With the Jets once again getting all the headlines for more bad reasons today, it looks like the 2012 season is ready to be flushed down the toilet like the turd that it is. With players speaking up publicly about their frustration with the team’s biggest offseason publicity stunt–uhh, I mean quarterback transaction,Tim Tebow, it sure seems like last season’s fractured locker room has officially returned. Rather than harp again on Tebow and Sanchez or Sanchez and Tebow, let’s take a look at how we really got here. Let’s take a look at the man who led us on this path. Let’s take a look at Mike Tannenbaum.
I tried to warn Mike back in August that this roster he put together simply wasn’t good enough. I used to really like Mr. T and was a staunch supporter, so it upset me the way things were starting to look. I questioned his series of head-scratching moves over the course of the past year plus. I offered him solutions and begged for some sort of explanation as to what the hell was happening to our beloved New York Jets, but unfortunately we never got any answers of any kind. It’s become painfully clear that the reason the Jets as an organization were never able to answer any of our questions and concerns about what was going on was because they didn’t actually have any answers. They knew just as little about this team as we did. There was no plan. There was rhyme or reason to any of these moves. The team was just slapped together with one quick-fix after another, and now those rubber bands and paper clips holding the franchise together are starting to break apart. So how did this happen?
1- Awful Player Evaluation – It doesn’t take a football expert to know that the foundation of a team is built through the NFL draft. You get to add several young and inexpensive players to your roster each year. You re-tool for the next few years, fill holes, and that’s supposed to be your rock. You develop these players, hope to hit on way more than you miss on, and then you complement this foundation with free agent signings, trades, and waiver pickups. It takes 3-4 years to fully evaluate draft classes, but players you draft are supposed to be the heart of your team. Well let’s take a look at Mr. T’s drafts from the 2008-2010 seasons, which should be a major part of our team.
2008- Vernon Gholston, the #6 overall pick, is out of the league. Dustin Keller was traded up for at #30, which was a complete reach and a poor trade, despite Keller turning into a solid if unspectacular tight end. Dwight Lowery was a solid player before being given away for a blocking sled to the Jaguars in 2011. Marcus Henry and Erik Ainge are out of football.
2009- In perhaps the biggest move of Tannenbaum’s career, he pulled off a blockbuster trade for Mark Sanchez at #5 overall. I supported the trade-up for a potential franchise QB at the time, and quite frankly, I still do, even if it hasn’t quite panned out. The real indefensible thing with this selection was how from Day 1, the organization seemingly went out of their way to NOT develop him properly. The Jets also traded up to the first pick of Round 3 in order to draft running back Shonn Greene, who is a decent back in a platoon, but hardly a featured player. In round 6, Matt Slauson was added, which was a rare good late round pick.
2010- All you really need to know is that Kyle Wilson was drafted in the first round. The same Kyle WIlson who revolutionized the cornerback position these past few years by showing you can make millions of dollars by never once turning around to track a pass in the air, giving hope to all young terrible cornerbacks out there. Following that up in round 2 was the immortal Vlad Ducasse, who despite being tried at 3 different offensive line positions, still found a way to be equally awful at them all. Rounding out this historically bad draft class was Joe McKnight in round 4 (a running back they don’t allow to play running back), and John Conner, the 1-dimensional fullback whose one dimension happened to be poor run blocking. Imagine if the Jets drafted just ONE useful player in this class. Could that have put them over the top to beat the Steelers in the playoffs? I guess we’ll never know…
With so little talent coming in over the past few years, it starts to make sense as why the team is in such dire straits, especially when you factor in all the reliable players Mike Tannenbaum let go of. Why did he let so many good players go? Because he thought he had some really excellent replacements ready to step in. Which brings me to…
2- Overrating of Own Players / Arrogance - The arrogance shown by this front office the past few years is absolutely startling. In 2010 this was one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, and the success matched it. Since then, the team has arrogantly overrated their own players to such a degree that they allowed reliable players who fit in extremely well to leave, only to replace them with guys Mike Tannenbaum brought in, almost as if to show how much smarter they are than everyone else. You want to see how you go from back-to-back AFC title games and seemingly being on the brink of greatness to… whatever the hell this is now we see every Sunday? Take a look:
At QB, we went from a promising young QB who appeared to be on the rise, to turning him into a shell-shocked, scrambled mess.
At RB, we went from Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene in a very effective platoon, to Greene being the bellcow with a whopping 3.7 yards a carry. Backing him up are failed draft choices Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. Despite spending FOUR draft choices between rounds 3 and 5 between 2009 and 2011 on the backfield, we may still end up seeing a starting backfield of Kahlil Bell and Lex Hilliard soon.
At FB, we went from the excellent Tony Richardson to John Conner to Lex Hilliard. Wow.
At WR, we went from “The Flight Boys” trio of Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Jerricho Cotchery to seeing Jason Hill and Clyde Gates play big roles. Sanchez was developing some really nice chemistry with these players and they all contributed to the playoff success. Just as importantly, they all seemed to really like each other and were great teammates. Naturally, Tannenbaum unceremoniously dumped Edwards and Cotchery in favor of Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason (who are both out of the league), and then this year replaced them with Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, and Stephen Hill. Kerley has shown promise and Hill is just a rookie, but this has been an extreme downgrade in every aspect. Why not just let Sanchez grow with The Flight Boys?
At Offensive Line, we went from arguably the best Right Tackle in the NFL in Damien Woody to Wayne Hunter to Austin Howard. Woody was willing to return for one more season in 2011, but the team overrated Hunter to such a degree, that they felt Woody was expendable. This was quite possibly the most laughable decision of them all. And while Austin Howard is better than Hunter, I’d still prefer to see Big Wood walk off the ESPN set and throw on a Jets jersey, despite not playing for nearly two years. Beyond the right tackle disaster, no interior linemen were developed or groomed to back up or eventually replace Brandon Moore or Slauson. That’s how you end up with things like Colin Baxter blocking Haloti Ngata last year. Ugh.
At Outside Linebacker, we went from “tail end of their usefulness” – Calvin Pace, Jason Taylor, and Bryan Thomas, to “absolutely useless and washed up” Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas. Backing them up are Useless Garrett McIntyre and Ricky Sapp. Zero reinforcements were added. Why were no reinforcements added? Because…
3- Complete Lack of a Plan – As far as I can tell, there is just absolutely no plan at all with this entire organization. There obviously was none when it came to developing Mark Sanchez, because they’ve done literally everything wrong with him. I’m pretty sure that if Mike Tannenbaum had a big chart in his office with his grand plan, it would read something like this:
Draft Terrible Players
Blame Everyone Else to Woody
Get More Headlines
Rather than building a team the right way and developing their players, Mike Tannenbaum always appears to be on the lookout for the “next great thing”, and thinks there’s always something better. Well, as we’ve seen, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Rather than letting Eric Mangini build and go forward with Chad Pennington like he wanted to, Mike made the big splash to get Brett Favre for a 2nd round pick. Rather than letting Mark Sanchez grow up with Edwards and Cotchery, he dumped them both in a year where a lockout prevented the offense with new receivers from being able to gel. It’s also worth mentioning his arrogance led to signing Plaxico Burress fresh out of jail without so much as watching him work out. It’s probably a good thing they didn’t work out Burress or Mason before signing them though, because I don’t even know where the hell they’d be able to find a sun dial to time them running.
The list of reasons why Mike Tannenbaum has no plan is seemingly endless. They want to have a ground and pound team, so he loaded up with bad running backs, bad offensive linemen, and didn’t bother to get a single run-blocking tight end. They drafted a top 5 pick QB and then changed his WR’s every year and didn’t get a reliable pass-catching running back after LaDainian Tomlinson retired, even though that was a major part of Sanchez’s game. They wanted to be a defensive powerhouse, yet he didn’t draft or sign a single OLB during Rex Ryan’s tenure other than Aaron Maybin, who was recently cut. Safety was never addressed after dumping Kerry Rhodes, and Dwight Lowery was just given away. They wanted a backup to push Mark Sanchez, so they got Drew Stanton, then immediately changed course and traded for Tim Tebow. They said Tebow could play 15-20 snaps per game and he’d help the short yardage game, and then he isn’t used at all. It’s just one thing after another, after another with this team.
So, it’s come to this with the New York Jets and Mike Tannenbaum. It’s not just the fans and media anymore saying that this is a flawed roster and flawed organization. Now according to the Daily News, we even have Jets players saying the Jets players aren’t good enough. We have Jets officials saying the Jets players aren’t good enough. It’s been obvious for a while now that that has been the case and we’ve all been right. The reason the players aren’t good enough is because the General Manager isn’t good enough. The time has come. Mike must go.