Dan Leberfeld's Blog

Ready to put in the work 05.09.23

Some work needs to be done here and the man seems willing to do it.

Jets fourth-round pick Carter Warren is certainly an important selection for Gang Green, who needed to add an offensive tackle in this draft with a number of players at the position coming off injuries.

Coming off an injury himself, and in need of some technique refinement (like lowering his pad level), the Pitt product has some work to do, but that shouldn’t be a problem for the Paterson native.

Warren was recently asked to describe what kind of player the Jets are getting and he said a guy who “is ready to work, a hard worker, (the) hardest worker in the room and he’s ready to go to work.”

Not sure if we’ve ever seen “work” and “worker” used as much in one sentence, and that’s not a bad thing.

But it’s not just rhetoric. It’s who he is.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi is thrilled that the hard-working Passaic Tech graduate gets to play at home.

“We are thrilled Carter gets to live out his NFL dream by returning home to play for the New York Jets,” said Narduzzi. “Coach Robert Saleh is not only getting a great offensive lineman but also a leader. There’s a reason Carter was a captain for us and I know he will do the same, on and off the field, for the Jets.”


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Saleh – ‘It’s a very uncontrollable aspect of life’ 05.08.23

Over the weekend, the Jets had a player take to social media and make news about his position preference:

Mekhi Becton tweeted on Saturday: “I. Am. A. Left. Tackle!” before deleting the post.

Later that day, Jets coach Robert Saleh was asked about the tweet in a press conference and said to Becton: “Go earn the left tackle (job).”

Saleh isn’t a fan of social media and made that clear while he was the defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers:

“Social media, I don’t do it, I don’t have it, and to be honest with you, it’s a very uncontrollable aspect of life,” Saleh said in 2018. “The more you focus on things you have no control over, the less you can focus on things you do have control over. To make a long answer short, I don’t get involved with it.”


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Jets fill big need not talked about enough 05.05.23

Some people might look at it as a nondescript May signing to fill out the roster.

But it’s much more than that.

The Jets are signing veteran defensive tackle Al Woods according to the agency, SportsTrust Advisors.

This is a very important signing.

Woods fills a big need.

The Jets needed to find a massive run-stuffing defensive tackle this off-season. They got gashed up the middle on the ground too much the last couple of years, due to defensive tackles getting engulfed by guards and centers.

The 6-4, 330-pound Woods has made a living during a dozen years in the NFL being an immovable object in the middle of defensive lines making it very hard to run up the middle.


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Mekhi Becton Update 05.02.23

What kind of shape is Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton in right now?

Becton is coming off knee injuries the last two years that limited him to one game.

Becton, the Jets’ first-round pick in the 2020 draft out of Louisville, had a solid rookie season, but then the knee injuries followed, and some have surmised it might be best for his surgical knee for him to drop some weight to take some pressure off it.

It sounds like Becton is trying to do that, according to former NFL player Chris Simms, who is very familiar with the gym the player is working out at.

“Mekhi Becton, he goes to the gym I grew up in, in New Jersey,” Simms said on his podcast. “He’s working out there and I think he’s in the best shape of his life.”

Jets GM Joe Douglas was asked about Becton by a reporter during the draft, and said, “He’s looking tremendous.”

It goes without saying that the Jets need a healthy Becton to help protect their new franchise QB Aaron Rodgers, so these reports about his current condition have to be considered a real positive for Gang Green.


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Top 10 NFL player ranking for licensed product sales 04.27.23

Here is the NFLPA Top 10 Player Sales list from 2022:

*Things To Know About the NFLPA Top 10 Player Sales List Year-End

Tom Brady Retires as the Leading Retail Star, as Other Players Make History on NFLPA’s Year-End Top 10 Player Sales List

  • Tom Brady, who recently retired, has clinched the top spot on the NFLPA’s Year-End list for the sixth time overall and third year in a row. Patrick Mahomes trails not too far behind holding second place. One of these two players has consistently been at the top of the quarterly or year-end NFLPA list for 16 consecutive times since October 2018.
  • The list ranks the top retail performers in the league based on sales of all officially licensed NFL player products from March 1, 2022 through February 28, 2023, for the most up-to-date, comprehensive sales figures currently available.
  • With categories such as adult and youth game jerseys, t-shirts, hoodies, bobbleheads, plush toys, socks, headbands, figurines, wall decals, credit cards, backpacks, wall coverings, drinkware, pet products and more, the  list represents the only verified rankings of all officially licensed NFL player products sold from online and traditional retail outlets as reported by 80+ NFLPA licensees.

Top 10 players among all officially licensed products sold:

  1. Tom Brady, QB, Tampa Bay
  2. Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Kansas City
  3. Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo
  4. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati
  5. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia
  6. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas
  7. Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas
  8. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas
  9. Russell Wilson, QB, Denver
  10. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco

*Press Release

What is Rodgers thinking – one year or more? 04.27.23

At his introductory press in Florham Park on Wednesday, new Jets QB Aaron Rodgers was asked if he intends to play beyond the 2023 season.

“Right now, I’m just going to focus on this season,” Rodgers said.

However, later in the day, when he talked to the beat writers separately and asked the same question, it certainly sounded like he intends on playing more than one season for the Jets.

“I think so, I really do,” Rodgers said about playing beyond this upcoming season. “They definitely gave up some picks for me to be here. This isn’t like a one-and-done in my mind.”

That has to make the Jets and their fans feel pretty good, considering how much the organization gave to Green Bay to acquire him.

But with that being said, Rodgers, like many great athletes, is a process thinker and knows that he needs to focus on the here and now, and not look too far ahead.

“I want to be in the present and not talk about future things,” Rodgers said. “It’s about being fully committed for this season.”


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How is Rodgers thumb feeling? 04.26.23

There was a physical issue that clearly impacted his skill set last year.

Aaron Rodgers played with an injured right thumb since Week Five of last season. He suffered the injury on a hit from Giants’ linebacker Oshane Ximines on Oct. 9 in London.

On November 27, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Rodgers was playing with an avulsion fracture in his throwing thumb.

Rapoport said that the injury is “serious enough that surgery is almost always the answer to fix this type of injury.” The reporter added that an avulsion fracture “causes the ligament to rip away from the attachment, taking some bone with it.”

The injury can affect a quarterback’s ability to grip the ball and perhaps his accuracy, and Rodgers threw some uncharacteristic ducks in a late November game against the Tennessee Titans leading to some questions about the thumb after the game.

“It felt like, fundamentally, I was in a good spot,” Rodgers said. “I just didn’t have the same type of consistent grip and ball coming out the same way. I threw a lot of kinda wobblers tonight.”

So a Jets Confidential reporter asked Rodgers today how his thumb is doing.

“It’s fully healthy,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t get surgery and I’m feeling great. I’ve been throwing with no issue.”


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Rodgers missed the buffer last year 04.25.23

Former NFL QB David Carr doesn’t think Rodgers slipped last year, but something else was at play.

Carr feels the departure of coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to become the head coach of Denver in 2022, led to offensive dysfunction.

“I think the real rub between (Matt) LaFleur and Green Bay and with Rodgers was really schematic,” Carr said on NFL Network. “And I think the one guy who was able to calm all that noise down was Hackett.”

Carr feels that Hackett was a great buffer between LaFleur and Rodgers, who butted heads at times last year with Nathaniel out of the picture.

Carr feels Rodgers operates best when the coordinator gives him the play and autonomy to make the necessary changes at the line, almost like a pseudo-offensive coordinator.

According to Carr, Rodgers like it this way: “Give me the formation, let me decide what play I want to get into and trust me, trust my arm talent and trust I can make the right throw.”

And Carr added, “You get the Aaron Rodgers where Nathaniel Hackett lets him do his thing and makes him feel comfortable, [they] are going to be a really good football team.”


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Underrated part of Aaron Rodgers game 04.24.23

The Jets’ new QB Aaron Rodgers, acquired in a trade on Monday from the Green Bay Packers, is obviously an elite QB.

His accomplishments while with the Packers include being a 4-time NFL MVP and a 10-time Pro Bowler.

His arm talent, accuracy and ability to read defenses are well-documented, but something else that makes him special isn’t talked about enough.

An underrated aspect of Rodgers is how good he is at getting defenders to jump off-sides with his cadence while barking out plays. Former NFL DE Ryan Kerrigan called Rodgers, “The king of the hard count.” According to a story in “The Packer News,” Rodgers hard counted on about 20 percent of Green Bay’s play. He also has an impressive history of taking advantage of “free plays” that still go off after the flag is thrown.


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Former GM thinks this could help get deal done 04.24.23

Aside from perhaps sending a couple of draft picks to Green Bay, one former NFL GM thinks something else could help get an Aaron Rodgers to the Jets deal done:

“I get the sense that we’re going to see the Packers move from 15 to 13 (in the first round),” said former Tampa Bay Buc’s GM Mark Dominik, now with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “And Aaron Rodgers is going to be (with the Jets) as well as another draft pick. And I think that’s been something where the Packers move up a little bit, they get a second-round, third-round value (with that move-up) (and) they get another pick. So, they’re getting close to that first-round value that they’ve been talking about.

So Dominik thinks the Packers and Jets flip-flopping first-round picks could help get this deal (along with some other pieces).

“I keep thinking something is going to happen 13 to 15, and that’s when Aaron Rodgers is going to flip,” Dominik said.


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This Jets need still needs to be addressed 04.21.23

The Jets still need to fill this need, maybe in the draft. There is no way around it . . .

This huge Jets need is for a massive, athletic, run-stuffing defensive tackle to pair with Quinnen Williams. While the Jets’ defense improved
significantly last year, their run defense wasn’t great during the team’s six-game losing streak to end the season. The 60-yard run by Seattle’s Kenneth Walker on the Seahawks’ first offensive play was the poster child for the problem.

There were many big runs up the middle in which defensive tackles got
velcroed to blocks.

The Jets desperately need an immovable DT who dominates against
the run and is good at stacking and shedding, as well as taking on double teams. When was the last time they had a defensive tackle like that, Mo Wilkerson?


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Former NFL GM on what Paris needs to work on 04.20.23

He was a GM in the league from 2009-2013, and how he now works at SiriusXM NFL Radio, and here is what he thinks of Ohio State offensive tackle Paris Johnson, who visited the Jets on Wednesday:

“I think what stands out for me is an athlete, I mean, just a very, very talented athlete across the board,” said former Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik. “I think that’s the thing you get excited about is he could go out there at the left side (and) you could flip him over to the right side if you need to.”

But what does Johnson need to work on?

“I think that Paris is going to continue to work on his overall strength at the next level and see what he can do in that capacity,” Dominik said.

Dominik feels Johnson needs to get stronger to handle NFL bull rushers, the “heavier rushers” as Dominik puts it.

I think he’s got the footwork to handle the speed guys,” Dominik said. “It’s just, can he handle the heavier-handed (rushers), the Cam Jordans of the world? That’s going to be the one to watch for me.”

Johnson is only 21, so certainly once he gets into an NFL conditioning program, he should acquire the requisite strength to thrive on the next level.


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Analyst on line prospect – ‘Reminds me a lot of AVT’ 04.19.23

If the Jets stay at 13 in the first round, there is a lot of speculation they will pick an offensive lineman.

Possibilities, depending on who is still on the board, include Ohio State’s Paris Johnson (pictured above on JC’s latest cover), Georgia’s Broderick Jones and Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski.

While Skoronski was a left tackle for the Wildcats, a move to guard could be in the offing on the next level.

But with this player’s versatility and intelligence, any line position is possible for him on the next level, and that is why one draft analyst says he reminds him of a talented Jet, who played all over the line last year.

“He reminds me a lot of Alijah Vera Tucker,” said former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network. “Remember with Vera Tucker last year,  or when he was coming out into that draft? Is he a guard? Is he a tackle? It turns out he can do whatever the heck you want him to do. [Skoronski] is really, really good.”


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“The Jets were nowhere near that offer” 04.18.23

Do you really think Jets GM Joe Douglas, with his measured contact history, was going to a 30-year-old player, coming off the second ACL tear in his right knee, that kind of money?

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said the Jets made a “very competitive” contract offer to WR Odell Beckham before he signed with Baltimore

Fowler quoted a source saying Beckham “probably should’ve been a Jet” based on how close the two sides were to an agreement.

But based on a report by VSIN’s Mike Lombardi, the Jets didn’t offer Beckham anywhere near what the Ravens did.

VSIN’s Mike Lombardi said on Sunday – “The Jets, according to sources I talked to, the Jets were nowhere near that (Ravens) deal.”

Lombardi also said he talked to another team (not the Jets), that was interested in Beckham at a veteran minimum deal.

While a league minimum deal might be a little extreme in terms of underpaying Beckham, you could make the argument that the Ravens went to the other extreme overpaying him.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said at Beckham’s introductory presser: “We went into it knowing we were the underdogs. Sometimes the underdog wins.”

Underdogs to whom?

When you give a 30-year-old receiver, with a long injury history, $15 million for one year, you aren’t likely an underdog to anybody.


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Is Joe willing to give up first-round pick? 04.13.23

What exactly is he saying here?

Is he saying that Jets GM Joe Douglas is willing to give up a first-round pick for Aaron Rodgers and owner Woody Johnson isn’t?

“The Packers are holding out for what they want right now,” said Yahoo NFL columnist Charles Robinson on 100.5 FM in Milwaukee. “Green Bay is stuck on an asking price of a two this year, a straight-shot one next year … and they’d be willing to do the 2025, some sort of draft asset give back, if for some reason Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play in 2024.”

Jets could use one of these 04.12.23

The Jets need to get better in this area in-house or by grabbing somebody in the draft . . .

They need a coverage linebacker who can say in the hip pocket of tight ends.

Quincy Williams was re-signed, and rightfully so. His toughness and hitting ability are what you are looking for in an NFL linebacker. However, he had one PD and no picks in 15 starts last year. He has the speed to run with the NFL’s proliferation of speedy tight ends, but he’s got to figure out a way to get his hands on more footballs.

C.J. Mosley has good coverage instincts and did have 1 pick and 7 PDs last year, but after 8 seasons, and soon-to-be 31, he perhaps doesn’t run as he did, and fast tight ends can sometimes cause a challenge.

The Jets hope that two college safeties, they trained to be linebackers the last two years, Jamien Sherwood and Hamsah Nasrildeen, can turn into top-shelf coverage linebackers for them, or at least one of them.

The x-factor in the LB room is former Minnesota Vikings third-round pick Chazz Surratt, who spent most of last year on the practice squad. He has good range.

If Clemson’s Trenton Simpson slips to them in the second, he could be too good to pass up, or maybe Washington State’s Daiyan Henley later on.


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