Mike Tannebaum would rather leave the bold statements to his chatty head coach. But the Jets' general manager is just as encouraged about the 2012 Jets as Rex Ryan is.
"I think the potential is definitely there," he said Sunday morning on ESPN radio when pressed for his reaction to Ryan's statement that this team could be his best in four years. "Rex is always the one that's in charge of the prediction department . . . [but] we think we have a chance to be a really good team this year."
Is 2012 draft a bust?
Despite cutting four of his eight picks from the 2012 NFL draft, Tannenbaum said it's too early to declare his draft sheet "a disappointment."
"I've always been of the school of thought where, let's sit here three years from now and we can have a frank, honest and candid conversation of how the draft went," he said.
Two seventh-round picks, safety Antonio Allen and receiver Jordan White, were cut, cleared waivers and ended up on the practice squad. Two sixth-rounders, running back Terrance Ganaway, the Jets' lone touchdown-scorer this preseason, and his former Baylor teammate, offensive lineman Robert T. Griffin, also were cut. The Rams claimed Ganaway.
"Typically, the guys at the bottom of the draft, they can move on and off your practice squad, your active roster," said Tannenbaum, who raved about defensive lineman Damon Harrison, the only undrafted free agent to make the 53-man roster. "So like most things this time of year, I would give it a grade of incomplete."
Mark has enough weapons
Asked why he didn't re-sign Plaxico Burress (eight touchdowns last season), a downfield threat to complement rookie Stephen Hill, Tannenbaum said Mark Sanchez has a number of weapons. "Now it just has to come together," he said. "But we're confident it will."
Tannenbaum said slot receiver Jeremy Kerley "arguably was one of our most important offensive players" at the end of last season and said waiver-claim receiver Clyde Gates (formerly of Miami) is "one of the fastest players in the NFL."
As for oft-injured receiver Chaz Schilens, Tannenbaum said he gets a grade of "incomplete."
Tackling right tackle
Though it was clear the Jets needed an upgrade at right tackle, Tannenbaum said "you can't attack every need, every second that you'd like to" in the NFL. With that said, he added that the team is "really excited" about right tackle Austin Howard and likes the depth that new backup Jason Smith brings. Tannenbaum also said Caleb Schlauderaff and Vlad Ducasse have had good preseasons.
Still mum on Tebow's role
Tannenbaum said it was "an easy decision" to go after a proven winner in Tim Tebow. Sticking to the Jets' script thus far, he wouldn't shed any light on how big a role the backup quarterback -- and the Wildcat offense -- will have this season.
"I think it could vary somewhat significantly depending on the game," Tannenbaum said, adding that he, Ryan, owner Woody Johnson and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano were "all on board" with the trade. "We made the organizational decision that we would not show too much in the preseason. We do have a plan and it's going to be rolled out over the next 16 games."