Jul 24, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik looks on during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve all seen it in the headlines, the Jets are rebuilding and John Idzik has a plan. It’s been talked about and discussed in the media so much it has become known as the “Idzik Plan”. Nobody has clearly explained what that plan is, but it appears on the surface that the Jets are going with a youth movement to improve the roster. Idzik has now been here for two seasons, he’s navigated the team through two free agency periods, and has put his mark on this team through two drafts. After watching the last two preseason games, I can’t help but be a little disappointed. We’ve heard Rex Ryan declare this team is a playoff team in the media, but it surely isn’t playing like one to this point. The Idzik plan to this point has been rather disappointing.
As we all know, in 2013, Idzik took over a team that had a nightmare cap situation and a roster hurting for talent. He’s been praised for his handling of the cap situation, he seemingly fixed the situation by getting rid of some over inflated contracts and being frugal in his free agency signings. I’d note that the way he navigated that situation wasn’t entirely his, as former GM Mike Tannenbaum had proposed doing much the same prior to his firing. The plan worked regardless and the Jets had plenty of cap space heading into 2014.
The 2013 free agency period brought a new approach to the Jet Nation. The prior approach was to sign big names and make a big splash in free agency; that approach will not be missed by this Jet fan. Throwing money at big name players worked to varying degrees, but was a big cause of the cap troubles the Jets found themselves in. Idzik took the reigns and signed lesser names and hoped for the best. He signed numerous players in an attempt to bolster the roster. QB David Garrard was brought over seemingly to push then embattled Mark Sanchez. Garrard turned out to be a major disappointment. Kellen Winslow was signed as well, ignoring the health concerns Winslow carried, as the Jets hoped to booster the TE group. When Winslow was on the field he was adequate, but his injuries continued and that signing also was a major disappointment to Jet fans. Among his other signings were Antwan Barnes, Lex Hilliard, Willie Colon, and Mike Goodson. Besides the Colon signing, the Jets got little in return. He also had a bunch of un-drafted free agents come into camp, included in the group were five Wr’s and three offensive linemen, none of whom are on the roster today.
Idzik’s first draft faced mixed reviews in the media. He did well early, grabbing Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner in the first round. Geno Smith came aboard in the second round, followed by Brian Winters, Oday Aboushi, Will Campbell and finally Tommy Bohanon. Idzik traded his fourth round pick to acquire Chris Ivory as well. The results have been mixed to this point. Bohanon went on to have a terrible rookie season. Forced to play as a starter, he managed the worst rating for a fullback in 2013. Will Campbell and Oday Aboushi made the roster, but saw no game action during their rookie campaigns. Brian Winters struggled mightily through 2013, so his rookie campaign can’t be considered anything but disappointing. The trade for Chris Ivory has worked out fairly well, but his injuries have slowed his playing time as well as his production.
This year John Idzik drew plenty of criticism among Jet fans for his handling of free agency. He passed on the big name cornerbacks and went with Dimitri Patterson despite his long list of injuries. Dimitri has been hobbled by a series of injuries in camp and showed he struggles on the outside when he has been healthy enough to play. He also brought in Jacoby Ford, who also has developed into nothing to date, unless you are of the school that believe he was brought in to take up a roster spot solely to return kicks. Eric Decker, and Chris Johnson were also brought in, they both have fared well and should contribute nicely this season.
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The 2014 draft brought high expectations from Jet fans. The cap situation was fixed and the Jets owned 12 picks in a historically deep draft. The Jets surprised many by drafting Calvin Pryor, a solid addition to the secondary, but many questioned if safety was their greatest need. The second round brought raves for the selection of Jace Amaro, but to this point, he’s looked lost in a pro offense. The third round brought Dexter McDougle, whom many thought they stretched on because of his inexperience and his injury concerns. McDougle looked good early playing with the two’s, but has been lost for the year with another injury. The Jets chose to wait until the fourth round to address what many fans considered their greatest need. Both Jalen Saunders and Shaq Evans were brought in to bolster the wide receiver group. Additionally Quincy Enunwa was drafted in the sixth round to help at WR as well. All have been slow to develop and the injury bug struck, making for a disappointing receiver draft class. The rest of the class has been a mixed bag, there is some future talent in this draft, but it’ll be interesting to see how many can even make the roster.
In all fairness to John Idzik, it’s still very early to judge his job as our new GM. His two draft classes will need to develop further to get an accurate reading on how well he’s done. In fairness to the young players he’s drafted, they have had limited time to develop and settle in to their perspective positions. This is the NFL, and we all know talent can rise to the top unexpectedly, but to date the Jets two off-seasons under John Idzik have been disappointing.
How do you guys think John Idzik has done to date? Is the “Idzik Plan” is working? I want to hear your views! Tell me about it!