Dan Leberfeld's Blog

These two guys look like steals for the Jets 08.30.23

It looks like the New York Jets landed two steals in undrafted free agent wide receivers Jason Brownlee (Southern Mississippi) and Xavier Gipson (Stephen F. Austin).

These guys clearly should not only have been drafted, but should have been drafted in the middle rounds.

They both looked good in camp, and both shined against the Giants in the final season game, especially Gipson, who had 7 catches for 79 yards.

Brownlee is a big, physical receiver who is good at climbing the latter and high-pointing the ball over defensive backs, and Gipson, is dynamic after the catch, with special skills running in the open field.

Don’t judge Gipson by going to a 1-AA school. He was an SMU recruit coming out of high school, but for some reason ended up at a 1-AA school, but it wasn’t due to talent.

While they still have a lot of work to do, and a lot to prove, the talent of each was quite apparent in training camp and the preseason.


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A magician at the line of scrimmage 08.30.23

The Jets almost have two offensive coordinators – the man with the title, Nathaniel Hackett, and QB Aaron Rodgers.

Hackett calls the play and then Rodgers often goes to the line and works his mental magic.

He’s the king of audibles, and few do it better. He’s a master a diagnosing what a defense is in once he gets to the line, and often checks to a different play based on what his sophisticated eyes tell him.

You saw that a couple of times on the Rodgers-led TD drive against the Giants in the Jets’ third preseason game.

Rodgers is a maestro at the line.

Former NFL center Shaun O’Hara, who knows a thing or two about line calls, recently provided some good insight on Rodgers’ work at the line.

“Rodgers is going to have the freedom and ability to just change things and do what he wants to do at the line of scrimmage, put [the Jets offense] in the best position possible,” O’Hara said on NFL Network.

Rodgers, who has a very high football IQ, is very good at not only reading defenses after the snap, but before it as well.

“There are times you come up to the line and you see things they are in on defense you were not expecting and you’ve got to be able to change gears right way, you’ve got to be able to shift and transition,” O’Hara said. “Aaron has done it a lot in his career.”

And done it well.

“Think about how many times you’ve seen him walk up to the line and take a quick snap and boom, throw the ball when it looks like it’s supported to be a run play,” O’Hara said. “He does this all the time.

If you want to get the best version of Rodgers, you need to let him go to the line and do his thing.

“He’s got to have those liberties in order to let him take advantage of what the defense is giving him,” O’Hara said. “This guy makes everybody better at the line of scrimmage.”


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Rodgers loves this receiving threat from outside WR room 08.29.23

Aside from all the WR talent the Jets have, Aaron Rodgers also loves what this non-WR can potentially do in the Jets’ passing game.

Breece Hall isn’t just a talented running back, but a gifted receiver out of the backfield.

At a recent practice, Rodgers did some experimenting with Hall in the passing game and liked what he saw.

“We had a play in the move-the-ball period last week, where I just kind of drew something up in the dirt,” Rodgers said. “It’s something that we have and something we’ll get to at some point, but with kind of four verticals and him split out (to) run a one-step slant, and he caught it and hit 21 plus miles an hour and he just looks like he’s cruising.”

Hall’s game reminds Rodgers of a former standout running back in Green Bay out of Nebraska.

“We had a guy in Green Bay, who had a similar running style. as far as he was super-efficient, (Ahman Green), you know when he was running, nobody ever really caught him and it didn’t look like he was going that fast, and watching Breece, he might not look like he’s going like that fast, but nobody catches him. I mean he has elite speed,” Rodgers said.


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Is the Jets offense ready? 08.28.23

How ready are the Jets offensively for the season after training camp and the preseason?

“I think we’re ready,” said Jets QB Aaron Rodgers.

The Jets new offensive playbook is complicated. We know Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard, know it like the back of his hand, but what the rest of the guy?

“I think offensively we’ve just been doing a better job of alignment and assignment stuff,” Rodgers said. “This offense stresses the defense, but also stresses our guys because we put a lot on them to be able to adjust quickly on the fly, to be able to read the coverages and I think [against the Giants] you saw some guys take a jump.”

However, some key offensive pieces might take a few games to get in a flow since they missed a lot of time this summer.

“Obviously, we still have Duane (Brown) to come back and Breece (Hall) to really fully come back and Dalvin (Cook) hasn’t practiced yet,” Rodgers said. “So those are three impact players for us that we’re going to want to see on the field and get in the mix. Might be a slower start for some of those guys, but got to get them going with what we’re doing.”


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Jets practice ends on a good and bad note 08.24.23

Morris County – The one thing about training camp highlights, is there is often a flip-side.

Jets training camp ended today with Aaron Rodgers hitting Garrett Wilson on an out route in the end zone for a touchdown.

That is the good part for the Jets, and expect these two to connect quite a bit this year.

The bad part is that Wilson was wide-open against the Jets’ starting defense.

Since I’m not privy to the playbook, I always hesitate to blame anybody for a blown coverage. Sometimes it looks like one player to the public and media, but it wasn’t actually his assignment.

There was a cornerback and safety on that side of the field who could have perhaps done a better job of covering Wilson, but who knows unless you are cognizant of everyone’s assignments.

But nonetheless, this is a perfect example of how there are often good plays and not-so-good plays, on the same play, for any given team, in NFL training camp practices, since it’s teammate vs. teammate.


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Person involved in camp skirmish today no surprise 08.23.23

To use a bad cliche, this guy “takes no prisoners.”

Leading the way on a nice run up the middle by Bam Knight was fullback Nick Bawden.

Bawden had an excellent block on defensive end Deslin Alexandre.

But as per usual, Bawden blocked all the way to the whistle, with a lot of gusto.

Perhaps he went a little too far in practice, but he broke no rules, and he only knows one speed.

Bawden and Alexandre got into a brief shoving match after the play.

The Jets really missed Bawden last year as a lead blocker in their running game and on kick returns. The San Diego State product spent the season on IR.


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Joe Tippmann update 08.22.23

Morris County – Jets rookie center/guard Joe Tippmann suffered a knee injury on Saturday in the team’s loss to Tampa Bay in the preseason.

“Knock on wood, we’re anticipating that he’ll be available for the beginning of the season,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh on Tuesday.

After Tuesday’s practice ended, I saw Tippmann walking off the practice field with a compression sleeve on the leg with the injured knee.

He wasn’t wearing a brace and was walking pretty normal, with no limp, and didn’t seem to be favoring the knee.

This certainly doesn’t look like a serious injury at all.


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Jets Announce Partnership with Sportsbreaks.com, British Sports Travel Business 08.22.23

*August 22, 2023 – The agreement between The New York Jets and Sportsbreaks.com, a global sports travel business based in Manchester, England, who offers ticket-inclusive packages to many of the world’s top sporting events, makes the company an official partner of the NFL club in the United Kingdom. This partnership will allow New York Jets fans in the UK to watch their favorite team at MetLife Stadium while seeing the sights of New York.
“We’re excited to partner with Sportsbreaks.com to give our international fans a unique opportunity to enjoy the Jets gameday experience at MetLife Stadium,” said Ian Lasher, Jets SVP, Corporate Partnerships. “Partnering with Sportsbreaks.com, a business with a wealth of knowledge in the sports travel industry, allows us to continue reaching and impacting our fans across the globe. We pride ourselves in bridging the gap with our passionate fanbase in the United Kingdom, expanding our partnerships worldwide, and giving our fans access to New York Jets experience.”
In connection with the UK fan gameday packages, the partnership includes Sportsbreaks.com sponsorship of the Jets in UK digital Fan Hub which includes team information, event updates, exclusive content, and promotional giveaways for UK-based Jets fans. Both Sportsbreaks.com and the Jets will collaborate to engage all of the team’s fans in the UK with digital programmatic advertising and posts on Jets UK social media channels (@NYJetsinUK on X, @NewYorkJetsinUK on Instagram). This partnership builds upon Sportsbreaks.com’s existing relationship with NFL UK where it offers official ticket and hotel breaks to the NFL London Games.
“We are proud of our longstanding relationship with the NFL and as the Sportsbreaks.com brand continues to grow, we are excited to develop relationships with its teams, starting with the Jets,” said Sportsbreaks.com Managing Director, Rob Slawson. “From the outset, we were excited by the New York Jets plans to engage with and grow their UK fanbase as part of the NFL’s Global Markets Program. We look forward to supporting these plans and providing Jets fans with an opportunity to watch their team at MetLife Stadium in the years to come. New York is already one of the world’s most in-demand tourist destinations but throw in the chance to watch the Jets at MetLife Stadium and I can’t think of many better weekends for a football fan.” For UK fan gameday packages to New York Jets games via Sportsbreaks.com, visit sportsbreaks.com/NFL/New-York-Jets
The Jets were awarded international marketing rights to the United Kingdom in 2022 as part of the NFL’s Global Markets Program initiative. The initiative provided all 32 NFL clubs the right to pursue and bid on international markets with the goal of globally expanding the game of American football.
*Jets Press Release

The guy should help the Jets run defense 08.16.23

He had one of the better run defense plays today at the Tampa Bay-Jets practice.

On a run by Tampa Bay’s Rachaad White up the middle, the running back was stopped on the line by defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson for no gain.

Jefferson, a well-traveled DT, including three different stints in Seattle, his last stop before joining the Jets this off-season, has flashed as a run defender this summer.

The 6-4, 291 University of Maryland product, is a powerful, stout run defender, much like fellow former Seahawk defensive tackle Al Woods, who also joined the Jets this off-season.

Jefferson and Woods should help the Jets play better against the run than they did during their six-game losing streak to end last season.


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Jets loaded DE room is even more loaded than you think 08.15.23

When talking about the Jets’ impressive array of talented DEs, don’t forget this guy . . .

Since he’s arrived a week ago, this cat has shown a lot of juice as a pass rusher, in practice and against Carolina in the second preseason game.

Talking about XFL Defensive Player of the Year Pita Taumoepenu.

While his run defense could use a little work,  he’s an athletically twitchy edge-rusher who has given Jets offensive tackles fits in training camp. He had another QB pressure at Tuesday’s Jets practice.

With Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson, Will McDonald and Bryce Huff, it might be hard for the Jets to find a roster spot for Taumoepenu. Still, the 2017 sixth-round pick of San Francisco (where Robert Saleh was coaching at the time), clearly is a weapon as an edge-rusher.

GM Joe Douglas has done an impressive job of loading up the Jets roster with talented defensive ends, which could lead to some challenging decisions on the final cut-down.


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This Jets rookie defender is very instinctive 08.13.23

The player is looking like a potential late-round steal.

In the Jets’ 27-0 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers, rookie linebacker Zaire Barnes led Gang Green with eight tackles.

The second-highest total was four, by three different Jets.

Barnes has flashed throughout the summer in camp, and it’s carried over to the preseason games. He was second on the team in tackles with five in the Jets’ preseason opener against Cleveland.

A 2023 sixth-round pick out of Western Michigan, Barnes has a nose for the ball, consistently weaving through traffic to make tackles. A perfect example of this was in the third quarter in Charlotte, when he stopped Panthers running back Spencer Brown for a loss of three on a screen pass.

The Jets might have something here.


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Should Jets tweak approach with this player? 08.11.23

Perhaps it’s best to just leave him at one position . . .

He’s had a little bit of an inconsistent training camp.

But with offensive tackle Max Mitchell, sometimes you wonder if maybe it would be better for him to just stay at one position, and not alternate between right and left tackle.

Veteran lineman Billy Turner, who is been in the league for close to a decade, can probably deal with moving around better, after playing all over the line during his long career.

But with Mitchell, in his second year out of Louisiana, it might be just best to leave him on one side and let him get in a groove at that spot.

Switching sides constantly can be very challenging for a young player.

“From your feet to your hips to your hand to your head, everything is completely different,” Turner said, not talking about Mitchell, but just in general. “Everything is the complete opposite. The game is different from right to left, it’s the same technique, you just gotta figure out how to work things out in your brain.”

Perhaps just let Mitchell stay at right tackle full-time, and allow him to stop thinking so much about reversing his footwork every few days.


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Very good practice for this defender who continues to shine 08.10.23

He had two really nice plays defending Aaron Rodgers at Jets practice today in Spartanburg, SC . . .

Rodgers ran a deep out to the left side to WR Malik Taylor and CB D.J. Reed coverage was impeccable, and the pass fell incomplete.

Then later on, Rodgers ran a bootleg to the right side and threw a mid-range pass on the sideline to Taylor, and Reed broke it up.

Reed, who had a terrific initial season with the Jets last year after signing as a free agent from Seattle, continues to be a very good investment for the Jets.


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This new Jets defender flashed today 08.09.23

Duncan SC – He hasn’t been with the Jets long, but he made his presence known on Wednesday in the Jets’ practice against the Carolina Panthers.

Talking about Sam Eguavoen, who the Jets signed three days ago after a rash of injuries at linebacker.

The former CFL standout and Miami Dolphin flashed today against the Panthers.

First, he started a bench-clearing scrum, after executing a big hit on a Carolina player who caught a short pass over the middle. Sorry I did not catch the name of the player he hit, but if you don’t see it initially in camp, there are no replays. However, I can tell you the hit was totally legal and not dirty. It was just a perfectly executed hit with very good technique and pad level.

Then, he had two impressive run stops on running backs, one around the line on a run up the middle, and another for a loss.

Watching Eguavoen today, he certainly looks like more than a training camp body.


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They had no answer for him 08.09.23

Duncan SC – On Wednesday, this Jets player was absolutely dominant in the Jets’ practice against the Carolina Panthers in Spartanburg, SC.

The Carolina offensive line had virtually no answer for Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who lived in the Panther backfield.

He beat Panthers guard Brady Christensen for a couple of QB pressures, and when he was done with him, he moved further inside, and beat center Justin McCray for a pressure.

These players could just not handle Williams’ first step quickness into gaps.

Williams was the most impressive player on the field today at Jets-Panthers joint practice at Wofford College.


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Jets need to clean this up a little 08.06.23

Florham Park – It’s still early, so perhaps it’s not a big deal, but they clearly don’t want this to continue.

In Sunday’s training camp practice in Florham Park, there were a lot of penalty flags thrown. Not sure how many, because I don’t keep stats at practice, but there were a lot.

This is coming off a Jets preseason opener against Cleveland, last Thursday, where the Jets committed 12 penalties.

So cutting down on penalties needs to be a big focus of the Jets moving forward.

It’s early, so they have plenty of time to fix this.

As Bill Parcells once said, “Accept false steps as opportunities to learn.”


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