In Which I Trash Lazy Hot Seat Conjecture from Mike Florio

Corey mentioned and opined on Mike Florio trotting out another tired takedown piece on the Jets. In Florio’s article, he continues to say what he’s already been saying since last summer, that Tannenbum is going could be fired this year … just like he did last year. But this time he’s serial. (Super serial?)

Let’s let loose the blogger invective and fire it up for Mike Florio, FJM Style.

New York Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum likely isn’t sleeping all that well these days.

Is it the humidity? The humidity is keeping me up some too, that and my wife’s incessant covers stealing. Did he try adding a fan to his bedroom? Sometimes still air makes it hard for me to sleep. Maybe melatonin tablets. Or a typical Mike Florio retread article on the Jets about how the team’s GM is doomed yet again this year.

The long-term employee of the team, who has worked his way up the ladder into a position of ultimate authority – and thus accountability – now has nowhere to go.

Except out the door.

Not true, Tannenbaum could still yet be named Supreme Overlord of the Jets, that or maybe Caesar.

Last year, Tannenbaum behaved like a desperate man, spending millions of dollars on a variety of free agents, while ignoring the quarterback position.

Until Brett Favre became available.

There’s nothing quite as insipid as one sentence paragraphs by writers and so far we’re just four graphs in and he’s already used the tactic three times, with the shorter ‘to the point’ capper that inevitibly starts with some connector word like ‘but,’ ‘except,’ or ‘unless’ …

But just kill me now.

Yes, Tannenbaum was acting like a demented loon last season. Who is crazy enough to try and better their team with gobs of cap room to do so?! What an abject disaster it was to add a handful of former Pro Bowlers, three of whom re-shaped their units (Faneca, Woody & Big Jinx) and one whom added stability to the lead blocker role that had been a revolving door since Jerald Sowell left the team? And don’t forget to add in Calvin Pace who warped the team forward from Victor Hobson’s terrible play with FIVE forced fumbles and 80 tackles.

By gum! It’s clear that Tannenbaum has no idea what he’s doing!!!

My contention last spring was that it didn’t matter who won the QB battle, because the line and running game could support whoever took the snaps. To say that the team ‘ignored’ the QB position is irresponsible. They had a young QB who was thought to be on the upswing in Clemens, and a then-again healthy (though undeniably questionable) Pennington.

So, the team misevaluated Pennington and his health & leadership status, and swung the pendulum too far the other way to a guy who has been called “The Iron Man” during his career. Ultimately, they were looking for someone who might help the team and give them something they didn’t have in Pennington. Favre didn’t work out, but you can’t knock the Jets for taking a chance. I was afraid that the Favre acquisition would be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that turned out to be true.

And if success is determined by whether the Jets made it to the playoffs, the various moves from a season ago fairly can be regarded as a massive failure.

Yes, let’s assign a value that makes your point valid and any other argument invalid. This is the logic that someone with a J.D. uses. I thought law school was supposed to make you critically think.

Two most useless people with law degrees, GO!

Star Jones & Mike Florio?

When I read things like the ones I read from Florio above, there’s little wonder in my mind he’s writing about football rather than working on complex tort litigation for a presitigious national firm. Intellectually, it’s easier to lap someone in the same pool when you have flippers and a kickboard and they’re a senior citizen … as opposed to going head to head with Michael Phelps.

Tannenbaum, however, didn’t shoulder the blame for the misadventures. Instead, coach Eric Mangini was fired, after only three years on the job.

You got that right, at least. He’s been the Teflon Don of the Jets, and has clawed his way over more than one person to get to his current place of prominence. Still it’s not without some merit. There was a rift that started at the draft. The rumor is that Mangini wanted Gholston, the scouting staff did not. Some say it was the beginning of the end for Woody.

The next time owner Woody Johnson decides change is needed, Tannenbaum likely won’t be quite so lucky.
In the wake of Mangini’s departure, Tannenbaum has continued to throw the ball deep. This year, he traded up 12 spots in the first round of the draft, via a deal with Mangini’s new team, to land quarterback Mark Sanchez.

I don’t exactly know how giving up a third round pick for Brett Freaking Favre constitutes an unfounded risk, but yes, I guess he did ‘throw the ball deep’ again this year … at the request of his new coach Rex Ryan, just like he did with Mangini a year ago with Gholston. Rex Ryan isn’t exactly filled with guile, so when he said he told Tannenbaum the team needed to get Sanchez, exactly who are we blaming for that move and how is that all squarely Tannenbaum’s fault/credit? He agreeing with and carrying out the request of his coach.

But serious potential problems remain.

But you’re still using that cliche stylistic technique.

Groan.

Tannenbaum allowed veteran receiver Laveranues Coles to give up $6 million in guaranteed money in exchange for a free-and-clear release, and Coles ended up with a better deal in Cincinnati. Meanwhile, the Jets haven’t replaced Coles’ skill and production.

27th, 39th and 32nd. Those are the numbers of Coles DYAR Rank at Football Outsiders over the last three seasons. 34th, 13th and 16th. Those are the numbers of Cotchery of his DYAR Rank at Football Outsiders over the last three seasons. Cotchery was already the better receiver of the two for two of the last three seasons on a catch-by-catch basis. The Jets wanted the cap room, didn’t want to re-do deals for vets that didn’t justify the money and felt like they wanted to move on from the Coles era.

Also note how Florio uses “pretzel-logic” to the fact that the Jets didn’t pay Coles, a guy who was as effective on his team as Domenik Hixon and Isaac Bruce were for their respective teams in 2008. So … which is it? Should the team overpay for veterans or not?

Although I don’t know his particular team that he roots for, but I’d have to imagine that it’s the Bengals, purely based on the number of times he’s written that Coles will be better than Housh was in Cinci. He can’t seem to get off the subject. Housh has played worlds better than Coles over the course of the past three seasons, so we’ll see how Coles does with the Bengals. I’m sure he’ll produce, but to think he’ll be better than T.J. seems laughable.

Lastly, the team wanted to make sure it was clear (they told me expressly, emphasizing that he was a free agent, not a cut) that Coles walked out the door. In return (rather than cutting him), they will likely get a pretty good compensatory pick out of it next year, but let’s not let facts get in the way of our argument, right?

Last year’s first-round draft pick, a much-hyped workout warrior named Vernon Gholston, had a grossly substandard rookie season – and word recently has surfaced that Gholston didn’t look so good in offseason underwear practices.

Most recently, one of last year’s high-priced free agents who performed well in 2008 potentially performed well in 2008 due to the ingestion of performance-enhancing substances. Defensive end/linebacker Calvin Pace consequently will miss the first four games of the coming season, putting even more pressure on Gholston to fulfill his potential.

So, the team outspent their means, but Pace played well and earned his value … right? So does that mean he was overpaid? It must be nice to have it both ways.

And, these reports, don’t come from Florio who hasn’t watched a practice, but are thirdhand, via Adam Schefter via unnamed sources, as best I can tell. I’ll rely on reports from beat writers who were there for the duration rather than Schefter (whom I infinitely admire) and his unnnamed sources here.

Then there’s the looming question of whether Sanchez will beat out the guy who was deemed to be sufficiently unfit to hold the job, fueling last year’s pursuit of Brett Favre. Last month, coach Rex Ryan called the battle between Sanchez and Kellen Clemens a “dogfight” (not the best choice of words, even if the Jets plan to sign Mike Vick).

Sometimes Florio but can’t help to set himself up to make poor jokes, it’s like asking Peter King to not waste 200 words on why there was no coffee at 6:17AM in the lobby of the Marriott Laguna Cliffs on a weekend.

“I have to do what’s best for our football team,” Ryan said at the time. “If that means we play a rookie, so be it. If we play Kellen Clemens, so be it. The guy is going to have to earn that job.”

Let’s assume Ryan is being truthful, and he isn’t merely hoping to ensure that Sanchez’s sudden money and fame doesn’t go to his head. What if Clemens legitimately wins the job? It would be disastrous for Tannenbaum.

It’s been well documented that Sanchez has spent most of his offseason in Jersey, bonding with his new teammates and other NFL rookies at minicamps, the NFL symposium, and much more. Sanchez has been focused on studying and settling in Jersey and attending some events in the New York area. It’s not like the guy is going Tony Montana on us … at least not so far.

AJ Smith still has his job in San Diego after the Flutie/Brees/Rivers era, so I don’t see how Clemens winning the job doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for Tannenbaum. The team wants to put their best foot forward and set Sanchez up to succeed long-term, Palmer and Rivers sat out as rookies, why would things be so different for the Jets? Even if Sanchez does play and doesn’t send the team to the playoffs (Florio’s self-created and administered level of success).

The guy he disregarded a year ago (but at least didn’t cut so that he could lead a division rival to the playoffs) will have outperformed the man whom Tannenbaum made a big splash to fill the void created after Favre “retired.”

Except there’s this ozone over Antartica sized hole in Florio’s argument. Ever consider that Clemens wasn’t ready last year and maybe now he will be? Clemens didn’t play as much as he needed to in his senior year of college to prep him for the show, and he’s needed the time to digest the playbook. If you had paid attention to the training camp reports, Clemens was an interception machine last summer. It didn’t go well for him. Pennington outplayed him by a longshot, Favre seemed a better option at the time … and so the team was faced with the situation they were with Favre in the offseason.

And that brings us to Favre. Adding Sanchez made it easy (at the time) to release Favre from the reserve-retired list. But if Favre goes to Minnesota and has a season much more successful than his year with the Jets and if Sanchez’s game-day headgear is a baseball hat and not a helmet, Tannenbaum’s entire handling of the quarterback position will be undermined.

So we’re banking our entire article on the facts that 1) Favre will have a better year in Minnesota then he did in New York and 2) Sanchez will ride the pine? Maybe one doesn’t learn statistics in jurisprudence school, but that’s 4-1 odds.

Significantly.

Are you serial, Mike Florio? How about super serial?

Through it all, Tannenbaum is a very smart guy. And he’s smart enough to realize that he enters the 2009 season under more pressure than ever to perform – and that the dots leading to Tannenbaum being terminated come January aren’t all that difficult to connect.

… at 4-1 odds.