John Idzik walked into the news conference room Monday carrying several sheets of paper -- each one filled with bulleted talking points.
The words were meant to be a heartfelt address to a frustrated fan base -- and the Jets general manager's attempt to explain how he's fallen short.
"The buck stops here,'' Idzik said. " . . . A 1-7 start? We own it as Jets. I own it as our general manager. There are no excuses. My performance to date is unsatisfactory. It's a direct result of our record.''
With watery eyes, he called the Jets' seven straight losses "gut-wrenching,'' "brutal'' and "painful'' and added, "You feel like you've been punched in the face . . . It's particularly painful for our fans because we're in a business where our actions affect so many.''
But the more he talked, the less clarity he provided about his shortcomings, coach Rex Ryan's long-term future and whether Geno Smith can be the long-term answer at quarterback.
Idzik rambled through a 19-minute opening monologue that totaled 2,466 words. During that time, he praised owner Woody Johnson for affording the team "every resource that we need in order to be successful,'' team president Neil Glat, the business operations and human resources departments, the Jets' medical and training staffs and even their equipment and security teams. But despite talking for 38 minutes, he failed to explain why he's capable of turning around the franchise.
"I've operated with very similar plans before,'' said the second-year GM, formerly the Seahawks' vice president of football administration. "I have been successful in that, and I have every bit of confidence that our plan works here in New York.''
After sitting on more than $21 million in salary-cap space in the offseason, Idzik maintained that "we will acquire players in any manner possible.'' He praised Ryan ("the last time I checked, all the traits that make Rex Ryan our leader, our head coach, are still intact,'' he said) and added, "I support Rex.'' But he said of Ryan's future, "Our job status, our job evaluations, usually that occurs at the end of the season.''
Ryan didn't seem bothered by Idzik's noncommittal response. He also tried to absolve his boss of blame. "I know one thing, he is trying his best,'' Ryan said. "There is no question about it. We are all trying our best. The only thing that I would say is unsatisfactory is our record . . . I am the guy that is responsible for those results on the field and that is where it should lie.''
Johnson said in June that he wouldn't be satisfied with another 8-8 season, but Idzik wouldn't say whether the owner is angry. "We're all angry,'' Idzik said. ". . . It's hard to imagine a more difficult time than what we're going through right now.''
Idzik called Smith's three first-quarter interceptions on Sunday "eye-opening.'' Will he get another chance to play for the Jets this season?
"That's to be determined,'' Idzik said, hours before Ryan announced that Michael Vick will start against the Chiefs. "Again, we don't get too far ahead of ourselves. Right now, we're in the here and now and for this week. That said, he's still a New York Jet. We're still trying to develop Geno Smith.''
Idzik didn't take ownership of signing journeyman corner Dimitri Patterson to be a starter in the offseason (he was cut after going AWOL during preseason). And he tried to downplay the fact that he whiffed on receiver Jalen Saunders, a fourth-round pick.
"We have confidence in our offense skill position players,'' he said. "Even as it stands today, we were able to procure Percy Harvin. That's going to help us. Yes, we did cut one of our draftees in Jalen Saunders and replaced him with the likes of T.J. Graham and Chris Owusu. We're constantly looking for ways to improve our roster.''