The decision-making council of the New York Jets consists of three core members: general manager John Idzik, head coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson to a lesser degree.
Coaches, owners and executives aren’t expected to always agree on matters of running a football team—that’s why they have each other and separate areas of expertise. But while making decisions in conjunction with one another it always helps if those in charge of making important decisions for the ball club are at least on the same wavelength.
It’s crucial for running any successful organization. Most notably when looking at the position their team is in, the direction they want to go in and how they are going to get there. With the Jets, it doesn’t look like that council is on the same page. What’s the plan for the 2014 New York Jets? We would all like to know but the answer would be different depending who you’re looking to for answers.
The gray area thickens when the coach and owner seem to be in one place with the GM in another, going by his own agenda. I’m sure there’s a method to his madness but when they aren’t all singing the same tune it really makes the organization look bad. Woody recently talked about having a ‘win-now’ type of outlook with the Jets and we already know Ryan feels the same. He got extended through 2015 but we can bet that if the Jets fail to make the playoffs, he’s getting the can. Idzik isn’t giving off the same vibe as the other two, taking a more calculated and deliberate path to his decisions.
Several talented players at multiple key positions have been available with Idzik lying in wait, not making a move. At the same time we’ve heard through the cracks about both Woody and Ryan wanting to jump at the chance to nab certain players that the Jets later failed to close. Idzik isn’t quite as urgent as the other two in his approach—in fact it looks as though he doesn’t even have the same one.
After the Eric Decker deal, it looked like the Jets were bound to go get another receiver for whoever plays quarterback, preferably one capable of being the lead man and taking some pressure off Decker. However Idzik didn’t add anyone else, perhaps waiting for the draft. Then DeSean Jackson became available; someone Woody spoke about the team being interested in but it turns out Idzik wasn’t sold on the dynamic playmaker and New York missed out. Instead, the waiting game continued and before Jackson committed to Washington the Jets took a flier on much cheaper speedster Jacoby Ford.
The Jets have also passed on several difference-makers on the defensive side during free agency. They stayed quiet early while cornerbacks went everywhere but to them and eventually had, then lost Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie (who Rex ‘badly’ wanted) to the Giants before botching an attempted re-signing of Antonio Cromartie. The Jets are now hoping they get lucky with the health of former Dolphin Dimitri Patterson, who they inked to a one-year deal.
There’s also been no safety help added, something you would think becomes a priority with just Dee Milliner and Kyle Wilson to start at corner. Veterans that could help a young defensive backfield like Ryan Clark sat on free agency for weeks without the Jets taking any sort of aggressive pursuit.
Just because there’s money to spend doesn’t mean it should be done frivolously, but it also doesn’t mean so many dollars should get sat on. The Jets could be a much improved team even before the draft had they been more aggressive in free agency at their need positions, adding more wide receiver depth and the same in the defensive backfield. As someone who gave Idzik the benefit of the doubt for his patience at first, I must admit that it’s worn thin as bundles of players who could help the Jets scatter all over the NFL on new teams.
It comes off as Ryan and Woody being ready to go ‘all-in’ on this Jets team but Idzik’s patience (we’ll call it that) has likely kept the 2014 roster from being all it can be.
Part of the reason for Jet optimism was the resources they have to work with this offseason but the fact is that this team hasn’t improved enough from the one that ended 2013 with a surprisingly positive 8-8 record. We expected to see the GM use the salary cap space the Jets have at their disposal to bolster the roster and make this team the playoff contender he and Jet nation hopes it can be.
Idzik is currently in his second offseason with the club but the first in which he needs to make major financial decisions. He’s made a couple of money-saving moves like cutting Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie but hasn’t been quick to add onto the Jets roster. That would be fine if there weren’t several holes to fill.
There’s still almost $30 million to spend for the upcoming season, so maybe there’s more to come from the Jets. So far, it’s been disappointing to see the lack of upgrades on the roster and we aren’t sure what this team will be in 2014. It looks a lot like a lack of chemistry between within council of decision makers is at least partly to blame for that.