Ex-GM: Jets must find identity

Ex-GM: Jets must find identity

Published May. 27, 2013 1:00 a.m. ET

Who are the New York Jets?

According to a former NFL executive who interviewed for the position, that’s the most important question new Jets general manager John Idzik must answer to succeed.

Ted Sundquist, who was the Denver Broncos GM from 2002 to 2008, said Monday that “forging an identity” organizationally should be Idzik’s top priority in his first season with New York.

“Ultimately whether you’re the Jets, Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers or whatever, you’ve got to know who you are,” Sundquist told co-host Jim Miller and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “If you can’t establish your mission and goal and what direction you’re going to go, how that can be relayed to the coaching staff and players? I think that’s what John is trying to do and I commend him for that.”

Idzik, though, has faced a rough few months on the job while in one of the NFL’s most high-pressure media markets. Two of his free-agent signings have already imploded, with quarterback David Garrard retiring because of a bad knee and running back Mike Goodson’s getting arrested on drug and weapons charges.

Idzik also has left himself open to plenty of second-guessing by trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay and selecting West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of April’s draft.

“I think (Idzik) is trying to establish an identity and then to build a culture from the identity of what Woody wants the Jets to be. But that takes time,” Sundquist said.

“Some of the things that have happened have been the result of just having to get something done in a hurry. You know how the offseason goes. They hire John and — boom — it’s right into it with the (NFL Scouting) Combine and getting ready for the draft and now (offseason practices). It just doesn’t slow down.”


Idzik and Sundquist were both considered for the Jets general manager job that came open when Mike Tannenbaum was fired after a 6-10 season that marked the second year New York failed to reach the playoffs. Idzik, a top Seattle Seahawks executive the past six years, got the nod from a wide field of candidates that were interviewed by Jets owner Woody Johnson and his staff.

FOX Sports also has learned the Jets paid $250,000 to an outside consulting service for a list of potential Tannenbaum replacements.

“I enjoyed my interview with them,” said Sundquist, the author of a new leadership book entitled Taking Your Team to the Top. “I hope they get there.”