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Thursday, March 20, 2014
Analysis: Takeaways from Rex & Idzik

By Rich Cimini

Thoughts and observations on the Rex Ryan/John Idzik media conference call:

1. The timing was unusual, especially since both men will be available to reporters next week at the NFL owners meetings in Orlando. The motive here was clear: It was a public-relations move, an attempt to change the narrative after days of Idzik bashing by fans and media. Just their luck; news of Antonio Cromartie's departure broke a few minutes before the call started.

Antonio Cromartie
With Antonio Cromartie heading to Arizona, the Jets are in need of a top-flight cornerback.
2. Idzik acknowledged there was interest in re-signing Cromartie, who accepted a one-year contract from the Arizona Cardinals. Idzik: "What we said to Cro when we terminated him was we’d welcome him back. ... What we made clear to him was we weren’t closing the door on anything." This tells me that Cromartie's hip wasn't an issue for the Jets. So why didn't they re-sign him? Money? Still no word on his contract with the Cards, but I'm guessing it's about $6 million. Unless Idzik pulls a good cornerback out of his hat -- that would be a neat trick -- it looks like he misplayed the market, leaving the Jets high and dry.

3. Ryan went heavy on the praise, gushing about his current crop of cornerbacks, even mentioning Ras-I Dowling at one point. What, you're not familiar with him? He's a New England Patriots castoff who spent most of last season on the practice squad. At this point, it's posturing. The Jets have to create the perception they're happy with their depth chart because, in all likelihood, they will have to explore the trade market to find a starting-caliber corner.

4. Idzik wouldn't answer a specific question about Michael Vick, but speaking in general terms, he noted the importance of having "inside knowledge" on a player from a coach or a staff member. Obviously, he was referring to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who coached Vick in Philadelphia. Armed with that knowledge, the Jets invited Vick for a free-agent visit, reinforcing what we knew more than a week ago: They're very interested.

5. Not surprisingly, there was no clarity on the Mark Sanchez front. It's possible that the Sanchez decision is contingent upon the Vick decision, a delicate balancing act for the front office. It has to be frustrating for Sanchez, twisting in the wind as Idzik lets this drag out all the way to the March 25 deadline for the roster bonus.

6. Idzik sidestepped questions about the lack of interest in Darrelle Revis. No surprise. Ryan made it sound like seeing Revis sign with the Patriots was no big deal. Trust me, he was sick about it.

7. It sounded like Idzik was reading from talking points, emphasizing their objective is to build for the long term. Example: "When we define winning, it’s not winning the first week of free agency, it’s not winning the draft, it’s not winning our preseason games. (Don't tell that to Ryan, who sacrificed a quarterback last summer to win the MetLife Snoopy trophy). It’s winning going forward in what we do. It’s sustainable success." Unless he's playing to play only one corner in the base defense, they'd better start doing some winning in this offseason.