In Defense of John Idzik
Sep 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager John Idzik reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Raiders 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
John Idzik is a name that divides the New York Jets fan base more than most names have in the past. The fan base is so angry already, that a website was started called “Fire John Idzik”, and they raised enough money to post a billboard outside of MetLife Stadium! The fan base is not happy, and they want heads to roll.
It has even split two of our writers, with our good buddies Craig Hoffman and Paul Newbold taking opposite sides of the issue.
Don’t get me wrong, John Idzik has given Jets fans a lot of reason to be upset. His build through the draft plan is not panning out yet, with only a small group of his draft picks still on the roster. Idzik put a lot of trust in a quarterback that was a second round pick to be a franchise quarterback right away, and he didn’t do a lot of work at the cornerback position. It has not been a stellar first 20 or so months.
But that is all it has been, not even two years. It’s not fair to judge a draft class until the end of their rookie contracts, which means that his first draft class still has 2.5 years to prove their worth.
I am going to give you some facts, not guess, facts, that show the potential of John Idzik as a general manager, and that it may not be time to give up on him just yet.
Dec 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum (left) and head coach Rex Ryan before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
SALARY CAP HERO: At the end of the Mike Tannenbaum era, did anyone really think there would be a time that we would be upset about the Jets spending too little? I know I never thought I would see the day, thanks to the irresponsible spending habits of former general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
John Idzik fixed that in one year. One year! Idzik took the Jets from a severe budget deficit to a budget surplus. The extra money does give Idzik the freedom to keep the Jets top players on the roster, as well as make moves for free agents as he sees fit. He saved the Jets bottom line. John Idzik deserves credit for getting that done, and getting it done quickly.
Nov 2, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; New York Jets running backChris Ivory
(33) is tackled by Kansas City Chiefs defensive endJaye Howard
(96) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
CHRIS IVORY: Let’s not pretend here, folks. We all wanted Chris Ivory on this football team, dating back to before John Idzik arrived on the scene. Everyone loved his running style, and wanted him here with the Jets. John Idzik got that done, and only gave up a fourth round draft pick to do it.
A couple of games not withstanding, Chris Ivory has been the best running back on the New York Jets. He led the team in rushing with 833 yards last year, and to date in 2014, Ivory has recorded 497 yards and five touchdowns. Chris Ivory was a great acquisition. Did that not happen on John Idzik’s watch? Let’s be fair.
Sep 28, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Detroit Lions quarterbackMatthew Stafford
(9) throws the ball in front of New York Jets defensive endSheldon Richardson
(91) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
It is not in dispute that Sheldon Richardson was drafted by John Idzik. It is also not in dispute that Sheldon was the defensive rookie of the year last year, with 78 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He is well on his way to another strong season, with 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks to date in 2014.
We can’t say that John Idzik has no idea about talented football players when he made a choice like Sheldon Richardson. If we are going to get upset with Idzik for mistakes, he has to get credit for his good moves. Sheldon Richardson is one of those moves.
Oct 26, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiverEric Decker
(87) during warm ups before the game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated New York Jets 43-23. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
ERIC DECKER: The Jets needed a top-flight wide receiver during the past off-season. John Idzik brought in the top free agent wide receiver in the league, Eric Decker. There was much debate as to whether or not he is a “number one” wide receiver, but there is no debate that he has been everything the Jets have asked of him.
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Despite being bothered by a hamstring injury for much of the first half of the season, Decker has posted 40 catches for 426 yards and four touchdowns. Not bad for having really poor quarterback play. John Idzik made that move.
Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets tight endJace Amaro
(88) reaches for a pass against New England Patriots strong safetyPatrick Chung
(23) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
JACE AMARO: No, we cannot make an overall judgement on Jace Amaro during only his first season, but early returns have been quite good. Jace leads rookie tight ends in receptions with 32, and yards with 285. He improves each and every week, and may just turn into the weapon over the middle that the Jets offense, with good quarterback play, will need to compete.
Not so bad for John Idzik and his second round pick.
John Idzik should be given more time. Have the early returns been great? Of course not. But there are signs that he knows a good football player when he sees one. Don’t give up yet, the best of John Idzik may still be yet to come.