Dan Leberfeld's Blog

GW’s unit needs more discipline 10.07.20

While there is a lot of criticism of one side of the ball, and rightfully so, you could make a strong argument the play of the other side isn’t better.

The Jets’ offense has struggled this year and taken a lot of heat, but you could make the case that the other side of the ball might be worse.

Fox Sports analyst Troy Aikman said during the first half of the Jets’ loss to Denver:

“Right now, the Jets defense has been totally undisciplined.”

You could probably take out the words “right now” and apply it to the entire season.

They have six roughing the passer penalties this season.

But beyond the penalties, the Jets the lack of defensive discipline has reared its head in other ways, like not passing off guys properly in zone defense leaving wide open receivers, and with their major issues setting the edge against the run.

The Jets clearly need to play much more disciplined football on the defensive side of the ball.

And perhaps need more oversight from people above the man running it, and not have an independent nation state within a team framework.

Some might argue that having essentially a head coach of the defense isn’t the best approach.

“It’s not good to have subcontractors on a football team – this guy runs the offense, this gun runs the defense, this guy runs the personnel department,” said one former NFL GM (who didn’t work for the Jets).

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Team was down 2 top receivers and won big – It can be done 10.06.20

They were without perhaps their two top receivers, and still managed to put up a lot of points, and win the game.

Talking about the Green Bay Packers last night, who beat the Atlanta Falcons, 30-16, without wide receivers Davante Adams and Allen Lazard.

A former college WR from Indiana State, now playing tight end, by the name of Robert Tonyan, caught three touchdown passes for Green Bay.

You can’t use injuries as an excuse.

Good teams, good cultures, figure out a way to get the job done.

Next man up.

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NFL insider provides some guidance on the state of Darnold’s shoulder 10.06.20

An NFL insider provided some guidance on the status of Sam Darnold.

The Jets QB suffered a shoulder injury on a sack by Denver linebacker Alexander Johnson on Thursday. He did come back in the game, but the shoulder was very sore the day after the game.

Here is what NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport announced on Darnold’s status yesterday:

“The #Jets could wait until the practice week begins to make a decision on QB Sam Darnold’s availability,” Rapoport announced. “While missing time is the most likely scenario – difficult to practice with an AC joint sprain in a throwing shoulder – the team won’t be able to tell until he tries to throw.”

If the Darnold can’t play, the starter will be Joe Flacco, who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

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Interesting info from Rich Cimini on the Gore play. What do you think? 10.05.20

ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported some new information on the Jets’ much-maligned wheel route to Frank Gore against Denver.

“Gase caught some flak for calling a wheel route to running back Frank Gore on a third-and-4 from the Denver 14 — incomplete,” Cimini wrote for ESPN.com on Sunday. “Actually, that wasn’t the call. (Sam) Darnold was supposed to look for wide receiver Chris Hogan, who was wide open over the middle at the 10. It would have been an easy first down. At times, Darnold still doesn’t see the field as well as he should.”

What do Jets fans think of this scoop from Cimini about this play?

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You can blame WR injuries or find guys like Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward 10.05.20

You can make excuses or figure out a way with who you have.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who have a lot of wide receiver injuries, beat the San Francisco 49ers, 25-20, last night.

The game-winning TD catch was by Old Dominion wide receiver Travis Fulgham on a 42-yard strike from QB Carson Wentz.

Most of you probably never heard of Fulgham.

So you can buy the media excuses about lack of weapons, or you can take who you have, do a good job of going through progressions, and find a way.

Fulgham was released by both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions before landing on the Eagles’ practice squad, and getting promoted a day before the 49ers’ game.

Wentz led the Eagles to this huge win throwing to the likes of Greg Ward, a former college QB, and Fulgham.

Because as they say in the scouting world: “Quarterbacks make receivers, receivers don’t make quarterbacks.”

Wentz also had four key offensive linemen out – Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard.

But he figured out a way.

As that old saying goes: “A rising tide lifts all boats.”

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Good teams avoid this trap at all costs 10.02.20

When it comes to making player decisions in the NFL, you need to stay away from this concept at all costs.

Talking about confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret and favor information in a way that confirms or supports prior beliefs. It can ruin businesses and football teams alike.

If you do this with NFL personnel decisions, and roll with players too long to save face, it’s going to be very hard for your team to be successful.

Some teams might start a player too long, or keep him on the roster too long, based on where he was drafted or how much he makes. Bill Belichick doesn’t roll this way. He doesn’t worry about his draft-record or free agent-record when making roster decisions, He views everyone on the field equally, regardless of how they were acquired, and always keeps and starts the best players.

“When Belichick stands in front of the team and says look, the only players who are going to play here are the best players,” wrote former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi. “So if we drafted you in the first round, or you were an undrafted college free agent, who’s ever the best player is playing. He says that to the team, he’s got to believe that and act that way. Most teams when we drafted you in the first round, we don’t care if the other guy is better than you, we are going to keep you.”
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Jets must do this – there is no way around it 10.02.20

They need to do this, and they need to do this now!

The Jets need one central football chief who lords over their football operation.

Their current structure isn’t working.

Some people might be under the impression that GM Joe Douglas is the Jets’ football boss, but not entirely.

He makes all the player personnel decisions, like running the draft, signing free agents, and cutting players.

However, he has no power over the head coach or his staff. With the Jets’ current power structure, the GM picks the players, and the head coach, Adam Gase, coaches the team, and decides who plays, and who doesn’t, on game day.

Gase and Douglas both report equally to the owner.

You can make an argument this set-up might not be ideal. Why?

Well let’s apply it to the current situation.

Douglas is probably the smartest football guy in the building.

And let’s say he thinks that Gase should give up offensive play-calling to Dowell Loggains or Jim Bob Cooter, and take more of a 30,000 view, and focus more on all three phases, Douglas is not empowered to tell the head coach that. It’s not his job. While Douglas decides who’s on the roster, he’s not Gase’s boss.

And let’s say Douglas sees game plan issues, or problems with how certain players are being used, he’s not in a position to say “boo” to Gase about it, because Gase doesn’t report to him.

And honestly, if Douglas went to Johnson with his thoughts about the job Gase is doing, some would argue he would be stabbing the head coach in the back. He would be going to Johnson to criticize an equal, a department he doesn’t run, and a person who doesn’t work for him. In the corporate world, that’s probably a no-no.

With all due respect to the owner, his right-hand man Ira Axselrad and team president Hymie Elhai, they’re business people, and aren’t probably the best equipped to break down games and go to Gase with suggestions on what needs to change strategy- or staff-wise. This isn’t being flippant, just dealing with reality. As Bill Parcells always said, “Know who you are.”

And if the Jets do make a coaching change, no business people should be near the interview room. It needs to be a football chief doing all the interviews and picking the new coach, if the Jets chose to make a change.

So this is why the Jets need a football czar, who oversees the entire football operation, and who the coach reports to, and who will pick the next coach, if a change is made.

And that should probably be Douglas, a man who has three Super Bowl rings (two from Baltimore and one from Philly). It’s probably unfair to judge him harshly about the current state of the roster. He hasn’t been running the personnel department long, and had a major oil spill to clean up. His first #1 pick looks like a keeper. He got a king’s ransom for Jamal Adams, who is a really good player, but just like the Jets, the Seattle Seahawks can’t stop anybody through the air this year, and are giving up yards at an alarming rate. Whether you like it or not, getting two first-round picks (and more) for a box safety, is a nice haul.

Of course, with a czar, Christopher Johnson would still have final say on really big moves like Robert Kraft still has in New England, but on a day-to-day basis, 99 percent of the time, Bill Belichick is the football czar, and he makes all football decisions. Once in a blue moon, Kraft steps in, but it’s rare.

It’s time for the Jets to have a football czar.

There is no way around it.

If they don’t do it, they will just keep spinning their wheels.

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Being ‘pissed off’ doesn’t lead to wins 10.01.20

You hear about losing teams being “pissed off” or how it’s “eating at them” and this will somehow serve as motivation for them to turn it around and start winning games.

Unfortunately being mad as hell about losing isn’t the panacea for losing teams to turn it around.

You can play “pissed off,” but that isn’t necessarily going to improve execution, strategy or instincts.

It can’t prevent telegraphing.

It can’t help a pair of 290-pound defensive linemen asked to cover a fast tight end on a deep crossing route.

It doesn’t work that way.

There’s nothing wrong with being highly-motivated to end a losing streak, but how much is that going to help a team, if they are being out-executed; how much can that help bird-dogging in the passing game?

“You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution.” said former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

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Rapoport’s blockbuster on Gase’s job security 10.01.20

There’s been a lot of speculation on Adam Gase’s job security entering the Jets’ Thursday night’s game against Denver. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport made an announcement on Thursday morning on where things stand.

“Heading into tonight’s matchup against the Denver Broncos on the NFL Network, it does not appear Gase’s job hangs in the balance pending the result of the game,” announced Rapoport on NFL.com. “According to those informed of the decision-making, the thinking is that firing Gase would not only be counterproductive in general, but also potentially damaging to quarterback Sam Darnold.”

Rapoport added: “History has shown that brutal performances for woeful teams on Thursday nights or right before bye weeks can lead to job turnover. But that isn’t slated to happen this time.”

Rapoport’s announcement comes a few days after this tweet from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:

“Jets coach Adam Gase is under more intense scrutiny this week and it’s not just the external noise from media or fans. League sources say even w/ injuries, Jets’ brass monitoring this week closely, today vs. Colts but perhaps more telling is TNF vs. Broncos. Interesting watch,” Mortensen tweeted Sunday morning.

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Broadcast information for Thursday Night Football 09.30.20

*The 2020 Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light Platinum season continues Thursday, October 1 when quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets host running back Melvin Gordon and the Denver Broncos at 8:20 PM ET EXCLUSIVELY on NFL Network.

Broncos-Jets will also be available on local broadcast stations in Denver (KMGH) and New York (WNYW). Fans can also stream the game through NFL digital properties across devices (NFL.com and the NFL app), NFL Network distributors’ apps and sites, and on phones via Yahoo Sports and the Broncos and Jets mobile properties. Live game audio of Thursday Night Football will be broadcast nationally by Westwood One, and carried on SiriusXM. For a full listing of Thursday Night Football viewing options, fans can visit NFL.com/watch.

FOX Sports’ lead play-by-play announcer Joe Buck, and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback and FOX Sports’ lead analyst Troy Aikman, along with sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Kristina Pink call the action from MetLife Stadium. Additionally, FOX’s NFL Rules expert Mike Pereira joins to give explanations on officiating and rules throughout the game.

*Press Release


Trubisky lesson – Don’t overdraft quarterbacks 09.30.20

Mitch Trubisky was benched in the Chicago Bears’ win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

And the quarterback who replaced him, Nick Foles, will start on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Barring an injury to Foles, this could be the end of the road for Trubisky as the Bears’ starter.

Some will be quick to attack Trubisky as a “failure” or “bust.”

I’m not one of those people.

It’s not his fault he didn’t live up to expectations.

The fault here lies with the people in Chicago who decided to pick a mid-late round QB prospect with the second pick overall, and trade up for him, to boot.

This player couldn’t beat out QB Marquise Williams his first couple of years at UNC, the same Williams who went undrafted and ended up playing in the CFL.

The bottom line is the Bears way over-drafted Trubisky, who struggles reading defenses.

Not only should this player not have gone in the first round, but probably not in the second or third either.

So the blame here is on the team, not the player.

Don’t overdraft a QB, with mid-late round talent, and then expect him to come in and be elite.

I’m sorry folks, this one is more on the decision-makers than the player.

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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). The unfiltered bottom-line about the Jets without the cheap shots and snark. Get it, you won’t regret it!


Good teams avoid this trap at all costs 09.29.20

When it comes to making player decisions in the NFL, you need to stay away from this concept at all costs.

Talking about confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret and favor information in a way that confirms or supports prior beliefs. It can ruin businesses and football teams alike.

If you do this with NFL personnel decisions, and roll with players too long to save face, it’s going to be very hard for your team to be successful.

Some teams might start a player too long, or keep him on the roster too long, based on where he was drafted or how much he makes. Bill Belichick doesn’t roll this way. He doesn’t worry about his draft-record or free agent-record when making roster decisions, He views everyone on the field equally, regardless of how they were acquired, and always keeps and starts the best players.

“When Belichick stands in front of the team and says look, the only players who are going to play here are the best players,” wrote former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi. “So if we drafted you in the first round, or you were an undrafted college free agent, who’s ever the best player is playing. He says that to the team, he’s got to believe that and act that way. Most teams when we drafted you in the first round, we don’t care if the other guy is better than you, we are going to keep you.”
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To subscribe to the monthly Jets Confidential Magazine, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Hard-hitting, unfiltered Jets coverage without the cheap shots and snark. Check it out!

Injuries shouldn’t be used as an excuse 09.25.20

This excuse isn’t going to fly. Most teams are dealing with it.

As Tony Dungy always said: “No excuses, no explanations.”

Talking about injuries.

Injuries are a part of the NFL’s fabric. Look at the nature of the sport; one of the most violent games around. Of course there are going to be injuries.

So you deal with them and move forward, and never use them as an excuse.

If you think your favorite team is the most ravaged by injuries, just look around the league.

Regardless of injuries, you still have to figure out a way to win games.

There are SO many teams with SO many injuries.

Just look around the league.

But as good football cultures always say: “Next man up.”

And they never bring up injuries as an excuse, publicly – ever!

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out! So much info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere and no cheap shots. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Check it out!


You can’t use this as excuse – most teams are dealing with it 09.25.20

This excuse isn’t going to fly. Most teams are dealing with it.

Talking about injuries.

As Tony Dungy always said: “No excuses, no explanations.”

Injuries are a part of the NFL’s fabric. Look at the nature of the sport; one of the most violent games around. Of course there are going to be injuries.

So you deal with them and move forward, and never use them as an excuse.

If you think your favorite team is the most ravaged by injuries, just look around the league.

Like the Dallas Cowboys last week, with myriad players out, including both of their superb offensive tackles, they staged an amazing comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 40-39.

Look at the San Francisco 49ers down three defensive ends, two corners and more, and they still managed to win big last week.

Regardless of injuries, you still have to figure out a way to win games.

There are SO many teams with SO many injuries.

Just look around the league.

But as good football cultures always say: “Next man up.”

And they never bring up injuries as an excuse, publicly – ever!

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is out! So much info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). Check it out!


When a defense can’t do this, they’re toast! 09.24.20

It’s one of the most important things a defense needs to do, and if they don’t do it, they’re in heap of trouble.

Talking about setting the edge? What is that exactly?

“Setting the edge is a descriptive phrase and coaching term/point used to describe the ability of a perimeter defender – most often a defensive end or outside linebacker, but can also be a defensive back – to keep a ball carrier from running outside of the offensive tackle,” wrote Insidethepythlon.com.

If you don’t have players who can do this, your going to have significant defensive problems.

“If a defense has no player there who can ‘set the edge’ against the run, then an offense can run outside for big-time yardage,” according to a post called “Football 101” for “The Fans Guide to Football” website.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is obsessed with setting the edge, and players who don’t do it properly, are on the bench.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine comes out tomorrow, and has page after page of great info on Gang Green you won’t read anywhere else. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). JC = blunt, but fair Jets analysis. Hard-hitting coverage without the cheap shots. Check it out!


To have success as NFL team, everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction 09.23.20

This team’s reported internal battles should be a teachable moment for other NFL teams.

In order to have success in the NFL, and have a strong football culture, everyone in the building needs to be rowing in the same direction.

According to Detroit sports talk host Mike Valenti (97.1-FM), no one outside of Detroit Lions GM Bob Quinn was in favor of taking Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah at No. 3 in the 2020 draft.

“Your head coach didn’t want Okudah at 3. Bob Quinn decided, ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room, I don’t really care what anybody has to say, I’m taking Okudah at 3,’ ” said Valenti. “Nobody wanted this kid at 3. And if you’re asking me – oh, and it gets better, from what I’ve been told, your coach wanted (DT) Derrick Brown, that’s what I keep hearing. Player personnel, it was (QB) Tua (Tagvailoa) or (LB Isaiah) Simmons.”

It’s hard to win this way. A house divided cannot stand.

This is why the late, great San Francisco 49ers coach/GM Bill Walsh used to say: “We are only competing against eight teams here.”

In other words, most other organizations aren’t aligned properly, aren’t in lockstep, and this hinders their ability to be successful.

In order to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page, and you can’t have “subcontractors.”

“It’s not good to have subcontractors on a football team – this guy runs the offense, this guy runs the defense, this guy runs the personnel department,” said one former NFL GM.

In New England, there are no subcontractors.

“Nothing goes on in that building that [Bill Belichick] doesn’t approve,” said VISN’s Mike Lombardi, a former Patriots executive under Belichick.

The bottom line is if you don’t have everyone singing from the same hymn sheet in an NFL football operation, it’s hard to compete for a championship.

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The new issue of Jets Confidential Magazine is coming out later this week. Page after page of the unfiltered bottom line about Gang Green. Blunt, but fair – no cheap shots or snark. To subscribe, click below, or call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4). A must-read for Jets fans!

 

 

 


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