New GM Idzik has plenty of challenges with Jets


New GM Idzik has plenty of challenges with Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) John Idzik shook Rex Ryan's hand and the two shared a big laugh in front of more than a dozen cameras.

Woody Johnson was all smiles, too, as his new general manager spoke about rebuilding the New York Jets into a playoff team.

Well, Idzik certainly has quite a task ahead of him.

``I feel that here in New York, we're going to be all-in,'' Idzik said at his introductory news conference Thursday. ``All together.''

But will that include Ryan, considered by many fans and media a lame-duck coach, beyond this season? How about struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez? Or, Tim Tebow? What about injured star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has become the subject of trade speculation?

``I'm literally hours into the building,'' Idzik said. ``That, we're going to save for our evaluation process.''

Idzik declared his first order of business is to review the Jets' entire roster and decide who stays, who goes and who they need to come in and be part of the solution.

He spent some time earlier in the week with Ryan and several other members of the Jets' staff in Mobile, Ala., where they attended Senior Bowl workouts and got to know each other a bit. The relationship between Idzik and Ryan will be an intriguing one, especially since some considered having a coach already in place for an incoming GM a possible drawback.

``I look forward to working with Rex Ryan,'' Idzik said. ``That, to me, was a plus.''

Johnson said Idzik would play a role in deciding Ryan's fate after this season.

``That's a collaborative decision between John and I,'' Johnson said, ``but John will certainly have something to say.''

Idzik also inherits a roster that includes one of the league's top defensive players in Revis, who is recovering from a serious knee injury and has a contract that voids after the 2013 season. Revis also wants to be paid big money, fit for a player Ryan has repeatedly called one of the best he has ever coached. But a report Wednesday night said Johnson, concerned that the Jets won't be able to re-sign Revis next year, wants to explore trade options rather than risk losing him for nothing as a free agent next winter.

That talk had an angry Revis taking to Twitter on Thursday afternoon, saying he was ``speechless'' about the trade rumors but was ``more upset for the jet nation for having to go through this!!!'' The cornerback also added: ``I guess we'll see how this plays out.''

Johnson would neither confirm nor deny that the report was true, adding that he didn't know where it came from.

``I think it's way premature to say anything specific,'' said Idzik, who will have the final say on all personnel decisions.

He said the same for the future of Sanchez, who's due $8.25 million in guarantees next season and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million cap hit if they cut him.

``We just need to take our time and evaluate Mark, along with everyone else,'' Idzik said.

Sanchez struggled mightily in 2012, and will be working with his third offensive coordinator in as many seasons as Marty Mornhinweg replaced the fired Tony Sparano. Ryan confirmed Sanchez is talking with former quarterback Jeff Garcia to help him pick up Mornhinweg's offense.

``He needs to erase his hard drive,'' Ryan said.

Tebow is not expected back after one disappointing and unproductive season, but there's one intriguing twist: The Jets just hired David Lee as their quarterbacks coach. Lee is credited with reviving the wildcat offense - the role in which Tebow was expected to be a force for the Jets - in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins as few years ago.

``We'll explore every measure to bring in talent and continue to compete,'' Idzik said. ``The draft will be very important to us. That will be a lifeline for us, year in and year out. We'll use free agency and we'll be very thoughtful, do our research and be judicious in free agency. We'll use trades, we'll use waiver claims, work from our practice roster and have numerous tryouts throughout the year in search of guys who play like a Jet.''

But New York is also about $19 million over the salary cap, which could limit how Idzik will be able to operate. Cutting some veterans with hefty salaries such as linebackers Calvin Pace and Bart Scott could be part of the solution.

``I never saw the salary cap situation here as a hindrance,'' said Idzik, adding that he's confident the Jets can have ``fruitful'' offseason. ``It's something you research, pore through and evaluate.''

Idzik, hired to replace the fired Mike Tannenbaum last Friday after a two-week search by the Jets that included 10 candidates, had been with the Seahawks the past six seasons after previously working in the front offices of Tampa Bay and Arizona. His primary strengths include managing salaries and the salary cap, but he has also worked in player personnel - a combination that attracted the Jets.

The 52-year-old Idzik, Seattle's ex-vice president of football administration, didn't delve into specifics but rather spoke about his broad vision for the franchise he is now charged with resuscitating.

``It will be based on a collaborative effort,'' said Idzik, wearing an appropriate green and black checkered tie. ``It will be inclusive, well thought out and well researched. And, it will be the power of `we.'''

The Jets have also been perceived by many fans and media as having a circuslike atmosphere because of the headlines the franchise seems to constantly make off the field: trading for Tebow, Ryan's tattoo of his wife in a Sanchez jersey to name just a few.

``There seems to be a lot of misperceptions,'' Idzik said. ``I don't sense dysfunction or anything like that.''

Idzik, a native of Detroit, graduated magna cum laude from Dartmouth in 1982 and played wide receiver for the Big Green. He and wife Carol have a daughter and two sons, including Bradley, a sophomore wide receiver at Wake Forest. Idzik's father John was the Jets' offensive coordinator from 1976-79.

``Football,'' Idzik said, ``is at the root of who I am.''


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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.