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IDZIK AT INDY: Continuing to Press Forward

Posted Feb 20, 2014

Transcript of Jets GM's Remarks Today at the NFL Combine in the Hoosier Dome

A lot has transpired since the end of our season. We’ve had the ability to solidify our coaching staff first and foremost in the aftermath of our final game, which was very important to us. Then we jumped right into free agency prep and 2013 season review of our coaches and our pro scouts. Then in tandem with that, of course, prep for the draft. Taking it up a notch and here we are in Indy, the next phase of that evaluation. So we’re all excited to be together.

In the interim, our region, our stadium got to host the Super Bowl. Our facility in particular got to host the Denver Broncos — that was quite an experience — so it’s been an eventful month and a half since our end of the season. We’re excited to be here and get all the staff together under one roof and ride it out through the combine. So with that I’ll open it up to any questions.

On evaluating wide receivers...

I don’t know if it’s just wide receivers. Just in general we go by the moniker "Play like a Jet, act like a Jet." We want passionate players, we want smart players that are not only instinctive but they know their position. You can see that in their play. You want aggressive, physical play. And of course you look at their production in different circumstances — big games, inclement weather. And part of the puzzle here is we get to sit down with them for one of the first times as a staff and try to get to know the person, too, which is very important. So all that goes into the evaluation of not only wideouts but any position.

On the possibility of giving Muhammad Wilkerson an extension...

Well, we won’t engage in any talk about contract matters or anything like that. I’d say in general, one, Mo’s a Jet. He personifies what we’re about both on the field and the way he handles himself, the way he prepares. We’re just extremely happy to have him as a member of our team, but we won’t get into any speculation or plans that way with respect to contracts.

On the philosophy of picking up options...

I don’t think the overall philosophy is really hinged to the 2011 draft class since it’s the first one to experience the new CBA structure. Options have been an element to contracts since I’ve been in the league. I think there are a lot of factors that go into deciding when and if you extend a player — status of that player in his career, status of your roster. Cash and cap budgets come into play. So there’s a lot of factors that go into it. I don’t know if this year is any different in that regard. We would evaluate it the same way. If you have an option in the contract, then there’s a lot of things that go into deciding whether or not to exercise and if so when to do it.

On Mark Sanchez’s future with the team…

Again, we’re not going to really comment on that, but we tend to let things play out so that we still have some time there. I know one thing for sure, Mark’s diligently handling his rehab and we know that he’ll be ready, but we’ll just let that take its course.

On if he’s satisfied with the running back position…

Well, we surely had some production, we ran the ball pretty effectively. We always think that we can get better, so we look at it with a discerning eye, a critical eye, to say, "All right, how can we take it up a notch?" But I think in general, when you have the production of our backs, and one of them we lost to injury early in the season that we were pretty pleased with it, but that said, we realize that we need to get better.

On deciding to cut or choosing not to re-sign current Jets players…

Again, we’re not going to get into speculation on what we may do in a couple of weeks. Suffice it to say that we take those decisions very seriously. There are players that have meant a lot to us, be it one season, two seasons, three seasons, whatever it is, they’ve meant a lot to the Jets, and we take those decisions seriously. We’ll pour everything into it. But that said, we like to wait and really have all the information that we feel is necessary in order to make a sound decision. So we’ll take advantage of time.

On how Sanchez’s rehab is going…

We’re assuming that Mark’s going to be fine with his shoulder. And again, that’s one thing that you have to see it through. We experienced it with him first-hand early in the season that we had to take it through a few steps to see exactly where this is tracking. That’s no different now and won’t be any different once he starts to step up the pace and get into more traditional football activities. I think you just take it as it comes.

On factors that go into evaluating whether or not to draft Michael Sam…

He would be like any other player in the draft. We evaluate them and project them on how they could potentially help the New York Jets as a football player and a teammate. That’s really how we look at these players.

On if things are easier this offseason with a year under his belt as GM…

Where we are one year later is it’s obviously much easier for us as a staff this year. I was barely a month into the job, and a lot of things, as you mentioned, a lot of bullets were flying then, a lot of things happening. Much less people getting used to me as the staff really kind of coming together over a period of time. Well, now we’ve had an entire season, we’ve had an entire cycle together. So with that, there’s obviously some free agency planning prior to the end of our season, there was obviously some draft planning as we visited campuses together and we got together as a college staff and then we started to incorporate the coaches.

So I think a year later, we just feel like we’re much more ahead of the game just because of familiarity with each other and what we want to accomplish. We’re tracking, we’re tracking. I don’t think we’re ever going to be content. We take a lot of positives from our 2013 experience, but we realize that’s in the rearview mirror. Now we’ve got to build on that, and that’s the attitude we’re taking. We’re tracking OK, but we’ve got to continue to press forward.

On if he’s able to monitor the pulse of the locker room…

I don’t know that it’s one discreet incident. It’s something that we do all the time is keep the pulse of our locker room, keep the pulse of our staff, keep the pulse of our building. Obviously to us, workplace environment is very important. That’s how we nurture a true team concept, togetherness, so that’s always been a part of what we do. I think it’s just added a little bit more national attention to that aspect of what clubs do, but it hasn’t really changed our attention to it.

On potential free agent targets…

Again, I won’t get into our free agents or free agency. We’ll let that kind of happen. We’ll take it over the next couple weeks.

On bringing in quarterback competition for Geno Smith

We’re not opposed to any kind of competition. I mean, that’s what we thrive on. You guys have heard it. We’re going to try to build that competition, no matter who it comes from. We want it at the quarterback position, we want it at every position on our roster. That’s how we feel we improve.

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