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Drafting a Thank You Letter from Mike Tannenbaum to Rex Ryan

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Drafting a Thank You Letter from Mike Tannenbaum to Rex Ryan
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Below is a fictitious thank-you letter from Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum to head coach Rex Ryan based on real events.

Hey Rex!

Look, I gotta be honest with you. I don’t know if I’m cut out for this.

It’s getting scary out there. We could lose our jobs, man, and I can’t just go back to being some no-name accountant. 

The good ol' days...

Don’t get me wrong, those first two years were fun. We let Eric pick all of those great players, I found ways to underpay them and you almost coached them to a Super Bowl. It was the perfect formula.

You know we had to fire Eric. He was paranoid and had the personality of a doorknob. When you came in, you opened up this whole organization. This place used to have Alcatraz-level security. Now, it’s like an open campus.

I used to be a huge, button-down nerd just a few years ago. Now, I live on the edge. The other day, I drank orange juice straight out of the carton, giving my wife a blank stare the whole time.

The problem is, no one up here knows how to evaluate players anymore! It’s like we actually have to watch the tape of every guy on the field. Do you know how long that takes? I’m a hard worker and all, but when I have to miss the latest episode of Real Housewives, the line has been crossed.

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for masking all of my mistakes over the past years, starting with what you have done to the defense. I honestly had no idea Revis would be as good as you have made him look. Eric just sat him in vanilla zones, but you actually had the stones to leave him on Randy Moss and Andre Johnson by himself in 2009. 

Our defense jumped from 29th in pass defense to No. 1. Give yourself a pat on the back; that’s flat-out impressive.

Even now, without Darrelle, the defense is back in the top 10, and you’re not even getting great production out of your players. I just checked PFF’s grades (because I don’t want to actually watch the tape, as you know), and only four guys (including Revis) have positive grades on defense.

Of course, I need to thank you for setting me straight by benching Wayne Hunter before the season started. Could you imagine what would have happened if he was the starter headed into the season? I still can’t believe I gave that guy $2.5 million when a competent replacement was sitting on the bench.

You see, I run this team very much like a Madden franchise: All of the money is fake, you can trade for anyone you want just for kicks, you never watch tape on draft prospects and every name you don’t recognize is probably not worth looking into adding to your team. I looked up Austin Howard’s rating in Madden, and there was no way I would have started him.

Oh, and thanks for refusing to say anything bad about “finger wag” Kyle Wilson, no matter how many times he is burned on deep balls. Hey, at least we gave him a shorter-than-usual rookie deal, right?

And about Shonn Greene: You really didn't have to stick with him as long as you did. He was just a third-round pick. People are so mad at me by now that they have forgotten about how much we overpaid in draft picks to move up and draft him. 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Yeah, I know you made a bunch of mistakes last year, and you let the locker room get out of hand, but I’m the one who took the Santonio Holmes bait and gave him a huge extension.

For a while, the move looked like a steal; getting a Super Bowl MVP for a measly fifth-round pick.

Remember, we were at a comfortable 8-5 back in 2011. Then, we collapsed and missed the playoffs. And I panicked.

I knew this team had holes, but I insisted on paying Wayne Hunter starter money based on two playoff games in 2010. I “solved” our receiver issues with a castoff from the Oakland Raiders and some kid who wasn't good enough to make the Miami Dolphins' stud receiving corps.

Then, for some reason, I thought bringing in the most polarizing player in American sports would somehow be crazy enough to work.  Turns out, it was just crazy—and irresponsible. And now you have to answer questions about your backup quarterback in every press conference. 

Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Plus, the kid isn’t even that athletic or dangerous in this Wildcat formation, is he? I probably should have considered that before I went through with the whole thing.

Most of all, I need to thank you for how you have handled No. 6 through four years. I know you wanted him as much as anyone, but the decision to move up and draft him was ultimately up to me, and you somehow managed to get to two AFC Championships with that kid.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for masking all of the mistakes I have made over the past four years. I know a lot of the fans and media are calling for my head now, but let’s be honest. If it weren’t for you, this all would have happened years ago.

Oh, and that pass-rusher you ordered is still on top of my “to-do” list. I even put a Post-it Note on the fridge to remind me.

Sincerely yours,

Mike

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