“We made some big changes today, Rex Ryan and John Idzik have been let go and I did that because we had a disappointing year and we had to make some changes,” said Johnson of the decision to fire Ryan and Idzik. “This is something I had to do.”
Johnson said that he made his final decision after the season finale but as the season progressed he became frustrated with the teams lack of progress.
“It became pretty apparent during the season as we progressed that the team was not getting better,” said Johnson. “It was kind of obvious that we had to make a change, it was obvious to me anyway.”
Johnson was especially critical of the teams play-calling. He specifically mentioned the week two game against the Green Bay Packers when the confusion on the Jets sideline led to a timeout being called that nullified the game-tying touchdown. The Jets would go on to lose the game 31-24, the first of eight consecutive losses.
“We were so close in so many games and just for one reason, one mistake like Green Bay. We threw the pick before half, we called a timeout to take a touchdown back. Why did we do that?” Said Johnson, “Those kind of mysteries that were hard for me to follow.”
Johnson also addressed Idzik’s performance as general manager. While Johnson said Idzik did some good things, there were mistakes.
“John added a lot to this team and he did a lot of good things for the New York Jets that he doesn’t get credit for because it was the yin and yang,” said Johnson. “It was the good John and the less than good John.”
The “less than good John” that Woody is referring to is Idzik’s failure to spend a reported $20 million in cap room as well as the inability to fill holes at key positions like cornerback.
“He didn’t spend the last $20 million…but he had a plan for that,” said Johnson. “We were going to sign players that we didn’t get signed. Maybe we should have spent more. We probably should have.”
Idzik’s lack of spending and questionable draft choices left fans livid. Couple that with a bizarre midseason press conference and fans began to express their anger by flying a plane over practice with a banner calling for Idzik’s firing and creating a website demanding Idzik be fired.
While Johnson heard the fans anger, he stressed that while he works for the fans, he doesn’t listen to them when making policy decisions.
“I work for the fans but I don’t listen to the fans,” said Johnson. “The fans that are going to be the most vocal are not the fans that represent all of the fans (opinion). The fans by and large 80 percent, 85 percent of the fans know this game, know the fundamentals of the game…(those fans) aren’t going to have the wide swings that you see on some of the social media pages.”
At the heart of the Jets problems might have been the forced marriage between Ryan and Idzik. When asked if he regretted not making a so-called house-cleaning move like this one in 2012, Johnson said, “I guess in retrospect yeah.”
Johnson implied Ryan and Idzik were not on the same page during their short tenure together.
“The relationship between the general manager and the coach has to be a mutual one,“ said Johnson. “You got to get players with traits and characteristics that fit generally the scheme that that coach is going to operate under.”
Johnson and his search committee led by former Super Bowl winning general managers Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf will now begin the process of finding a new coach and GM which started earlier today.
As for what Johnson, Casserly and Wolf are going to be looking for in a general manager, Johnson said it will be someone with a traditional scouting pedigree.
“Yeah, I think you’re probably right on that,“ said Johnson when asked about if he is searching for a GM with a traditional scouting pedigree.
Johnson also described what he will be looking for in Ryan’s replacement.
“You have to be a good manager,” said Johnson of his ideal coach. “You have to be able to manage offense, defense (and) special teams.”
With the Jets without a general manager and head coach, Johnson acknowledged that this is a “critical” time for the franchise.
“This is very, very critical right now,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to make some good decisions.”