Mike Tannenbaum: Jets just a few plays away from a different story; Rex Ryan: 'We need a win desperately'
On the day that the Jets' general manager professed faith in his team, coach Rex Ryan talked about desperation.
"Forever -- that's how long it feels," said Ryan, whose team last won a game Oct. 14 against the Colts. "We need a win desperately."
GM Mike Tannenbaum, who did not exactly get a vote of confidence from owner Woody Johnson on Thursday, didn't inspire much confidence with his public comments Friday during an interview with Mike Francesa on WFAN. Tannenbaum professed faith in his team despite a 3-6 record heading into Sunday's game in St. Louis, saying a few different plays here and there could have made the record much different.
Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum talks with Mike Francesa
"We're all 3-6, and collectively, we're in it together," Tannenbaum said during his 15-minute appearance. "Personnel department's 3-6, the security department's 3-6, the coaching department -- we're all in this together and we're all 3-6.
"With that said, though, I'm here every day and I see the character and the work ethic of this team and we just have to see the results on Sunday. It's not for a lack of commitment and hard work, Rex's leadership has been great and we've got to break this three-game losing streak. We're putting all our resources into trying to beat St. Louis."
At the Jets' training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Ryan said: "Each week you go in there, you feel confident, and we haven't gotten it done. It's frustrating and all that. Obviously, we expect to win each week. You put everything you have into it. When you fall short, it's terrible."
On WFAN, Tannenbaum defended his personnel moves before this season, including the trade for Tim Tebow and the resulting madhouse of coverage that came with him.
"I look at Tim as a great teammate, great competitor. And look, we understand all the attention he brings, and we knew that," Tannenbaum said. "That said, he's done a lot of good things for us on the practice field. He works hard . . . From a production standpoint, it hasn't been where we thought it would be. But he has converted first downs, the ball's been in his hands, there's been a couple drops, maybe a pitch here and there. Right now, the Tim Tebow decision is a 3-6 decision, like everything else."
Tannenbaum said he "hated" to see the anonymous comments in a Daily News story earlier this week criticizing Tebow's abilities as a quarterback and the problems Tebow's presence has created for Mark Sanchez.
But the GM disputed the notion that the Jets' locker room has any issues, echoing the sentiments from named players and Ryan that the group is tighter than ever despite the three-game losing streak.
"I was disappointed to see it [and] Rex addressed it with the team," he said. "I don't think those comments speak for the vast majority of the character of the players on our team. I can say that with great certainty, being around this team every day. I was disappointed, no doubt about it, but that's not what we have going on here."
Ryan's penchant for hyperbole and rosy outlooks is well known. Tannenbaum tried the same tactic on the radio, though it was a bit clumsier an attempt to try to portray these final seven games as a real opportunity despite being out of the playoff picture, hampered by injuries and running an offense that has produced one touchdown in the last two games.
"I do feel like we're going to turn it around because of the people and the work ethic," Tannenbaum said. "I feel like there's a broad brush being painted, understandably, because of that article this week, but I don't think it's a fair one. Because I'm here every day and I see how hard these guys are working and I know when we play well, be it winning three games or taking another team to overtime, we've played well this year at points. Now we have to get there more consistently."
Tannenbaum said he's not worried about his job security despite Johnson's critical words a day earlier.
"I'm not worried about me right now," he said. "I'm the last thing I'm worried about. I'm worried about this team and anything I can do to help."