Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Dec 2010

Jets Lose Jim Leonhard for Season

Really bad break today for the Jets -- literally -- as Jim Leonhard collided with Patrick Turner in practice and broke his leg. He's done for the year. This costs the Jets not only one of their starting safeties, but also their main punt returner and the guy who calls defensive signals. Eric Smith replaces him at safety, and I'm guessing Bart Scott will get the radio, but this isn't really good news with the big matchup against New England just three days away.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Dec 2010

12 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2010, 1:18pm by Led


by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:06pm

Well now Jets fans will have the perfect thing to point to when they try to explain how the Jets faded down the stretch (which seems likely based on their first half play). Of course they will still probably make the playoffs and then anything can happen.

by Cro-Mags (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:40pm

I'm no Jets fan, but losing Kris Jenkins was a bigger blow.

by Dingle-Doodah (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 8:19pm


by PrehistoricMartyball (not verified) :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 9:16pm

The slow white tandem of Leonhard and Eric Smith has been getting torched by opposing TEs all season. This will probably force the Jets to use Brodney Pool in coverage more often, which is a bad thing in the long run but might not be that awful against the pats and their dual TE threat.

Or not.

by Will S :: Fri, 12/03/2010 - 11:58pm

Not really. When Jenkins went down last year, Jets D played as well if not better. I'm not saying his backup is better than him or anything, but Jenkins is more replaceable than Leonhard.I recall another New York team in recent history losing a defensive tackle and a safety to injury, and, well lets just say C.C. Brown made me experience a wide range of emotions last season, and none of them were pleasant. And Kenny Phillips wasn't even the signal-caller. Yeah, I realize the Jets might have better depth, but Can't Cover Brown was just the worst. At least he got banished to Detroit. Punishment fits the crime.

by RickD :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 12:48am

Jenkins is overrated by the NY media. I haven't noticed a huge drop off in their D-line play in his absence.

He had a good season in 2008 for the Jets, but for the most part he's not lived up to the promise implied by his first few seasons. He's just gotten way too creaky. Too many injuries.

by newjamarcus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 5:49pm

I don't have stats to back me up, so take all this with a huge grain of salt, but it looks to me (as it did last year) that the Jets do miss Jenkins quite a bit. Their run defense hasn't suffered, in part because other guys on the D-line have stepped up, but also in part because their inside linebackers are really good at run stuffing. However, Jenkins reliably absorbed double-teams and still got significant push into the pocket on passing downs, which made the Jets a much more effective pass-rushing team. That's where they really seem to miss him, at least to my eyes.

So I don't think he's overrated when he's on the field. If you merely mean that he can't stay on the field, well, yes, that's definitely been true the past two years.

Leonard hasn't played particularly well this year (except as a punt returner) so we'll see how much drop-off there is. Losing him as a signal-caller so close to the Pats game is bound to hurt pretty badly -- beyond that, I'm not so sure.

by Led :: Mon, 12/06/2010 - 1:18pm

I'd agree with this. Jenkins was occasionally a liability in run defense because he would penetrate and give up cut back lanes. But he was very, very effective as a pass rusher. His skill set is/was wasted a bit as a pure space eating 3-4 NT. The loss of Leonard could mean either miscommunications in the secondary or the Jets scaling back what they try to do back there. The latter might not be that terrible. Anyway, the game is probably going to turn on whether Sanchez plays well enough for the Jets to score at least 28 points. Even without Leonard, I don't see the Pats getting to 30. (This assumes no ST or defensive scores by either team.)

by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 3:05am

Regardless of what you think of Leonhard and his role in the Jets' D (Tedy Bruschi, for one, calls him "the glue that keeps it all together back there") this loss is certainly going to be magnified by its coming so close to the game.

by Purds :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 5:17pm

Agreed. The loss of just a part of the puzzle isn't too bad unless it's at a bad time. Wednesday of the big week isn't the best of times.

by batbatt :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 6:18pm

Is Kris Jenkins related to the Packer's Cullen? I know that Cullen is a pretty effective lineman for the Packers...

by newjamarcus (not verified) :: Sat, 12/04/2010 - 6:23pm

They're brothers.