NY Jets: 5 Reasons Mike Tannenbaum Should Be Fired If the Jets Miss the Playoffs
The Jets are in turmoil. Their season was going poorly enough for strictly football reasons before numerous anonymous players went to the media to publicly denigrate backup quarterback Tim Tebow as well as the wide receivers on their team.
With every passing day in the New York Jets circus, it becomes clearer and clearer that this team cannot move forward with this group. When I say "this group" I not only am referring to their players, but their coaching staff and front office as well.
Sure, you can blame Mark Sanchez for completing a league-low 52 percent of his passes. Sure, you can blame Tim Tebow for being the biggest distraction from the bench in all of sports. You can blame the offensive line for not protecting their quarterback or opening up holes in the running game. You can blame Rex Ryan for spotty play-calling and losing control of his locker room for the second straight season.
At the end of the day, the blame falls on one man. One man is responsible for the way this team is constructed, from the head coach all the way down through the practice squad. And that is GM Mike Tannenbaum.
Here are five reasons Tannenbaum needs to go if the Jets miss (or even if they miraculously make) the playoffs.
How many teams have three Pro Bowlers on their offensive line? How many have even just two? The only three teams are the Jets (three), the Saints (three) and the Patriots (two) from the 2012 Pro Bowl rosters.
However, in New England and in New Orleans, the offensive lines as a whole are among the best in football. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are able to throw the amount that they do due to great protection and trust in their blockers.
The Jets, amazingly, have 60% of their line on the Pro Bowl roster but can't seem to get good pass protection or run blocking. Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore and D'Brickashaw Ferguson should comprise three-fifths of the best line in football. However, this isn't the case.
Why is the Jets offensive line so bad? The answer to this question is simple: the other two players, Matt Slauson and Austin Howard. These two players are not only below average, but they have been terrible all season.
Howard has consistently been beaten by edge rushers and Slauson has struggled to open up holes at guard for running back Shonn Greene.
All Tannenbaum needed to do was assemble two competent offensive lineman to complete what should be a great line, but his comfort with Slauson and Howard (and Wayne Hunter, before the fans forced him out of town) has resulted in a great line becoming a mediocre one at best, with only Mike Tannenbaum to blame.
Before analyzing the Jets' offensive woes and deciding whether they can be blamed on Mark Sanchez, ask yourself this question: Do the Jets have a player on offensive who is definitively better than Sanchez?
The answer to that question might be no. Tannenbaum drafted Sanchez in 2009 with hope that he would be a franchise quarterback who would lead the Jets to multiple Super Bowls. He dreamed of Sanchez throwing touchdown after touchdown while becoming elite like his cross-town rival, Eli Manning.
However, what Tannenbaum seems to have forgotten about was the other side of a touchdown pass: the touchdown catch. Who did Tannenbaum expect Sanchez to throw the ball to?
His signature pickup was Santonio Holmes, a glorified No. 2 receiver who cashed in on a big Super Bowl performance while with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was paid like a No. 1 receiver after recording only one 1,000-yard season and never recording double-digit touchdowns.
Tannenbaum also let Jericho Cotchery walk, depriving Sanchez of one of his most trustworthy targets. Thomas Jones, a 1,400 yard rusher in 2009, was also not brought back for 2010. While Sanchez developed, Tannenbaum removed multiple reliable targets from the Jets' depth chart.
Now, with injuries to tight end Dustin Keller and Holmes, the Jets are giving regular snaps to Konrad Reuland and Chaz Schilens. Jeremy Kerley and rookie Stephen Hill are No. 1 and 2 on the depth chart, and they recently worked out Steve Slaton and Kahlil Bell to fill voids at running back.
The lack of talent at skill positions on the Jets is completely unacceptable and Tannenbaum is solely to blame.
Sometimes, its hard to follow along with what the Jets front office is thinking. Just days after signing Mark Sanchez to a big contract extension, the Jets traded for Tim Tebow, the human quarterback controversy.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone outside of the front office who thought this was a good idea at the time. Sanchez's low confidence on the field would not be helped by constant under-the-microscope criticism and calls for Tebow to start by the New York media.
There was no reason to bring in Tebow whatsoever, unless the plan was to move the franchise in a different direction at quarterback. Signing Sanchez to an extension just before trading for Tebow was one of the worst personnel moves I have ever seen in sports and the Jets are paying the price through the media.
The New York Giants have shown that the biggest piece to a winning defense is the pass rush. Elite pass-rushers have covered up holes in the Giants secondary in both of their Super Bowl runs and is vital for any defense that is serious about a playoff run.
The Jets have a great secondary, but one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. They have relied on creative blitz packages from Rex Ryan to get to the quarterback and many times have to rush six or more players to get any pressure at all.
No matter how good a cornerback is, even Darrelle Revis can't contain a wide receiver forever. The more time a quarterback gets, the less effective the pass defense becomes and in turn the more the strength of the Jets defense gets neutralized.
Tannenbaum has attempted to fix this issue through the draft, picking defensive linemen Vernon Gholston, Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Kenrick Ellis. While Ellis and Wilkerson have become good run defenders, Gholston was one of the biggest draft busts in history as he never recorded a sack with the Jets, and Coples has struggled in his first season as well.
Tannenbaum's pass-rushing prize was Aaron Maybin, a former draft bust turned reclamation project by Rex Ryan, but Maybin's Jet career lasted one season as he was released earlier this week.
This man was never the right coach for this football team. He is one of the better defensive coordinators in the came and a very entertaining media personality, but head football coach he is not.
Ryan should obviously be fired if the Jets miss the playoffs and he completely loses the locker room for the second straight season, but Tannenbaum also needs to go. He assembled the combination of the faulty personalities and Ryan and it hasn't worked out at all.
Ryan does not know how to handle the media while keeping team issues internal and also doesn't know how to contain locker room divides.
Ryan's off-field woes are well-documented. But on the field, Ryan is offensively inept. Many head coaches specialize in either offense or defense, but Ryan takes that to an extreme. He plays no part in offensive play-calling and needs an offensive coordinator to help him create even a simple game plan beyond "ground and pound."
Tannenbaum should have done a more thorough evaluation of his head coach candidates after the firing of Eric Mangini and should have understood that Ryan is not cut out to be a head coach of a football team with this many conflicting personalities. Therefore, he should be blamed for putting the two together and in return, should be in his last season as the GM of the New York Jets.