Much has been said about who is to blame for the problems facing the New York Jets, especially since their embarrassing home loss on Thanksgiving night to the New England Patriots. To this writer, the answer is clear -- it is general manager Mike Tannenbaum.
When a team is in disarray like the Jets are, two men are usually the ones facing the firing squad -- the head coach and the general manager. Rex Ryan led the team to two AFC title games in his first two seasons, and despite the teams recent struggles, including just four wins in their last 14 games dating to last season, his track record, brash attitude and having owner Woody Johnson in his corner, means Ryan gets another season to right the sinking ship.
That leaves Tannenbaum, another guy who Johnson has a ton of respect for, but could the owner let this season go by without making any changes, almost saying to the Jets fractured fan base that nothing is wrong? I cannot see that happening.
The general manager has made some good moves in his tenure, but he has also made many a bad decision, and it is those decisions and the path this team is on that will ultimately cost him his job.
Re-signing wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a five-year, $45 million extension last July, was wrong and looks even worse now. Holmes was a big problem in the locker room last season, and he is currently on injured reserve and out for the season. He is guaranteed $7.5 million next season, making him extremely difficult to move.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez was given a contract extension in March, despite his poor play last season, and is owed $8.25 in guaranteed money in 2013. Couple that with the team's decision to bring in Tim Tebow and not use him except as a distraction mostly to themselves, and the quarterback position is a major problem, a problem the general manager is in charge of fixing.
This offseason, the Jets had glaring weaknesses on the roster, including a real lack of talent at several skill positions, including wide receiver, but Tannenbaum did not address them. He has made several draft choices considered questionable at best, with little to no success, and the team has not gotten better since he took over.
But Johnson admires his work ethic and he is signed through the end of the 2014 season. Would the owner pay him to not work for the team anymore? That remains to be seen.
One thing is certain, though, as Gang Green prepares for Week 13. Changes are coming to the Jets. The sooner, the better.