Woody Johnson Tackles The Job At Hand
Early this morning Woody Johnson ended the speculation that has surrounded his franchise for months now. Johnson took the only logical approach to fixing the problem his team has suffered through the last two season. Johnson fired both his GM John Idzik and his HC Rex Ryan. It came as no surprise to this writer, it was absolutely the right thing to do for his team’s future. Johnson’s actions ended two years of turmoil under the pairing. The Jets were regressing in talent, the coaching staff and front office were a mess, and the team went 4-12 in a dismal season. Johnson tackled the situation head on, and this fan is extremely grateful. There will be varying opinions among the fans, but Johnson did the right thing, and I’ll tell you why.
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
Many fans will likely have no problem with the firing of our two year GM John Idzik. The fan base has been calling for his firing all season. They got their wish this morning, and John Idzik no longer has a job with the Jets. We all saw the billboards, the planes with banners, and the penalty flags calling for his firing. It was a public embarrassment for the New York Jets and its owner, but Idzik lost his job based solely on performance, not these campaigns! John Idzik lost his job due to poor decision making, plain and simple. He made poor decisions across the board!
His record in two drafts was horrendous. In his two year tenure, Idzik and the Jets owned an enviable 20 picks to improve this team, and he failed miserably. While he brought in some talent, but it fell way too short of the mark. In the last two years Idzik had (3) number one picks to work with and it provided ( 1) proven pick, in the form of last year’s Rookie Of The Year Sheldon Richardson. That my friends, is unforgivable! Along with Richardson, he drafted Dee Millner to replace the discarded Darrelle Revis. Millner has struggled in his first two years with inconsistent play and injuries. He’s unproven to this point, the injuries have kept him off the field far too often to prove anything. Idzik showed a knack for acquiring injured players, and this pick is a prime example. He drafted Millner coming out of college with a serious shoulder injury that required surgery and the subsequent rehab delayed his first year participation, resulting in inconsistent play and a pair of benchings in his rookie season. This year he showed a little better, but his play was still not worthy of a first rounder and his season ended early with yet another injury.
This year’s draft, Idzik owned 12 picks in a historically deep draft, and he missed on almost every pick! The results of these last two drafts, likely sealed his fate. It became apparent that Idzik lacked an eye for talent, and tends to stretch a pick far too often. It was a mistake to hire him, as he had no experience as a GM, and very little experience as a talent scout. Idzik proved he was solely a contract guy and didn’t possess the qualifications to be an efficient GM for the New York Jets. Woody Johnson made a huge blunder in his hiring two years ago, but this morning he fixed his mistake! The Jets have already begun the search for a new GM to lead us going forward, and Johnson is reaching out for help in the process from within league circles this time. The Idzik regime was brief, but it dealt a serious set back to our team’s development. I couldn’t be happier then to see him go!
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Rex Ryan has been a polarizing figure in the Jet organization since his arrival. He was known for his top ten defenses, and a majority of the fan base was ecstatic to see him hired to lead the Jets. Upon arrival, Rex Ryan didn’t disappoint his proponents, leading the Jets two consecutive AFC championship games. Like his father Buddy Ryan before him, Rex Ryan is known as a defensive guru around the league, his years as DC of the Baltimore Ravens catapulted him into the limelight. My readers are well aware for my disdain for Rex Ryan as a HC, I find him lacking on his offensive philosophies, and his game time decisions. Unlike most Jet fans I know, I cringed every time he opened his mouth at a presser. I never cared for his bravado, which in many cases was unsubstantiated. I like confidence in a HC, but Rex took it way too far for me. His comedy schemes even in the face of defeat and at times humiliation always raised the hair on the back of my neck. I am not a Rex Ryan fan, never have been as a HC. I credit him for his defenses, but it takes more then just a knowledge of defense to win a Super Bowl. His insistence on sticking with an antiquated ground and pound philosophy in a league that has become a pass happy affair, led to the gradual decline in the win and loss column.
That all being said, Rex’s firing had little to do with performance in my opinion. Yes, missing the play offs in four consecutive seasons didn’t help matters, but it wasn’t just that. It is well known around the Jet facility and among the fans that Woody Johnson and Rex Ryan formed a strong bond. Johnson forced Rex Ryan on new GM John Idzik when he was hired, it wasn’t unheard of, but it was an unusual move by ownership. It was a poor decision on Johnson’s part because contrary to all the public statements to the contrary, Rex and John had two different philosophies about how to run and develop this team. The pairing didn’t work, it was apparent in Idzik’s first season, when many reports had Idzik willing to fire him at season’s end. The rumor mill around New York predicted Ryan’s dismissal en mass last season. Inexplicably, Idzik chose to extend his contract. I have my suspicions that once again Woody Johnson came to Rex’s rescue.
Today Johnson stood up admirably as the owner of the New York Jets and did the only thing he could, he fired his favorite head coach. As I said, I don’t believe his performance was the basis for that firing. The fact is, Johnson had no other choice any longer, he had run out of options to retain Ryan, he was backed into a corner. Johnson in my opinion did the right thing for the franchise. Rumors as late as Sunday had him firing John Idzik, but leaving the decision on Rex Ryan to the new GM hire. Likely Johnson was advised that it shouldn’t be done in that fashion, and he made the difficult decision to let him go. To retain Rex under those circumstances would have been unfair to Ryan, leaving him in limbo while the search for the next GM played out. It likely would have hurt Rex’s chances of landing a head coaching job this season as well. Like it or not Johnson did the right thing for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets. Johnson couldn’t ask a new GM to come in and fire a popular HC coach in NY circles, it would have cut down on the number of candidates for the GM job, much as it did when Idzik was hired. His choice to keep Ryan 2 yrs ago, caused many of the candidates to even consider interviewing. Many point to the cap situation as the reason, but quite frankly that is a lot of bunk. The cap situation was a mess after Mike Tannenbaum was fired, but any qualified GM could have solved it. In fact Mr. T laid out a plan to fix the cap before his firing, almost the identical plan John Idzik followed in fact. No, GM candidates shied away from the job due to the requirement that they retain Rex Ryan. It likely cost the Jets a much better GM. Woody Johnson did the only logical thing he could this morning, it couldn’t have been easy for him, but he manned up and did the right thing. Whether you agree with his decision or not, the Jets will be better situated to move forward without Rex Ryan. They can now go out and find the best candidate for the GM job, and allow him to choose his own HC and staff. The move was right for the Jets, it was right for Rex Ryan and it was right for the fans! I offer my sincerest congratulations to Mr. Johnson for doing the right thing for all parties involved.
Time to tell me what you folks think of the unfolding news. Along with Ryan and Idzik, there will be many changes to the Jet infrastructure. Did owner Woody Johnson take the appropriate action this morning? I believe he did. Let’s talk Jet Football!