When the New York Jets‘ old GM Mike Tannenbaum left the front office, he left behind a bunch of puzzle pieces on the floor and it was up to John Idzik to put them together. Tannenbaum’s roster was aging, expensive and past its prime, but Idzik blew up the roster and found some pieces that finally fit together. Idzik has not been mentioned much for his work thus far, but I believe that you will start hearing his name a lot more often after this season.
When Idzik walked into the new Jets facility he didn’t have time to relish in the moment and take in the scenery; he got to work. Idzik worked in the Seattle Seahawks‘ front office before he took the job and became the Jets GM, so he knows a thing or two about building a successful team from the bottom up. Idzik put his fingerprint on the team when he took Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson and Geno Smith in the 2013 NFL Draft. Richardson won the 2013 Defense Rookie of the Year, and Milliner along with Smith are looking like two solid picks with room to improve in 2014.
Idzik has not been prefect in his tenure this far. One big mistake was the signing of troubled RB Mike Goodson. Luckily, Goodson is no longer with the Jets, but Idzik should learn from his mistake and build a team with high-character players. Quickly getting rid of Goodson and cutting ties early was a smart move by the Jets’ new GM.
Perhaps Idzik’s biggest decision so far was to extend Rex Ryan after the 2013 season. He was smart in his decision to keep the locker room intact and keep some stability within the organization. I believe that Ryan is an underrated coach, and he has another chance to surpass expectations this season. Idzik has a smart football mind, and it’s hard to doubt any of the moves that he has made so far. I know that some fans get on Idzik because he is hesitant to open up his wallet and dish out some big contracts, but he does not want to make a long-term mistake and I agree with him. I like the Idzik plan: build a young core, sign players only in the areas of need and let the team develop over time.
If the Jets play well in 2014, the players deserve the credit and then the coach, but don’t forget that Idzik is the guy who made it all happen.