Mike Tannebaum would rather leave the bold statements to his talkative head coach. But the Jets general manager seems (at least publicly) to be just as encouraged about the 2012 Jets as Rex Ryan.
Asked on ESPN radio Sunday morning if he agrees with the coach’s assessment that this could be the best Jets team under Ryan, Tannenbaum initially tried to tap-dance around the topic.
"I think the point Rex is trying to make is he's really encouraged by the potential of this year's team and so am I," the Jets general manager said. "if you look at what we've done together over the last three years, we're 33-22. We've been close twice obviously.
"And we really tried to attack some needs in the offseason. With that said, I think the depth at the offensive line and safety positions were two things we were able to accomplish. Sometimes we weren't able to accomplish it in the exact time frame we wanted to, but there's a lot of things we were able to get done. And we're really excited about this year's team."
When pressed further by ESPN radio host Ian O’Connor, Tannenbaum laughed and said: "Yeah, I think the potential is definitely there (to be best under Ryan). Rex is always the one that's in charge of the prediction department. But working with him and (owner) Woody Johnson everyday, it's a phenomenal experience for me. Both those guys have unbridled enthusiasm and support for the team and we attack things here relentlessly every day and we think we have a chance to be a really good team this year."
Despite cutting four of his own draft picks between Friday's 9 p.m. deadline and Saturday's waiver-wire "mini-draft," Tannenbaum expressed confidence in his club. Though he acknowledged the lack of offensive production during the preseason, particularly from Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, the GM remains optimistic about his roster and the upcoming season.
"I wish we had scored as well," he said, referring to the lack of touchdowns from both Sanchez and Tebow. (Third-string QB Greg McElroy threw a touchdown pass in their preseason finale in Philly). "But with that, I do have the benefit of going to practice every day and I'm really encouraged by the things we're seeing."
Specifically, Tannenbaum was referring to Sanchez's improvement this preseason. The starting QB finished 24-for-35 (a 68.5 percent completion percentage) for 203 yards in three exhibition games.