When the New York Jets hired John Idzik in the beginning of 2013 no one knew what to expect from the first time general manager. Idzik reportedly had a very strong financial background but there were some questions about his experience in terms of handling and evaluating personnel.
In his first season with Gang Green John Idzik's hands for the most part were tied as he had to work on bringing in his own front office staff while dealing with bloated contracts, salary cap issues, and a team lacking significant talent. Idzik cleaned house to the best of his ability (including trading Darrelle Revis) and incorporated a low-risk, high reward approach to free agency to try to address some of the team's needs. The team ended the 2013 season at 8-8, but more importantly the organization had a significant amount of cap space (over $30 million) and a surplus of draft picks (12) to use going forward.
In his second season with the Jets John Idzik is now putting his fingerprints all over the organization. After deciding to retain head coach Rex Ryan Idzik installed a no-nonsense feeling throughout the organization starting with contract negotiations and player acquisitions. The Jets place values on players and stay true to their evaluations. In addition the culture around the team has changed and the phrase "Play like a Jet" has taken on a new meaning.
"Play like a Jet."
John Idzik along with head coach Rex Ryan have put a premium on strong character players that enjoy the game of football. Both Idzik and Ryan want smart, physical, high energy guys that are willing to leave it all out on the field for the organization. The Jets want a locker room full of teammates, not individuals looking to steal the headlines. To "Play like a Jet" now means to play smart, fast, and physical with a team first approach.
All about competition
Another imprint John Idzik is leaving on the organization is his competition at every position philosophy. The Jets general manager wants an environment where his players compete every day and there is not an ounce of complacency in the locker room. This approach became very evident during the 2014 draft as John Idzik used all 12 of his picks to address team needs. The Jets will have significant competition battles at several positions including wide receiver, cornerback, and quarterback. I am convinced that playing time will be earned if you are a member of Gang Green.
Heading in the right direction
Under the leadership of general manager John Idzik the New York Jets are clearly heading in the right direction. Idzik has formulated a plan for sustainable success which includes a pragmatic approach to free agency and a "Play Like a Jet" philosophy in the draft. John Idzik is putting together a team that will play for each other and believe in each other. Competition will bring out the best in this players and those dividends should pay off on the field. You could not ask for more out of a second year general manager that will be fielding a relatively young football team.