can control his answers. He talked extensively about Darnold, who isn’t playing this week. He should have said, “We will talk about Sam when he is cleared to come back. Luke is the quarterback this week.”

Good football cultures focus on who’s playing, not who isn’t.

Culture, culture, culture.

Focus, focus, focus.


To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Blunt, but fair. A must-read for Jets fans.

Miami Dolphins Sign Surprising Jets Cut 09.18.19

*MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins today announced they signed safety Doug Middleton.

Middleton joins the Dolphins after spending the past three seasons (2016-18) with the N.Y. Jets. He’s played in 11 career games with four starts, totaling 28 tackles (20 solo) and four passes defensed. He also made five solo special teams stops. Middleton originally entered the NFL as an undrafted college free agent with the Jets on May 6, 2016. The team waived him on Sept. 2, 2019.

*Press Release

Adam Gase/Joe Douglas send strong message 09.18.19

While the Jets’ season didn’t start how they wanted, two moves made a powerful cultural statement as the organization tries to rebuild their football culture.

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched against Cleveland and replaced by Nate Hairston (who wasn’t bad). Star safety Jamal Adams was benched for five plays.

Under the previous two regimes, you would need to call in the National Guard for a starting player to be benched.

Think about this for a second: One season and one game into a five-year, $72.5 million deal with $45 million guaranteed, the Jets benched Johnson. This is an huge story!

Adam Gase was asked why he did it.

“We just decided not to play him,” Gase said after the Cleveland game.

A tabloid headline writer was outraged by this answer.

Headline – “Jets’ response to sudden Trumaine Johnson benching is shameful.”

No, it wasn’t shameful at all.

Has Bill Belichick ever explained why he benched Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl? No.

So why do the Jets owe the media an explanation on why they benched Johnson.

Benching Johnson made a powerful statement to the players, regardless of the media not getting an explanation. As did Adams brief benching after a mental error.

It proved, anybody, no matter how much you make, or where you were drafted, is replaceable, under the new coach and GM.

Gase and GM Joe Douglas are trying to change the damaged football culture they inherited. It’s going to take time. These moves help to start chipping away, and send a strong message to the players.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Blunt, but fair.

Full week of 1st team reps and game-plan for him 09.17.19

Look, I’m not putting him in Canton, but I do think we will see a better player this week.

Talking about QB Luke Falk, who will start for the Jets in New England, after they lost Trevor Siemian (leg) for the season, and with Sam Darnold recovering from mono.

Falk was okay in his Jets debut after replacing Siemian during the Cleveland game, going 20-25 for 198 yards with a 99.7 QB rating.

He should be better this week with a whole week of reps as the starter. Last week, he wasn’t even on the regular roster until Monday, when he was elevated from the practice squad.

This week the game plan will be designed for him, and he will get all the starting reps in practice, so he should be more prepared, and more comfortable, entering the game.

Not saying he’s going to be Aaron Rodgers out there, but he could do a decent job with a game-plan designed specifically for him, and a full week of practice as the #1 guy.


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Adam Gase needs to live up to his reputation! 09.17.19

Even with injury issues at quarterback, and being forced to play Luke Falk against Cleveland, where is the Jets’ offensive innovation?

A lot of us thought, including me, that Adam Gase was a masterful offensive play-caller. That is what we heard. But we haven’t seen too much of that so far. We didn’t see it in the opener with Darnold, and we didn’t see it in the second game without Darnold.

Look, I know the Jets’ offense hasn’t been dealt the best hand in some ways, but we’re also not seeing the deft play-calling expected from Gase, considering how Peyton Manning raves about him. Manning called Miami for him and also the Jets, vouching for the coach.

So while the Jets are far from a perfect team, the head coach needs to be more of an offensive guru. That is why he was hired.

The Jets need to see more offensive innovation from their new head coach moving forward, regardless of who’s under center.

Isn’t that what Christopher Johnson signed up for when he hired Gase?


To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, a blunt, but fair look at the Jets (no “Same Old Jets” nonsense), click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Adam Gase Q-and-A On Darnold’s Mono 09.12.19

*Gase: 14 (Sam Darnold) has mononucleosis and will be out for this game, so Trevor (Siemian) will be starting and Luke Falk will get elevated at some point to the backup.

Q)When did you find out about Sam Darnold?

Gase: Last night about 10:15 p.m.

Q)Will Darnold be out for multiple weeks?

Gase: Looks like it. Good thing we have the early Bye Week.

Q)Are you certain that Darnold will be out multiple weeks?

Gase: He’s still going through some of these tests to see where he is at with all this. I know he is out this week and then past that I’ll have more information as we go.

Q)Have you physically seen Darnold since he found out he had mono?

Gase: Yeah, we went over and told him last night. Dowell (Loggains), myself and Dave (Zuffelato). He (Darnold) didn’t know and we went over and told him in person.

Q)How did Darnold take the news?

Gase: Not well.

Q)Did you tell Darnold the diagnosis in person?

Gase: Yeah.

Q)Did Darnold think he had strep throat?

Gase: All three of us (Gase, Loggains and Zuffelato) went over there and he knew something was up when Dowell (Loggains) and myself showed up. I just wanted to make sure it was delivered right and I figured I could be the bearer of bad news on this one.

Q)Darnold won’t be back until the Philadelphia Eagles’ game?

Gase: I don’t want to put predictions on anything, I am just glad we have the Bye Week when we do.

Q)What is the course of treatment for Darnold?

Gase: Rest. They are still going through and making sure, they are doing all of these tests on him and things like that and figuring out the best protocol. I know his biggest concern is weight loss, he’s already lost (weight). That was something that was alarming to him, that he lost some weight already in the last couple days. Right away, he (Darnold) went into, “I have to make sure I am getting meals,” because he can’t be in the building right now. “I need to get meals over here, I need to make sure I am getting enough of what I need to keep my weight.” He went right into, “Alright, how do I maintain.”

Q)How concerned he is with the weight loss and fatigue that can be associated with mono?

Gase: The way that he reacted last night to it, he went right into, “Alright, where’s my solutions.” He moved past the bad news and went into, “Alright, how am I going to get myself ready for when I am able to return, to where I’m not in a bad place.”

Q)How much weight has Darnold has lost?

Gase: It is not crazy. He’s on it with what he should weigh, how he feels, all those things. We are talking like five pounds or something. Nothing crazy.

Q)Did you notice anything about Darnold on Sunday?

Gase: No, I didn’t.

Q)Did you notice anything unusual on Wednesday about Darnold?

Gase: He didn’t look good yesterday.

Q)Did Darnold seem fine on Monday?

Gase: Yeah, I am not a doctor, but he seemed like it.

Q)Is there fear that mono could spread in the building?

Gase: I hope not.

*Press Conference


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Major announcement on Le’Veon Bell 09.12.19

Jets running back Le’Veon Bell went for an MRI on one of his shoulders.

How did it go?

“Le’Veon Bell’s MRI revealed no major damage or tears, per source – the test was mostly precautionary,” announced ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Twitter.

So this is good news for the Jets on a day they could use some.

How will Jets respond to Bill Belichick’s challenge? 09.11.19

Florham Park – You could view it as a slap in the face.

Talking about the New England Patriots trading WR Demaryius Thomas to the New York on September 10 for a 2020 sixth-round pick.

Why would the Patriots look to help a division-rival unless they consider them no threat?

Do you think they would have traded Thomas to conference-rival Kansas City, a team that just lost Tyreek Hill for a while to a collarbone injury? Highly unlikely.

So in a way, this trade could be viewed as a statement on what Bill Belichick thinks of the Jets as an opponent. Clearly not a lot.

While the Jets clearly think the Thomas trade can help them, it’s also kind of on insult to them.

And they should use this as a motivation. Because clearly the Patriots’ coach doesn’t think much of them as an opponent.

This should tick them off.


To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Underrated big problem in Jets loss to Buffalo 09.08.19

East Rutherford, N.J. – There were a lot of reasons the Jets lost to Buffalo today, and this is one of them.

They had one sack against a pedestrian Buffalo offensive line that came into the 2019 season as a big question mark for the Bills.

The Jets only sack of the game came on Buffalo’s first series of the game, a strip sack by linebacker Jordan Jenkins that was recovered by defensive tackle Steve McLendon.

They didn’t get one sack the rest of the game.

And on so many passing plays, Bills QB Josh Allen had all day to throw.

They got in his face on occasion, but not enough.

So add the lack of a pass rush to the list of reasons the Jets lost today.

The Bills’ line entered the season as a supposed weakness.

It didn’t look like that today.


To subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Blunt but fair.

Chiefs Derrick Nnadi NFLPA Community MVP 09.06.19


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Derrick Nnadi has been named Week 0 NFLPA Community MVP for providing a shopping spree for a victim’s family following the Virginia Beach mass shooting and hosting two back-to-school events for kids in Kansas City and Southeast Virginia.

“Being named NFLPA Community MVP is such an honor,” Nnadi said. “I feel so fortunate to be in a position to impact and change lives however possible. Many kids aren’t fully able to take part in the back-to-school season.”.

Entering his second season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Nnadi decided to give back to the two communities that mean the most to him: his hometown of Virginia Beach and his team city of Kansas City. After a mass shooting took place in his native city on May 31, the defensive lineman decided to extend a helping hand. The defensive lineman surprised the Nixon family, who tragically lost their mother, with a back-to-school shopping spree. Nnadi also brought a smile to 10 other kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Virginia by sending each a backpack full of supplies and a custom card wishing them good luck for the school year.

In August, Nnadi took a break from his own preparation for the upcoming season to surprise 10 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City with a back-to-school shopping spree at DICK’S Sporting Goods. The former third-round draft pick made a point to connect with each kid, picking out clothes and shoes while offering his fashion advice when asked.

“As my father says, ‘As Nnadis, we don’t receive, we give,’” Derrick said. “It was very fulfilling to help some special people get ready for the school year ahead.”

These events are just the latest in a string of community initiatives that Nnadi has been involved within Virginia Beach and Kansas City. He has held a Thanksgiving turkey drive, participated in the Hampton Roads Youth Foundation weekend and recently took part in the Chiefs annual visit to the Ronald McDonald House to kick off Red Friday Week leading up to the team’s opening game. During the 2019 season, Nnadi will be partnering with KC Pet Project to personally pay for a dog’s adoption fees every time the Chiefs win.

In honor of Nnadi being named this week’s Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice. The program’s supporting partner Pledge It has also set up a crowdfunding campaign in Nnadi’s name to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City. Supporters can pledge contributions based on Nnadi’s season total in tackles or they can make a flat donation at the following website: pledge.org/derricknnadi.

Nnadi, along with the other 2019 Community MVPs, will become eligible for this year’s Alan Page Community Award, which is the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.

The NFLPA Community MVP program recognizes NFL players who are making a positive impact in their local communities. Each week during the regular season, the NFLPA will celebrate one NFL player who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back to his community. Please visit our website to read more about the program as well as the current and past winners.

*Press Release

A lot of experience for Gang Green . . . 09.06.19

Florham Park – The Jets’ depth chart is out, and looking at it, this one thing quickly caught my attention.

There are no rookies starting.

And I view this as a positive thing.

Why rush guys into the lineup before they’re ready, no matter where they were picked, and that includes in the first round.

In 2016, the rushed a first-round rookie linebacker into the starting lineup, and he admitted after that season on SiriusXM NFL Radio, he wasn’t “comfortable with the playbook.”

“I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the playbook in 2016,” Darron Lee told hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan in the summer of 2017. “I couldn’t tell you half the terminology. Now I’m much more comfortable.”

The Jets enter the 2019 season on offense and defense with lot of veterans starting on both sides of the ball.

Rookie defensive tackle Quinnen Williams isn’t starting, but will play in certain sub-packages. Unlike in the past, he wasn’t thrust into the starting lineup just because he was a first-round pick.

And that is a good thing. No more anointing oil for first-round picks. Let them earn their way into the starting lineup.

Who knows how the 2019 Jets will fare (I don’t have a crystal ball), but you have to like the NFL experience they have on both sides of the ball.


Don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine. It’s loaded with good stuff on Gang Green you won’t read elsewhere. A JC subscription makes a great gift for a Jets fan. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Jamal Adams Ticket Contest with Lunatix 09.05.19

*Jamal Adams announced his partnership with Lunatix on Twitter and that he will be giving away a Golden Ticket to a lucky fan in the NY/NJ area! All fans need to do to enter is sign up at Lunatix.com.

Adams will be announcing the winner of the NY/NJ Golden Ticket next week on Twitter with the winner receiving two tickets to every home playoff game for the Knicks, Nets, Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, Devils, Islanders and Rangers, including championships – Over a $70,000 value!

Lunatix.com is the largest post-season ticket reservation marketplace.

*Press Release

Location of first 2 games good for Sam Darnold/Kalil 09.05.19

Location, location, location.

That will be huge for the beginning of the partnership between QB Sam Darnold and center Ryan Kalil.

Kalil, who signed in early August, didn’t play in any preseason games, so his first game snap to Sam Darnold will be Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

So it’s very helpful, from a communication standpoint, that the first two Jets games this season will be at MetLife Stadium. Why? Because crowd noise on the road can be particular tough on a new center-QB battery.

“I’m all for it,” Jets coach Adam Gase said about Kalil/Darnold playing at home for two weeks. “First two games being at home, that’s good for us because we can work on our silent count, mechanics and things like that in practice even if we are home. So, it just gives us more time. It gives us more reps. When you go in the environments like where we’ll be going this year, there are problems. You go to New England and it gets loud and it’s hard to communicate. So, the more reps we can get, the more we can work on, the better it is.”

After opening against Buffalo in East Rutherford, the Jets will host Cleveland on Monday Night Football in Week Two.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). So much good stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. Don’t miss out!

Jets-Bills Will Also Be Lupus Awareness Day at MetLife 09.05.19

*The New York Jets and Lupus Research Alliance will host Lupus Awareness Day on September 8, 2019, at MetLife Stadium when the Jets take on the Buffalo Bills. This event is designed to increase awareness of the devastating autoimmune disease and help raise funds for lupus biomedical research.

To further this goal, this week’s Jets 50/50 Raffle presented by Florida Tech will benefit the Lupus Research Alliance. Retuning for 2019 on gamedays, fans can purchase 50/50 raffle tickets three hours prior to kickoff through the end of the third quarter. One lucky fan will split the jackpot with the charity of the week. For rules and more information go to nyjets.com/5050raffle.

Additionally, top fundraisers from the Lupus Research Alliance’s Walk with Us to Cure Lupus program will be honored on field for their support in the fight against lupus.

The Jets are deeply committed to supporting the Lupus Research Alliance, the world’s leading private funder of lupus research. The organization was created in 2016 from the merger of three lupus-focused organizations that held the common belief that funding the most innovative and novel investigatory science in the world is the key to curing lupus. The Lupus Research Alliance is at the forefront of driving innovative research that can make a difference for people living with lupus.

To date, the organization has committed over $200 million to lupus research projects at top universities, medical schools and hospitals throughout the world. Because the Board of Directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations received goes to support lupus research programs. With the organization’s support, pioneering investigations have led to significant discoveries that are leading the way to better diagnostics, improved treatments, and ultimately a cure.

Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women; lupus is most often diagnosed during the childbearing years of 15 to 44. Women of color are especially at risk. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs – such as the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.

For more information about lupus and the Lupus Research Alliance, please call 800-867-1743 or visit www.lupusresearch.org.

*Press Release

Gase should be extra motivated to face Bills! 09.04.19

Florham Park – Of course Adam Gase wants to win his Jets debut to get off to a good start as Gang Green’s head coach.

But he should be extra motivated to face off against Sean McDermott’s Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Why? Because the last time Gase squared off against that coach, and that team, he got his butt kicked, in a 42-17 Buffalo win over Miami in Week 17. Gase was fired shortly after that game.

While Gase is now coaching a different team, this game is likely still sticking in his craw. After all, it was the last time he coached a regular season game.

“We just got drummed,” Gase said after that game.

Of course Gase is highly-motivated to win the Jets’ home-opener and get off on the right foot with his new club, and that should be his main motive.

But he’s also not going to want to be out-coached like he was in Week 17 last year by McDermott.

Gase has way too much pride for that.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, a must-read for the informed Jets’ fan, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Tons of stuff on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else.

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