Raise your hand if you find the irony. New York Jets fans want General Manager John Idzik fired. Forget for a moment that the same management structure that hired him on Jan. 24, 2013 is still in place to hire the next general manager. In truth, New York's roster has declined since he's taken over and that's never a good sign. A website FireJohnIdzik.com has already launched. A plane that carried a "Fire John Idzik" banner flew over practice in November. A twitter account was made with over 2,000 followers and we suspect that that effort will grow exponentially around black Monday (a day usually dedicated to firing head coaches). Even the team's website is wondering if Idzik will be in New York much longer.
One of the "hot names" for general manager is Bengals director of player personnel, Duke Tobin. The NY Post, listing potential candidates, writes that Tobin "played a big role" in the Bengals effort to assemble "a very talented roster that is heading to the playoffs again." Rich Cimini, who covers the Jets beat for ESPN, names Tobin, writes that there's "no traditional general manager in Cincinnati, so he works closely with coach Marvin Lewis. The Bengals are notoriously cheap -- see the skeleton scouting staff -- but the roster is filled with talent."
That's why the Cincinnati Bengals should finally do it.
It's as good a time as any.
Remove the General Manager title from the family name and promote Duke Tobin to that position, along with comparable compensation that some of the best general managers already receive. Allow Katie Blackburn to continue contract negotiations and leave Tobin with football operations.
Along with the general fear of losing one of Cincinnati's best personnel minds, he's already doing most of the GM job without the actual title. Tobin and Marvin Lewis have a great working relationship, with Tobin knowing exactly what Lewis is looking for and finding the players that he wants. Duke Tobin, son of Bill Tobin and nephew to Vince Tobin, has held the title of Director of Player Personnel since 2004 for the Cincinnati Bengals, often coordinating with head coach Marvin Lewis in developing the team's rosters.
In addition to that, Tobin, who has filled in Jim Lippincott's role, is exceedingly influential in the NFL draft. During the NFL combine in 2013, Lewis praised Tobin's work.
"I've been very impressed with Duke from the very onset," Lewis said at the NFL Combine in February '13. "He’s continued to grow. Mike has given him a great deal of responsibility and put him in charge of a lot of things," Lewis said. "He’s my liaison as far as what we do on the pro side, when we have injuries (during the season) and he’s directing the scouting efforts throughout and making sure that everything’s done and the cross-checks are done so we're able to do everything we have to evaluate these guys.
"He’s done a very good job of putting the information together, the cross-checking of things, the organization of things. He’s really streamlined it, I think both personnel and coaching-wise," Lewis said of Tobin. "We have a pretty good blueprint for what we're looking for what we do on offense, defense and special teams. We've shown some flexibility that for whatever reason we may have had a little higher grade on and were available to us when it was our turn to pick. We’ve done a great job of doing what those guys have done on their college campus and tried to give them at least that No. 1 thing to do when we got them on our field."
Think back to the '12 draft where the Bengals snagged wide receiver Marvin Jones and safety George Iloka in the fifth rounds. Or Geno Atkins in the fourth round in '10, or Carlos Dunlap in the second in the same draft. Michael Johnson in the third five years ago? Think about the undrafted free agents like Emmanuel Lamur or Ryan Hewitt -- Vontaze Burfict was more of Marvin Lewis' project.
Tobin is going to be, if he isn't already, one of the league's hottest candidates for vacant general manager positions. He's young and experienced, with a scouting background that works well with the coaching staff.
He's the type of candidate New York would appreciate.
He's the type of personnel director that Cincinnati needs to keep.