Dan Leberfeld's Blog

This Jets player is better than people realize #nyj 07.29.19

He doesn’t look the part, but he keeps making plays . . .

The player I’m talking about is Jets wide receiver Deontay Burnett.

He’s not the biggest receiver (6-0, 186) or the fastest (4.7 forty), he’s just a good football player.

He had one of the best catches of Monday’s Jets practice, an impressive grab in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Trevor Siemian in tight coverage.

With the foot injury to Jamison Crowder, you are going to hear his name a lot more.

Burnett started last year on the Jets’ practice squad and was promoted to the active roster on October 20. In Week 8 against the Chicago Bears, Burnett led the team with four catches for 61 receiving yards. Perhaps he should have played more.

Burnett was Sam Darnold’s favorite receiver at USC in 2017, hauling in 86 catches and nine touchdowns. He entered the draft after that season and went undrafted likely due to his unimpressive size-speed ratio on paper.

But the game isn’t played on paper.

So while Burnett isn’t particularly big or fast, he consistently gets open, has good hands, and has amazing chemistry with Darnold.


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Poole 2 big hits on Jamison- Good or bad thing? 07.28.19

Florham Park – Jets nickel back Brian Poole had two big hits on wide receiver Jamison Crowder in practice today following receptions.

Is this good or bad for the Jets?

Well, it’s a double-edged sword.

It’s great for the Jets that Poole is a big-time hitter and a super-tough player. After all, playing slot corner is like being a combination defensive back/linebacker.

But Crowder is expected to be a huge cog in the Jets’ offense. That is why they gave him a three-year, $28.5 million deal with $17 million guaranteed in March.

And it’s pretty clear early in camp that Sam Darnold loves throwing to him.

But while Crowder is very tough, he’s only 5-9, 177 pounds, so he’s a defensive backs dream to hit. Poole outweighs him by 28 pounds. Poole will be covering Crowder all summer.

The key is striking a balance in practice – getting in the work you need, but not being overzealous and possibly wounding teammates.

It’s a tough balance to strike in football, one of the most physical sports around.


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Adams Addresses Jets Secondary Situation 07.26.19

Florham Park – Some people on outside have some questions about the Jets’ secondary. What does the leader of that group think about the unit?

Right now, safety Jamal Adams is kind of noncommittal on what to expect.

“We are still working,” said Adams, who made the Pro Bowl last season. “Day by day I’m not going to say ‘we can be this, and we can be that.’ We have a long ways to go. I don’t want to put any expectations on us because at the end of the day, we just have to go out there and do our job.”

Adams feels one of the keys is for the defensive backs to have great study habits.

“Obviously you are going to have a lot of mistakes,” Adams said. “Becoming a pro, the main thing you have to do outside the building is study. Study on your own, that is what it’s about for the young guys. I’m a young guy. You just have to continue to do that. As long as you stay in the book, you will be fine.”

Of course studying is very important, but it can only take a secondary so far if they don’t have the requisite pieces to excel.

That is where the question lies – Aside from Adams, how are the other pieces going to perform?

We will find out soon enough.


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Bell’s 2 impressive plays in a row. What it means . . 07.25.19

Florham Park – On back-to-back plays in today’s Jets practice, you saw the elite skills of Le’Veon Bell on display.

First as a runner:

He showed amazing patience, and ran behind a great Chris Herndon block on linebacker Brandon Copeland for a long gain to the right side.

Then as a receiver:

On the next play, Sam Darnold looked right, and then threw to Bell in the left flat, he caught the pass, and was off to the races.

This was a perfect two play snapshot of what Bell brings to the table as both an elite runner and receiver.


The monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is a must-read for Jets fans. So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. Page after page of inside scoops on the Jets. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Sam Talks About Where Jets Focus Should Be 07.24.19

Florham Park – Sam Darnold realizes the Jets can’t get too far ahead of themselves.

While the Jets have a lot of potential, they also have a lot work to do in training camp to reach that potential.

“For us, we are really locked in on the present,” Darnold said on Wednesday as Jets players reported to training camp in Florham Park.

Of course Darnold wants to make the playoffs in 2019, but realizes that isn’t where the focus needs to be right now.

“You definitely have expectations of making it to the playoffs, and we definitely have the talent to do it, but the way that you get there is focusing one week, really one day at a time,” Darnold said.

And the most important thing now for Darnold is to get 100 percent comfortable in the team’s new offense.

“There is a lot more progress to be made, but I definitely got the basics down,” Darnold said.

Aside from learning the new system, Darnold is focused like a laser on improving his completion percentage. He completed 57.7 percent of his passes in 2018, and knows that number needs to go up.

“For me, it’s about completing the football and finding completions and being consistent with that,” Darnold said, “and not try to make too much happen on a certain play.”

And to not look too far ahead; just focus on the next practice.

“If guys are looking too much into the future, I feel like we could slip up in the present,” Darnold said.


To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A must-read for Jets fans. Training camp preview issue on sale now.

Gase’s prediction – Is it really a big deal? #nyj 07.24.19

Of course they should be. Every team should be. The league is set up for parity.

Jets coach Adam Gase was asked if he expects, barring significant injuries, to be playing meaningful games in December this year.

“We are going to play meaningful games at the end of November and December,” Gase said. “That is what we are going to do.”

Some will make a big deal out of this answer, but it’s really not a big deal.

There are few dominant teams in the NFL. The league is set up for competitive balance with the salary cap, along with the draft and waiver wire pecking orders.

You have to be a pretty bad organization to not at least be in the wild-card conversation in late November/early December. For goodness sake, if you are, let’s say 5-6, in late November, you are usually in the wild-card hunt.

So of course the Jets should be playing meaningful games in late November and early December.

Most teams should be.

If a team isn’t at least hanging around for a wild-card spot at that point of the season, they’re a pretty poorly run organization.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on news stands. The most extensive Jets training camp preview around. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

Keep an eye on this guy in Jets TE room!#GoDukes 07.23.19

With Chris Herndon scheduled to miss the first four games of the season due to a league suspension, the Jets added former Houston Texans tight end Ryan Griffin.

Griffin did a solid job for the Houston Texans from 2013-18 as a both a receiving and blocking tight end. So he should help the Jets hold-the-fort while Herndon is out.

Another guy who can help is Daniel Brown, a former Chicago Bear signed this off-season.

Brown is a legitimate candidate to fill in, looking very good in the spring.

Is there was such thing as a “Spring MVP,” and obviously there isn’t, Brown would have been a candidate. He was excellent in the Jets’ off-season practices.

The former Bear and Baltimore Raven ran good routes, consistently got open, and displayed soft hands.

He’s also very mobile and has good wheels for a tight end. And there is a good reason for that – he was a wide receiver at James Madison University.

When he got to the NFL, he was moved to tight end by the Ravens, and has kept a lot of his wide receiver speed, even though he packed on 25 pounds.

Look, I know the spring is the spring, but if that was a true indication of his ability, he certainly could help the Jets get through the first month (along with Griffin).

Brown was consistently a tough cover for the Jets’ defense with his impressive tight end speed and solid route-running.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is available at convenience stores. It provides the most in-depth preview of every position group you will find. So much stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. A must-read for Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557.

Enough is enough! This is out of hand! #nyj 07.22.19

It should be humiliating for other teams in this division, and it’s time for an opponent to do something about it.

The New England Patriots have won the AFC East title ten years in a row. That should be embarrassing to the other three teams in division.

And maybe it’s time for the Patriots’ AFC East foes to take a page from that old movie “Network” and yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

In a league set up for parity in every which way (salary cap, draft/waiver order and so forth), this is unacceptable.

Not only has this team in the AFC East won 10 straight division titles, but six Super Bowl championships since 2001.

In the modern NFL, designed for competitive balance, this is beyond the pale. This domination by one team in the AFC East, in an era loaded with parity, needs to end.

It’s ridiculous.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and on news stands. The most extensive training camp preview issue you will find anywhere. A must-read for Jets fans. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Jets move Green and White Scrimmage to MetLife 07.18.19

*The New York Jets have moved the Green & White practice to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, August 18th. Tickets already claimed for the previously scheduled Friday, August 2nd at Rutgers University, will still be honored for the Green & White Practice at MetLife Stadium. Free tickets can still be downloaded for the Green & White Practice at newyorkjets.com/camp. The team also changed its public practice on Sunday, August 4th to Saturday, August 3rd. Tickets that were claimed for the open practice on Sunday, August 4th will be honored for the open practice on Saturday, August 3rd. A limited number of tickets are now available for practice on Saturday, August 3rd at newyorkjets.com/camp.

Entry for all events – including the Green & White Practice – will be mobile only. Season Ticket Holders will no longer be able to use their physical Jets Rewards cards for entry and must redeem a mobile ticket to reserve their space. Fans can access and manage their tickets by downloading the Jets mobile app presented by M&T Bank. For more information on open practices, parking, and directions, visit newyorkjets.com/camp. Fans attending Training Camp are encouraged to check the website for security and carry-in procedures.

*Press Release

Creative Gase is going to love this chess piece 06.25.19

He’s a player who can hurt opponents in more ways than one . . .

We all know what a rare running talent Le’Veon Bell is, but you can’t minimize what a great receiver he is.

He runs routes and has the hands of an elite wide receiver. Bell had 85 catches in 2017 playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Adam Gase, who has a creative offensive mind, plans on lining Bell up all over to confuse defenses.

“You’re not one-dimensional (with Bell),” Gase said recently. “When you have a running back that the defense isn’t sure if he’s going to be in the gun, offset, strong, weak. Is he going to be under center? Is he going to be split out wide? Is he going to be the single receiver? Is he going to be the empty? Is he going to be in the slot? There’s five different spots.”

Bell will create a lot of defensive challenges for Jets opponents.

“If you’ve got a guy that can do all of those different types of things and he’s good at it and he’s able to catch the ball and run the routes like that, it makes it very difficult for the defense to defend,” Gase said. “You start seeing coverages where they simplify it because you’re moving so many pieces around. And when you have that kind of flexibility it puts a lot of pressure on the defense, it’s hard to cover everything. So they have to simplify the defense and that’s what helps the other guys as well. Because they’re focused on [Bell] so much.”


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and loaded with tons of inside info on the Jets you won’t read anywhere else. Pick one up on a news stand or subscribe by clicking below or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5).

Late August In Florham Park Could Be Wild! 06.24.19

This could be a day loaded with surprises. Circle it on your calendar.

Talking about August 31 when the Jets (and all NFL teams) have to cut from 90 to 53 players.

Some Jets players you might assume are safe, probably aren’t.

The new GM and coach have little allegiance to most of the players on this roster. They didn’t sign or draft a lot of them, and that pertains to some guys added this year.

This could be one of the most interesting final cut down days we have seen in Jets-land in a long time.

Some people are saying that most of the roster is set. Probably not.

I’m telling you right now, there are going to be names on the cut list where Jets fans will say, “Whoa!”

And that is they way it should be.

The object is assemble the best 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad you can, minus agendas.

In the past at One Jets Drive, there have been too many agendas, not always driven by keeping the best players.

August 31 should be quite an intriguing day in Florham Park.


The new issue of the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine is out on news stands and at convenience stores. Tons of info on the Jets you won’t read anywhere else! To subscribe to this must-read for Jets fans, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Great beach reading material!

Very smart move by the Jets . . . 06.21.19

It’s hard to argue with this decision which should benefit the Jets a great deal.

Talking about the Jets adding Phil Savage as a senior adviser.

Savage has a tremendous amount of experience in the player personnel world.

He was the GM of the Browns from 2005-08 and director of college scouting for the Baltimore Ravens before that. He also worked for the Philadelphia Eagles as a personnel consultant.

From 2012-18 he ran the Senior Bowl in his hometown of Mobile, AL. He picked the players for that game which improved a great deal under his watch.

He was also the radio color commentator for Alabama Crimson Tide football from 2009-18, so he was around the SEC the last decade; the best conference for college football talent in the country.

What a terrific right-hand man for Douglas, a first-time GM; a man with a ton of player personnel experience who’s been an NFL GM before. What a great sounding board for Douglas!

He’s the perfect “bench coach” for Douglas to borrow a baseball term.


The new issue of Jets Confidential is out and loaded with stuff about Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. A must-read for Jets fans! You can pick up a copy at a convenience store or subscribe by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Get it, you won’t regret it!

Gregg Williams Tells His Players This . . . 06.20.19

Gregg Williams, the Jets’ defensive coordinator, was asked last week about what his expectations are for the Jets’ defense this year.

“One of the things about measurables as I talk to the young men daily about this; when you put a quantifiable score on something like ‘I want to be the best in the world that’s ever played this game’ – why can’t you just be the best you can be today,” Williams said. “Why can’t we just be the best we can be today. Why can’t we just be the best that day we are playing and after the year we will get all the measurables later? It’s about improvement.”

This is the best approach.

Forget about Pro-Bowl or Hall-of-Fame proclamations or preseason player rankings; just worry about getting better every day.

Williams is good friends with Alabama coach Nick Saban who is a huge proponent of “process thinking.”

“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship,” Saban said. “Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

That means focus on the next rep in practice or the weight room; the next play in a game. Just work hard at the very next task right in front of you, and if you bust your butt doing that, there is a solid chance the results at the end of the road will be good.


The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out and loaded with page after page of the good stuff on Gang Green. So much stuff you won’t read about the Jets anywhere else. A must-read for Jets fans. You can pick up a copy at a convenience store. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). Makes a great gift for a Jets fan!

Jets hire Douglas. What it means . . . 06.07.19

When you look at the field of candidates, you could make a strong argument that this candidate always made the most sense.

Of course, I’m talking about Joe Douglas.

The Jets have hired Douglas as their GM. He will have final say over their 53-man roster.

The Jets needed a GM who Adam Gase knew. To put Gase with a stranger would’ve been a recipe for disaster. A stranger telling Gase who his players will be is just a bad idea. We already saw how that scenario can be a problem.

Gase likes and trusts Douglas after they worked together for a year with the Chicago Bears in 2015. They have the same agent – Mr. Sexton.

And Douglas has paid his dues.

Prior to joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 as a VP, Douglas spent the 2015 season as the director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears after working in the Baltimore Ravens’ personnel department for 16 years (2000-15).

Gase respects him, gets along with him, and Douglas is a “grinder” as one league source put it.

“Gase likes grinders,” the source said.


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

How’d Darnold look? 06.04.19

How did Sam Darnold look in the Jets’ first mini-camp practice?


He threw a telegraphed interception to Jamal Adams, and most of his completions were on check down passes.

But you know what, who cares?

The spring isn’t about style points, it’s about learning, and Darnold has to digest an entirely new playbook, which is far from ideal for a QB going from his first to second year.

So yes, Darnold didn’t look great today.

But it’s irrelevant.

The only thing that matters is how he looks when the regular season starts.

This time of year is for getting the kinks out.


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

Are they really a mess right now? 05.30.19

They are 0-0.

As is every team in the NFL.

So to describe the Jets as a “mess” right now probably isn’t accurate.

Just like it would be wrong to say that about the Giants.

That is unless you’re Nostradamus and can actually see a disastrous season on the horizon. Then that’s a different story.

Nobody wins or loses in the off-season.

Let’s see how this all turns out in time.

I personally have no idea.

So I’m not going to trash people now.

If the Jets play like garbage in the fall, and lose a lot of games, then the gloves will come off.


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

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