The Jets announced their training-camp schedule and, in a surprise, they eliminated the annual night practice at Hofstra -- an insult to their Long Island fan base. When they left Hofstra after the 2008 preseason, the Jets promised to maintain a connection to Hofstra (their home for 40 years) and their Long Island roots. They did it in 2009 and 2010, making the bus trip to Long Island, but 2011 was rained out and 2012 was cancelled because of the presidential debate at Hofstra -- or so we were told.
The team released a statement on the decision to skip Hofstra, saying, "Although our plans did not materialize this year, it is nonetheless an ongoing priority for us" -- meaning hosting events and practices on Long Island and Queens. The statement didn't say why it didn't happen this year; a team spokesman declined to elaborate. Over the years, I've heard coaches and players call it an inconvenience, a disruption to the training-camp regimen.
Personally, I think it's a small price to pay. For many fans, this was their only chance to see the Jets in training camp. Upstate Cortland is at least four hours from Long Island, and Florham Park, N.J., where they will hold an open practice Aug. 21, is a two-bridge commute. Some Long Island-based fans are upset. One of the fan web sites, JetsInsider.com, organized a online petition that produced nearly 200 signatures from folks that want to see the team on Long Island, if only for a cameo appearance.
It's not like the Jets are unwanted. Stony Brook University, about 35 miles east of Hofstra, is also willing to host them for a practice this summer, according to Jim Fiore, the school's director of athletics. Stony Brook has upgraded its facilities in recent years and would be a terrific, fan-friendly location. If it's too late for this training camp, it's something to consider down the road. The school would love to be part of the Jets' future. The team's contract with Cortland expires this year, it should be noted.
A goodwill trip to Long Island would be a nice PR move at a time when the the Jets could use the positive publicity. Here's an idea: Buy a bull and turn him loose on the field. That would surely attract Rex Ryan.
With training camp approaching, only 29 draft picks remain unsigned leaguewide, three of whom are Jets -- Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson and Geno Smith. What's taking so long ?
John Idzik has a reputation for being a hardline negotiator, and -- like many GMs -- he's being challenged on the issue of offset language in fully guaranteed contracts. This has become a hot-button topic around the league, and it's believed to be the primary hurdle in the Milliner and Richardson negotiations.Since the current CBA went into effect in 2011, the Jets have always demanded offsets for their first-round picks. In fact, the Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples contracts include offset language. From all indications, Idzik has no intention of changing the organizational policy.But here's the rub: More and more teams are doing deals without offsets. In fact, the three top-10 picks who have signed -- Luke Joeckel (Chiefs), Ezekiel Ansah (Lions) and Tavon Austin (Rams) -- all received contracts with no offset clauses. Milliner was the ninth pick, Richardson the 13th. Thus, they will sign four-year deals for $12.66 million and $10.05 million, respectively, give or take a few nickels. Total value is the easy part.
The rookie wage scale has streamlined negotiations, but the offset matter has complicated things a bit. Hey, agents and teams need to argue about something, right ?
Offset language means teams recoup future guaranteed money if they cut a player and he signs elsewhere. Whatever the player earns from his new team is subtracted from what the old team owes him. It prevents "double dipping" by the player. The Jets gave a no-offset deal to Mark Sanchez last year (pre-Idzik), but they haven't done it for a rookie.Another issue in the Milliner and Richardson talks could be signing-bonus payout. I'm told that Idzik is a staunch believer in holding on to as much money as possible, deferring bonus payments.Idzik is on the clock because the Jets' rookies are due to report Monday. They can't afford to miss any time, especially Smith, who is battling Sanchez for the quarterback job. So why the delay with Smith ?
Smith is one of only three second-round picks who remain unsigned. Because his contract won't be fully guaranteed, there's no issue with offset language. However, it's believed that the Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick rookie deals from 2011 are impacting the Smith negotiations.As quarterbacks, Dalton (No. 35 overall) and Kaepernick (No. 36) received a higher percentage of guaranteed money than some of those drafted around them. For instance, 74 percent of Kaepernick's four-year, $5.124 million contract is guaranteed, according to overthecap.com. There's no doubt that Smith (No. 39) is looking for a sweeter deal than some of those ahead of him. The 38th pick, LB Manti Te'o, received a 62 percent guarantee on his $5.172 million. You can bet Smith wants to be in the Dalton/Kaepernick neighborhood.
Idzik was described by one source as "unbendable." We'll find out more about him in the coming days.
Jets GM John Idzik is meticulous and highly respected
Near the end of John Idzik's pre-draft news conference on Wednesday, a media session peppered mostly with questions about whether star cornerback Darrelle Revis would be traded, the Jets' recently hired general manager was asked about any concerns he might have about being viewed negatively if he traded the team's best player.
Idzik's eyes narrowed, and he stared directly at his questioner.
"I don't look at it like that. I never look at it as how I am being viewed,'' he said. "That does not enter my mind, to be honest. It is really all about the Jets and any decision we make, especially those of very high magnitude, we are going to put a lot of thought into. We are going to do what is best for the New York Jets.''The exchange was reminiscent of another one Idzik had, this one far more private, yet just as revealing about how the man entrusted with the Jets' future operates. It was nearly 18 years ago when former Tampa Bay Buccaneers public relations man Chip Namias was talking to Idzik about some of the decisions facing the organization, which still was struggling to emerge from a decades-long run of failure.
"We used to chat about personnel stuff going on with the Buccaneers, and one time, he was telling me something that they were contemplating, or that he was recommending,'' said Namias, who couldn't recall the specific player being mentioned. "I was kidding around with John and said, 'Jeez, I don't know if that will be very popular. You could lose your job.' I was clearly kidding around, but he got very serious and basically said to me, 'If I ever do something that's in the best interests of this football team and it costs me my job, that's fine, because it's not about me. It's never about me. It's about what's best for this football team and what will make them a winner. If I had to do something for this team that I knew would help us but that I would lose my job, I'd do it in a heartbeat.'''It's something that Namias, who is now president of Los Angeles-based Athlete & Event Sports Public Relations, never has forgotten. It speaks to the very core of who Idzik is and how he goes about his job. Which in this case is the Herculean task of reconfiguring a Jets' franchise coming off two straight non-winning seasons.
Hard work brings success
Those who have been around the 52-year-old Idzik at various stages of his career believe he ultimately will succeed, in large part because of the methodical approach he takes and the courage of his convictions.Whether it is deciding what happens next with a star player like Darrelle Revis or considering which undrafted free agents to sign, Idzik's meticulous attention to detail, a willingness to gather information from a variety of sources within the organization and a lifetime spent around football bode well for his latest and most daunting task.
The next steps come in this week's draft, which could be preceded by a trade of Revis. Whatever the case, those who know Idzik best believe he's up to the challenge."John will be very methodical in how he acts, and you will not see him flying by the seat of his pants. He will think things out very carefully,'' said former Cardinals general manager Rod Graves, who has known Idzik since the two were ball boys for the Eagles when their fathers worked for the organization nearly four decades ago.Graves hired Idzik in 2004 as the team's senior director of football operations, and the two spent three seasons together before Idzik was hired by the Seahawks in 2007. The Cardinals went to the Super Bowl after the 2008 season."John is extremely thorough, and he has a big benefit in having worked on the scouting end of it, in the administrative end of it and on the salary-cap end of it,'' Graves said. "He's very creative in finding solutions to salary-cap problems and all the complexities of the cap and contracts.''
Building a team
Idzik has put those skills to good use with the Jets, who were forced to shed salaries of veteran players like Bart Scott, Calvin Pace, Eric Smith and Sione Po'hua. The Jets have since re-signed Pace to a one-year deal, although it has been a financially challenging situation to deal with cap problems.
Revis' contract situation ultimately may play a part in whether he is traded this week or perhaps later in the year."John and I spent a lot of late nights together talking football, talking philosophy, talking about what matters most,'' Graves said. "He's been around football all his life, and he understands the importance of what it takes to build a team.''
Case in point : In 2004, just two years into the career of former Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, it was Idzik who urged Graves to renegotiate Boldin's contract rather than risk letting him get to free agency. Graves didn't necessarily want to make that move."I remember vividly a conversation we had about Anquan, because he was such a playmaker,'' Graves said. "We were trying to make a decision at that stage as to whether or not we were going to bite off the apple for a new contract. Once we signed that deal, it took a year or two, but we felt like we had a great deal in our pockets. I give John credit for having the vision and foresight to understand what the [contract] numbers meant for us then and down the road.''
Graves, the son of former Eagles personnel man Jackie Graves, first met Idzik when the two hung around Eagles' camp in the early 1970s. Idzik's father, John, a lifelong coach who went on to become the Jets' offensive coordinator from 1976-79, brought his son to training camp, where he and Graves got to know each other during the summers they spent there. Graves had lost touch with Idzik over the years, but reconnected when he went on a scouting assignment at Duke, where Idzik was a graduate assistant football coach for the Blue Devils in 1991-92."As ball boys, we were just kids, having fun and being around players like Harold Carmichael and other guys that were heroes to us,'' Graves said. "Once we reconnected, I followed John, and when we had a chance to hire him in Arizona, it was at a very opportune time. He did a lot for our organization.''
Gaining valuable experience
The message is the same from just about everyone who has worked with Idzik: hard working, smart, deliberate, thorough and passionate about the sport he'd grown up a part of with his dad's assorted jobs. John Idzik Sr., who is 84 and suffers from dementia, was a fullback at the University of Maryland in the 1940s and went on to a career in coaching. He worked with 10 organizations in a 27-year period, and eventually coached the Jets' quarterbacks and called plays for head coach Walt Michaels. The two parted ways after Idzik disagreed with Michaels about whether Richard Todd should have been the Jets' starter. Idzik preferred Todd, while Michaels settled on Matt Robinson in what had been a heated quarterback controversy.
The younger Idzik attended Jets' training camps at Hofstra, often driving to and from camp with former defensive tackle Joe Klecko, who lived near the Idziks' home in suburban Philadelphia. Idzik was a receiver at Dartmouth when he got to know Klecko."His dad and I would ride together all the time,'' Klecko recalled in an interview. "His family was a football-oriented family. His dad played and coached, so Johnny was always built around football. I think he learned from his father the coaching side of it was harder than the management side, so I guess he chose a more direct route.
"I think his dad was a class guy," Klecko said. "It was very subdued as far as John was concerned. There was never an argument with Walt and him. John wasn't going to win that. He handled it like a gentleman and a trouper. You never heard a lot of rhetoric.''
Klecko believes the coach's son will do well in his new role, despite the challenges ahead. But only if Jets owner Woody Johnson gives him the latitude -- and the time -- to fix what's wrong."We all understand how teams work and there's one guy who calls the shots and he writes the checks and if that guy [Johnson] wants him to rearrange things and do well for making his team a winner, I think giving [Idzik the reins is a positive thing for Mr. Johnson.''
Any particular advice for Idzik?
"He's got to gain some weight,'' Klecko cracked. "He's too skinny. He has to be able to look like a tough guy. As far as his ability, though, he's well prepared. I have nothing but high regard for him doing the job.''Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens first met Idzik when the two played at the school; Teevens was a senior quarterback, while Izdik was a freshman receiver. Teevens noticed even then that Idzik was willing to put in the work to get better . . . even if his upside was limited."The good Lord may not have blessed John with speed, but he had a quick, reactive mind and good hands, and he worked to be very meticulous and very specific with what he did,'' said Teevens, who keeps in contact with Idzik. "I think that's the way he approaches his job now. Football is hugely important to him, studying, evaluating.''
Enjoying his work
After graduating from Dartmouth, Idzik coached receivers at the University of Buffalo and then decided to join the corporate world. He worked at IBM for six years, but longed to make a living at his passion.
In 1990, he was an assistant coach with the Aberdeen Oilers of the British American Football League, and joined Duke as a graduate assistant. Two years later, he was hired by the Bucs."John's personality is very even-keeled, so it's tough to rattle him or ruffle him,'' Teevens said. "He's very prepared, and, given the environment, I think his personality fits the needs of the job. He'll do his research, do his homework, establish the relationship and get the job done. He's a grinder. I think it's a wonderful selection.''
Falcons president Rich McKay, the former GM of the Buccaneers who gave Idzik his first job in the NFL as a personnel assistant in 1993, believes Idzik is up to the task."He's as hard working as you're going to get,'' McKay said of Idzik, who eventually became the Bucs' assistant general manager. "He's very dedicated, and he does not like to lose, so he has a lot of those good traits. A very smart guy. I turned the negotiating and salary-cap stuff over to John pretty quickly because he was so good at it. He was very bright and did a great job.
"His work ethic was off the charts,'' McKay said. "When we were in free agency, he pulled all-nighters many times. That's who he is. Jerry Angelo and I might have at some point said to John, 'That's enough,' but he wouldn't have it.''McKay remembers when former Bucs coach Tony Dungy issued a somewhat informal edict that everyone in the building had to go home to their families, lest they risk burnout."Tony didn't want the coaches to stay all night, and that became a sore subject between John and I,'' McKay said. "We'd get to Thursday, and we didn't want anyone working past 8 p.m., but John was having none of that. He's a working fool.''
One of Idzik's biggest deals in Tampa was negotiating the contract for former Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who was traded to the Bucs in 2000 for two first-round picks. Even Johnson came away impressed with Idzik's talents."He's a good man,'' Johnson said. "John will do a good job with the Jets. He knows football. He's very, very sound.''
Cardinals general manager Steve Keim, who has been with the organization since 1999, said Idzik's background offers a unique perspective for his new job."John is a guy that I have a great deal of respect for,'' Keim said. "Coming up through the scouting department, John was always thought of in many league circles as a money guy, as a salary-cap guru. That, to me, is the farthest thing from the truth. John's dad was a successful NFL coach so John's been around it since he was a child. The first impression John made on me was that he isn't just a money guy, but when I say that he does have a tremendous amount of knowledge when it comes to the salary cap, business in general.
"But John is also a football guy. He knows players, he knows talent. He has a unique eye for evaluating players. And I think he's one of those guys when I look at the big picture and spectrum in the NFL, he's one of those general managers who has it all. He has the ability to do the business and the managing side, the money side, as well as understanding the talent side. A lot of general managers have strengths and weaknesses. I don't see where John has any weaknesses.''
Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who worked alongside Idzik before the Jets hired him, is also impressed with his credentials."I met him a long time ago as a pro scout, so I know he was scouting before he got into the whole cap stuff,'' Schneider said. 'He did the cap stuff because when the cap came into effect he was the smartest man in the building to negotiate contracts. Those guys tend to get [pigeonholed].
"He's an incredibly smart, very patient football man,'' Schneider said. "He's one of those guys that, when you talk about general managing, people don't necessarily understand what that term is. It's not just evaluating talent, it's working with every department, budgets in every department, managing people, evaluating people, doctors, trainers, scouts. There's a lot that goes into it and he's seen it all. He has all the experience. He's never a guy who panics or gets frustrated. He's a real even-keeled guy and that's the thing, in my opinion, why he's going to be so successful there.''
A long time ago my boy Herm Edwards said this famous quote, “ You play to win the game!”. It was such a novel and radical idea that he repeated it several times to the media that couldn’t understand such a simple concept about a struggling franchise.
That being said, with so many people lauding John Idzik before the Jets have taken even one regular season snap, I have to ask. Who is going to score points on this team??? It feels to me that this team has been put together on home shopping network or with clearance players you’d find just before the checkout aisle at Costco. The Jets receivers are the equivalent of the Mets outfielders in MLB. Unlike the Mets though, the Jets have a little bit of cap room to sign a veteran receiver to help them out.
Last year the anemic passing game featured starting wide receivers of Jeremy Kerley and Jason Hill, Jeremy Kerley and Chaz Schillens, or Jeremy Kerley and Clyde Gates at certain times. This is of course following the foot injury of Holmes, knee injury to Hill, and groin injury to Keller. So can someone explain to me how this year is going to be any different with Holmes still on the shelf, Hill still returning from injury and a depth chart of Jeremy Kerley and castoffs?
I’m sorry but it can’t. What makes matters more irritating for me is that it doesn’t seem to be getting mentioned. Do the decision makers feel that Jordan White,
Zach Rogers, Ben Obomanu, or some other guy that is a practice squad player will make the jump to productive starting receiver? I am confused. Are we still playing to win the game?
The only thing I hear mention of is Chris Ivory who was hurt nearly half his college career and as recently as 2011 sat out 6 games. Do we expect him to make it through 16 games unharmed? Call me a pessimist, but I expect 12 games out of him. And if teams start to load the box to stop him, I don’t see any threats in Kellen Winslow’s shaky knees at tight end. This team needs a proven, stable, reliable wide receiver that can start and make catches. He doesn’t have to be a superstar, just a Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin steady catch machine.
If fans and media are going to criticize Mike Tannenbaum for putting together a cash eating team, all while saying Idzik his replacement has fixed the holes, I am going to say where is the commitment to putting together a team that can score points? To me scoring points equals winning, and this current roster has bottom 5 points scored written all over it. You can’t blame that on Sanchez either. You have to put that on Idzik, and the quality of the receivers themselves.
Currently the Jets kicked the tires on Mike Sims-Walker, but not on Steve Breaston, Braylon Edwards, Laurent Robinson, Austin Collie, or Brandon Lloyd. I’m calling it now in July. By the end of August, the Jets will be (or should be) desperately combing through the waiver wire for anyone with a reliable set of hands or Idzik will come under fire early on for knowingly not putting together a more competitive team
An interesting wrinkle developed yesterday in the relationship between new Jets general manger John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan.
It looks like Ryan might not be as powerful as he once was.
Idzik said Ryan does not have the final say on who the starting quarterback will be. Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith are fighting it out for the job, but Idzik said it’s not up to just Ryan to name the starter, and the GM will play a big part in picking the QB.“My role? Well, I have a pretty big role in that,” Idzik said. “I think we’re going to discuss that, much like we do anything. It’s going to be a collective opinion. We’re going to hash it out, and it’s not limited to quarterbacks. I know that’s front stage and center, but it’s every position, everything that we do. It could be discussing schemes, different approaches to training camp. I think you’ve noticed that we’ve changed our schedule around a little bit. We’ll discuss everything.”It’s not unusual for the GM to have a say in personnel matters, but generally who starts is a coaching decision. But the dynamic between Idzik and Ryan is different than most GM/coach relationships because Idzik inherited Ryan when he was hired in January rather than being permitted to hire his own coach.
Idzik, who is in his first stint as a GM, said the Jets will have a number of meetings with himself, Ryan, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, quarterbacks coach David Lee and their scouts to talk about the quarterbacks and other positions. When pressed on who has the final say, though, Idzik would not say it’s Ryan’s.“It’s a collaborative effort, guys,” Idzik said. “It’s not how it seems that you wake up one morning and everybody’s waiting out with bated breath on someone with the scroll. That’s not it. Especially this decision, there’s so much that goes into it. It’s not going to be a surprise to anybody in the room. I don’t feel like when we make the decision and there’s a lot of input. There’s input from our offensive staff. There’s input from our scouts. There’s input from, of course, me and Rex. We sit down and talk about this on a daily basis. I think when we reach the culmination of gathering all that stuff, deciphering it and making the decision that it’s not a surprise. There’s not friction there or a surprise at the end.”
When the Jets arrived at training camp Thursday, Ryan indicated the decision would be his after gathering input from others.“When I make that decision, clearly I’ll feel great about it,” he said. “And not just me, but I’ll lean on several other people. But, it has to be the right decision.”Ryan twice had to make a decision on whether to switch quarterbacks last December. At that time, Ryan said it was his decision who would start after gathering input from his staff and the front office.
Idzik said he believes they all will be on the same page when it comes to choosing between Smith and Sanchez.“When you look at who’s going to play, Rex and I are going to talk about that freely,” Idzik said.” I’d like to believe and it has been the case so far that if you put in that time and effort when you make the decision, you feel like it’s a we decision. It’s not one individual. It’s not someone drops the gavel and does something counter to what the Jets want to do. We’re all pulling the same direction.”
Mark Sanchez during an informal Jets practice this month organized by Sanchez at his high school alma mater in California.
The Jets descend again Thursday on Cortland, N.Y., where they were last spotted not knowing what to do with Tim Tebow. Of course, Tebow is gone, and so, too, after a failed experiment in a failed season,are the general manager,the 3 coordinators, 7 other coaches and 10 starters, including the best cover cornerback in the league.Training camp is a time for optimism, and, right now, 32 teams in the N.F.L. absolutely, positively believe that they will advance to the Super Bowl. The teams that feature outstanding quarterbacks, a sturdy defense and a flock of offensive weapons are considered favorites. Then there are the Jets, who can reasonably count on Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, on Muhammad Wilkerson and Antonio Cromartie. Beyond that, their hopes, unlike those of the Denver Broncos or the Seattle Seahawks, are rooted in the hypothetical.
It is hardly an exact science, but one can almost evaluate a team’s chances of contending by listing how many things must go right. Engaging in that exercise for the Jets would require the left side of a legal pad. A sampling :
■ The winner of their quarterback competition — be it Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith — plays the position at a higher level than it has been played during the last two seasons, minimizing turnovers while directing an offense that is efficient and balanced and scores more than a paltry 17.6 points per game. Certainly it would help if ...
■ Santonio Holmes shows no lingering effects from the serious foot injury that cost him the final 12 games of last season, emerging again as a reliable No. 1 receiver who opens up the field for Jeremy Kerley; Braylon Edwards, who took a physical exam Wednesday; and ...
■ Stephen Hill, who overcomes the drops and inconsistency that plagued his rookie season to flourish in ...
■ Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast scheme, which stresses shorter, horizontal routes and emphasizes precision and timing. The change in coordinators revitalizes the offense and transforms a group replete with modest and inexperienced players into an above-average unit that profits from ...
■ A stable of largely unproven running backs who can catch passes out of the backfield and slash between the tackles, their production alleviating the pressure on ...
■ A defense that regains its snarl, generating a consistent pass rush from creative blitzes and a promising young line; benefits from the rapid adjustments made by as many as seven new starters; and receives lockdown cornerback play from Cromartie and ...
■ Dee Milliner, who in his rookie season demonstrates why he was viewed as the top cornerback in the draft, excelling in man-to-man coverage as comparisons — inevitably, unfairly — to Darrelle Revis are bandied about. One man unlikely to voice that connection, even for all of his bravado, is ...
■ Rex Ryan, who adored Revis but, because he adores this job even more, is determined to adore it for a little while longer. What is undoubtedly a transition year for the Jets is nonetheless a critical one for Ryan, whose ability to coax a winning season — or, at worst, a nonembarrassing one — from a roster gutted by an off-season overhaul might determine whether he returns in 2014.
Ryan insists that he is not bothered by the possibility that this might be his final year with the Jets, if, after a full season of working with him, the new general manager John Idzik decides to bring in his own coach. So Ryan will try to integrate all the lessons he has learned over the past four years while channeling his coaching acumen from 2009. That is when he called defensive plays and ran defensive meetings, which he will do again this season as he revisits what was for him a successful formula. But the issue of his job security will percolate throughout the season until his status is defined, one way or another, which is why it is imperative that the major decisions Ryan makes — and those he has already made, such as hiring Mornhinweg — work out.Chief among them will be settling on the Jets’ starting quarterback for the Sept. 8 season opener against Tampa Bay, and, just as important, for every week thereafter. For even if Sanchez were to edge Smith in the competition, he would have to, in effect, convince Ryan in practice daily — and in games, especially — that he deserves to retain his job.
Already this training camp promises to be unlike any other of the Ryan era, with an unsettled quarterback situation; rampant turnover among the coaching staff and the roster; and, for the first time, a new boss watching it all. By the time their three-week sojourn in Central New York expires, the Jets will have practiced 14 times, held one intrasquad scrimmage and played in one preseason game — Aug. 9 in Detroit — providing evidence of their strengths and weaknesses accruing every day. They will still have nearly a month before games start to count, and even if the Jets do not reach any conclusions before they return to their home base of Florham Park, N.J. — Will it be Smith or Sanchez? Will Holmes be available for Week 1? Do they have enough depth in the secondary? — they will continue to expect that everything will go right.
NY Jets will need CB Antonio Cromartie in future, and extension for cornerback makes salary cap sense
Cromartie, of course, will have to prove that last year’s Pro Bowl season wasn’t an aberration. Despite missing Revis for much of the season, the Jets finished second in the league in pass defense in 2012.
New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie will be relied on more than ever this season.
John Idzik’s master plan remains a mystery, but his radical reconstruction needs to include Antonio Cromartie. The rookie Jets general manager must be pro-active with one of his most indispensable players amid all the turnover.
But does Cromartie want to be a Jet for life ?
“Oh, yeah... that’s the God’s honest truth,” Cromartie told the Daily News on Tuesday. “That’s something I’d love to happen. My family is enjoying it and I’m enjoying it here. We’re settled. This is where I want to finish my career.”Cromartie is entering the third year of a four-year, $32 million deal. He did a simple contract restructure this offseason to give the Jets some salary-cap relief, but Idzik needs to extend him after the 2013 season for a couple of reasons.
1) Cromartie comes with a team-high $14.98 million salary-cap charge in 2014 ($4.3 million base salary plus $5 million roster bonus plus other bonuses). Although it’s not ideal, the Jets could carry Cromartie at that price. (Idzik would free up more than $16.5 million by releasing Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes). It makes more sense to extend the Pro Bowl cornerback and spread a lower annual cap charge over a few years.
2) If the Jets don’t extend Cromartie after this season and make him play out the final year of his deal, they risk losing him to free agency. The problem with retaining him in 2015 by using the franchise tag? The franchise number for cornerbacks in 2015 will be $17.74 million. It’s unlikely that Idzik (or owner Woody Johnson) would be willing to pay that price for a defensive back after they refused to sign Darrelle Revis to a multi-year deal in that neighborhood this offseason.
Cromartie, of course, will have to prove that last year’s Pro Bowl season wasn’t an aberration. Despite missing Revis for much of the season, the Jets finished second in the league in pass defense in 2012 thanks, in part, to Cromartie’s ability to be an elite No. 1 cornerback.Cromartie ranked in Pro Football Focus’ Top 5 in coverage rating and quarterbacks completion percentage last season. He was sixth in passes defensed. Cromartie doesn’t believe that the Jets are in “rebuilding mode,” but he realizes that nothing is guaranteed with a new GM.“Everybody is still interviewing,” Cromartie said. “All 90 players are still interviewing. We got a new GM. I have this year and one more year. I’m still interviewing and that’s how I treat it.”
Cromartie may not be concerned with his contract situation, but Idzik certainly has a plan for what he wants to do even though there are so many unknown variables. Although Cromartie, easily the most athletic player on the roster, believes he has “five or six years left,” he will turn 30 after this season, which must be a serious consideration for a franchise that dismantled its roster this offseason with an eye toward the future.
John Idzik hoping Geno Smith will win Jets starting QB job
The New York Jets open up their preseason on Friday night with a game against the Detroit Lions and veteran signal-caller Mark Sanchez will be lining up under center. While Sanchez is set to get the initial start for the Jets, the quarterback competition is wide open and rookie Geno Smith has a real shot at winning the starting gig.
If Jets general manager John Idzik gets his way, the team will kick off the 2013-14 regular season with Smith as the starter.
From the New York Daily News :
Although Smith didn’t get the start, it’s no secret that first-year GM John Idzik hopes his second-round pick wins the job. Idzik probably doesn’t have a No. 7 tattoo yet, but give it time.
If Smith turns into the franchise quarterback Idzik hopes he can be, anything is possible.
Smith hasn’t been told whether he’ll start the second preseason game against the Jaguars at Met Life Stadium on Aug. 17, but given the open nature of the competition, it’s likely he will.
Smith has been able to take care of the ball more than Sanchez throughout training camp and if he can continue his success during the preseason action then he has a real shot at earning the top spot on the depth chart.
NY Jets GM John Idzik's terrible start may be end for Rex Ryan
The early returns on Idzik’s personnel evaluation skills are not good. His honeymoon officially ended 3 minutes, 49 seconds in the preseason opener when Mark Sanchez added to his ever-growing Pick-6 collection. The Jets were supposed to bring in a veteran quarterback this offseason to hold the fort before Geno Smith was ready to take over.
John Idzik (l.) and Rex Ryan seemed to be enjoying minicamp back in the spring but most of new GM’s moves have backfired, leaving Jets coach short on talented players.John Idzik stood in the losing locker room on Friday night as the man he hung out to dry spoke in somber tones about a team destined for irrelevance this season.
Rex Ryan showed no visible signs of anger after the Jets’ 26-17 preseason-opening loss to the Lions as he reviewed all the “self-inflicted things” such as turnovers and penalties that killed his team.“Obviously,” Ryan said, “We’ve got to do a heck of a lot of improving.”Ryan has decided to absorb the blame and criticism sure to come his way even though his general manager has done nothing to help his cause.Idzik was immediately embraced by a fan base disillusioned by the previous regime that repeatedly doled out bad contracts. Although Idzik’s resume was very similar to his predecessor, he was packaged as a “football guy” whose personnel evaluation would set him apart from Mike Tannenbaum.
It was a narrative steeped in fiction.
The early returns on Idzik’s personnel evaluation skills are not good.
His honeymoon officially ended 3 minutes, 49 seconds into the preseason opener when Mark Sanchez added to his ever-growing Pick-6 collection. The Jets were supposed to bring in a veteran quarterback this offseason to hold the fort before Geno Smith, who suffered a mild ankle sprain in the preseason opener, was ready to take over.
Idzik had a handful of serviceable options, but he went on the cheap and took an unnecessary gamble on David Garrard.
He could have signed Matt Hasselbeck — who would have been an ideal mentor for Smith — Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel, Tarvaris Jackson or Brady Quinn this offseason. He could have given up a 2014 fifth-round pick and 2015 conditional pick for Matt Flynn like the Raiders did.Although none of those quarterbacks is a franchise changer, it would have been a welcomed change from Sanchez, who’s already drawn the ire of a frustrated fan base.Instead, he went with a 35-year-old quarterback who hadn’t played a game in two seasons.
Garrard, not surprisingly, didn’t even make it to training camp due to his troublesome knees, leaving Ryan with the unenviable task of giving the same murky answers surrounding the mistake-prone Sanchez.
Kellen Winslow (r.), plagued by knee issues in recent years, has been John Idzik’s best off-season acquisition.
Although Ryan’s admission after the first preseason game that he was so engrossed with the defense that he didn’t get a chance to watch Sanchez or Smith play grabbed headlines, the real issue is that his GM didn’t fortify the position with another veteran.
Idzik’s missteps don’t end there.
His decision to sign running back Mike Goodson to a three-year, $6.9 million deal at the beginning of free agency has been an epic flop.
Goodson, dealing with legal issues stemming from an offseason arrest on drugs and weapons charges, has been the Jets’ own personal Waldo, nowhere to be found through the first two weeks of training camp. Idzik won’t say where Goodson is or when/if he’ll ever come back.
It was an embarrassing transaction for the first-time GM.
Idzik’s draft-day trade for Chris Ivory, who was expected to be the No. 1 running back, hasn’t worked out yet, either, leaving Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg with a depleted backfield.
Ivory, who has a history of injuries, has missed the first two weeks of practice and the first preseason game due to hamstring tightness.
John Griffin’s fractured leg in the preseason opener leaves the Jets with one dependable running back, Bilal Powell. Career underachiever Joe McKnight is as reliable as your local meteorologist.
Idzik threw a couple Hail Marys with Kellen Winslow and Braylon Edwards. Winslow, plagued by knee issues in recent years, has been Idzik’s best offseason acquisition.
However, the general manager did a poor job not finding a quality wide receiver to mitigate the loss of Santonio Holmes, whose timetable for a return from a severe foot injury is unknown.
Idzik’s stubbornness will preclude him from admitting these mistakes, but it all spells trouble for Ryan, who is left to defend a team that even Bill Belichick couldn’t win with.
Ryan’s future beyond this season remains in doubt. He’ll keep his job if the Jets show improvement from their six-win disaster a year ago. But how realistic is that?
His new boss didn’t exactly stack the roster to help him out.
I don’t do Fantasy Football.I don’t have time to update a roster every week.More than that, I don’t want to be in the press box secretly rooting for individual players. Nor do I want to keep up with the touchdowns being scored around the NFL when I’m trying to be an objective journalist covering a game.But I do have plenty of friends who play Fantasy Football and they’re nearly unanimous in their opinions to stay away from anyone playing for the Jets. They suggest the Jets roster is a toxic mix of unproven and unproductive players.
“Their skill-position people aren’t any good,” said Bill Zotti of Orlando, a longtime Fantasy Football player. “You’re not going to take their quarterback. You’re not going to take their running backs and you’re not going to take their wide receivers.”
AP (2); Bill Kostroun
DREAM ON: TE Jeff Cumberland (left), RB Chris Ivory (center) and WR Stephen Hill aren’t expected to put up big numbers this season, even though they may have big roles in the Jets’ offense.
Check out the 2013 Fantasy Football rankings on CBSSports.com, which offers three sets of rankings, and the Jets get no love. Geno Smith, the rookie from West Virginia, is the 31st-ranked quarterback (out of 32) on two of the three lists, while Mark Sanchez is nowhere to be found. Among the running backs, Chris Ivory is in the lower 20s, while Santonio Holmes, Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill are ranked in the 60s among the wide receivers. Kellen Winslow is near the bottom of the various lists of tight ends, while Nick Folk is ranked last among the kickers.
“Their offense isn’t going to get in the red zone enough to score points,” Zotti reasoned.
The Jets say it’s pure fantasy their offense will be inept in 2013.
“I believe in us,” said tight end Konrad Reuland. “Being a part of the offense, we expect nothing but to be the best. I think we have a lot of very talented pieces and we have great coaching that’s going to put us in position to win.”
There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the Jets’ talent. Their quarterback situation remains unsettled; Ivory only recently returned to practice; and with Holmes sidelined indefinitely after foot surgery, there is no proven big-play threat at wide receiver. Winslow, the Jets top choice at tight end, skipped practice yesterday because of his gimpy knees. Defensively, there could be as many as six or seven new starters. None is named Darrelle Revis. That’s enough to scare fantasy leaguers, though the Jets remain optimistic.
“I’d draft our whole team,” said offensive tackle Austin Howard, who doesn’t play Fantasy Football. “We have a lot of depth on the offensive line. Our linebackers know how to hit the hole. Our tight ends are up-and-coming and our quarterbacks are getting better every day. There isn’t one person I wouldn’t want to have on my fantasy team.”
What happens in Fantasy Football has little relevance to the Jets season, but the lack of proven players, especially at the skill positions is troubling. What the Jets’ need is one, two or three players to have breakout seasons the way wide receiver Victor Cruz did two years ago when the Giants won the Super Bowl.
Maybe Hill is that guy, but he’s still learning. Maybe it’s the speedy Clyde Gates, if he can get healthy after missing yesterday’s practice with a head injury. Maybe it’s tight end Jeff Cumberland or maybe it’s Ivory, though don’t look for him to gain a lot of rushing yards in Marty Mornhinweg’s pass-happy offense.
It would help if the starting quarterback is named soon, though head coach Rex Ryan hinted yesterday he may go into the final preseason game without making a choice. It also would be ideal for Holmes to get back on the field for the season opener against the Bucs, though that seems unlikely.
For now the Jets’ woes on offense are a harsh reality, especially to those building their teams for fantasy.
NY Jets rookie GM John Idzik had a plan, stuck to it, and it is already in shambles
Idzik was the point man pushing a two-man quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez for the better part of three months. The inexperienced GM ruined his own master plan in the span of four days.
Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez are fighting it out in camp, but rookie GM John Izdik (l.) may be having the roughest time of any of the Jets so far as his master plan falls apart in four days.Rookie general manager John Idzik programmed just about everyone in the organization to use simple talking points this offseason about how “competition” would be the mantra for the 2013 Jets. Everything was going to be an “open and fair” competition, especially at quarterback.Idzik was the point man pushing a two-man quarterback competition between Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez (after his failed David Garrard signing) for the better part of three months.
The inexperienced GM ruined his own master plan in the span of four days.
Smith, who suffered a sprained ankle in the preseason opener last Friday night, may miss Saturday’s preseason game against the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Rex Ryan admitted on Wednesday that Smith’s right ankle isn’t “close to 100% right now,” an indictment of the team’s decision makers who put him on the practice field beginning Sunday.Rather than give Smith a few days to rest his gimpy ankle, Idzik — who undercut Ryan early in training camp by proclaiming he’d have a “pretty big role” in the quarterback decision-making process and curiously refusing to say that the head coach had final say on the matter — green-lighted the idea to let the rookie practice early this week.Idzik, the de facto president of the Geno Smith Fan Club, unwittingly sabotaged the open and fair competition, which went from Smith’s to win to Sanchez’s to lose in four days, due to his myopic mind-set.Idzik let his desire for Smith to win the competition cloud the bigger picture. For a man who prides himself on making meticulous, well-reasoned decisions, the GM made a hasty one that may prevent his guy from winning.Idzik needs Smith, the rookie from West Virginia, to supplant Mark Sanchez at QB this season.
Smith’s motives to push through the pain are easy to understand. He felt that he was on the doorstep toward earning one of the 32 most coveted jobs in the NFL. However, Jets brass, led by Idzik, needed to take a wiser and more cautious approach.The Jets had five practices between the first and second preseason games. Smith would have almost certainly started against the Jaguars if he hadn’t been injured in Detroit.He still would have had ample time to prepare even if he missed the first two practices this week.The Jets increased the odds that the sprain would linger by allowing him to try to push through it. It made little sense.Anyone who has ever had a sprained ankle knows that the best remedy is rest.Ryan shares some of the blame for playing Smith, who was “brutal” during his four-interception practice on Wednesday, according to the head coach.“That was Geno’s worst day,” Ryan said. “Obviously, the ankle is part of it. Guys have bad days, but this was a really bad day for Geno.”
It shouldn’t have come as a shock. On Sunday, Smith hobbled around like a 40-something weekend warrior. On Monday, he looked slightly better. Although witnesses said that Smith appeared more fluid on Tuesday and Wednesday, Ryan's blunt assessment was a buzz kill for Geno supporters such as Idzik.Idzik & Co. were so blinded by the desire for the rookie to beat out Sanchez that they didn’t realize that they were hurting their own cause. If Smith misses the game on Saturday night, then Sanchez will win the job unless he implodes against the Jaguars.If Sanchez plays well on Saturday, Ryan won’t be able to justify starting Smith the following week. The third preseason game is usually the final dress rehearsal before the start of the regular season. The Week 1 starters typically play into the second half of the third preseason game, so starting Smith wouldn’t make any sense. (Ryan doesn’t play his key starters in the final preseason game).
The only scenario that can save Idzik is if Smith starts and somehow outplays Sanchez despite the gimpy ankle. It’s a longshot considering how the rookie has looked in practice this week.Idzik said that the organization would involve everyone from coaches to front-office members to scouts before coming up with a “collective” decision on the Week 1 quarterback.Somehow, all those people agreed that forcing the issue in early August with an injured rookie was a good idea.