Jets fans, and even some players, have wondered whether QB Mark Sanchez has enough to work with on offense. But Mike Tannenbaum believes the Jets have "a number of weapons" this year and feels good about his current roster.
"There's a number of good pieces in the passing game," the Jets general manager said Sunday morning on ESPN Radio. "And now, it just has to come together. But we're confident it will."
It was obvious after the 2011 season that Plaxico Burress would be gone. But as the offseason went on, and the Jets didn’t secure another downfield threat (besides rookie WR Stephen Hill), some speculated the Jets, at the very least, should have gone after the former Jet/Giant.
But Tannenbaum highlighted the fact that the Jets traded up to the No. 43 spot to get Hill because of his potential.
"We're really excited about his future," he said. "I think he's going to be a really good player. We think he's going to help us right away."
As of right now, Tannenbaum is giving oft-injured veteran receiver Chaz Schilens a grade of "incomplete." Schilens, who missed most of training camp with a groin injury and a high ankle sprain, practiced fully on Friday and expects to be ready to for Buffalo in Week 1. Tannenbaum also noted that third-year wideout Patrick Turner has played "well for us" and that slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was "arguably, was one of our most important offensive players" at the end of last season.
With that said, Tannenbaum still will be looking under every stone and rock for the next best acquisition.
"We're always looking to see where else we can help ourselves," he said, highlighting the waiver-claim of former Miami wideout Clyde Gates -- a guy Tannenbaum said the Jets had "strong feelings for" in the 2011 draft.
Tannenbaum said Gates is "one of the fastest players in the NFL" and expects the 5-11, 197-pound wide receiver "has a chance to help us as well."
Despite cutting four of his eight 2012 draft picks, Tannenbaum said it's too early to declare it a "disappointment."
"I've always been of the school of thought where, lets sit here three years from now and we can have a frank, honest and candid conversation of how the draft went," he said.
RB Terrance Ganaway, the Jets' lone touchdown-scorer this preseason, was one of the final seven not to make the 53-man roster Friday night. He was claimed by the St. Louis Rams Saturday. OL Robert T. Griffin, Ganaway's teammate at Baylor, who was selected one spot after the running back in the sixth round, also was cut, along with S Antonio Allen and WR Jordan White (both seventh-rounders).
"Typically the guys at the bottom of the draft, they can move on and off your practice squad, your active roster," Tannenbaum said. "So like most things this time of year, I would give it a grade of incomplete."
The Jets GM highlighted first-round pick DE Quinton Coples finished the preseason tied for the most sacks (4..5) in the NFL, and added that Hill, LB Demario Davis (third round) and S Josh Bush (sixth round) will get a lot of playing time this season.
Tannenbaum also raved about undrafted free agent DL Damon Harrison. "No. 71. He earned his spot on our active roster and that's something else from a scouting standpoint we celebrate. We put an emphasis on the undrafted free agent process."
Tannenbaum also defended his attempts to shore up the offensive line -- particularly the right tackle spot.
"In our sport, you can't attack every need, every second that you'd like to," he said, in response to why he didn't acquire an established right tackle in the offseason to replace Wayne Hunter.
"Ideally you'd wake up on the first day of the league year, you say, 'Well gee, we've got these eight needs,' you check them off and then you take the next six months off. I'd certainly have a lot more sleep if that was the case. It's just not the way the sport works. I wish it was. You go into the draft. you go in to the offseason, and you try to check things off as quickly and systematically as you can."
Tannenbaum said the Jets are "really excited" about RT Austin Howard, who has four "real solid" preseason games on tape. The 25-year-old, who supplanted Hunter last week, will start Week 1 against Buffalo, the GM said.
Despite starting in just one preseason for the Jets (at left tackle), Tannenbaum feels good about the depth Jason Smith adds. He also noted the backup offensive tackle "played well against a couple of good pass rushers in Philly."
Tannenbaum also said both Caleb Schlauderaff and Vlad Ducasse have had "good preseasons."
"So I think some of the things we were working on and identifying as areas we wanted to improve upon, we're encouraged."
Speaking of acquisitions …Tannenbaum, of course, was asked about backup QB Tim Tebow.
The Jets GM again defended the team's trade for the former Denver Bronco, calling it "an easy decision."
"Tim's always been a winner," he said. "Going back to high school football, going back to college and going back to when he started last year for Denver. So I think he's going to help us.
"How many plays he plays? I think it could vary somewhat significantly depending on the game. But when you can get somebody -- when the price is reasonable in our system, in a salary-cap system -- who is young, competitive, tough and a winner, from my standpoint it was an easy decision."
Tannenbaum said he, owner Woody Johnson, Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano were "all on board" with the decision of trading for Tebow back in March. "We have a plan. That plan hasn't really wavered since we made that decision," he said. "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."