Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Tweaking Rodgers approach moving forward? 06.02.23

It’s always important to learn from that past.

Last week, New York Jets veteran QB Aaron Rodgers tweaked his calf doing a conditioning drill of some kind involving a medicine ball.

It was probably a teachable moment for all involved. Perhaps you have to treat a 39-year-old QB a little differently in team conditioning drills than the younger players.

And heck, Rodgers hasn’t missed a game in five years, so he clearly knows the best way to get ready for a season.

So moving forward, look for the Jets to take a more cautious approach with their most valuable commodity, and keep him out of certain drills he might not need.

“You’re always trying to educate or learn, obviously,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh. “I still argue he’s still a young man, the way he takes care of his body. I know his age, his body is not his age, but we’ve got to do a better job just making sure we communicate with the players and understanding where they are at certain points.”

Saleh added, “We’ll always look to modify if we need to.”

Clearly, they do, and will.


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Rodgers continues to hammer GM, but why not Green Bay kingpin? 06.01.23

It’s pretty clear that Jets QB Aaron Rodgers isn’t a fan of the GM of his former team – Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst.

The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman announced that in 2021, Rodgers’ agent David Dunn called Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy and told him to fire Gutekunst or trade Rodgers.

It bothered Rodgers that the Packers picked QB Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft. Obviously, they didn’t trade Rodgers in 2021, and he went on to have an MVP campaign that season. They finally traded him in April 2023 to the Jets.

This off-season, before the trade, Gutekunst had a hard time reaching Rodgers on his cell phone. Why didn’t Rodgers pick up or call back more?

“Like, c’mon man. Just tell the truth, you wanted to move on,” Rodgers told The Athletic. “You didn’t like the fact that we didn’t communicate all the time. Like, listen, I talk to the people that I like.”

Clearly, Rodgers despises Gutekunst, but this begs the question – Why is Murphy seemingly getting a pass?

Everyone around the league knows that no big decision in Green Bay happens without Murphy’s approval. He is the defacto owner of the team, since the city owns the team. He’s the Packers’ big cheese.

Murphy isn’t just a business-man team president, which you often see. He’s a former NFL player and college athletic director. He’s a football guy.

While Rodgers’ dismay with Gutekunst is understandable, it would be interesting to hear what he says about Murphy.

Everyone in the league knows that the buck stops with Murphy in Green Bay.


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What does Jets assistant think of the new rule? 06.01.23

Q: What are your feelings about the change to the kickoff rule, allowing fair catches?

Brant Boyer: I don’t want to get fined or anything like that, but I’m just hoping they don’t take it out of the game. I think it’s an exciting part of the game and I think there’s going to be a lot of balls on the ground. It’s things that we’re going to have to prepare for, especially in end-of-game situations. I understand what they’re trying to do and we’ll play by the rules and we’ll see how it goes from there. I’ll be readily interested to see if it really does eliminate some returns.

Q: Does it change strategically how you approach the play?

Boyer: Sure, I think there’s a lot of variables that can go into all that stuff, so it’ll change it for sure. I think there’s going to be a lot of balls on the ground.

Q: Is there anything you can take away from college football?

Boyer: I think there is some, a little bit, but I mean, you have coordinators in this League that are going to try to take advantage of it in every situation like we all do. I think those are studies that we’re going to have to do and find out what’s going to work best and find out what we want to do in those situations. I think that’s a good question, but it’s definitely something that everybody’s going to study for sure.

Q: Did you start doing some things related to the new kickoff rule in OTAs?

Boyer: I don’t do much scheme stuff right now. I parcel everything, to be honest with you. I don’t do fulfilled scheme stuff as of right now. I’ll start saving some of that for training camp, but it’s more individual work, trying to get them good at the fundamentals of the game, because if you don’t have your fundamentals, you don’t have anything.


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Jets hosting CPR and AED Education Sessions 05.31.23

*New York Jets and Atlantic Health System to Host First CPR and AED Education Sessions for Youth Football Coaches
First CPR and AED Education Session to be held on Thursday, June 1st
at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center
May 31, 2023 – On Thursday, June 1st, the New York Jets and Atlantic Health System will host the first Youth Football CPR and AED Education Session as part of the series that was announced earlier this month. The first session will be hosted from 6-8 p.m. at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center (1 Jets Drive, Florham Park, NJ 07932). Representatives from Atlantic Health System, Matthew W. Martinez, MD, Director of Sports Cardiology at Morristown Medical Center, and Diane L. Bogert, Basic Life Support (BLS) Education Coordinator, will be on-site to facilitate the training.
The series was announced at the Atlantic Health Jets Center during a Youth Football Coaching Clinic in conjunction with the Super Football Conference (SFC), the nation’s largest high school football conference. The Jets are committing $15,000 to fund the education sessions and an additional $5,000 to the SFC to purchase AED units for underserved high schools.
Thursday’s session is the first in a series of three throughout the summer. Each session is designed to provide coaches with the lifesaving skills of CPR and AED use. The two-hour sessions will feature the American Heart Association’s Family & Friends CPR Course and be taught by instructors from Atlantic Ambulance, part of Atlantic Mobile Health. Coaches from the following leagues have been invited to attend at no cost:
  • North Jersey Pop Warner
  • Newark Pop Warner Football League
  • New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League
  • Northern Bergen Junior Football League
  • Morris County Youth Football League
  • West Essex Jr Football League
  • Tri-County Youth Football League
  • Bi-County Junior Scholastic Football League
  • Hudson Youth Football League
  • Big 21 United Youth Football and Cheer

*Press Release


How should the Jets tackle this? 05.30.23

How are the Jets going to handle this situation?

A big question now is – “Who’s going to start at the two offensive tackle spots?”

Will Mekhi Becton play left or right tackle?

“(The) best five are on the field,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh.

Becton tweeted in early May: “I. AM. A. LEFT. TACKLE!!!”

He eventually took the tweet down.

But will Becton’s public lobbying help him land the left tackle job?

“I think Duane Brown has something to say about it,” Saleh said recently about Becton’s desire to play left tackle.

Brown, a veteran tackle, who had stints in Houston and Seattle, before landing with the Jets last summer, entered the league in 2008, and has been a left tackle essentially his entire NFL career. Now 37, it’s hard to see him moving to the right tackle after 215 starts on the left side.

Saleh said the team intends on having a competition at the tackle spots in the spring and summer, and at some point before the season, decide which combination works best for them. Also in the offensive tackle room are Max Mitchell, Billy Turner, Carter Warren, Greg Senat and Yodny Cajuste.

“The good thing is we have a lot of really good tackles right now that are competing to be one of the two tackles that are on the football field,” Saleh said. “So, it’ll be a good, healthy competition and those who attack it with the right mindset will end up reaping the benefits.”


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Former GM doesn’t think he should have said that 05.29.23

This statement by the head coach created a lot of buzz . . .

“In my opinion, 32 coaches stand in front of their teams every year, talk about winning a championship and then realistically there’s maybe six or eight teams that have an actual chance to do it, and I do think we are one of those teams,” Robert Saleh said last week. “But none of it matters unless we take care of it today.”

This statement surprised former NFL GM Mike Lombardi, now an analyst with VSIN:

“When Saleh made those comments that he’s one of the six or eight teams, I think it was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard this off-season, considering the franchise he represents has only been in the playoffs 13 times since the Super Bowl in 1968, the franchise he represents hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2010, so it’s not like he’s working in a culture that understands championships,” Lombardi said on VSIN. “He has won two AFC East games in two years. All this could change, but to me, he’s getting himself ahead of his skis.”

What should he say?

“His approach should be, ‘Look, we are trying to come together as a team, trying to incorporate Aaron Rodgers, we’ve got to build on a lot of things. We are nowhere near where we need to be. This is going to be a work in progress.’ That is what you talk about today,” Lombardi said.


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Was this former Jet really not wanted? 05.26.23

It wasn’t supposed to end this way.

On March 22, the Jets traded wide receiver Elijah Moore and a 2023 third-round pick to Cleveland for a 2023 second-round pick.

When the Jets picked Moore in the second round of the 2021 draft, many people, including the Jets, thought it was a potential steal to select him at 34.

“We would have taken this guy in the first round, (so) the ability to get him at 34 is awesome for us,” said Jets assistant GM Rex Hogan after the 2021 draft.

And then less than two years later, he was traded. What happened?

According to Moore, he wasn’t wanted by the Jets, and now he feels wanted in Cleveland.

“It feels good to be wanted, and it’s going to make any player, any human, go harder,” Moore said this week at Browns OTAs. “When you feel like that and you feel like you’re around people who want you to be here, so I’m going to give it all I got every single day.”

How was Moore not wanted by the Jets?

He had a solid Jets rookie year with 43 catches and 5 TDs. Then he had 16 catches in the first five games of the 2022 season. However, in a Jets win over Green Bay on October 16, 2022, Moore had no catches. After the game, ESPN’s Rich Cimini, who also works on the Jets’ SNY pre-game show, tweeted that Moore had no catches, and the player was triggered, and tweeted out his frustration with his role. Then later that week, according to The Athletic’s Zach Rosenblatt, Moore exploded at practice and told the team’s former OC Mike LaFleur to “go f— yourself” and “you suck.”

Jets coach Robert Saleh sent Moore home after the practice explosion and Moore requested a trade.

His wish was granted after the season.

Browns QB Deshaun Watson recently called Moore’s situation with the Jets “toxic.”

Perhaps, but some would argue Moore made it “toxic” not the Jets.

And some would argue it was Moore who didn’t want the Jets, more than they didn’t want him.


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Maybe a good time to change things up with Rodgers 05.25.23

It might be time to tweak things after the tweak . . .

Jets QB Aaron Rodgers tweaked his calf on Tuesday during a conditioning drill.

It looked like Rodgers suffered the injury hopping with a medicine ball. The Jets use a lot of drills driven by modern-day sports science, under the direction of their Athletic Care and Performance Department formed in 2021.

What does Rodgers think of these new wave conditioning drills, including the one involving the medicine ball, where he seemed to tweak his calf?

“I haven’t done it before,” Rodgers said on Tuesday at a press conference following the injury. “I haven’t done it in 18 years, but obviously there’s some science behind it.”

He also said on SiriusXM’s MadDog Radio, “It’s a different type of training.”

It doesn’t look like a serious injury, but it might be time for the Jets to change how they handle Rodgers’ workouts in the spring camps and then training camp.

This isn’t to say that their Athletic Care and Performance Department isn’t on the cutting edge of sports science. They are.

But what is good for a 23-year-old defensive back or receiver, might not be ideal for a 39-year-old QB.

Rodgers has a team of experts he trains with in California to get ready for the season. It’s worked for him in the past.

It’s time for the Jets to let Rodgers decide what conditioning drills he needs, and which ones he doesn’t. He has not missed a start in the last five years. He knows what he needs to do to get ready for the grind of an NFL season.

It’s okay to have a double standard with a 39-year-old future Hall-of-Fame QB, and let his teammates do certain conditioning drills, and hold him out of some.

Obviously, everybody involved was trying to do what was best, but moving forward, perhaps they need to handle the legendary QB a tad differently.


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He has now called Rodgers and Saleh liars. When does it stop? 05.24.23

He is now accusing the Jets’ new QB of the same thing he accused the Jets’ head coach of.

In mid-March, ESPN’s Dianna Russini announced that QB Aaron Rodgers gave the Jets a “wish list” of players he liked to see them sign in free agency, including wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb and tight end Marcedes Lewis, all former Green Bay Packers teammates. Wide receiver Odell Beckham was also reportedly on that list. He wasn’t a former teammate, but a friend of Rodgers.

Rodgers shot down the Russini report during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.

“It’s so ridiculous,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t respond to Dianna Russini, I think her name is. I would say the same thing I told [Adam Schefter], lose my number. Nice try. I will speak for myself.”

On March 14, the Jets signed Lazard, and then on May 3, Cobb.

After the Jets sign Cobb, ESPN’s Ryan Clark, accused Rodgers of “lying” about the “wish list.”

“Aaron Rodgers does a good job of like lying that doesn’t make him a liar,” said Clark. “‘Your acting like I write down a list on a piece of paper and texted it. You are acting like I said you have to sign these guys. We have a conversation.’ That is the best way to lie by averting the eyes to something else.”

This is the second time in the last few months Clark has accused a prominent Jets figure of lying.

On January 27, Clark said Robert Saleh was lying when he said the team didn’t hire Nathaniel Hackett to be the offensive coordinator to attract Rodgers.

“Let’s bring [Hackett] to the Jets because of the quarterback he’s connected to. Robert Saleh (says), ‘Everybody in this league is connected.’ At least lie better. We know why you went out and got [Hackett],” Clark said.

Some would argue that a sports analyst calling two people liars in the same organization is receipt worthy.


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Saleh’s bold quote about being one of the 6-8 teams – why he likely feels that way 05.23.23

Robert Saleh created headlines with this quote. What makes him think this way?

“I think 32 coaches stand in front of their team every year and talk about winning a championship,” Saleh said. “Realistically, there’s maybe six-to-eight teams that have an actual chance to do it.”

Why would he say this? Simple.

The NFL is a QB-driven league, and there are about six-to-eight elite quarterbacks, and the Jets have one of them in Aaron Rodgers.

If you have one of those elite quarterbacks, your chances of competing for a championship go way up.

If you don’t have one of those elite quarterbacks, your chances go way down.

The NFL is such a QB-reliant league, that if you don’t have one of those special guys under center, as Herman Edwards once said, “If you don’t have a quarterback, let me tell you something, that field is 150 yards long.”


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Who was to blame Becton or coaches? 05.22.23

Coming off a knee injury that ended his 2021 season in Week 1, the Jets moved left tackle Mekhi Becton to right tackle last summer.

Becton feels that the move contributed to him hurting the same knee again, early in training camp.

“It made no sense to put me at right tackle,” Becton told Newsday. “I hurt my right knee. That’s going to be the knee that I put the most pressure on [while backpedaling in pass protection]. I explained it [to the coaches], but no one cared.”

Some would argue that it “made no sense” to carry the amount of weight Becton was carrying last summer on a surgical knee.

To his credit, Becton reportedly has lost between 40-50 pounds this off-season.

Some would argue it would have been better for Becton to work out with the team last off-season coming off a knee injury, but he didn’t, and reported to camp carrying significant weight.

To his credit, Becton is working out with the team this off-season.


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NFL analyst thinks Jets play-calling must improve 05.22.23

So how optimistic is this prominent analyst about the Jets’ chances of having a big season?

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger said on VSIN. “There is a bad history in that building.”

The Jets have missed the playoffs 12 years in a row, the longest current streak in professional sports.

And they are coming off a season where they lost their last six games in a row, after starting 7-4, to fall out of playoff contention.

This is not just about improving the talent, but Baldinger feels the strategy needs to improve.

He feels the offensive struggles last year weren’t just about the quarterback position.

“Let’s see with a (new offensive coordinator), Nathaniel Hackett, what they do,” Baldinger said. “I thought they were awful a year ago, regardless of the QB situation.”

That’s an interesting point. Many people are so quick to blame the QB situation, but there is an old saying, “Football is chess on grass,” and offensively, perhaps, they sometimes didn’t do a great job playing “chess on grass” last season.

Sometimes, it seemed like they were calling plays, sometimes without a flow.

Hackett comes in with more experience than the previous play-caller, so perhaps the “chess on grass” will improve with him calling the plays.


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Saleh’s message to players about the hype 05.19.23

Robert Saleh sent a strong message to his team about the importance of focus in the midst of all the hype.

During a recent appearance on NFL Network, Robert Saleh was asked about the Jets getting six nationally televised games.

“It’s an exciting time,” Saleh said. “It’s exciting. It’s not going to be monotonous with all the 1 p.m. starts we’re used to. Change is good. But again, we have to take it one game at a time.

“We acknowledge the fact that there’s a lot of excitement around the team, and the talk outside the building, what with what we’re capable of and all the expectations, which is fine. And we are capable of doing a lot of really cool things.

“We have to take care of the moment and we still got to take care of where we are at each moment, dominate the day-to-day and just find ways to get better every day. I know it’s a cliché. We already knew who our opponents would be on the schedule [AFC East, AFC West, NFC East and fourth-place teams from NFC South and AFC North]. None of it matters.”

He nailed this answer.

Mike North and the NFL schedulers can put them on primetime six times, but what does it really mean?

It has nothing to do with the won-loss record. You don’t get a point in the standings for every primetime game you are on.

The Jets have a lot of work to do this spring and summer to put themselves in the position to be a good team, and the coach knows it.

“If we don’t take care of today, tomorrow won’t matter,” Saleh said.


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They missed each other and probably helped Jets get Rodgers 05.18.23

Yes, he proved a point, but he didn’t win, and his former team struggled as well.

There is no doubt WR Davante Adams put up big numbers last year with the Las Vegas Raiders, after forcing a trade from Green Bay. He caught 100 passes and 14 touchdowns.

He made news this week when he told The Ringer that the numbers he posted in Las Vegas, proved he didn’t need QB Aaron Rodgers to be successful.

“Now people can’t say that,” Adams said. “That’ll never be the narrative ever again. … It proved that I am me. A quarterback doesn’t make me. … make me. And I can do it consistently at this level.”

However, the Raiders finished 6-11, and the QB he wanted to play with, his college teammate Derek Carr, was released after the season.

The Packers struggled as well last season without Adams, finishing 8-9. It was quite apparent that they missed the magical Rodgers-Adams chemistry in the passing game, as the QB struggled to get on the same page with two raw rookies, who didn’t play in Power Five Conferences.

So Adams forcing a trade to Las Vegas, didn’t help the Raiders have much success, and it certainly hurt the success of his former team.

So it wasn’t great for either team.

Adams was like a baseball batting champion on a bad team, and he didn’t seem very happy last year in Las Vegas with all the losses. Money can’t buy you happiness.

It probably would have been best for the player and the Packers, to work out a contract, and keep Adams in Green Bay with Rodgers. The two had rare chemistry and production.

But maybe, in a way, it was good for the Jets. Because if Adams stayed in Green Bay, and he and Rodgers had another great season together, leading to more wins, perhaps the legendary QB is still with the Packers this year.


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Joe considered trading up for this player 05.16.23

This NFL draft insider, and old friend of Joe Douglas, heard that the Jets GM almost traded back into the first round to get this player.

According to NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who worked with Douglas in Baltimore, the Jets loved Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann so much, they considered trading back into the first round to get him.

“I thought there was a chance they might trade back and take him in the first round – good fit,” Jeremiah said recently on his podcast.

The Jets ended up getting Tippmann with the 12th pick of the second round, selection 43.

“He is quick out of his stance in pass protection, flashing the ability to sink and anchor versus power,” Jeremiah said about Tippman right before the draft. “He is very aware and redirects easily. In the run game, his athleticism is on display when pulling and working up to the second level. He has the upper torque to turn and dump defenders lined up over his nose. Overall, Tippman is the rare tall center capable of playing with leverage and balance.”


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Jets rookie putting ‘first things first’ 05.10.23

We all know he’s going to start at some point, and has a big upside.

However, Jets rookie center Joe Tippmann isn’t thinking about any of that stuff right now.

“First things first, I need to earn the trust and respect from the rest of my teammates before anything,” said Tippmann, the Jets’ 2023 second-round pick out of Wisconsin.

In a day and age where entitlement has run rampant, some might find this quote refreshing.

And they also might find it refreshing that with the college transfer portal gone wild, Tippmann didn’t bail on Wisconsin when he was playing in reserve his first two seasons. He waited his turn, and his patience and hard work were rewarded when he emerged as Badgers starting center in 2021, and became one the best linemen in college football.

This guy is old school and believes in paying his dues.


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