Originally written on Turn On The Jets  |  Last updated 7/18/13
“He’s going to do what’s best for the club, period. He’s not going to get bullied or pushed around whether it’s media influence or whatever.”- Seahawks GM John Schneider When the New York Jets hired John Idzik as the franchise’s general manager, of fans were just thrilled that it wasn’t Scott Cohen and to be rid of “Trader Mike” Tannenbaum. The New York media tried to paint Idzik as strictly a capologist from the Seattle Seahawks with no knowledge of drafting or scouting players, a reputation that didn’t initially endear him to the fan base. Idzik was actually called a “Mike Tannenbaum clone” before even being introduced. However, have no fear Jet Nation because we at TOJ believe that Woody Johnson hired the right man for the job. Let’s take a look at Idzik’s career in NFL front offices and what that can mean for the Jets rebuilding process. Career Idzik began his front office career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1993, first as a Pro Personnel Assistant before being elevated to Assistant General Manager in 2001. However, before joining the Bucs front office Idzik worked for Duke University as a graduate assistant coach, working primarily with running backs and the offensive line in 1991 and 1992. In fact, Idzik’s first coaching assignment was as a Wide Receivers coach at SUNY-Buffalo in 1982, and in 1990 he was the offensive backfield coach (our version of the running backs coach) for the Aberdeen Oilers (Scotland) of the British American Football League. After finishing his second year as a coach at Duke, he joined the Bucs where he spent 11 years with the team. In 2004, Idzik was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as Senior Director of Football Operations and spent three seasons working in their front office before being hired by the Seattle Seahawks in 2007. Idzik spent the last 6 seasons in Seattle before being hired by Woody Johnson to lead the Jets rebuild. Key Moves Made Member of front offices that drafted the following players:  Derrick Brooks Warren Sapp John Lynch Warrick Dunn Trent Dilfer Mike Alstott Donnie Abraham Ronde Barber Al Harris Larry Fitzgerald Darnell Dockett Karlos Dansby Antrel Rolle Russell Okung Earl Thomas Kam Chancellor Golden Tate Max Unger Richard Sherman Bruce Irvin Bobby Wagner Russell Wilson Member of the front office that signed the following players: Brad Johnson Marshawn Lynch (after acquiring him in a trade with Buffalo) What Does This Mean for the Jets Rebuild As Jets fan, we’ve gone through one draft and almost an entire offseason led by Idzik, and we’ve seen him get great value with his draft picks and make some low risk, high reward signings. Geno Smith, the draft’s best QB, at 39? A future starter on the offensive line, Brian Winters, in the 3rd round? Trading for Chris Ivory? Signing Kellen Winslow, Jr.? Idzik knows value, whether it is in the draft or free agency. If you look back at the drafts that he’s been a part of as either Assistant General Manager (with TB) or Senior Director of Football Operations (with ARZ) or Vice President of Football Operations (with SEA), he’s always taken a value based approach. He’s been part of front offices that had more hits (Okung, Fitzgerald, Dockett, Sapp, J. Lynch) than misses (Leinart, Engram) and he’s gotten great value out of day 2 and day 3 selections (Sherman, Wilson, Chancellor, Harris, and Barber). He, also, hasn’t hesitated to make a big free agent signing when needed (Brad Johnson) or swing a trade for a position of need (Marshawn Lynch). The Jets will have 11-14 draft picks next year (once the compensatory picks are calculated), plus approximately $35-40 million dollars in cap space. Idzik will not hesitate to use the surplus of draft picks to either fill holes in an improving Jets roster or move up to target a player that the Jets covet. One part of Idzik’s background that has been ignored is his background as a position coach at the college level. I understand that Duke isn’t the University of Miami during their Larry Coker run in the late 90s, nor are they Alabama under Nick Saban. However, Idzik’s work on a coaching level is something that will come into play when scouting for future drafts because he’ll actually be able to get on the field and work these players out himself so he can formulate his own opinion. I also understand that Idzik didn’t make all of these decisions to draft and sign these players himself. However, he has played an important role coaching skill positions, in the player negotiations, tracking a team’s adherence to the NFL salary cap, player transactions, staff and team contracts, and the day-to-day football operations throughout his entire career. All of Idzik’s experience will help him accelerate this rebuild and return the Jets to a quality football team.
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