An interesting “backgrounder” involving Jets GM John Idzik was posted by Don Banks and Sports Illustrated late last week. It details the places of Idzik and others not in the “Tampa 2″ but in the “Tampa 7.”
“Idzik’s 20-year NFL career leaves him quite familiar with the experience and pressure of working for a franchise desperate for a turnaround,” Banks wrote. “He did, after all, get his start in the league as part of the remarkable collection of front office talent that Tampa Bay amassed in the mid-90s. …
“Incredibly, Idzik is the seventh member of those mid-90s Bucs to come to power in an NFL front office, tabbed to lead Woody Johnson’s Jets after 11-plus years spent in Tampa Bay’s front office, three more in Arizona, and the past six seasons in Seattle’s well-respected personnel operation.”
Besides Idzik, the other six members of the Tampa 7:
■ Current Falcons president/CEO Rich McKay, the former Buccaneers GM from 1993-2003 who hired Tony Dungy as head coach in 1996, starting the process toward the Super Bowl XXXVII title.
■ Jerry Angelo, the longtime Bucs director of player personnel (1987-2000) whose 11-year stint as the Bears’ GM was highlighted by their 2006 Super Bowl run.
■ Current Titans scout Tim Ruskell, who spent 17 years in the Bucs front office and was Seattle’s GM during its lone Super Bowl season of 2005.
■ Mark Dominik, entering his fifth season as the Buccaneers’ GM and a member of the Bucs front office since 1995.
■ Current Tennessee EVP/GM Ruston Webster, now in his fourth season with the Titans after spending four years in Seattle’s front office and 18 years in a variety of roles with Tampa Bay’s (1988-2005).
■ Current Lions GM Martin Mayhew, a starting cornerback for the 1995-96 Bucs, the final two seasons of his eight-year NFL playing career.
It’s a good read as always by Banks, although he clearly didn’t get a hold of Idzik, who remains publicly quiet while privately working hard at retooling the Jets for 2013 and beyond. But back when the I-Man was first hired, he had this to say about his Buccaneer years and what all of his NFL stops have meant in getting him to this point in his career:
“Rich McKay, Jerry Angelo, Tim Ruskell, Ruston Webster — we went on quite a journey in Tampa. We saw it from the bottom to the top. It was very special. To me, all of those experiences have solidified the power of ‘we’ over ‘me.’ That’s something that is going to be very strong here in New York. As it goes there, it goes here in New York, too. It will be based on a collaborative effort. It will be inclusive, it will be well-thought-out and researched.”
There’s a long way still to go before Idzik’s first Green & White team takes the field, but so far, so good.
Antwan’s New Number
We’ll preview new Jets LB Antwan Barnes’ interview with Eric Allen and the Jets Talk Live Crew on Wednesday — EA’s chat with AB will air Thursday on JTL — but for now we can say Barnes has settled on uniform No. 95 with his newest NFL outfit.
“There were a couple of options open, but I’m going to stick with a 90s number,” said Barnes. “I may not be the size for a 90s number, but I can sure play like it, though.”
We didn’t think there was a linebacker size requirement for the 90s as opposed to the 50s, and Barnes looks, if not immense, big enough at 6’1″, 251. He started out at No. 50 with the Ravens (assistant coaches: Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman) in ’07, but Garrett McIntyre’s got that one here, and he wore 98 with the Chargers (plus two games as an Eagle), but that’s Quinton Coples’ deal here.
The last Jet to wear 95 on the field was NT Martin Tevaseu in last year’s preseason finale at Philadelphia. Now it’s Barnes’ turn.
So Long to an NFL Legend
A head coach that Idzik’s father, John, ran into back when he was offensive coordinator of the Jets in the late Seventies has passed away. Jack Pardee, 76, died Monday of gall bladder cancer.
Pardee was a legend in the game, from his time as one of Bear Bryant’s “Junction Boys” at Texas A&M in the mid-Fifties through 15 seasons as a solid, one-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Rams and Redskins through 11 seasons as an NFL head coach of the Bears, ‘Skins and Oilers.
The Jets didn’t run into Pardee much as a player, since they didn’t start to play NFL teams until the end of his career. He was the LLB starter and team captain for the Rams in a 31-20 Jets win in L.A. in 1970, and the starter again on the left side for Washington in a 35-17 Jets loss at Shea Stadium in ’72.
They fared worse against him as a coach, losing four of five meetings with his teams. The first was in ’78, when Pardee’s ‘Skins whipped the Jets of Walt Michaels and OC Idzik Sr., 23-3. The only Green & White win came in Bruce Coslet’s first year at the helm, at Houston by 17-12 in 1990. But the Jets paid for that by losing twice the next season to Pardee’s Oilers, 23-20 at home in the regular season and 17-10 in the Astrodome in the ’91 playoffs.
Wherever the game took him, it always seemed to bring him back to the Lone Star State. He coached the “run-and-shoot” offense with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers, then the University of Houston, then the Oilers before ending his NFL coaching career in ’94.
“We lost a great coach and, more importantly, a great man today,” Mike Munchak, current Titans head coach and a player and assistant coach for Pardee, said in a statement. “I truly admired his passion for football and was especially inspired by his love of the history of the game. He often shared stories of his NFL playing days to motivate his players, which has greatly influenced the way that I now coach my players. Coach Pardee will surely be missed.”
Tags: Antwan Barnes, Bruce Coslet, Don Banks, Garrett McIntyre, Jack Pardee, John Idzik, Martin Tevaseu, Mike Munchak, Quinton Coples, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Walt Michaels
Posted in Randy Lange | 64 Comments »