Jets owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan were all smiles this morning at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
The reason behind their happiness: John Idzik was experiencing the first day at his new home.
While Idzik was officially announced as the Jets’ new general manager six days ago, he hadn’t visited his Florham Park office until today.
“He knows what he’s doing, stated how he’s going to do it," Johnson said. "I have full confidence that he’ll do what he says.”
“When you listen to John talk about what he looks at as the future of the organization and the direction, how he’s going to build it, how he’s going to lean on the people here, I can’t wait to start really getting on the personnel part of it and working side-by-side with him,” Ryan said.
The former Seattle Seahawks VP of football administration spent the early portion of his week in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl evaluating draft prospects and bonding with Ryan.
“I think having three days in Mobile with John was great,” Ryan told reporters following Idzik’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “You realized how similar our backgrounds are.”
Interestingly, Ryan's and Idzik’s fathers both had coaching stints with the Green & White. Idzik’s father, John Sr., was the Jets’ offensive coordinator from 1977-79, whereas Ryan’s dad, Buddy, was the team’s defensive line coach from 1968-75.
“As John mentioned,” Ryan said, “being 6 years old and going to the practices and all those types of things and being around football his whole life, very similar to mine.”
Johnson said of Idzik's personnel exposure at his pro stops with Tampa Bay, Arizona and Seattle, “I think he does have the requisite executive football experience to make the important decisions on personnel, or on any of the other mirrors of questions and decisions he’s going to make.”
Ryan said that so far, he’s been pleased with their conversations and communication.
“You want sustainable success,” the coach said, “and that’s really what John’s always talked about, the days that I was with him. That’s really what he’s looking to do and obviously as a coach, that’s certainly what I’m looking to do.”
A big theme Idzik stressed during his news conference was the importance of family and competition. He wants the organization united and a competitive spirit every time the team steps foot onto the field. Johnson agreed with that attitude.
“Part of the challenge of building a great organization is having a great culture,” Johnson said. “I think the culture comes from talking about what you believe in each and every day. You really have to talk about it. I think we have to do more of that, and we are going to do more of it.”
Ryan will be entering his fifth season as the Green & White’s head coach this fall, and even with back-to-back non-playoff seasons, his confidence hasn’t been shaken.
“I’ve had success,” he said, “maybe not to the extent that everybody looks at, like winning Super Bowls every single year. I haven’t had that success yet as a head coach. But I have had some success throughout my career, and the best thing I can do is focus on doing a tremendous job here. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
As the disappointment of the 2012 season hasn’t been erased, Idzik provided Jets fans a glimmer of hope today. The early months of his job will be critical as he attempts to slowly rebuild and establish a foundation. But if you study his track record, you’ll notice one common trait: success has been accomplished at every stop of his journey.
“He really did stand head and shoulders above,” Johnson said. “Not saying we didn’t have great candidates. We did. But in terms of this organization, and what we were looking for, John was exceptional.”
Making Coach Hirings Official
Ryan officially announced several hires to his coaching staff, many of which had previously been reported:
■ Former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replaces Tony Sparano as the Jets’ offensive coordinator.
■ Dennis Thurman takes over from Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator.
■ David Lee replaces Matt Cavanaugh as quarterbacks coach. Ryan described Lee, who most recently coached the Bills QBs last season, as a coach with "an outstanding reputation."
■ Six-time Pro Bowl S Tim McDonald has been hired as the secondary coach after having coached in the same role with Fresno State a season ago.
■ Brian Smith has been promoted to assistant secondary coach from his previous position as defensive quality control coach.
Ryan is still searching for a linebackers coach to replace Bob Sutton and said interviews would continue Friday and Monday.