While Bassett was out in Los Angeles for the Blogs With Balls conference and the Collegiate Bowl, he was able to talk to Doug Farrar, the editor of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner blog. Doug covers the Seahawks pretty closely and was able to give Bassett some insight into what he brings to the table.
Based on what you know about the way the Jets and the Seahawks run their organizations, what is the single best principal/theme/etc Idzik will bring with him to New York?
The primary meme in Seattle is “Always Compete,” and that comes from the top in head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. Carroll will not give anyone a roster spot or a starting spot who can’t earn it — witness his move before the season to name Russell Wilson his starting quarterback over Matt Flynn as a perfect example — and that extends to and through the entire organization. Idzik, therefore, thrived in a very competitive environment in which every person’s performance is judged and audited in a positive but unsparing fashion. As a result, Idzik has seen the positive effects of a culture in which everyone on the field, and in the front office — earns his or her position every day. That’s an important thought process for a Jets team that has seen a few too many guys get roster and starting spots when those spots don’t seem to make a lot of sense.
The folks who work in administration tend to be more behind the scenes and get less glory than a head of college scouting … what do you hear about Idzik and his strengths / weaknesses?
His best strength — and the one the Jets will need the most as they look to revamp a team while in “Cap Hell” is that he understands player value. He’s also learned how important it is for a head coach and GM to work hand in glove, as Carroll and Schneider do. No point in getting a speed receiver who can’t block when you need your receivers to man up in run support. No point in getting a big fatty when you’re short a couple of three-techs. Idzik knows how personnel runs successfully from top to bottom.
His biggest weakness might be that while he does have some scouting experience, he doesn’t have a long-standing specific personnel background in the NFL, and as much as he gets the salary cap and the CBA, this is not a league that warms up to guys who need time to get it right. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him arm himself with a very strong personnel staff to fill in any gaps. He does have a coaching and scouting background to a degree, which will help him when he steps out of the boardroom.
Idzik is rumored to keep up on his college scouting some for John Schneider … are there any players (college or even pro) that you’ve heard tales on that Idzik was an important influence in terms of bringing into the organization?
Not specifically that I know of. To date, I know Idzik to be more of a behind-the-scenes player.
Do you know much about his personality? Is he the type of GM who can stand up to an overly enthusiastic Rex Ryan?
From what I know, he’s a good integrator and a good consensus thinker. What will happen when he goes up against strong voices with some very controversial decisions that need to be made on that team remains to be seen. I’m still pretty concerned about Woody Johnson’s recent statements about how he’s a “football guy.” As we’ve seen in Dallas over the last two decades, a strong-willed owner can run off some pretty impressive football minds. If Idzik is given the control he needs to drop the hammer when he needs to, I think he’s capable of that. If he’s asked to “facilitate” while Rex and Woody run roughshod, I don’t know any GM who can overcome that. He’ll need to be given his own voice and his own power structure.
Who are his “guys” or “guy” we can expect him to import?
Not sure about this.