Dan Feeney: Excellent backup offensive lineman or beer-chugging party starter?

New York Jets fans entered the 2021 NFL offseason expecting their team to fill their biggest need early in free agency. This need was obviously upfront: the most important five-man unit in sports.

Early on, the fans’ early optimism turned quickly to anxiety.

Brandon Scherff was tagged, long-time target Joe Thuney signed with the Kansas City Chiefs (who can blame him?), and Corey Linsley agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The full Jet X member-only video is near the bottom of this page and can also be seen on the Blewett's Blitz homepage (if you're a paid member and logged in).

As quickly as they entered the free-agent market was as quickly as they were out of reach. The top-three options were quickly swept away and the Jets were staring at very few options on the open market—especially when thinking about guys who could fit Mike LaFleur‘s scheme.

Instead of top-notch names in free agency, the Jets decided to address depth, something that was later confirmed when Joe Douglas traded up to select Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Exactly who constitutes “depth?” How about a beer-chugging, mullet-sporting big boy who gets the party started?

New York signed 27-year-old Dan Feeney to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, which isn’t a bad deal for a projected seventh or eighth offensive lineman. Nobody expects Feeney to start, and he probably doesn’t deserve to, as he didn’t play too well as a starter in Los Angeles the last three seasons.

But as I’ve often said, there is a difference between a player who is a bad starter and a player who is a bad backup. Bad starters are typically solid backups, which I see Feeney as for several reasons.

The first reason can be boiled down to the level of play. Again, note the difference between a bad backup and a bad starter, as previously explained.

The second is his availability. The mullet man has played in 63 of 64 possible games in his four-year career, while also starting his last 48 games.

Lastly, the Feeney should be described as smart due to positional versatility. This guy was drafted as a guard and has played mainly as a left guard over his first three years. He has played some right guard and center as well, predominantly in the middle in 2020.

Perhaps the bonus reason this Jets signing goes down in the positive column is his mullet, bravado and ability to chug a beer. For a man who understands the phrase “business in the front, party in the back,” he seemingly seems to live that life.

Let’s take a look at some plays showcasing Feeney’s major strengths and weaknesses. Below, you will also find a full list of strengths and weaknesses plus an episode of Blewett’s Blitz that breaks down Dan Feeney’s film.

Blewett’s Blitz podcast episode

Highlighted strengths and weaknesses

Highlighted strength: Movement

Dan Feeney is lined up at center on this inside zone to the left. Pre-snap, the Chargers would like to ideally combo block the 2-tech (#92) with Feeney being the “post” (second player in on the block who will eventually end one none), while the left guard climbs to the Mike backer.

Post-snap, the defensive tackle spikes hard into the A-gap, which puts Feeney in an impossible position to overtake the block or even get hip to hip with the left guard. Feeney does a great job adjusting on the fly though, as he “slingshots” the defensive tackle upfield to assist the left guard in maintaining positional leverage.

He now knows that the left guard can’t leave the block and he is now responsible to get to the linebacker. He then punches through or arm-overs to clear himself, works up to the linebacker while showing good movement skills and taking a good angle to cut the linebacker off.

Feeney gets hands on with the left landing into the chest. The end result is the Jets backup interior lineman blocking his man out of the play.

Highlighted weaknesses: Hands


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You may know Joe Blewett from his wildly-popular film breakdowns and podcasts on websites including Turn on the Jets and Jet Nation. His ability to analyze film is second to none. From a player on the field in high school (FS/CB/WR/RB), to working with former NFL players including Marcus Coleman and Erik McMillan, as well as many hours of studying, Joe brings a rare level of expertise to his content. Joe is currently hosting Blewett’s Blitz, bringing player and game film breakdowns and podcasts (video and audio). Email: joe.blewett@jetsxfactor.com

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