Friday Night Whispers

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What is going on here? . . .

Why can’t people ask tough questions?

Why have things become so soft?

Is it a reflection of a society gone soft?

Do they want to be friends with the people they’re covering?

Too many of these press conferences are like the King and his Court, remember that famous softball team.

Without the guy who dominates the press conferences there today, I had a chance to jump in and ask a few questions today – tough but fair questions.

I’m not looking for a pat on the back. I was just doing my job. I was saying to somebody after the press conference, this is how it used to be. I had plenty of company asking these kinds of questions. Not anymore.

These press conferences must frustrate the hell out of the fans.

Here is a question I asked after Robert Saleh said Joe Flacco gives them the best chance to win over Chris Streveler, with Mike White being ruled out.

Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: When you say Flacco gives you the best chance to win, you opened the press conference talking about all those offensive linemen being out, he’s kind of a statue in the pocket right now and Streveler can run, so why does Flacco give you the best chance to win?

Saleh: Quick processer, quick decision maker, quarterbacks sometimes can alleviate pressure by his ability to process and get rid of the football and that’s what Joe does.

You aren’t going to hear that question from other people, because the media loves Flacco, very chummy with him, but I thought it had to be asked – he talked about George Fant and Duane Brown being out, and guards Nate Herbig and Laurence Duvernay-Tardif being questionable, and then said Flacco gives them the best chance to win, when he’s not mobile. The Dolphins have a really good D-Line. Natural follow-up, right?

I asked a bunch of other questions, that I will get into next week, like about Quinnen Williams as a run defender . . .

I don’t think either George Fant or Duane Brown had a setback. They have been playing with bad medical stuff – Fant a knee and Brown a shoulder.

And they are just shutting them down for the last game.

But there really aren’t new injuries . . .

I heard a really good point made by professional handicapper Mike Somich, one of the smartest guys in that business. He was appearing on “The Lombardi Line” radio show.

He was saying that teams that just got knocked out of the playoffs a week before, aren’t as motivated to be a spoiler in the last week, compared to teams that have been out of playoff contention for a while.

I thought that was an intriguing observation . . .

A very festive atmosphere around the team with guys wearing the jerseys over other players at practice, like a defensive lineman wearing a defensive backs jersey, and so forth.

A few players didn’t do it, like Carl Lawson who wore his normal #58. Maybe he wasn’t in the mood for this, after what happened in Seattle.

Things need to change at 1 Jets Drive after missing the playoff for an NFL-high 12 straight years, thanks to a five game losing streak.

They need a culture change . . .

One thing from the last game I still don’t get:

Why all three linebackers ran to their left on that 60-yard run by Kenneth Walker on the Seahawks’ first offensive play?

Lawson, Quinnen Williams and Sheldon Rankins got handled at the point of attack, and then there were no linebackers behind him.

I’m not a defensive coordinator, but when a team runs a zone-blocking scheme like Seattle (and the Jets), where they start blocking everyone to the right, you have to expect the runner to cut back the other way, and have at least one linebacker staying put on that side. The linebacker who lined up on the side that Walker ran to was Quincy Williams, and if you look at the replay, he ran to the other side where C.J. Mosley and Kwon Alexander already were. If you freeze the frame, all three linebackers were basically in the same spot, over the right tackle, when Walker took off running to the left side.

Look, I’m not Bill Belichick, but to me, this didn’t look right.

One other thing:

I heard former NFL executive on the radio claim that a safety made a business decision at the beginning of the run.

He must be referring to Jordan Whitehead, who had a chance in the initial hole, but tried to tackle the runner on the side instead of head-on.

Considering what an unflinching hitter Whitehead is, I find it hard to believe that this player would make a business decision. He’s a fearless player. I think it was more of a bad angle . . .

People are attacking the Jets for not starting Zach Wilson with White out. It’s the right decision. His mechanics are broken and need to be fix, and his confidence is very low. They know it. Last thing he needs is end the season, and enter the off-season, with train wreck performance.

January 6, 2023

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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