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Leger Douzable, Former NFL Defensive Lineman

JR Sports Brief / JR
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2024 7:22 pm

Leger Douzable, Former NFL Defensive Lineman

JR Sports Brief / JR

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June 11, 2024 7:22 pm

Leger Douzable joined JR to discuss if Aaron Rodgers missing mandatory minicamp is a big deal and hit on other NFL storylines. 

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Thank you for taking the time to come through. I gotta say this. This is the best time of the year for an NFL player, right?

Right? Yeah, I mean, in regards to, you know, you're about to finish minicamp and get a six week break before it gets real. So when you talk about that, then I would say, yeah, I would agree with that. This is the best time because, you know, you get that camaraderie, you're building it with your teammates for this three day minicamp. And a lot of teams will only do two days. They'll cancel that last day, especially depending on the attendance and what it was like throughout OTAs. A lot of coaches will feel like, you know, two days of minicamp is good enough work because we worked so good for the last four or five weeks.

And they'll let everybody go. And then, like I said, get that six weeks where it's not just a break, right? You're really fine tuning your skill set, getting ready for, you know, this sixth month, if you're lucky, six or seven month run to win a Super Bowl.

Well, Lijay, I want to ask you a question about the potential length of the season later on. But you played for the Jets. You still cover the New York Jets. Aaron Rodgers didn't show up. Rob Salah had to do the song and the dance today about he told us, but it's not, you know, excused. And what's your analysis of this?

They got their whole season once again, riding on this guy. Yeah, to me, it's not a huge story. Now, people will make it a huge story just because Aaron Rodgers is so polarizing, right?

And, you know, all the stuff off the field that he's dealt with where we didn't know if he was going to potentially run for vice president or not, or, you know, him, you know, going into the wilderness and doing, you know, the treatment, the in the dark treatment. But with this one, I don't think this is a major story now. It's headlines, right? Because there's only three days in the whole offseason program where it's mandatory and it's these three days here. And for somebody to miss it, it's going to make headlines.

Right. But if you know anything and you've been following the Jets, Aaron Rodgers has been there the whole offseason, not just OTAs. He's been there for all season workouts as well. So this would be a little bit more concerning if he had missed like some a good portion of the offseason and wasn't there for many, many camp. But him and Robert Sola talked about this at the beginning of the offseason. He let him know that there was a conflicting date with an event that was very important to him.

Now, again, because it's mandatory, you still have to get fined for it. But I don't think this is a major story now. It's such because we have people talk about the Jets, right?

It's always about distractions, right? Is there something always going on with the Jets? And now this is something that you have to add to that because Aaron Rodgers wasn't there for the first day of minikin.

No liege. Let me ask you this. You take a look at the the AFC East. We know the New England Patriots are rebuilding. Buffalo Bills are trying to figure out life without digs, and that may be a little bit easier than people talk about. And then, you know, the Miami Dolphins, Tuatanga Veloa, looks like he has lost an entire person. Where do you think the Jets kind of slot in here?

Yeah, this is the thing. I'm going to preface this by saying the game is played on the field. But if you look at currently, based on the current roster, it's constructed for all those teams that you just mentioned in the AFC East. I'd be hard-pressed to find too many people that say the Jets don't have the best roster, man for man.

Now, again, game is played on the field. There's a lot of nuances that go to that. Can guys stay healthy, right? Tyron Smith, they signed him in the offseason. He has a history of not being healthy for a complete 17-game season. Now, he is coming off an all-pro bid last year.

But if I'm not mistaken, he missed three or four games last year as well, right? You got Mike Williams, who you signed, was coming off a major injury at ACL. How will he bounce back as well? Aaron Rodgers coming off an Achilles. How will he bounce back at the ripe age of 40 years old?

So, those are the things that you have to ask, and something that I'm sure you're going to ask me about that we haven't talked about. Now, you have Hassan Reddick in a contract dispute, right? So, you lose Bryce Hubb, who was a homegrown, grown pass rusher who led your team in sacks last year.

He goes to the Philadelphia Eagles. You trade for Hassan Reddick. And it seems like the conversations were had before making a trade for Hassan Reddick, where the Jets were saying that, you know, we're getting you for this year. We could maybe revisit the contract later on. And it seems, again, from reports – this is not me reporting from reports out there – that Hassan Reddick was on board for that, and he was going to be there this offseason, and then he wasn't there this offseason. And now, he's taking it a step further, and he's not even there for the first day of minicamp because he wants a new contract.

So, this is a conundrum. And, you know, as a former Jet, and I associate myself with the Jets, this is what people talk about when they talk about potential dysfunction and distractions. You don't want these things going on as you get ready for the season.

I would say this. There's still a lot of time before, you know, the training camp actually kicks off. I'm sure the Jets will work through this. We know Aaron Rodgers was a thing that was already talked about with Robert Salah. He'll be back in the fold.

He'll be ready. But the Hassan Reddick thing is a bit concerning. Yeah, a 10-year NFL vet, current analyst, Lige Duzable is here with us.

The JR sport reef show, Coast to Coast on the Infinity Sports Network. You know, we typically talk about – you want to talk about tough divisions. You can also take a look at the AFC North. And we know that the Pittsburgh Steelers have now added two quarterbacks in both Russell Wilson and Justin Fields.

Tomlin now gets a three-year contract extension. Arthur Smith is there. What do you see that offense looking like? Are we going to see Fields sprinkled in? Is he going to run it in the 20s? What do you see?

Well, that's an interesting thing that I think everybody wants the question to. Who is potentially going to be the starter? Right now it seems like Russ has the reigns and he's the guy up in front. I honestly believe that Justin Fields will ultimately take over as the starting quarterback. Just if you're looking at Arthur Smith's offense and what he's asked his quarterbacks to do, Russell Wilson doesn't tend to do. He likes his quarterbacks to throw the ball over the middle of the field and intermediate throws. And Russell Wilson doesn't like to do that.

He likes to, you know, play off script, throw those moon balls that we're all accustomed to seeing him do down the field. And that's not really Arthur Smith's offense. I know for sure Mike Tomlin wanted to get a little bit more aggressive with the offensive line and he wanted to run the ball. Well, if you know the history of Arthur Smith when he was at Atlanta and Tennessee, they're going to run the pill.

That's what they're going to do. And I think Mike Tomlin wanted to get back to that rugged, grittiness, Pittsburgh Steelers way of life of running the football and playing good defense. So when you look at what they've done in the draft, two high draft picks, Fatanu and Frazier that they took will both potentially be starters this year for them.

And I think they actually fit the mold of what Pittsburgh is all about. This is going to be a tough, rugged offense that is going to run the football. So where does Justin Fields and, you know, potentially Russell Wilson fit in that? I think Justin Fields, when you look at what Arthur Smith just had and Desmond Ritter and what he was trying to do in Atlanta, I think Justin Fields has a leg up in that category. Now, again, I think Russell Wilson coming into training camp has the reins and it will be his job to lose.

But at the end of the day, I do believe Justin Fields will be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And you mentioned the AFC North. Like, this is the toughest division in football. Could this potentially be the year that Mike Tomlin finally has a losing season?

I hate even saying that because that's something he just doesn't do. But you mentioned it. This division is a gauntlet. This is the best division in football.

Yeah. Well, thank God Tomlin got that contract extension. Maybe some of the fans of Pittsburgh can go out there and relax.

Elijah Duzable is here with us. This is going to be a fun season because you can go division to division. I mean, I'm even thinking about the NFC North. You got a couple of rookie quarterbacks. Second best division in football.

Yeah. You got two emerging quarterbacks. The Lions are Super Bowl contenders. The Packers shocked everybody.

We're going to see Caleb Williams in hard knocks in the offseason. What do you think is going to happen in the NFC North, specifically with Caleb and the Bears? Yeah, I honestly believe in the NFC North.

A lot of people, the Chicago Bears penciled into the playoffs. I think next year is their year. I think this year they'll be a tad bit better. I believe they went 7 and 10.

I actually, when I did their schedule breakdown, I had them going 8 and 9. And it's because they do have a rookie quarterback, right? Now, again, I think there is going to be a philosophy change for Caleb Williams. He's got to acclimate to the NFL game.

People tend to forget, or maybe they don't. When he was at USC, he had to be Superman, right? Because his defense gave him literally nothing. They were giving up 40, 50 points a game. Well, that's a stark change from what the Chicago Bears defense looks like because the last six weeks of the season, they were the number one defense in football. Matter of fact, they were the number one rushing defense the entire year. And then when Montez Sweat got traded for halfway through the season, there was like a light switch that went off, and this defense played at an elite level. Matter of fact, the last six weeks of the season, they led the league in interceptions, and rushing touchdowns given up. So this defense played really well down the stretch.

So Caleb Williams has realized he doesn't have to do it by himself, right? He has a defense he can lean on, right? He has playmakers on the outside and veterans, Keenan Allen, D.J. Moore. To me, he has the best receiver in this past draft, Roma Doonza.

I know a lot of people will say, you know, neighbors or M.H.J. were the best receivers. I think Roma Doonza, when it's said and done, will be the best receiver in this draft class. So it's going to be a big onus on Caleb Williams, realizing he doesn't have to be Superman, but also offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. He has to realize that he has a rookie quarterback. Do not put him in situations where he has to feel like he is Superman, right?

You have a couple good bats, you have two good tight ends, three good receivers. Make sure you spread the ball around. Put him in advantageous situations where he doesn't feel like he has to pull out that cable. They need to uplift Caleb Williams.

He doesn't need to uplift that team. Yeah, Lije Duzable is here with us, analyst for CBS Sports HQ. Used to knock him down on the football field. And speaking of knocking him down, there's an anticipation that the 49ers do it again this upcoming season. They may have some wide receivers that they have to figure out how they're going to play them, whether it be IU and what have you. Are we seeing them going to run the NFC again, maybe push the Cowboys out the way? What do you see from the Niners? Yeah, to me it comes down to the Niners and the Lions.

Those are the two teams I think that will be vying for the NFC Championship to represent the NFC 5 in the Super Bowl. You kind of, you know, alluded to the Lions a little bit earlier in the magical run they had. As a matter of fact, they were a half away from beating the 49ers and going to the Super Bowl last year. But when you look at this 49ers team, right, there's been an overturn of the defensive line. Forever that defensive line kind of ran the team, right, with, you know, Eric Armstead and you also had Nick Bosa.

But there's kind of been a change there, right? They traded for Malik Collins. They also brought in Leonard Floyd from Buffalo and previously he was with Chicago in the Rams. So they've kind of mixed things up on the defensive line to try to get some help for Nick Bosa on the edge. And I think Leonard Floyd, his game has not been appreciated enough throughout the NFL.

He's been a consummate guy that always gets upwards to 8, 9, 10 sacks every single year and constantly gets after the quarterback and has big time plays. So we know what this offense is, right? The offense wasn't the issue last year when they allowed, you know, the Kansas City Chiefs to come back in that game and beat them in the Super Bowl. We know with CMC, they're going to run the football. They're going to get him the ball out of the backfield.

You talk about the weapons they have on the outside now. Again, Brent Naig is in the contract dispute. We'll see how that works out. Deebo Samuel will be there, George Kittle. And then they added Ricky Pearsall as well. So you think with this offense, they're going to continue to be who they are, right? It's going to come down to that defense. Can they get back to being that defense that they were throughout the season last year when they were a top five defense?

But they need that effort to get them finally over the hump and not just get to the NFC Championship game, not just get to the Super Bowl, but to win the Super Bowl. Because I believe Brock Ferdy is due for a special year this year. His ascension, we've seen it from year one to year two. I think we'll see it in year three. And don't be surprised after this year, he becomes the highest paid player in the NFL. Oh, what a story that'll be. I'm anxious to see that.

Lije, last question for you, man. You've been through the gauntlet 10 years in the league. What are your thoughts on this potential expansion? Whether it's two, three, four years down the line to 18 games, it seems inevitable. I think you used the perfect word, inevitable. I never thought while I was still around watching football being an analyst that we would go to 17 games, right?

And that happened literally like a year or two after I left the NFL. So I mean, when the commissioner puts or talks about something like that, which can't even be talked about until I believe the 2030 CBA ends around. So they can't even discuss it, I think, until 2029. So we're still a good four and a half, five years away from that. But I just think that they're going to eventually do it right. I think they're going to take another preseason game away and they'll only be two.

And that just sucks, right? Because for a guy like me, that's an undrafted free agent that came out. Like those preseason games matter. I needed all four of those games to make the team my first two years in the NFL. I can't imagine if we only had two games, would I have had the career that I had?

Maybe I wouldn't have had the opportunity, right? Because with only two games, you got to assume one of those games is going to be used for the frontline guys to get ready for the season. And probably the second game will be for, you know, them to protect maybe the frontline guys, some younger guys play.

But like I said, when I came out, I needed all four of those games, right? I not only needed the reps, but I needed to show the team that I belonged in the NFL. And we're going to lose. I think we're going to lose a lot of that because, you know, guys are going to go in knowing who their 53-man roster mainly is already just because there's only two preseason games. So you kind of have to know what your roster is going to look like going into an 18-game season, especially when you're only playing two preseason games. So that's the one thing I despise about it.

Now, I'm sure some veterans will love it, right? Because it won't be as much training camp, won't be as much preseason games. But as far as the young players that are undrafted, late round draft picks, they actually have an opportunity. If there was an extra preseason game, it's going to suck for them.

Yeah, this NFL is, I know they say not for long. I need to figure out an acronym that says something about change. I'll figure it out. Hey, Lije, man, where can people follow you and all your great work? Yeah, definitely. You can follow me on, well, like you said, CBS Sports HQ. I'm on there on a regular CBS Sports Network. But on social media, at Lije Doosable, that's L-E-G-E-R-D-O-U-Z-A-B-L-E, and that's Instagram and Twitter or X or whatever they want to call it these days.

Yeah, just a site that's full of all types of weird things. That's where we're at right now, Lije. No question. No doubt, brother. We'll catch you on down the line. Thank you for the time.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-11 20:46:47 / 2024-06-11 20:55:57 / 9

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