NY Jets rookie GM John Idzik had a plan, stuck to it, and it is already in shambles
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.
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.
Sanchez surely thanks them for it.
Edited by T0mShane, 14 August 2013 - 11:27 PM.