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Actions, Not Words Will Determine John Idzik’s Jets Legacy

By Alan Schechter
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John Idzik meets the New York Jets media contingent for the first time.

It was the dawn of a new day in Florham Park, NJ. Gone is “Trader Mike”, “Mr. T”, and all the other names we had for Mike Tannenbaum. In is John Idzik, fresh from his time with the Seattle Seahawks, and ready to take on the challenge of being the general manager of the New York Jets.

And those challenges are not going to be easy. The salary cap is not in great shape, thanks to the doings of Mike Tannenbaum. They have the quarterback situation to figure out. They don’t have a great running back. They have a group of linebackers that are older than dirt. They have a weak group of wide receivers. His work is not going to be easy.

Despite what the great Mike Francesa had to say yesterday, like he always does. Idzik had a lot of great things to say yesterday. It is not a sign of nothing changing, there definitely is change a coming. But, no matter what his words are, it doesn’t matter. Words are not going to determine what we are going to think of John Idzik. It will be his actions.

For example, he had a great attitude about the draft. We have talked a lot about how the draft is the way to rebuild an NFL franchise. John Idzik agrees. Take a look at what he had to say:

The draft will be very important to us. That will be a lifeline for us, year-in and year-out.

And he was asked about it later on:

First off all, when I say lifeline, no matter if we have all of our picks as we do this year, if we don’t have our full complement of picks, or we attain additional picks via trades, we’re going to place an emphasis on the draft from rounds one through seven and the (undrafted) college free agents. We will be well versed in who we think is going to help our squad through the draft. Then on an individual basis, once we evaluate our roster, the baseline will always be our current roster. Everything we do will be compared to what we have in the building. That will always be the baseline. We will charter our course based on all these evaluations. Some of it will be draft-oriented. Some of it will be free agent-oriented. Some of it will be trade-oriented. It’s a little bit premature to get specific about it, but I just think that to us, every draft choice that we turn in is going to be precious to us.

That’s a great attitude to have. We have seen it year after year, the college draft is the way to give your team sustained success, just ask the New England Patriots. But, what does the attitude mean? Is it going to deliver us the 2013, 14…etc. editions of Vernon Gholston, Vladimir Ducasse, Scotty McKnight, and John Conner? Or will the new regime lead to the next Darrelle, David Harris, Nick Mangold….etc? It’s good to say that we are going to emphasize the draft, but actions, not words, will tell the story.

Take a look at what he had to say about building a winning team:

Hopefully you got a sense of it from my comments before. It has to start from the people in the building, the players, coaches, scouts, football operations (and) business operations. We will develop a Jet profile and you develop that profile that they “Play like a Jet.” That’s first and foremost. And of course you start to evaluate their football acumen and everything else pieces together. In terms of a more specific football philosophy, that’s for Rex and I to sit down and (talk about). We’ve already begun that, but we will continue to do that in the days to come, to be very discrete in what we want to do to win games and mesh that up to the types of players that we want to bring in.

Notice that word “discrete”? That’s an interesting word when you are talking about the New York Jets. Does anyone remember the last time the Jets were “discrete” about anything? Not me. Clearly, that is the attitude that they are going to keep things a bit more “close to the vest”, and concentrate on their jobs, rather than outside distractions. They are going to deal with their reality, not perception.

He addressed this a bit more when talking about the notion that nobody wanted the GM job:

Everyone is going to have their opinions and I don’t deal with much in perception to be honest. I deal with reality. The reality here is I think this is one of the most fabulous football infrastructures anyone can ask for. For one, we have some of the most fervent, passionate fans in the National Football League. I’ve experienced what an advantage that can be in Seattle, Tampa (Bay) and Arizona. I feel that here. We have a state-of-the-art stadium to play in. We have a state-of-the-art facility. The people in this building are tremendous. That’s reality to me. The more I got to know about the people here, the fans here, the environment here, the facilities, I think the football infrastructure is second to none. My personal opinion is, (it is) one of the best opportunities that you could have.

Again, talking about reality, not perception. That is a big change from the past. The Jets need to handle their own jobs, and not deal with the circus perception. That is what John Idzik’s attitude is, and that is a great sign, and a sign that change is coming to Florham Park, NJ.

But, that was a day of words. Words are not going to do it for us. We have heard many, many words in the past, haven’t we? We, as Jets fans, need action. Actions will determine what John Idzik’s legacy.

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