In a very odd turn of events the ex-General Manager of the New York Jets is a guest analyst on the NFL network. Mike Tannenbaum wasn’t the worst GM, but he drew the short straw at the end of the 2012 season and is out of a job. Meanwhile, Rex Ryan still has the head coaching job. That’s a real shame. Tannenbaum made some really good moves, but he also took the heat for some lazy teambuilding. Hell, he may have masterminded the lazy teambuilding. But I doubt he acted alone.
I just saw him discussing the trade with the Browns that landed them Mark Sanchez in the 2009 draft. They had a decent team, with a good mix of talent at both the rookie and veteran level. They have Nick Mangold, and they had some good linemen with him. They patched their linebacker corps with Bart Scott, one of Rex’s players from Baltimore. They had a good but undersized safety in Jim Leonhard. Again, an ex-Raven. And they had a combination of size and speed at Wide Receiver. They also had one of the best special-teamers in the league in Leon Washington.
What has happened to the Jets since 2010, where they had been to two straight AFC Championship games, and 2013 where they are at the bottom of the league, is both easy to diagram and difficult to explain. They have lost a lot of talent, and failed to replace that talent. That is the easy part. Why they have continued to overrate bad players and undervalue good ones is the real mystery. Instead of looking at film of their loss to Tim Tebow and the Broncos in 2011 and seeing safety Eric Smith out of position, again, and unable to make the play, again, and then deciding to upgrade Eric Smith…. they trade for Tim Tebow. Classic Jets move. Overrate the competition. Instead of continuing to improve their offensive line and receivers, giving their franchise quarterback better tools to facilitate his progression… they release his best possession receiver, Jericho Cotchery, fail to replace him. They compound that by failing to replace a pro-bowler Damien Woddy, and sticking with a scout-team guy at right tackle. That guy was Wayne Hunter, and I am sure he is a good man and a good team mate. However, he couldn’t block a grocery cart, and as a result of him feeding Mark Sanchez to the wolves about twelve times a game his QB may have caught a permanent case of the “yips”.
When I see clips of Mark Sanchez I keep thinking of another talented kid, David Carr, who got was hit more times in a single season than any QB ever and has been on clipboard duty ever since. So the Jets can’t block, can’t catch, and can’t stop anyone from scoring… Do they upgrade their offensive line? No. They bring in a lightning rod in Tim Tebow, and talk about what a great asset he will be to the team, and don’t have the sack to play him. So while he was worth trading for he wasn’t worth playing. He also can’t block, catch, or run while he sits on the bench and watches his career spiral down the shitter. By the way, Tebow’s game was on display all over the NFL in 2012, where the playoffs were thick with eager, mobile QBs with a head for the game. The problem was that Tebow wasn’t one of them. I’m not a huge Tebow fan, but I have become so sympathetic to his plight, another good player rotting on a dysfunctional trainwreck of a team, that I am now in his corner.
Meanwhile Rex Ryan has proven himself to be something worse than incompetent: he is a pathological liar. He told the public that Wayne Hunter was “the guy” when everyone knew he was not able to protect the franchise (huge understatement). He has talked up players like receiver Stephen Hill, who have produced nothing. And I won’t belabor the point, but if it makes the fans seasick I can only imagine what it does to morale on the team. Imagine being a talented professional in any field and watching the boss tell the press that some guy who is on the brink of being fired is “all world”. It is a horrible way to act in any organization. It crushes morale and breaks the chain of command.
So while I know it won’t happen I can hope that someone on NFL Network has the balls to ask “Mr. T” what the hell is going on with the Jets. Because he is one of the few people who actually knows the answer.