By Eric Schmidt

Heading into the 2013 NFL regular season, the New York Jets appeared to be one of the largest train wrecks in the league. A huge quarterback controversy, locker room issues, there was a broad consensus that the Jets might be lucky to win four games this season. The Jets didn’t win four games this season, they won eight and were in the mix for a possible wildcard berth up until week 17. Whether you like head coach Rex Ryan or not, I believe he did a remarkable job this season with very little on offense to offer.

There is a new sheriff in town for the Jets, and his name is John Idzik, concluding his first-year as the team’s general manager. With the salary cap issues surrounding the Jets heading into 2013, it was curious which front office executive would be wanting to take over control of the rudder for the New York front office after the team fired Mike Tannenbaum. Idzik has done a more than solid job in his first year.

Idzik is working with a head coach that he didn’t hire. With personnel he didn’t draft or have a say in drafting. Head coach Rex Ryan entered the year on one of the hottest head coaching seats in the league. Somehow, this team was able to manage an 8-8 regular season record while starting a rookie quarterback with serious turnover issues. Was it luck? Was it coaching?

When the Jets lost, they lost big. 7 losses by 10 or more points.

Rex Ryan was not fired, but given a one-year extension. Ryan will be working as a lame-duck coach in 2014, but for the man who is big on bravado, step up. Ryan has guaranteed more Super Bowl championships than Joe Namath. It’s time for him to put up or shut up. The Jets coach is like the irritating guy you sit next to at a local tavern, always talking, always bragging, but he’s likeable enough, and you buy him a beer.

But, is he the man to lead the Jets to a possible Super Bowl appearance? Who knows, crazy things happen during the course of an NFL season and the AFC looks a bit sketchy after this season. A one year extension by the front office was a good thing, but it could also backfire if Ryan gets too much control in the 2014 draft.

The Jets are clearing tens of millions on their salary cap and have 9 draft picks in the upcoming draft. Idzik needs to step in and intervene on the draft picks this year. New York has a solid defense but they need massive help on offense. It was a pedestrian offense at best this year for the Jets while rookie Geno Smith averaged just 15 pass attempts a game in a pass heavy league where scoring records were set nearly every week.

And while Rex Ryan gets a one-year stay of execution, Geno Smith gets no automatic pass to become the starter in 2014 either from Idzik.

On Tuesday, Idzik told reporters that no position is safe heading into 2014. He stated that “we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can.” He added that he was happy Smith was a member of the Jets organization. A member that turned the ball over 28 times and was sacked 43 times while throwing just 12 touchdowns.

Between November 11 and December 1, Smith completed just 29 completions on 74 attempts for four games. He had a stretch of contests where he completed, 8,8 9 and four passes. These are Tim Tebow numbers.

I believe if you are a New York Jets fan, you should be pleased at the leadership from Idzik. This could have been a 2-14 season for you. Instead, it turned out 8-8 and he has laid down the law for 2014, produce or you are gone. That leadership has been missing from the Jets organization for a while now.

If this team goes heavy on offensive talent in 2014, they might make another run at the playoffs next year with the right selections. And Rex Ryan’s job is clearly on the line. Idzik looks to be a solid hire for the Jets as they try to right the ship.

 

 

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