(Long Island, N.Y.) Starting a new job can be difficult for anyone. Those first few days in your new surroundings, full of stares and simple pleasantries from the staff that is trying to size you up and figure you out. Probably scrutinizing everything that you say or do. That’s the norm in any work environment.
Now times that by a hundred if you’re John Idzik.
The new general manager of the New York Jets is not only having to deal with the whispers by the water cooler, but also the heavy scrutiny of the Metropolitan area media. Good luck, pal!
Following what team owner Woody Johnson labeled a “thorough search” that began right after Mike Tannenbaum was fired on December 31st, the Jets settled on someone who was not on their short list of choices. After being rebuffed by a number of candidates, Johnson decided on hiring Idzik, who spent the last six seasons as the vice president of football administration with the Seattle Seahawks. He has also spent time in the front offices of both the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beginning in 1993.
“John has seen first-hand what’s necessary to construct a winning team and has worked with some of the most innovative and successful coaches in the NFL, including Pete Carroll, Tony Dungy, Dennis Green, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “Drawing on 20 years of NFL experience, John – working with Rex (Ryan) – will get the Jets where all of us want to be.”
Easier said than done, especially with the salary cap situation. Luckily for Idzik, he has received high grades for being a good ‘bean counter,’ sort of like Tannenbaum was, except that Idzik also has prior experience in personnel matters, something that his predecessor lacked.
First and foremost, incumbent quarterback Mark Sanchez is expected to return due to the hit that his salary would do to the cap ($17 million on the books and $8.25 million guaranteed in 2013) if he is let go. So Idzik is inheriting a quarterback that has seen better days, as well as a head coach.
Ryan was part of the package deal that any perspective GM had to accept as part of the job. Johnson still loves his once-boisterous head coach and made it perfectly clear that Ryan will return next season before the GM search commenced. That may have eliminated some names on their list, especially after the first round of interviews. But for Idzik, this will be his first job as the main man in the front office, so he probably was a little more flexible than someone with prior GM experience.
“I am honored and extremely excited to be joining the New York Jets,” Idzik said in the same statement. “It has been enlightening getting to know Mr. Woody Johnson, Rex Ryan and Neil Glat, and I am very grateful for them making me feel very welcomed as a member of the Jets family. I am eager to get started building on the foundation that is already in place.”
A shaky foundation, if there ever was one.