Be Fair with Evaluating Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum


July 28, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum walks off the field following training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Before we hit tonight’s game, I want to take a look at Mike Tannenbaum. There has been a lot of talk about this guy in recent weeks, and rightfully so. Has he done enough for this team, especially on the offensive side of the football, to put it in position to succeed? You definitely can argue that he has not. As we all know, the NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?”, type of business. Tannenbaum has a lot more failures than successes recently, so knocking him for that is more than fair.

However, I have started to see people knocking his career as the GM in its totality. Some fans are starting to take a negative look at his career in a broader sense, knocking whether he had influence on picks earlier in his tenure, and saying he hasn’t been a good GM ever. To say that, if you look at it honestly, is just not fair.

First, look at his drafts since he has been the GM, starting with guys he chose in 2006:

  1. Nick Mangold
  2. D’Brickashaw Ferguson
  3. Eric Smith

I’d say these are guys that have been around a while, and have had a pretty strong impact on the current New York Jets, wouldn’t you?  That doesn’t even take into account guys that are still around the league, like Leon Washington.

In 2007, David Harris was brought in. Bad pick? I think not. Probably the most consistent defensive player the Jets have brought in in Tanny’s era. Oh yeah, well the most consistent player other than this guy:

Aug 15, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive back Darrelle Revis (24) looks on during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Did we forget that Mike picked this guy? That’s a pretty important player for the Jets, and he was picked in the Tannenbaum era.

In 2008 he took Dustin Keller, the current quarterback’s favorite target. He’s a guy that has gotten better every year, and cannot be discounted.

I have heard a lot of people say that the above picks had more to do with Eric Mangini than Mike Tannenbaum. That’s just not fair folks. They always talk about the fact that with personnel decisions, the buck stops with Mike Tannenbaum. Did that change through his tenure? We all give him grief for picks like Vernon Gholston, it’s not fair to discredit him for the Revis pick, among many others.

By the way, several good players have been chosen since Mangini left.

In 2009, he chose only three guys, but they are all offensive starters, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Matt Slauson. Over the next two years, notable picks have been Kyle Wilson, Joe McKnight, Mo Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, and Jeremy Kerley. These are all guys that we all consider important. Mike Tannenbaum picked these guys.

Tannenbaum has made other quality moves during his tenure as well. He traded for Thomas Jones in 2007. In 2008, Alan Faneca and Tony Richardson were signed. Free agent Calvin Pace joined the defense that year. Damien Woody was brought in during 2008 as well. Brett Favre was acquired as well, although that didn’t end well, fact is that he didn’t give up much (conditional 4th round pick) for Favre.

2009 saw the acquistion of Braylon Edwards via a blockbuster trade in October of that season. I won’t even bring Jim Leonhard and Bart Scott into the equation, since they followed coach Rex Ryan to the team.

2010 saw the signings of LaDainian Tomlinson to replace Thomas Jones, and Jason Taylor to act as a pass rushing specialist. Jeff Cumberland was signed as an undrafted free agent. And don’t forget the acquisiton of Aaron “Mayhem” Maybin. Mixed in earlier in his tenure is the best WR so far this camp, Patrick Turner.

In a what have you done for me lately business, your failures are remembered a lot more than your triumphs. And Mike Tannenbaum has had his share of failures. Vernon Gholston comes to mind. Like any team, he has had his draft picks that have not made the team. It’s a hit or miss system.

The biggest problem people have with Mike Tannenbaum is a failure as a result of inactivity, especially with the offense. This is a fair complaint, as he has spent much more time improving the Jets defense than offense. We went into camp with the same offensive line as last year, and no more depth than we had. Obviously that is not good. Mark Sanchez has a basically all new crop of weapons to work with again, which is not good for continuity.

Mike Tannenbaum’s recent returns have not been good. Granted.

The point is this, if you want to knock Mike Tannenbaum for his recent moves, or lack thereof, fine. That is valid. But don’t knock him for his entire time with the team, because overall he has been a decent GM. Bill Polian? No. But pretty good? Absolutely.