Is New York Jets’ John Idzik a Disciple of Billy Beane?


Feb 21, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik speaks at a press conference during the 2013 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

John Idzik. It has been interesting to watch him work so far, has it not? Since he had never been a GM before, it’s hard to say what was expected of him, but watching him work has been interesting. His style has certainly been a departure from the previous regimes here in New York. There is no doubt about that.

Have we seen it before? Hint, not necessarily in football.

The Jets have not performed well over the last two seasons, as we all know. The player moves have been especially underwelming, henceforth the removal of Mike Tannenbaum in favor of John Idzik. John was brought here to turn things around, so let’s think about how he is going about it.

Human nature would be to make a quick imprint, wouldn’t it? I mean, many GM’s, if brought in to fix a mess, would do something quickly to change that. They might make some big splashy moves. They might make a big name move, something that says, “Hey Jets fans, I am here now, and I am going to make my mark on your beloved football team.” It wouldn’t be surprising, as your first time in a GM job, you would want to get noticed.

But that is not what John Idzik is doing here, is it? Not a splashy move to be made, other than saying goodbye to some familiar names to New York Jets fans. There was no splashy move made to bring someone on, let’s put it that way. There weren’t even moves made quickly. The first few days of free agency were spent with the Jets doing nothing, except getting their “ducks in a row” as they say. Instead of making a move just for the sake of making one, John Idzik kept his eyes looking ahead, lining up as much salary as possible before he made his strike.

And when he did, he went to undervalued players. Mike Goodson, a guy that has never gotten a chance to shine. Anotonio Garary, David Garrard. He went for all guys that flew under the radar. Instead of making splashes, he looked for guys that are undervalued, but can make a difference based on their abilities.

You might say that his tactic is obvious, based on the salary cap situation that the Jets are in. I would agree, he didn’t have much choice here. But, have we seen this before? Didn’t the Oakland A’s employ a similar strategy many years ago, and have it named “Moneyball”? How did that work out? Pretty well if you ask me.

We will see how it goes for John, and if it continues. When Billy Beane, who ran Moneyball with the A’s, had the opportunity to spend money later in his career, he did so. Idzik will have a lot of money in the 2014 off season, so we will see if Moneyball continues.

But, it certainly is a tactic that has the potential to work.