By Steve Silverman
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Now we know why the Jets hired John Idzik as general manager a year ago.
He’s a get-along guy. He wants to get along with owner Woody Johnson, and he wants to have a comfortable working relationship with Rex Ryan.
Idzik doesn’t want any trouble at the office. He wants to feel good about his working environment. He wants everybody to be happy and he wants football people to get along with each other.
There’s one problem with that. It takes vision and a winning future out of the equation. If Idzik was really interested in turning the Jets into a team that could compete with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots and swing the balance of power in the division, there’s no way he would be interested in the status quo and keeping Ryan as his head coach for the 2014 season.
Ryan is not a bad head coach, but it’s no longer his time. You can’t win in the NFL without a highly proficient offense. Ryan is a defensive coach and a good one, but he is not a competent offensive leader. It’s not about Marty Mornhinweg, either.
The Jets’ offensive coordinator got as much out of rookie Geno Smith as he could during his rookie season, but the message the Jets send with Ryan as head coach is that they don’t have to play the same kind of game as the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints or Seattle Seahawks.
They don’t need a multifaceted attack that features a high-level quarterback who has a wide variety of options at his disposal. The Jets are going to try to win in an old-school manner, with defense and a running game.
That model is not going to work in the NFL any longer and it hasn’t for a long time. The Baltimore Ravens used to be a dominant defensive team that won with a modicum of offense. However, after struggling for years with playoff failures, they hired John Harbaugh as head coach and drafted strong-armed Joe Flacco.
They changed their game plan and stretched the field with the medium-range and deep passes. They won the Super Bowl last year as they combined Flacco’s ability to get the ball deep with a semblance of a running game and a decent defense.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was the architect of the team’s rise to the top. Instead of being a get-along guy, he understood the changes in the modern game and rebuilt his team in a winning way.
The Chicago Bears have been a defensive-minded team for generations, but that turned around when they fired general manager Jerry Angelo after the 2011 season and hired Phil Emery to lead the team. He gave former head coach Lovie Smith one season to show what he could do with his defensive approach and then sent him packing.
He brought in an offensive guru in Marc Trestman, and the Bears became a dynamic team that was able to light up the scoreboard. Unfortunately, the defense got old and brittle, and it was unable to carry its own weight. However, the Bears have a team that has a chance to battle the best offensive teams in the league on even terms.
Emery was not interested in furthering his relationship with his defensive-minded head coach. He was not a get-along guy.
Idzik does not have the big picture in mind, and that’s why the Jets did not part company with Ryan on Black Monday. Idzik may not have offered Ryan a multi-year contract extension – at least there’s some hope for him – but it means the Jets will have at least one more year of frustration and gridlock with Ryan on the sidelines.
The Jets don’t play the modern game of football, and they won’t win until they do.
But at least they have Idzik, the get-along guy, who can go down the hall and feel good about his working relationship with Ryan.
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