NFL: Combine

Idzik taking the blame for the season: ‘Buck stops here’

General manager John Idzik said the blame is on him for the Jets’ 1-7 season so far.

“My performance to date has been unsatisfactory,” he said. “The buck stops here.”

Idzik even quoted Bill Parcells, saying “You are what your record says you are.”

The GM spoke for 20 minutes before taking questions from reporters, remarking that he believes in Rex Ryan, the coaching staff and the team he’s put together.

“I spend more time with Rex than I do with my wife and family,” Idzik said. “The last time I checked, all the traits that make Rex Ryan our leader, our coach, are still intact.”

Idzik defended his $21 million in cap space, saying the team would acquire players in any way possible, but the cap is so low because of cheap, young players.

“We have young players in impact positions on their first NFL contract,” he said. “Spending in this league does not translate into winning. Wise spending translates into winning.”

Brian Bassett,

Regardless of the words, if you watch the video of the whole thing, but particularly Idzik’s opening comments, it plays as one of the most awkward, wooden press conference I’ve ever seen.

And that’s saying something since this is an organization that has employed both Eric Mangini AND Bill Belichick.

I’m not looking to assign blame, but Idzik’s mea culpa felt weak and brittle.  For a guy who has been about the long-term plan, building foundations, constancy and competition the results have been anything but.

What happened to the confidence?  To the long-term vision?  Sure the Jets are 1-7 but he was so drastically different in his approach with the media than he’s been in almost two years.  It is hard to imagine that this press conference won’t be looped ad infinitum now and hung around his neck.

Idzik is right when he says that there’s been some “moments,” but there’s been more “un-moments” on balance through 24 games and the fact that more have come in his team’s second year over his first is definitely worrisome.  Is it just the old “darkest before the dawn” adage?  Hard to say.

As far as Idzik’s comments on spending, he’s falling into a logic trap.  If wise spending translates into wins then why weren’t players like Golden Tate wisely and most devotedly courted?  Tate might be the best free agent from last year’s class in retrospect.  Why wasn’t Brandon Flowers or Alterraun Verner pursued more aggressively?  Free agency might be a fool’s way to ruining a team expensively, but it can just as easily be a tool to truly better an organization.

Spending money doesn’t translate to wins, but not spending at all might have a higher correlation to losses.  Blaming the team’s lack of signing a player like Brandon Flowers thanks to Brian Winters’ “impact” and contract is ludicrous … I’d much rather have paid Geoff Schwartz $4 million per than watch Winters struggle on almost every snap and they could have signed a player like Flowers to boot.

At this point, the team’s woes aren’t just the coach’s or just the GM’s problem … they are both stuck with the stink of this 1-7 team and the falling on their swords might be the right move … but Idzik’s semi-frozen, forced approach might belie that he seemed to have trouble doing even that right.

He’s put himself at the mercy of the media in New York …

Good luck with that.

Idzik talks to the media about the Jets struggles through the first half of the season, and says he still supports Rex Ryan…

BGA: Worst. Play. Ever.

I’d more or less given up on the season, so this was for all intents and purposes a meaningless game, but the joke of a play the Jets tried early in the second half still had me fuming.

The Jets had some momentum before half time but their first drive of the second half was doomed to failure after a penalty backed them inside the 10 and then Michael Vick took an ill-advised sack near the goal line. Still, even after that gave the Bills good field position, the Jets were able to hold them to a field goal and this would be their chance to drive for a score like they had been doing in the second quarter and get it back to a one-possession game.

I was already annoyed that the Jets had been running the ball out of the end zone too often when starting at their 20 would have been a much higher percentage option. However, the lack of judgment shown on this next play was MIND-BOGGLING.

Percy Harvin fielded the punt at the back of his end zone and ran it out to the one yard line and then looked to throw a lateral to TJ Graham. Graham had been lying down on his stomach in the end zone in hopes that the Bills might not realize he was there. They did and Harvin had to eat the ball at his own two-yard line.

After the jump, I will be listing all the ways this was utterly stupid. It’s going to be a long list.

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Quote: Idzik on Rex

“I support Rex, I continue to support Rex and our coaching staff.”

-GM John Idzik on Rex Ryan

BGA: Backs to the Walls

Let’s start off our defensive backs recap by looking at the coverage breakdowns that led to the Bills’ biggest plays. As ever, this comes with the caveat that I won’t have seen the all-22 coaches film until tomorrow and that I can’t always be sure about what each player’s assignment was.

The first breakdown was something I mentioned in the linebacker’s review and saw Robert Woods line up on the right and then run across field in behind the linebackers to catch a 25-yard pass. While Antonio Allen was the nearest man to him, he basically just followed him across field having seen that nobody was covering in that area. It was David Harris that Woods ran in behind, on a play similar to one which the Jets have been burned on a number of times over the last month or so. It’s possible, however, that the safety on that side of the field (Calvin Pryor) had dropped too deep.

The next one was Woods’ 22-yard touchdown pass. On this play, Allen got turned around on a post-route and was unable to recover and knock the ball away on what effectively turned out to be a back-shoulder throw. With Allen playing him with outside technique, I wondered if he was expecting help to the inside. On this occasion, Dawan Landry was the safety on that side of the field, but he came up to to pick up a tight end underneath with Pryor dropping across. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pryor hesitated before getting across late.

We then have the 84-yard bomb to Sammy Watkins two plays after the Bills had fired a warning shot on a similar route. Darrin Walls was playing downfield latch coverage and let Watkins blow right by him. There was no safety support, although this was another ill-fated Jets gimmick as this was a look they’ve given before, getting Saalim Hakim to show blitz off the edge and then sprint back to the deep middle to (in theory) take away any deep pass down the seam. A quarterback could fall into this trap by underestimating Hakim’s speed. Instead had the Jets overestimated Hakim’s supposed fastest-in-the-NFL speed and he wasn’t able to get anywhere close to being able to prevent the completion (although he did make the tackle).

Finally, the 61-yard touchdown to Watkins was simply a missed tackle by Walls, compounded by Pryor once again coming up way too fast with a bad angle and overpursuing to leave 50+ yards of open field behind him. Four breakdowns, all of them, in my mind, fixable just by coaching adjustments without even needing to improve the talent level of the players involved and without which Kyle Orton was just 6-for-13 for 46 yards. These breakdowns show no signs of slowing down or stopping though.

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BGA: Backing away slowly

The linebackers played well as a group this week, but their usage continues to be surprising. For example, Antwan Barnes – one of the best situational pass rushers in the entire league over the last five or so years – played 18 snaps and rushed the passer on exactly none of them.

In large part that was because the Bills only dropped back to pass 22 times. This also limited Quinton Coples and Jason Babin to just 19 pass rush attempts between them. Still, when you end up with Calvin Pace having the most pass rush attempts out of the four of them, something’s not quite right. Pace actually only played 37 snaps, his fewest since 2010 but still rushed Orton 12 times.

In terms of results, the Jets generated four sacks in total with Coples leading the way with 1.5, Pace getting credit for half of Coples’ first sack and Babin drawing a double team with a sharp inside rush to create room for Kyle Wilson to come off the edge unblocked. They didn’t generate much in the way of pressure other than these plays, though, although they each played their part in terms of stopping the run.

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Game Notes: Bills at Jets Week 8 – Just that kind of a day


Here’s some of my insane scamblings that I jotted down yesterday while watching the Jets 43-23 loss to the Bills.  Please feel free to enjoy my descent into madness.

Brian Bassett,

Hell Bent on Harvin — While we get that Geno Smith was excited to have a option in his offense in the form of Percy Harvin, I can’t scrub that throw Geno made to him on that deep go-route.  The decision to to throw that interception intended for Harvin was bad as Stephon Gilmore was blanketing Harvin the whole way.  That throw was made worse by where Smith missed.  With a speedster with Harvin one would expect that putting the ball behind or at least on the back shoulder gives Harvin a chance, but instead the ball was short and inside.  What made the interception worse was the fact that Smith seemingly did a similar thing with Jeff Cumberland.  We’ll wait for Bent’s analysis to be sure, but it was a bad look all around.

A Room of One’s Own — It wasn’t an all-star performance for Percy Harvin, but no one should have expected that in his first game with the Jets.  Harvin filled the role that the Jets seemed to have outlined for Chris Johnson over the summer by utilizing Harvin as a receiver, running back and decoy to create room for an offense badly in need of it.  Chris Johnson seems to be fading from relevance and he knows as much, saying after the game of his role and the offense that “I don’t even be in the game, so I don’t know.”  Indeed.  In the end, Harvin will create more space for the other players to work and it could get better and better as the weeks go, but that as one might expect, it will be limited by whoever is pulling the trigger … something that I think we can agree will be a key part of whatever offseason plans the Jets have next spring. To read more of this story, click here