Four years ago, as the Jets imploded from 8-3 to 9-7, owner Woody Johnson declared that both G.M. Mike Tannenbaum and coach Eric Mangini would return.
The day after the season ended, Mangini was fired.
Now that the Jets are careening toward another season of unfulfilled expectations, Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan could be inclined to run for cover and blame the other guy for the current state of the team, in anticipation of another potential one-stays-and-one-goes decision at the end of the year.
An opinion item from New York Daily News beat writer Manish Mehta argues that Rex isn’t the problem — a lack of talent is. While Mehta never specifically calls out G.M. Mike Tannenbaum as the reason for the lack of talent, the implication is unmistakable: The current state of the team is Tannenbaum’s fault, not Ryan’s.
Mehta points to a “glaring lack of depth that has come back to bite the Jets in the wake of key injuries,” and “an eye-opening 53 personnel moves since the start of the season, seemingly tinkering with the bottom half of the roster on a daily basis.”
The item also points out that key injuries have made it harder for the Jets to succeed, which can be regarded as another excuse for a head coach who fairly can be characterized as being on the hot seat.
Though this week’s offering from Mehta won’t create the same shock waves as last week’s “Tebow is terrible” report, it should. It speaks to subtle-but-palpabale attempt by Tannenbaum and Ryan to blame the other guy for the current state of the franchise — and it represents an effort (whether solicited or not) to make the case that, if someone needs to be fired when the dust settles, it shouldn’t be Ryan.