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New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.

Tannenbaum takes blame for D’s shortcomings

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, right, will have

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, right, will have plenty of decisions to make this offseason along with owner Woody Johnson, left, and head coach Rex Ryan. (Jan. 4, 2011) (Credit: Joe Epstein)

Mike Tannenbaum hit upon several topics during his guest appearance on ESPN radio Monday afternoon.

Speaking with hosts Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco, the Jets GM took the blame for the team’s defensive struggles last season, but also said he’s plugged the major holes -- namely speed, athleticism and depth -- that contributed to their disappointing production last year.

The goal for Rex Ryan, a defensive guru in his own right, is to have the league’s top-ranked defense. Well last year, the Jets finished fifth. But Tannenbaum said his head coach shouldn’t be blamed.

“I probably didn’t do a good enough job as far as some of the depth that we needed and the athleticism,” the general manager said, when asked why the Jets defense took a step back last season. “...We probably needed more depth and speed down the middle of the field and I think we have that now.”

Tannenbaum said the team’s first three draft selections -- first rounder DE Quinton Coples, WR Stephen Hill and LB Demario Davis -- will bring much-needed athleticism and physicality. But the combination of Coples, Davis and safety LaRon Landry will improve the Jets defense.

“Hey, the buck stops with me,” he said. “And if I want the credit, I take the responsibility.”

Though Tannenbaum has raved about his 2012 draft class, he didn’t seem overly confident when discussing how the Jets stack up to the New England Patriots, who made it to the Super Bowl last season. Asked if his team can compete with the Pats, Tannenbaum said: “It’s a work in progress.”

“I really thought we got some things done over the weekend through the first three days of the draft,” he continued, “And with that said, when opportunities may or not present themselves, we’ll certainly look at that. The Patriots are certainly one team we’re competing with and they do a great job. We fell one game short of the playoffs last year as we all know and we’re working hard to improve everyday.”

Tannenbaum also defended their selection of Coples, who was rated highly at his position, but was dogged by questions about his motor. But the GM said the Jets are “beyond that” negativity and more focused on the versatility Coples brings.

Though Ryan said this past week that Coples “is staying with his hand in the dirt,” Tannenbaum said on air that the Jets are "going to start with his hand in the dirt” and added that Coples could be asked to stand up on the outside in certain packages.

As for who has the final say on draft picks, it’s Tannenbaum. However, the GM said he carefully weighs the opinions of others -- especially those of Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine when it comes to selecting defensive players.

“Rex is involved in every decision,” Tannenbaum said. “(Team owner) Woody Johnson, Rex and I, we’re great partners and we always talk through. Obviously, Rex has a tremendous defensive acumen and spent his life doing it, and obviously, the coaches’ reports are important. But ultimately, it’ll be our say and I have final say on things.

“We work collaboratively on everything and specifically with defensive players, their roles, their fits, the scheme -- obviously that feedback is critical for us and we try to balance whose contracts are expiring, where we think there’s vulnerability, the fit, how they make the roster, how they get to the game. All those things go into our decision-making.”

“...whose contracts are expiring” ??? ...Innnteresting.

Wonder if he’s referring to DE Mike DeVito there.

If you were hoping for more insight into the potential "Revis Holdout 3.0," sorry to disappoint you. Tannenbaum remained tight-lipped on the status of his star cornerback and regurgitated the same line he has given the beat reporters the past few weeks.

Ruocco asked the GM if he expects Revis to be in camp under his current contract and Tannenbaum responded: “I’ve already addressed that and as it relates to his contract, I’ve said all I’m going to say. Darrelle is here. We expect him to help us this year. And as it relates to his contract, I’ve said all I’m going to say about it.” 

Tags: jets , mike tannenbaum , quinton coples , darrelle revis

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