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New GM Idzik has plenty of challenges with Jets

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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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Simms' 11 points lifts VCU over Missouri St.

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Simms' 11 points lifts VCU over Missouri St.

RICHMOND, Va. -- Mike'L Simms had 11 points as VCU extended its home win streak to eight games, beating Missouri State 61-51 on Sunday night.

De'Riante Jenkins had 10 points for VCU (8-2).

After VCU outscored Missouri State 35-25 in the first half, both teams scored 26 in the second as the home team clinched the victory. The Rams' 26 second-half points marked a season low for the team.

Isiaih Mosley had 15 points for the Bears (6-6). Keandre Cook added 12 points. Gaige Prim had 10 points.

VCU takes on College of Charleston on the road on Wednesday. Missouri State matches up against Oral Roberts on the road on Saturday.

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Despite loss, Dwayne Haskins has best game with Redskins

Despite loss, Dwayne Haskins has best game with Redskins

LANDOVER — What you are looking for is progress. 

Game by game, Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins is under an intense glare. He is only a rookie. There is still so much to learn. But a first-round draft pick at his position is almost never given the luxury of time. 

Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Haskins had a breakthrough. He kept Washington in a back-and-forth game that featured 10 lead changes. But ultimately, the Redskins lost 37-27. A strip and a fumble return on the final Hail Mary throw from the 47 was returned for a touchdown by the Eagles instead.

The result stung. Bill Callahan sped to the press conference room in record time and didn’t offer much praise for Haskins or anyone else. Haskins himself was bummed. 

“I’m nowhere close to where I want to be,” Haskins said. “That should be an average game for me.”

That’s a harsh self assessment. But in his sixth start as an NFL quarterback, there was more to like than not. Haskins completed eight of his first nine passes and 19 of 28 overall. Yes, Terry McLaurin did most of the work on a 75-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, but Haskins put the ball in a perfect spot where his old Ohio State teammate didn’t have to break stride.

Haskins didn’t throw an interception, wasn’t sacked and you can cut him some slack on the final play. The Eagles jumped the Hail Mary with an all out blitz and Haskins never had a chance to get a throw off.

Steven Sims also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Haskins, who finished with a 121.3 quarterback rating. It was easily his best game so far. We might not know who will be coaching the Redskins next season, but they at least have some encouraging film to watch heading into the offseason next month. Callahan didn’t have much to say. So let’s get Eagles coach Doug Pederson’s perspective. 

“They study the tape as well and I thought Haskins really stepped in and did a nice job today, and led his team.” Pederson said. “It was something that you know he is capable of doing. He’s in this league for a reason.”

Haskins’ pass to McLaurin came on the first play of Washington’s second drive of the game. It's third drive went 75 yards, too, and only took seven plays. A 19-yard pass to Sims pushed the ball into Philadelphia territory. The Eagles helped with three penalties on the drive, but Haskins found Sims on a 3rd-and-5 from the 5. The Redskins were in position to score a touchdown and did it to take a 14-10 lead.

Down 17-14, Haskins led another scoring drive in the third quarter. His 11-yard pass to McLaurin on 2nd-and-12 set up a first down run by Adrian Peterson on 3rd-and-short. He found Peterson out of the backfield for seven yards and then used his legs to gain 23 yards on the ground himself.

That isn’t something we’ve seen much from Haskins yet. Call it another sign of growth. Haskins knew the Eagles were going to come with a blitz. The Redskins had run that play six times before and he noticed a linebacker where a defensive end should be. So he tucked it and ran. That scoring drive then ended on the first play of the fourth quarter with a 10-yard cutback run by Peterson to make it 21-17.

A couple more fourth-quarter drives stalled, but the Redskins got points on a pair of Dustin Hopkins field goals. In the end, that wasn’t enough. The Eagles took the lead 31-27 on a Carson Wentz touchdown pass with 26 seconds to go and then added the final score to win it.

There are no moral victories for Haskins or the Redskins. Their standing is clear: It’s a 3-11 team just hoping to see signs from its young quarterback. Sunday, at least, they were there all game and not just in the fourth quarter of blowout losses.

There was the 75-yard touchdown pass to McLaurin, his 23-yard run and six other passes for more than 10 yards. Haskins set his career high in passing yards (286) and tied his career high in completions (19). The result wasn’t what he wanted, but the process was better. Now for the hard part. Do it again.  

“We did a lot of good things that we can continue to work on for next week [against the New York Giants],” Haskins said. “Let’s bring it for the last home game of the season and hopefully we come out with a win.”

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