Jets' Idzik says his performance 'unsatisfactory'
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) John Idzik blames himself for the mess that has become the New York Jets' season.
No, the general manager isn't happy with the job he has done. And, no, this isn't what he envisioned in his second year in charge of the franchise.
''There are no excuses: My performance to date is unsatisfactory,'' Idzik said Monday during his annual state-of-the team address. ''It's a direct reflection of our record.''
At 1-7, the Jets are mired in a seven-game skid that has some fans and media calling for wholesale changes. Idzik understands the frustration and he empathizes with a fan base that hasn't seen its team reach the Super Bowl since 1969.
''It's gut-wrenching,'' he said, struggling to find words for the team's start. ''It's brutal. You feel like you've been punched in the face. It's painful.''
Idzik opened with a 19-minute statement during which he raised his voice at times, rambled through other moments while talking about the players' resilience and highlighting stats, and appeared uncharacteristically emotional before taking any questions from reporters.
While he took accountability for the lousy start, Idzik didn't offer many concrete answers on how the team would turn things around.
''Ultimately, I'm responsible for the performance of our team, the product that we put on the field,'' he said. ''That lies with me. The buck stops here.''
Idzik said the team's struggles are ''very personal for me,'' and alluded to the fact that his father John Sr. was the team's offensive coordinator in the late 1970s.
''The Jets are my team,'' he said. ''The Jets are our team.''
He praised coach Rex Ryan as the team's leader, saying he spends more time with him than his own family.
''Our commitment extends to Rex Ryan and our coaching staff,'' he said. ''The last time I checked, all the traits that make Rex Ryan our leader, our head coach, are still intact. He's an excellent football mind. He's a teacher, he's a coach, he's a motivator, he's a mentor.''
But Idzik also wouldn't commit to keeping Ryan as his coach for the final two months of the season or beyond - saying it's not the Jets' policy to evaluate jobs in season.
Idzik also wouldn't say whether Geno Smith, benched in the first quarter of Sunday's 43-23 loss to Buffalo, or Michael Vick would start at Kansas City. Smith threw interceptions on consecutive possessions before giving way to Vick, who had three turnovers of his own in the blowout loss.
Ryan said later in the day that Vick would start on Sunday.
''We know we need more consistent quarterback play,'' Idzik acknowledged.
Idzik addressed the media for 38 minutes, but the first 10 minutes - maybe more - sounded like a direct appeal to the fans, many of whom have taken to social media and sports talk radio to declare their disgust with the Jets.
The GM glanced down at two sheets of paper in front of him at times, hitting his talking points while talking about how his game plan - to build through the draft and build for the future - will work because he saw it happen during his previous stops in the front offices of Tampa Bay and Seattle.
''I have every bit of confidence that our plan works here in New York,'' he said. ''It's not manifested by our win-loss column right now. We have seen splashes, but we need to see consistency. There are signs there in our play, to our fans, but we don't need signs.
''We need to show them wins, and I think that will come.''
One big criticism of Idzik has been the fact the Jets had more than $20 million in salary cap space when they entered the season, despite having major needs at key positions, including at cornerback.
Idzik defiantly said the space was indicative of the young team the Jets have and that they need the money for flexibility to sign players in the future or sign current players to extensions rather than spend carelessly.
''Spending in this league does not translate into winning,'' he said. ''Wise spending translates into winning.''
He refused to speculate about his own future, and wouldn't say whether owner Woody Johnson has expressed anger to him about the dismal start.
''It hurts us to be 1-7,'' Idzik said. ''More importantly, it hurts our fan base. We vow to give them what they deserve. They don't deserve this.''
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