Posted September 03, 2012

Is Rex Ryan setting up Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum?


Owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum, coach Rex Ryan (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Rex Ryan has been anything but Switzerland in his three years as head coach of the New York Jets. The son of legendary tell-it-like-it-is NFL curmudgeon Buddy Ryan didn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to talking first, thinking later, but always going all-out to back up his boasts.

After Ryan “boasted” that the 2012 Jets were the best team he’s had in four years, Dan Hanzus of wonders if Ryan is intentionally going against the grain with his boss — Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

“I really like this team,” Ryan said. “I really like this team. I don’t know if we’re strong in this one area or that one area or special teams, whatever it is, but overall in my opinion this has the chance to be the best team I’ve had since I’ve been the coach here.

In other words, Ryan believes the Jets will be successful, despite a roster that lacks star power outside of cornerback Darrelle Revis. A day later, Ryan had this to say about the Jets‘ decision to select wide receiver Stephen Hill in the second round of this year’s draft.

“He can run all these routes, he had good hands and he’s got 4.2 speed at 6-foot-5,” Ryan said. “He was the guy they all (Tannenbaum and senior personnel executive Terry Brady) wanted, but honestly, when it came down to it, a wideout?” Ryan said. “Not my dream pick. But now that we have him, of course, I want to claim him: ‘Oh, that was my pick.’ But it really wasn’t.”

We’re not saying Ryan and Tannenbaum are on the outs — or even at odds — but Ryan is freely sharing some eyebrow-arching thoughts. Winning covers up issues, losing will bring them out. The Jets know that better than anybody.

Whether Ryan’s “best team” comment was off-the-cuff innocent or a calculated shot across the bow of the man who hired him –¬† thanks to a positive recommendation former Jets coach Bill Parcells — isn’t clear. Of course, Parcells is also the head coach who believed he deserved a final say over personnel matters or NFL “grocery shopping” as he called it.

What may become clear rather quickly is whether another struggling offensive performance in 2012 will give Jets owner Woody Johnson reason enough to fire Ryan and/or Tannenbaum before 2013 .


I cannot believe that Tannenbaum does any talent evaluation for the Jets. What the hell does he know? To evaluate a football player's talents and abilities to play professionally is a very difficult task, and very few do it well. Certainly not Tannenbaum, whose front-office talents were all about financial matters, not evaluation. As I said, it's very very difficult for any layman, and that's what Tannenbaum is after all, to look at someone and declare, 'he's going to be a very good one.' Barry Switzer, the old coach at Oklahoma and Dallas, when asked once if Jerry Jones was any good at assessing a football player, just said, 'No, he can't pick out the bad ones.' I'm sure all those 240-lb running backs or 300-lb linemen running around a field look absolutely fabulous to Tannenbaum, as they would to all of us.

Rex Ryan does all the evaluating for the Jets -- Tannenbaum works the contracts: I'm sure that how it works.


It almost seems to me like Ryan is saying he was wrong ... I wouldn't have chosen a wideout, but ...