Dan Feeney: Is he a fit and what should Jets fans expect?

After losing out on Joe Thuney and apparently—for whatever reason—not being interested in Corey Linsley, Joe Douglas added some competition to the OL room this free agency season with the acquisition of Dan Feeney on a one-year deal worth up to $4.25 million. Feeney, a former third-round pick from Indiana University, has experience at both guard and center, fitting Douglas’ versatility profile.

Since debuting for the Chargers in 2017, Feeney’s performance can be summed up in one word: adequate. Although his durability (57 straight starts) and ability to play multiple positions will be an asset, he’s not a signing that should have Jets fans feeling much better about the state of the interior offensive line which, by all accounts, was one of the worst in the NFL. Not to mention Feeney’s league leading thirty-three total pressures allowed (for centers) were tied with the Jets’ very own Connor McGovern, and that’s disconcerting.

Still, Feeney is a nice fit for the wide zone system the Jets will deploy and, hopefully, his best days are ahead.

Below are some of the notes (positive and negative) I gathered while evaluating him for The Scouting Academy this past summer.

Grades are based on a scale using the following terminology:

Elite, Very Good, Good, Solid, Adequate, Marginal, Poor

*Adequate on this grading scale is considered below average

These notes are based on Feeney’s 2019 film.

Best: First Level Zone Blocking, Versatility, Down/Back blocks

Worst: Functional Strength, Jump Sets, 1-1 Drive/Base Blocking

Scheme fit: Outside Zone scheme with a short/intermediate passing system

Positives:

Pass Pro:

  • Pre-snap communication is good at both Guard and Center (sets protections and communicates with the rest of the OL)
  • Solid quickness off the snap yet adequate explosion
  • Solid job hitting his set points and establishing a half-man relationship via solid footwork
  • Solid understanding of proper hand placement but struggles with timing
  • Solid mental processing and use of his drag hand in assisting adjacent linemen while keeping his eyes on his gap responsibilities
  • Solid anchor when bull-rushed versus linemen of all sizes due to solid pad level, UOH, and good competitive toughness to get hands “double under” (in armpit area) and maintain leverage

Gap blocking:

  • Solid first level blocker out of a Pull due to good quickness off the snap, foot speed, solid ability to stay square, maintain leverage, and execute solid hand placement/timing to the inside shoulder to displace and define the defender/Gap
  • Solid down/back blocker due to solid pad level and hand placement/timing
  • Good job finishing blocks and locking onto defenders
  • Solid double team blocker (Duo)

Zone blocking:

  • Good initial quickness off the snap in both IZ and OZ
  • Good combo blocker on the first level due to good timing with his feet and hands (utilizing a “high leg” as a chipper or rooting his feet as the “cover” guy)
  • Solid reach blocker (and ability to maintain leverage) via good footwork off the snap, foot speed, and solid UOH
  • Good at washing defenders of all sizes (when unable to maintain reach blocks) and driving them horizontally, opening up cutback lanes, and finishing them with circular force due to good hand placement (playing long), competitive toughness, solid pad level, and angles
  • Solid angles to the second level

Negatives:

  • Feeney struggles to readjust his feet on jump sets due to adequate initial foot and hand placement
  • Can get top-heavy, lunge, and lose balance
  • Struggles to reverse his post foot properly (versus inside moves) in Pass Pro due to adequate change of direction
  • At times tends to open up his hips early and create a path to the QB
  • Susceptible to pass rush moves 1-1 versus good to elite 1 to 3 tech due to adequate hand timing, strength, and explosion out of the snap
  • Feeney has an issue matching power-with-power and leaves his chest exposed to quicker, more explosive DL off the snap resulting in wide arms and difficulty remaining balanced
  • Adequate movement at the POA versus larger DL on drive/base blocks due to adequate strength (he’s easily stacked and shed)
  • Adequate ability on the second level to sustain blocks and/or track defenders in space due to adequate change of direction (At times, he resorts to literally throwing himself onto the ground—making little to no contact with a defender—hoping to make a block)
  • Difficulty adjusting to stunts due to adequate change of direction/lateral agility

Conclusion:

Overall, Feeney is an adequate Guard/Center in the NFL with the ability to compete for a starting spot but better served in a backup role. He is best deployed in an outside zone system with a quick passing game to make up for his pass protection inconsistencies.