Tannenbaum’s Conundrum Is Of His Own Doing – But I’ll Help
By Sean Lester Durham
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum has no one to blame but himself for the Jets current mess but all is NOT lost.
At 3-5 the Jets are dying a slow and painful metaphorical death that has been brought on by LITERAL incompetent decision making and unfortunately, the fans are the ones that are suffering from it the MOST. Whenever you sit back and contemplate on the Jets season and realize just how easy it is to blame one Mark Sanchez for the Jets issues this season, it seems if you contemplate long enough you always managed to come full circle and find a way to put it all at the feet of Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s Sanchez out there throwing those passes, that’s Sanchez out there missing WRs and giving Jetnation no reason to believe when watching his press conferences after the games. There’s no mistaking that but if you think long and hard enough, its almost essentially impossible NOT to shake your head at the questionable job Mike Tannenbaum has or hasn’t done (depending on how you look at it), in preparing this team for something EVERYONE outside of his office knew that was not only possible but almost probable with the way the season ended last year in Sanchez struggling. This is a QB driven league and it there’s one position a GM can’t afford to make inept and immensely head scratching/questionable decisions at is certainly the QB position and COMPLETELY undermining a QB in Sanchez that once shown tons of promise is part of the severely incompetent handling of the QB position and that my friends, is exactly what Tannenbaum has done here with the Jets.
Tannenbaum extended Sanchez’s contract at a time when not only was the contract or extension NOT warranted or even EARNED by Sanchez but the Jets LITERALLY didn’t have to do it and it made LITERALLY NOT an OUNCE of FINANCIAL sense to do it from ANY LOGICAL standpoint you can possibly consider but it was done to the chagrin of Jets fans and anyone else with common sense that actually cares about this team. Now on the outside and at first glance it would appear to be a major problem for this Jets team and appears to hinder any hope at being competitive in the near future and its certainly understandable why some would feel this way but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
At this point, finding anyone in Jetnation that actually trusts the Jets management to make competent and logical decisions is the real challenge and it’s something that they brought upon themselves. Just 2 seasons ago, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that didn’t believe that Mike Tannenbaum shouldn’t be considered for GM of the year considering the moves he made to make this team competitive virtually overnight. It was an argument that had some legitimacy to it but whatever IT was that Tanny had that weighted said argument with legitimacy, he lost it practically in one offseason, an offseason highlighted with the boneheaded trade for Tim Tebow wrapped around countless other inept decisions and questionable inactions including the total lack of urgency and attention at the right tackle position and WR positions just to name a few. It is because of the incompetence of the Jets front office that the Jets are going through what they are going through right now, no matter how much we want to place the blame at the feet of Mark Sanchez. When you sit back and think about how inconsistent Mark Sanchez has been this season, you end up asking yourself just why the Jets don’t have a viable backup QB that can actually step in and lead this team to some wins? A backup QB that DOESN’T require a drastic change in offensive philosophy and scheme. Some say that the Jets had that in Drew Stanton but that the powers to be were so enamored with the thought of Tim Tebow on the roster that the competent thought producing side of their cerebellum shut completely down and their common sense circuits were temporarily TEBOWED and they found themselves stuck idiotically chasing Tebow around like a cat chasing a flash light on the wall.
For example; whenever you sit back and want to blame Stephen Hill for dropping crucial pass after crucial pass, you start off by asking yourself “WHY isnt Stephen Hill catching these CRUCIAL passes??” but then you contemplate some more and you somehow manage to end up at the feet of Mike Tannenbaum and wondering just how he thought forcing Sanchez to depend on a rookie that didn’t have much production in college and was part of a spread option offense would be a wise thing to do? I for one knew that depending on a rookie WR in a big way would certainly not be the smart thing to do and most of Jetnation realized this as well but it always seem like Jetnation figures things out much faster than Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t it? And it never fails. Much like last season when the Jets dumped Aaron Maybin when he was the only LB in the pre-season that was getting anywhere NEAR the QB, the Jetnation went bananas and rightfully so. Tanny, late as usual and after RISKING Maybin on the OPEN market, came to his senses and decided to bring him back and Maybin ultimately ended up leading the team in sacks.
But wait, there’s more;
Mark Sanchez hasn’t had a viable backup behind him since arriving in 2009. That needs to change next season for the betterment of the team.
The end of last season everyone in Jetnation knew that Wayne Hunter was playing as bad as any RT in the league and knew for a FACT that the Jets would aggressively look to replace him but instead of doing that, Tanny and Rex gave us this spill about Hunter being the starter and that “he would get better”. No one in Jetnation was buying it as they had already seen enough of Hunter to know that he was awful but Tanny, late as usual didn’t see this UNTIL after the season started and after Hunter proved to him everyone with EYES that it was a colossal mistake to not adequately replace him early on in the offseason and Tanny eventually traded him to the Rams FINALLY admitting to himself and to us that Hunter was a failure something Jetnation knew apparently before Tanny did. Inexcusable!
To elaborate on Stephen Hill a bit more, Mike Tannenbaum refused to bring in a veteran WR in camp although Jetnation was begging for it because we didn’t want Mark Sanchez having to depend on Stephen Hill just yet, and honestly, the rookie would be best suited to be the #3 WR so he wouldn’t have to garner the opposing defense’s toughest CB assignments just yet. Of course Tanny didn’t see it this way, he drafted Hill and Hill was immediately named a starter and now 8 games in it looks like a huge mistake. Hill is undoubtedly talented and will most likely be a great WR for the Jets down the line but, the dropped passes in crucial situations; inability to separate from press coverage, and the overall inconsistent route running is proving to be a detriment to the passing attack. The Jets needed a veteran WR opposite of Holmes that could’ve come in and help tutor Hill, take the pressure off of him so that he can get better at a smoother and unrushed pace, help Sanchez and the passing offense on key downs among COUNTLESS other LOGICAL reasons to bring in a vet WR. What is currently happening with Hill is something that Jetnation saw happening, or at least I did prior to the season starting and this is something that I wanted to prevent but this was also something that GM Mike Tannenbaum apparently didn’t think about and it is something that once again is costing this team big time a repeated and consistent FAIL on part of Tannenbaum that is becoming all to familiar. Something tells me that Tannenbaum already realizes the FAIL re forcing Sanchez to rely heavily on Hill but unlike the other moves, there’s seemingly NO viable and feasible way to FIX THIS FAIL at this point.
I can go on and on with examples in which Jetnation has proven to know more than the management of this team but I’m certain you get my overall point and I brought those points up to lead into another important one. We are once again at a pivotal point in which certain decisions need to be made in order to ensure that the Jets not only get back to being competitive and a potential contender but at this point, making decisions that will keep the Jets from just flat-out embarrassing themselves something they have been doing more times than not so far this season. Simply put; the Jets back to back trips to the AFC Title games seemed to have hurt the progress of this organization more than helping it as Tanny has been convinced that the way he has operated in the past is in fact THE way to adequately build a winning franchise and that my friends is flat out FALSE. The BEST way to adequately BUILD a winning franchise is through the draft, making WISE/DIFFICULT personnel decisions and making sure you are fielding the BEST team as possible, three things Jets management can NOT honestly say they have done.
So here’s what I’ll do for Tanny (although I would actually love to have Tanny replaced by one Bill Polian but since Woody Johnson is so committed to him, I’ll assume Tanny won’t be going anywhere and I don’t mind helping him since I’m such an awesome guy) since I’m sure he always reads what I write; I’m going to tell him how to bolster the QB position virtually OVERNIGHT….Although there are other areas on the team that Tanny OBVIOUSLY needs help with managing effectively but as I stated before, this is a QB driven league and Tanny and Rex apparently hasn’t gotten that memo.
Here’s what it boils down to;
-The Jets need to fire Matt Cavanaugh and bring in a viable QB coach that can actually develop young QBs and I personally would love to see a Vinny Testerverde or maybe a Rich Gannon brought in and given the job, a pipe dream on my end probably but just my preference.
– Mark Sanchez isn’t going anywhere but that doesn’t mean he has to be the Jets starting QB. I couldn’t care less about his contract at this point. Vick and Cassell are 2 other high dollar QBs that are struggling and are on the verge of being benched or already have been benched. Sanchez certainly hasn’t done enough to be treated any differently than those 2 at this point.
-The Jets ALSO NEED to have 2 NEW QBs on the roster BY the summer to compete with Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy as they need to trade Tim Tebow for whatever they can get.
-Unless Mark Sanchez turns into Tom Brady the 2nd half of this season, the Jets need to OFFICIALLY open up the QB competition this offseason letting all QBs on the roster know that THEY have a shot.
-They need to sign either Jason Campbell or Matt Moore this offseason and they need to spend a 3rd or 4th rounder on a QB this April, the QBs I would be targeting for mid-round considerations are; Mike Glennon from N.C. State, Landry Jones from Oklahoma and Tyler Bray from Tennessee, though they all haven’t exactly SHINED so far this season, they are all great prospects with NFL caliber attributes.
The Jets 4 QBs going into camp needs to be Sanchez, McElroy, Campbell/Moore and Bray, Jones, Glennon, or another viable rookie QB. This will ensure that the Jets will have the best options at the QB position and real competition for Mark Sanchez.
The Jets can and should remain competitive even with Mark Sanchez and his contract still on the roster. His contract should have no bearing on what the best thing is for the QB position and this team in general. The Jets need to immediately start making wise and competent decisions at the QB position in order to make up for the BONEHEADED/COSTLY ones that have been made the past year and in order to keep this Jets team within the realm of competitiveness. Believe me, It is NOT something that is “easier said than done.” It is something that is easier DONE than said and something that any fan base should EXPECT and TRUST their management to adequately handle but again, at this point, does anyone trust Mike Tannenbaum to do ANYTHING outside of everything that is the wrong thing to do?