New York Jets: The Positives and Negatives of John Idzik and Marty Mornhinweg

Rocco Constantino@@br_jets_reportContributor IJanuary 19, 2013

30 DEC 2001:  Head Coach Dick Jauron of the Chicago Bears is congratulated by Detroit Lions Head Coach Marty Mornhinweg in Pontiac, Michigan. Chicago won 24-0. DIGITALIMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

The New York Jets' search for a new general manager and offensive coordinator was a long and drawn-out process by design, but it ended swiftly on the afternoon of Jan. 18.

Not long after the Jets chose John Idzik as the team's new general manager, they decided on on Marty Mornhinweg as their new offensive coordinator.

It marks an entirely new direction for the franchise, but will the change lead the Jets down the right path?

Both Idzik and Mornhinweg have had over 15 years experience in the NFL and besides Mornhinweg's 5-27 record in two years as the Detroit Lions head coach, both have a long record of success.

Although people have their opinions on whether Idzik and Mornhinweg will succeed in New York, the truth is that both will likely need a number of seasons before they could be properly evaluated.

Upon first review, both Idzik and Mornhinweg seem to be very qualified for their new jobs and respected in NFL circles.  However, each comes with some question marks as well.

John Idzik: Positives

Idzik has been working behind the scenes in NFL front offices for two decades and has been involved in three highly successful reclamation projects.  Idzik entered the NFL in 1993 as a Pro Personnel Assistant in 1993 with the Buccaneers and worked his way up to Assistant General Manager by 2001.  

During his tenure, he had a hand in taking the Buccaneers from perennial doormats to Super Bowl Champions.

He also was on the staff of the Arizona Cardinals' NFC Championship team.

Despite what some might say, Idzik is not just a "cap guy" and has had a tremendous amount of experience in many facets of the Buccaneers and Seahawks front offices.

According to his bio on the Seahawks' website, Idzik had a number of responsibilities that would prepare him for his role as general manager.

With Seattle, Idzik oversees player negotiations, the team’s compliance with the NFL salary cap, player personnel transactions, all football operations budgets, staff and team contracts, team travel and most aspects of the day-to-day football operations while also remaining active in player evaluations.

Despite the points brought up by Jets-hater Gary Myers of the New York Daily News in his requisite negative article, Idzik has been drawing compliments from around the NFL on Twitter.

Of course, the Myers article used unnamed sources while respected people on Twitter put their name to things.

Scott Salmon of Gang Green Nation compiled some Tweets from around the NFL in reaction to Idzik's hire.

In addition to those Tweets, others came in throughout the night.

Seattle had Idzik involved in every part of its operation. He even hit about 10 schools in the fall to scout. Had to be attractive to Jets.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 18, 2013

Good man. RT @theredzoneorg: Jets hire Idzik as their General

— Matthew Hasselbeck (@Hasselbeck) January 19, 2013

@evanjehle Solid guy. Been around a long time, many perspectives. Soft spoken, well respected among peers. Happy for him #JohnIdzik #Jets

— Ted Sundquist (@Ted_Sundquist) January 19, 2013

In summary, Idzik is a well-respected, Ivy League-educated man with an expertise in salary-cap compliance and some experience in evaluating talent.  He was part of a Super Bowl champion and all three of the front offices he has been involved in over the past two decades have been highly successful.

Idzik obviously has respect around the NFL, and having those connections is much more important than gaining the approval of any reporter or radio host with an anti-Jets grudge.  

It's entirely feasible that he could use those connections to work trades during this pivotal time for the franchise.

John Idzik: Negatives

While Idzik has a number of positive qualities, there are some question marks surrounding the hire.

First and foremost, while Idzik has had input on personnel decisions and has been involved in scouting, he has never had the final say on constructing a roster.

You'd have to figure that a man as brilliant as Idzik (who incidentally has playing experience at Dartmouth and coaching experience) would have learned how to evaluate players during his time in the NFL, but until he proves he could do it, he remains unproven.

The cynical perception around the hire is that even though Mike Garafolo reported in the USA Today that Idzik will have the final say on all personnel decisions, Rex Ryan will really be the one making the calls.

The idea that a 20-year veteran with the success that Idzik has had in the past will be bullied by Ryan flies in the face of logic.  Idzik knows that whatever happens behind the scenes, his name will be on all roster moves.

However, until Idzik does things to change that perception, it will be the prevailing thought by people looking for the negative in the situation.

The biggest negative with the Idzik hire though is his inexperience with the NFL draft.

This draft is perhaps the most important one to the Jets in at least a decade, and it will be run by someone who has never overseen a draft before.

Nobody knows for sure whether he will be able to evaluate mid-to-late round talent, pull off trades or construct a draft board, but we will all find out in a few months.

Marty Mornhinweg positives:

For fans who were sick of hearing about the "ground and pound" offense, this hire is great news.

Mornhinweg is a creative play-caller who has overseen dynamic offenses and celebrated quarterbacks during a 17-year career in the NFL.

A staunch believer in the West Coast offense, Mornhinweg will oversee a complete overhaul of the team's offense.

Mornhinweg's coaching resume includes working with Brett Favre, Steve Young, Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick and consistently engineering top-10 NFL offenses.

In addition to his West Coast offense beliefs, Mornhinweg also has a propensity to reach deep into the playbook for gadget plays and tailor an offense to fit the personnel on the roster.

The NFL is clearly a passing league and the Jets have finally taken the first step in transforming their offense to catch up with the times.  

The Jets have also taken the right step in hiring an experienced coordinator to reshape the offense. The past two offensive coordinators (Tony Sparano and Brian Schottenheimer) were first-time offensive coordinators and had mixed results to say the least.

There is a time and place to take a chance on promoting an up-and-coming assistant to an offensive coordinator role, but this wasn't one of those times.

If that case isn't strong enough to support Mornhinweg as the team's new coordinator, consider that the Jets were also thinking of Cam Cameron and Pat Shurmur for the role.

Marty Mornhinweg negatives: 

It's all fine and dandy that Mornhinweg has had tremendous success in the NFL as an assistant coach, but look around the Jets roster.  

Instead of having Favre, Young or McNabb, Mornhinweg has guys named Sanchez, Tebow and McElroy...for the time being, anyway.

Because of his lengthy association with Hall of Fame quarterbacks, there has to be some question as to whether Mornhinweg's system could work with a mediocre signal caller.

During Mornhinweg's two seasons as the Lions head coach, he had Charlie Batch, Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon as his quarterbacks.  The Lions finished 26th in the NFL in offense both seasons in stumbling to a miserable 5-27 record.

Even if the Jets move on from Sanchez as the team's starter, the rest of the offense will be learning their third offense in three years.  Considering how much different Mornhinweg's offense will be than Sparano's, it will be a major adjustment for everyone on the offensive side of the ball.

One other concern has to be whether the Jets can scrape up the personnel to actually run Mornhinweg's offense.

The Jets will hopefully retool their skill-position units, but there will certainly be some holdovers. Veterans like Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller and Braylon Edwards (if they return) should be fine adjusting to the new offense.

However, does anybody think Stephen Hill will make a smooth adjustment?  It would be tough on young players like Jeremy Kerley, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight, too.

One other curiosity to think about is why Mornhinweg didn't follow Andy Reid over to Kansas City.

After serving as Reid's assistant head coach for the past nine seasons and offensive coordinator for the past seven years, it is obvious that the two have a long-standing relationship.

It could just be that the two wanted to move on from each other, but it is something to think about.

Perhaps the most glaring negative on Mornhinweg the past few seasons is that he actually threw the ball way too much. 

Sure, it's great to have the ability to have success through the air, but Mornhinweg at times was so married to the passing game that he frustrated Eagles fans by calling pass plays on 3rd-and-short despite having LeSean McCoy in the backfield.

Speaking of McCoy, there were plenty of times that he was ignored in the running game under Mornhinweg as well.

There is a lot to think about as Idzik and Mornhinweg join the Jets family.  

Idzik surely has similarities to the deposed Mike Tannenbaum, and that will ruffle some feathers until he can put his stamp on the franchise.

Mornhinweg could be just what the Jets need to jump start their offense, but he comes with questions about whether his success was simply due to the legends he had the opportunity to coach.

Fans and haters will have their opinions on both sides of the fence, and you can bet that each side will think they are absolutely right.

One thing is clear, the Jets have hired two people who are highly respected around the NFL, and that is one giant leap forward for the organization.

However, it could be years down the line before the ultimate decision comes on whether these were the right moves. 

Follow RC Cos and the BR Jets Report on Twitter: @BR_Jets_Report


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