Why Tannenbaum Needs to be the First Jets Casualty


Oct. 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum walks on the sidelines before the game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE

Here we are again Jets fans. We are in the midst of seemingly another free fall. We have seen the play on the field, and everything seemed to come to a head with the situation yesterday.

So, how do we pick up the pieces? Well, there has to be changes made at the top, as we all know. Woody Johnson, unfortunately, isn’t going anywhere. Rex Ryan could end up being a casualty of this season, but to me, that isn’t warranted. The guy who needs to go, and I am not the only one with this opinion, is general manager Mike Tannenbaum. And it’s not simply because of not addressing individual positions. It’s the philosophy of building the team that just isn’t working. Let me explain.

Rex Ryan is dead set on running a “Ground and Pound” offense. That is his way, and we all know how stubborn Rex is. We’ve seen it, he doesn’t change his methods for anyone. As long as Rex is the head coach, this is how it’s going to be. That being said, his system makes it harder on the general manager. Why? Because the league is changing. The league is not a run-first league anymore. All of the good teams can throw the football up and down the field. Green Bay with Rodgers, New Orleans with Brees, New England with Brady, and the list goes on and on. The most successful teams in this NFL are ones that can pass the football at will.

That is not who the Jets are, or who they ever will be under Rex Ryan. He comes from the mentality of physical football, from his Dad, and that is not going to change. The Jets will always be a run first team under Rex. Can it work? Yes. But a whole lot of pressure is put on the general manager. In a league that is pass first, college football players are, for the most part, preparing themselves for such a league. Are there really any ground and pound college teams? They certainly are few, and far between, that’s for sure. That makes the general manager and scouting staff responsible for searching that much harder, working that much longer, to find players to fit the team that coach Ryan wants to have.

Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) carries the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the 1st half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The general manager’s job is to build the team in his coach’s image. Rex wants to have a team that can run the football, and to their credit, they did that in 2009 and 2010. But look at the team they had then. They had great run blockers on the offensive line, like Alan Faneca and Damien Woody. They had great veteran running backs, Thomas Jones first, and a healthy LaDainian Tomlinson after that. Where did that roster come from? Other than Tomlinson, that roster was in place long before Rex Ryan left Baltimore, MD. Many argue the point that Eric Mangini was more responsible for that roster than Mike Tannenbaum was. That seemed hard to believe at first, but as you look at the development of this team, it’s not so hard.

Players don’t stay with teams long term in the NFL. Having a hard salary cap just about guarantees that. Even the Patriots have had key players go. The difference is, Earth to Mike Tannenbaum, they replace them. I mean, is this a difficult concept? Not to us, but to Mike Tannenbaum it is. We talked about the running backs that the Jets had the first two years, Jones and Tomlinson. These are two guys that we know could carry the ball for an entire game and be effective. Shonn Greene was effective with them here, as a change of pace. Now that those guys are gone, we are left with…Shonn Greene. Basically the anti-Jones in terms of effectiveness. His lack of vision is mortifying. To run a ground and pound offense, you have to have a guy that can carry the ball 25-30 times per game and be effective. Shonn Greene? Not so much. But yet Tanny refuses to address this via the draft.

What about the offensive line? In 2009-2010, the Jets had a road-grating offensive line. This was a group that could take any defensive line out. Go back to the tape and watch these guys. There was a REASON these guys were at or near the top of the league in rushing, and it was not just because of the backs. The line was terrific, but again, players go, they move on. It’s about how you replace those players. That is exactly what Tanny has not done. Matt Slauson has been serviceable, but he is not the run blocker than Alan Faneca was, not even close. We know how putrid Ducasse has been. Then, right tackle, Damien Woody became the great Wayne Hunter. Do I have to say more? Yes, Austin Howard is there now, and he has been better, but we don’t know yet. Mike Tannenbaum has ignored prospects on the offensive side of the ball that could have furthered Rex Ryan’s vision, but yet he has refused.

Rex Ryan wants to be a ground and pound football team. The general manager has to further that vision, and Tannenbaum has done nothing to continue that vision. That is why he needs to go. Now.