Dan Leberfeld's Blog

What is going on with Robinson? 12.27.16

Florham Park – I didn’t see Jets running back Khiry Robinson on the practice field today.

Robinson made his Jets debut on Saturday in New England, but hobbled off the field during the game, and wasn’t seen again.

Remember, Robinson was waived by the Jets on September 4, 2016 after breaking his leg in New York’s final preseason game. He was re-signed by the Jets on December 7, 2016 and played his first game in New England.

Remember, when he signed with the Jets in the spring, he was rehabbing a broken leg. And then he re-broke the leg in the preseason.

Did he re-injure the surgical leg?

We will find out soon enough.


The handling of Rex at the end in Buffalo was wrong 12.27.16

Florham Park – If you are going to fire a coach, just do it, don’t leak your intentions weeks before to the media.

The Buffalo Bills fired Rex Ryan today.

That’s fine. That is their right.

But why leak your plans weeks before?

“Hours before the Buffalo Bills defeated the winless Browns to improve to 7-7 on Sunday, league sources said Rex Ryan is probably approaching his final games as the Bills’ head coach,” wrote ESPN’s Adam Schefter on December 18.

Why leak stuff to the media? Why not just fire him in mid-December around when the leaks came out? Why make the guy sit on death row?

If you are going to fire him, just go ahead and do it.

Don’t leak to the media that you’re going to do it after the season and make him twist in the wind.

This was poorly handled, no matter what you think of Rex.


The Jets #1 problem . . . 12.26.16

It’s easy to say the Jets “quit” in recent blowout losses to Miami and New England.

I don’t see it that way.

Let’s look at the defense in this blog.

Defenses that quit don’t play the run as hard as the Jets did in those two games. In the loss to the Dolphins, Miami’s Jay Ajayi ran 19 times for 51 yards for a 2.9 average. Ajayi ran for 206 yards against Buffalo yesterday.

In the Jets’ loss to the Patriots, New England’s LeGarrette Blount ran 20 times for 50 yards for a 2.5 average.

Those are two superb performances by the Jets’ run defense. Guy were flying around playing very hard, including safeties coming up and sacrificing their bodies to stop these two big backs.

The Jets’ biggest problem this year, by far, is pass defense. Their pass defense is really, really struggling.

And that is a huge issue in a passing league, and it’s not just defensive backs, but linebackers as well.

It’s not a lack of effort, aside from perhaps one guy, who often refuses to play the sticks on third down and might have been signed for marketing reasons (they can’t do this anymore).

The Jets’ lack of overall coverage speed is killing them. Obviously there are some fast guys (like Darron Lee), but not enough. Guys are trying, but faster targets are running away from them. Do you think David Harris didn’t try on the 25-yard TD by RB James White against New England? Harris always gives everything he’s got.

Some guys have stiff hips, so quick targets cut away from them.

Do you think that Rontez Miles didn’t give everything he could on Martellus Bennett’s TD? Of course he did, but he couldn’t deal with a quick cut into the end zone.

And there are a couple of players who just have bad instincts, and take false steps too often. They play hard, but struggle with things like combination routes.

And compounding the problem is a virtually non-existent edge pass rush (so important in a 3-4 defense), so this struggling pass defense often has to cover too long.

Todd Bowles needs to coach better, but from a defensive personnel standpoint, he hasn’t been dealt a great hand. His last year in Arizona, with the right players, he did a terrific job coaching that defense.

Suspect pass coverage, and the lack of any discernible edge-rush, is a toxic combination in a QB-driven league.

I’m not saying there aren’t other problems. I’m just saying this is the biggest one.

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Extensive Update on Todd Bowles situation from Adam Schefter 12.23.16

“Initially Jets officials feared the 53-year-old Todd Bowles suffered a heart attack Friday, according to sources,” wrote ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Bowles began throwing up, experienced chest pains, back pains, and after he was given medication, he could not keep it down, which is when Jets officials became extremely concerned and took him to the hospital.

“Doctors determined Bowles did not suffer a heart attack, though they want to visit with the Jets head coach again after the season to continue monitoring him to see if any further action needs to be taken. Bowles is hoping to coach in Saturday’s game against the Patriots, but he has been told it will be a doctor’s decision about whether he can go to New England. If Bowles cannot coach, assistant head coach Mike Caldwell will be the Jets’ interim head coach.”


Nobody knows how this Pats QB is going to turn out 12.23.16

In a league where so many teams are looking for an answer at QB, New England Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo will be the flavor of the month this off-season.

There are rumors the Cleveland Browns love him and will look to trade for him.

Others teams will be interested.

But here is the deal – nobody knows if he is a viable long-term answer.

He has started two NFL games, at the beginning of this season during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension, and then got hurt, and his four-game audition turned into just a pair of contests.

It’s a grey area if he’s a long-term answer for some team. It’s pure guesswork.

Just like it was for Houston when they signed former Denver QB Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million deal with $37 million guaranteed last off-season. He was benched last week for Tom Savage.

Garoppolo might turn out to be a very good starter, but may the buyer beware.

Nobody knows for sure.

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How will Petty’s injury respond to hits? 12.22.16

Florham Park – Bryce Petty took a wicked hit last week against Miami, a Cameron Wake-Ndamukong Suh sandwich.

It forced Petty out of the Jets-Dolphins game with an upper body contusion.

But he’s expected to play on Saturday in the Jets-Patriots game.

However, Jets coach Todd Bowles said something earlier this week which makes you wonder if he will play the entire game.

“I don’t think there will be any side effects unless you get hit again,” Bowles said.

And there is no hitting in practice, so it’s hard to determine how Petty will hold up after a hit or two.

And the Jets will be playing a patchwork offensive line against a talented New England defensive line.

Four of the five original Jets’ offensive line starters are out due to injuries.

There is a chance Petty is going to take a hit in this game.

So based on Bowles premise, there could be “side effects.”

For Petty’s sake hopefully there are no side effects (as a writer, I never want any player I cover to get hurt), but it will be interesting to see how his back/rib/lung, whatever he’s dealing with, responds to a few hits.

*****The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is on NY-NJ-CT news stands now. It’s a must-read for Jets fans, and includes the quintessential plan on how to fix the Jets. Jets Confidential Magazine makes a great holiday gift for a Jets fans. To subscribe, call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) or click the ad below.


Hackenberg shouldn’t play this week 12.21.16

Florham Park – Stop it!

Christian Hackenberg shouldn’t play this year.

It doesn’t matter that the Jets are 4-11. He’s not ready. He came in as a major project after two rough years at Penn State playing in an offense that didn’t fit his skill set behind a bad line.

He has rare arm talent and great size, but came to the Jets in need of a lot of work on his mechanics and footwork.

The Jets are doing the right thing ignoring the white noise and taking it slow with him. The Jets are smart to ignore the “instant gratification” crowd.

And forget the “bust” nonsense at this juncture. It’s way too early to judge this pick. Let’s check back in a year or two.

Hackenberg should not play this year.

And if Bowles keeps him off the field in Week 17, he isn’t betraying fans and it’s not an utterly damning QB decision.

*****A subscription to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine makes a great holiday gift. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5) to order the gift that keeps on giving.


Results of our QB poll 12.21.16

Earlier this week, we conducted a poll with the question – “Which quarterback would the New England Patriots rather face – Bryce Petty or Ryan Fitzpatrick?”

Petty received 73 percent of the vote, and Fitzpatrick came in at 27 percent.

Thank you for participating.


Pro Bowl Special Tonight – Names Revealed 12.20.16

*PRO BOWL PLAYERS REVEALED EXCLUSIVELY ON NFL NETWORK & NFL.COM

‘NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed’ Airs TONIGHT at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network

Pro Bowl Legend Captains Ray Lewis, Jerome Bettis, Tony Gonzalez & Charles Woodson Join

The list of players for the 2017 Pro Bowl is revealed exclusively on NFL Network and NFL.com TONIGHT at 8:00 PM ET.

Hosted by Cole Wright, NFL Total Access: Pro Bowl Players Revealed on NFL Network reveals the names of the 86 players selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl. The four Pro Bowl Legends Captains Ray Lewis, Jerome Bettis, Tony Gonzalez and Charles Woodson join the one-hour show, with Gonzalez and Lewis appearing in-studio, and Bettis and Woodson joining via remote. This year the Pro Bowl returns to the traditional AFC-NFC format, with Lewis and Bettis serving as captains of the AFC team, and Gonzalez and Woodson serving as captains of the NFC team.

The entire list of players selected to the Pro Bowl and complete analysis of those who made it and those who were snubbed will be available on NFL.com starting at 8:00 PM ET.

The 2017 Pro Bowl will be played in Orlando at Camping World Stadium on January 29 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN.

*Press Release


What happened? 12.18.16

East Rutherford, NJ – The Jets lost to Miami 34-13.

What happened?

The Jets are letting a young quarterback learn on the job.

The Jets’ secondary needs an overhaul.

The Jets need to improve their defensive speed.

The Jets need to improve their tight end coverage.

The Jets have a lot of work to do.

It’s going to be a busy off-season.


Toy Drive for the children in need 12.13.16

*JETS HOLD TOY DRIVE PRESENTED BY CLOROX TO BENEFIT JERSEY CARES

Donations support Jerseys Cares’ Annual Frosty’s Friends program

December 13, 2016 — The New York Jets in conjunction with Jersey Cares and Clorox will hold a Toy Drive on December 17, 2016, at MetLife Stadium before their game against the Miami Dolphins. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit Jersey Cares’ Frosty’s Friends program that will be collected at all gates upon entering the stadium.

As part of Clorox’s support, the company has bought 70 tickets to the game and donated them to Jersey Cares to distribute to underserved families this holiday season. There are millions of children in need of joy and cheer all over the world – and so many here in our own New Jersey backyard. This year, Jersey Cares received more than 3,000 letters from children who may not normally receive any gifts during the holidays. Thanks to the thousands of people who have answered the children’s letters, and your help with The Frosty’s Friends Toy Drive, Jersey Cares hopes to brighten the lives of 6,000 children this year.

WHO: New York Jets and their loyal fans

WHAT: New York Jets Toy Drive presented by Clorox

WHERE: MetLife Stadium

WHEN: Saturday, December 17th, 2016

WHY: Jersey Cares

The New York Jets take great pride in a long-standing, year-round commitment to our community. Programs funded by the New York Jets Foundation look to positively influence the lives of young men and women in the tri-state area by promoting fitness, supporting youth football and preventing bullying, particularly in disadvantaged communities. From launching football teams at urban high schools to urging students to be active for at least 60 minutes every day to fostering positive school environments, the New York Jets invest in programs that make a difference in the lives of others. In addition to our focus on youth development, the Jets support the efforts of the Alliance for Lupus Research and numerous established charitable organizations and causes sponsored by the NFL.

About Jersey Cares

Image result for jersey cares logoJersey Cares is a dynamic nonprofit organization that meets community needs by making volunteering in New Jersey easy, fun and meaningful. Jersey Cares works directly with local nonprofit organizations and schools, identifying their needs and training volunteer leaders to manage projects that address them. Jersey Cares volunteers have provided thousands of hours of service to communities, including: mentoring troubled teens, reaching out to isolated seniors, working with the mentally and physically challenged, restoring the environment and assisting children with their schoolwork. Jersey Cares offers meaningful volunteer opportunities that showcase the rewards of civic engagement and address some of our communities’ most serious needs.

*Press Release


Powell a finalist – the polls are open 12.13.16

*he NFL announced the New York Jets’ Bilal Powell is a finalist for this week’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week award for his outstanding performance against the San Francisco 49ers with 145 yards on 29 carries and 2 touchdowns. This is Powell’s first nomination. You’ll find a list of nominees below:

Air Nominees
· Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers completed 18 of 23 passes for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns for a 150.8 passer rating in a 38-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

· Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons completed 18 of 28 passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns for a 126.6 passer rating in a 42-14 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

· Tom Brady of the New England Patriots completed 25 of 38 passes for 406 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 30-23 win against the Baltimore Ravens.

Ground Nominees
· Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushed for 236 yards on 38 carries and 3 touchdowns in a 27-20 win over the Buffalo Bills.

· Bilal Powell of the New York Jets rushed for 145 yards on 29 carries and 2 touchdowns in a 23-17 overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers.

· Carlos Hyde of the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 193 yards on 17 carries against the New York Jets.

Every week, following the Monday Night Football game, through Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, fans can visit NFL.com/FedEx or tweet using #AirandGround and the nominees’ last name to cast their vote. FedEx and the NFL will announce the winners every Thursday afternoon and then FedEx will award a $2,000 donation in the winning players’ names to The USO.

*Press Release


Revis needs to communicate better 12.08.16

Darrelle Revis told the New York Post that his surgical wrist is hurting his ability to play press coverage.

This is news to Todd Bowles, who found about this problem yesterday via a question in his daily presser.

“I haven’t gotten any indication from treatment or anything else that it was (injured),” Bowles said. “But if it’s sore, he’s keeping it to himself. If he’s told you guys, I haven’t heard anything.”

Why would a player communicate an injury problem to a reporter but not his coach?

That is somewhat bizarre.

Revis, or any other player, needs to be honest with his coach about what is bothering him, especially if it’s impacting how he plays the game.

*****To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine click below, or you can pick up a copy on a Tri-State news stand.


It wasn’t a lack of effort 12.07.16

“The Jets quit against Indianapolis.”

You have heard a lot of people say that about their effort in a 41-10 loss to the Colts.

“It’s an effort thing,” said Michael Irvin on Showtime. “There is something going on with that effort that is given out on this football team, or the lack thereof.”

I don’t agree. That is a cliché answer. That isn’t what happened.

I think Todd Bowles put it best when he said after watching the film on Tuesday, “Actually, I thought the effort was a lot better, but I thought we made some bonehead mistakes that cost us.”

The only thing I can point to as an effort issue is in relation to Darrelle Revis’ tackling, but that has been going on for a while.

I said it before, and I will say it again, when you get no pass rush against a quarterback as good as Andrew Luck, he will destroy you, and that is just what he did to the Jets.

The Jets outside linebacker pass rush, so essential in a 3-4 front, was no existent. This is a problem that can’t be minimized. Watch Denver and Kansas City. That is the way a 3-4 defense is supposed to look – game-wrecking outside linebackers making the opposing QB miserable.

And this lack of a pass rush, leaves a secondary, which is pedestrian, having to cover for too long, and the results are often disastrous.

Dumb penalties. That is on the coach. Blown assignments on defense. That is on the coach. He needs to get that cleaned up or the GM needs to get more disciplined players.

Lack of effort. Not on Bowles. Because in my opinion, that wasn’t the issue.

*****For a tough, fair look at the Jets, minus cheap shots, subscribe to Jets Confidential Magazine, by clicking below, or calling 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 9-5). A subscription to JC makes a great holiday gift.


The result of our poll 12.07.16

We ran a poll on Twitter. The question:

“Was the Jets giving up 41 points Ryan Fitzpatrick’s fault?”

38 percent responded – “Yes.”

62 percent responded – “No.”

Thanks to those who participated.


Jets switched to Petty, so when is this lineup move going to be made? 12.06.16

The Jets have made a QB change from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Bryce Petty.

But isn’t also time to make some other lineup changes, like in the secondary, which might be the Jets’ biggest issue?

Maybe it’s time for Darrelle Revis to be replaced. He’s having a substandard season and often doesn’t play the first-down sticks, which is unacceptable at the CB position. His tackling hasn’t been great either.

Maybe try Dexter McDougle, Nick Marshall, Juston Burris or Marcus Williams in his place.

Just a thought.


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