|ESPN.com: NFL Training Camp 2013||[Print without images]|
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Over the next few weeks, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan will make one of the biggest decisions of his career: Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith?
Except it won't be entirely his call, according to general manager John Idzik, who said Ryan will have plenty of help when choosing a starting quarterback.
Idzik, speaking to reporters Saturday for the first time in his inaugural training camp, said he will have "a pretty big role" in the decision-making process. Idzik said it will be based on a "collective opinion," with input from assistant coaches and scouts.
When you look at who's going to play, Rex and I will talk about that freely. When you put in the time and effort, and when you make that decision, you feel like it's a 'we' decision, not an individual decision. It's not like someone will drop the gavel and do something counter to what the Jets want to do.” -- Jets GM John Idzik
It's only natural that a GM would have a voice, but Idzik refused to acknowledge that Ryan has the final say. Head coaches almost always have the power to decide who plays and who sits.
"When you look at who's going to play, Rex and I will talk about that freely," Idzik said. "When you put in the time and effort, and when you make that decision, you feel like it's a 'we' decision, not an individual decision. It's not like someone will drop the gavel and do something counter to what the Jets want to do."
Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a big deal, except it's magnified because Ryan is coaching for his job in 2013. He was hired by former GM Mike Tannenbaum, who was fired after the season. Ryan had no previous relationship with Idzik, casting doubt on his future.
Ryan joked about it Saturday, saying, "It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft [Jadeveon] Clowney" -- the presumed No. 1 overall pick in 2014.
Clearly, Ryan is in a win-now mode, which might lead him to prefer the experienced Sanchez over the rookie from West Virginia. Ryan and Sanchez arrived together in 2009 and shared two playoff appearances before hard times hit in 2011.
Smith is perceived as an Idzik guy. After all, Idzik drafted Smith in the second round.
Idzik downplayed the possibility of conflicting agendas.
"It's a collaborative effort, guys," he said. "It's not how it seems. It's not like you wake up one morning and everyone is waiting with bated breath on someone with a scroll and he says, 'Here it is.'
"That's not it, especially with this decision because there's so much that goes into it. It's not going to be a surprise to anybody in the room."
Ryan wasn't available to comment because his media availability occurred before Idzik spoke to reporters. But on Thursday, Ryan suggested he'd make the call with input from others: "When I make that decision, clearly I'll feel great about it -- and not just me, but I'll lean on several other people."
This could be a difficult season for Ryan, who has only two years remaining on his contract. It's a rebuilding year, as the Jets may have 11 new starters. Nevertheless, he will be evaluated after the season. It would be hard to land a contract extension if he misses the playoffs for a third straight year.
Idzik said no one is on the hot seat.
"Pressure is perceived," he said. "Our guys don't feel pressure. Rex doesn't feel pressure. I don't feel pressure. Our players, hopefully they don't feel pressure so they can perform."
Asked about Ryan's Clowney quip, Idzik smiled.
"That's pretty funny," he said.