Mr. T. needs to step up Premium Story
This story originally published on JetsInsider.com

Editor
Posted Sep 17, 2007


Mike Tannenbaum has done a solid job as Jets GM, but he does deserve some criticism for how he has handled certain positions.

Let's start with wide receiver. And this isn't a case of second-guessing. This is first-guessing. You can go back and look in the archives. Justin McCareins is a hard-worker and class act, but the Jets should have moved on from him this summer.

Frisman Jackson is a better player – bigger, faster and more athletic, and had a very good camp. But he was beat out by McCareins. This was a bad decision.

McCareins problem is that he is too stiff athletically, and has a very hard time making extension catches due to his tightly-muscled physique.

This was clear on the pass to McCareins in the end zone, late in the Ravens game, that was intercepted by linebacker Ray Lewis in the end zone. The pass was a little high, but a 6-2 receiver should be able to haul it in. But due to McCareins' limitations, he couldn't reach up high enough to get it, he tipped the pass and it was picked off by Lewis.

We have seen this for three years now. Just because he has a good camp and preseason, doesn't mean he has changed as a player.

I think this was a case of Tannenbaum making a decision with his heart instead of his head. McCareins is a wonderful person, great in the community, everything you would look for in a son. And perhaps this clouded Tannenbaum's judgement.

But he's a limited player, and it was time to move on from him after last year. And even if you keep him around, why is he still getting more reps than Brad Smith? We know last year was a learning season for Smith. He was being taught how to play wideout, after playing quarterback in college. But what is the deal this year? Smith is a much better athlete than McCareins, a lot more flexible, and makes circus catches on a regular basis in practice. It's time for Smith to take over the #3 spot – permanently.

Now on to another position Tannenbaum hasn't addressed properly, and that's outside linebacker. A lot of people like to criticize defensive end Shaun Ellis for not getting much pressure on the quarterback the first two games, and most of last season.

But the lion's share of the pass rush in the 3-4 should come from the outside linebackers, and the Jets GM has failed to deliver a dynamic game-changing OLB.

In fact, he has even picked on in the last two drafts. Last year, the had a chance to select Cal-Poly's Chris Gocong, a dominant college pass rusher, in the third round, but traded down and selected inside linebacker Anthony Schlegel, who was cut a few weeks ago. We still don't understand this move. The Jets seemed to really like Gocong before the draft. Ironically, the Philadelphia Eagles, who acquired the pick from the Jets, actually picked Gocong.

Then this year, they could have picked Purdue linebacker Anthony Spencer in the first round, but traded up to get cornerback Darrelle Revis. While the Jets could really have used Spencer, who is starting for Dallas, Revis looks like he is going to be special. So it's hard to really be overly-critical of this move.

But not one pass rusher was added throughout the whole draft process.

The Jets did add two players in free agency this off-season who they thought could help them – David Bowens and Andre Wadsworth.

Wadsworth was released, and Bowens played just four plays against the Ravens.

Bryan Thomas and Victor Hobson are good players, but they don't scare people like San Diego's 3-4 OLB's Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman, or New England's trio of Rosie Colvin, Adalius Thomas and Mike Vrabel.

So where can the Jets turn now to deal with this shortcoming? Well, it's hard to find top shelf pass rushers in-season. Matt Chatham (foot) is eligible to come off PUP in a few weeks, but he's a journeyman, who didn't show much pass rushing skill last season.

The Jets have a couple of options. They could elevate Jason Trusnik, a record-breaking college pass rusher, who is on the practice squad. Or they could bring back Wadsworth, who started to flash some real nice pass rushing skills towards the end of training camp.

The status quo doesn't like it's going to work. The Jets barely get neither the quarterbacks in Week's One and Two.

Tannenbaum is one of the hardest working GM's around.

And he needs to do all he can to fix these two problems.

It is illegal to reprint this story on any message board or website. Violators are subject to legal action.


Related Stories
Steuber Says...
 -by ScoutNFLNetwork.com  Sep 17, 2007
Post-game conversation with Kellen Clemens
 -by JetsInsider.com  Sep 16, 2007
Clemens shows his wares
 -by JetsInsider.com  Sep 18, 2007

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from ScoutJets.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > NY Jets
[View My HotList]