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Mike T and His Team Roll Up Sleeves at Combine

Posted by Eric Allen on February 24, 2012 – 4:10 pm

This February afternoon is almost over in the middle of America and the Jets — along with each of the 31 other NFL clubs — are engrossed in their draft preparations at the NFL Combine workouts.

“It’s just the next step in the process,” GM Mike Tannenbaum told me inside Lucas Oil Stadium. “Our area scouts and [senior personnel executive] Terry Bradway and [VP of college scouting] Joey Clinkscales do a great job in the fall, and we’re just kind of adding to that now. We saw them down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, we get to see them work out here, and the interviews are really important. It’s just the next step in the process.”

While many of the Jets coaches and scouts are here at Lucas Oil during daylight hours, the team personnel move down the street to an Indianapolis hotel and interview selected prospects at night. Each team is permitted to interview 60 players over the course of the combine and each session has a 15-minute time limit.

What are the Jets looking for from the prospects?

“A lot of their football acumen — some of them really separate themselves quite a bit,” Mr. T. said. “You know which guys have a better feel for their responsibilities than others and our coaches do a great job. We’re looking forward to that getting started in a couple of hours here.”

Tannenbaum and the Jets don’t rehearse their interview approach. They listen first and then see where the interview goes from there.

“It just develops as a guy comes in there, but we have the position coach leading the discussion,” he said. “We’re sitting there observing them and seeing how they answer the questions.”

A loyal boss, Tannenbaum has a scouting staff that he both trusts and respects. Area scouts have mined the country since the final selection of the 2011 draft symbolized both a conclusion and a beginning.

“They’re tireless workers, the Matt Bazirgans of the world, the Jeff Bauers, the Jay Mandolesis. They’re great, they care, they work hard,” Mr. T. said. “Joe Bommarito, Jim Cochran, Mike Davis — they all do great jobs. We’re lucky they’re here and they have such passion. Sometimes they have to watch our games listening to the radio or on the Internet, but the wins and losses mean as much to them as anyone.”

Inside a stadium suite today, the stopwatches were out and pens and papers scribbled in notebooks. There wasn’t much conversation as the Jets observed drills that will be weighted, but the gametape never lies.

“Those are interesting and they’re great for comparison purposes, but at the end of the day it’s how do they play football,” Tannenbaum said of drills such as the 40-yard dash, benchpress and shuttle run. “Rex is a natural evaluator. His input has been great. He really works at it — he watches a lot of tape. Again this is important, but it’s just another step in the process.”

During Thursday’s meeting with the media, Tannenbaum reiterated his belief that Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes will be able to thrive as teammates once again. Barring something unforeseen, the Jets starting QB and No. 1 wideout will remain unchanged on the depth chart.

“The fact that they’ve played well as Jets together under this coaching staff gives me every reason to believe that an issue that came up last year is very solvable,” he said.

Tannenbaum’s core belief is he’ll look under every rock every day to get better. The Jets are in need of safety help with both Jim Leonhard and Brodney Pool set to become unrestricted free agents on March 13, but there are multiple ways of addressing voids.

“I look at any position as a big continuum,” the GM said. “We’ll look at potential trades, potential signings in free agency, the draft, claiming guys on Labor Day.”

Tannenbaum chose not to make public if he would consider a franchise tag for NT Sione Pouha, but he would like the veteran lineman to remain with the Green & White in 2012.

“Within reason we’re going to do everything we can to keep him,” he said.

This spring’s labor harmony means a return to free agency preceding the draft. The Jets currently own choices in every round and should be in position to obtain one or more compensatory selections, but trading up is always an option for Tannenbaum.

“I do believe in quality over quantity,” he said. “That’s just based on a lot of research and what’s a replaceable part and what the odds are of success in every round.”

The search to get better is a never-ending for Tannenbaum and his crew.


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Posted in Eric Allen | 50 Comments »


50 Responses to “Mike T and His Team Roll Up Sleeves at Combine”

  1. By SCfromNY on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    Well quality over quantity and ready to move up . . . Give up draft choices to pick Sanchez #5 that pick was sure a winner. Perhaps the Jets might want to emulate the Steelers and Patriots instead of always going for the big splash. Moving up for a QB or RB is always chancy because their success is also predicated on their ability to meld with other players for success. Players working in a more individual environment, such as LB (pass rusher) I feel can be predicted easier.

  2. By sal on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    I was excited when Terry bradway came over, but we watched a few teams hit bottom and return to dominate, and we have just been teased as usuall. Hope they do a great not good job this year!!

  3. By scjoe on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    Spicer, c’mon man! Comparing MS to “the greatest QB EVER” So it has been determined that Brady IS the greatest QB ever? What happened to Montana, Manning, Rodgers, Johnny U Brees,etc and the list goes on, but I think you get the point. If you compare him to select others why not compare him to some of the best? As for the “rookie WR, and the new OC and the new system? Once again, just making a “counter point” in answer to your “point” about a change of WRs for poor Mark. Gee, he is the only QB ever, to have had a change in the WR position. A good QB, not an elite one, but a good QB ADJUSTS! Why? Because it happens to EVERY QB multiple times in his career. He has to ADJUST!

  4. By scjoe on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    Mr T is a great capologist. I will give him that. But when it comes to talent evaluation I sure wish Mr Johnson would take off the blinkers and go out and hire a GM who CAN effectively evaluate talent, both at the college level and the pro level. If that loyalty to Mr T is that significant bump him up to AVP and have him continue doing his excellent work with the salary cap. That would be a huge step in the right direction.

  5. By GaryC on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    tanny says he goes more for quality then quantity, that sounds all well in good if your putting together a basketball team of 12 but when putting a football team together you better have enough quantity so you have quality as in a winning team.

  6. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    The first place Mr T needs to roll up his sleeves is across the desk from Sanchez and get the kid to take less money for the rest of his deal…unless Sanchez is smart enough to offer to do so first.

  7. By Jimmer on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    2 things about this story are purplexing.
    Pouha and the franchize tag do not belong in the same sentence. Bo is good and all, he IS a leader, but what exactly would that tag cost? It’s gotta be upwards of 6M/yr. I just don’t see that as feasable.
    The quality over quantity line. Sure, we want quality players. We have starting a few starting positions open for this upcoming yr. Are we going to have a couple Wayne Hunters on defense because we saw some great guy like Blair Thomas available? We need every draft pick we have and more. If a probowler is not there at any of the positions we need, trade down and get more picks. We may have had 10 absolute scrubs on the team last yr.

  8. By Bennett on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    KARAN We may disagree but I always find your posts interesting and informative. You are a good fan

  9. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    I don’t know why some of you think I’m just down on Sanchez. I’m actually down on the entire Jet org, which needs a complete makeover in personnel and philosophy if we’re gonna get anywhere. From Cimini at the Combine: “Ryan…hinted the Jets aren’t planning to make any blockbuster moves in FA. He said they might “add a couple of guys here and there,” noting “it might not be a splash free agent.” The Jets have at least $8 million in cap room, but factoring in the draft and restricted free agents, there won’t be much left.” So now that we have a lot of holes in the starting lineup and a weak bench, we have little cap room and our first draft in yrs with a normal amount of picks. And you ask why I say this is a make-or-break yr for Mr T, too?

  10. By MIKE on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    As the draft moves closer I am thinking there might be a couple great players that slip through the cracks. Personally Blackman, Richardson, Rieff all have a shot at slipping out of top ten, than anything can happen. Any one of these slips I hope the Jets take them especially Blackman who posses Brandon Marshall skill set but a better head on his shoulders.

  11. By Kevin65Fan on Feb 24, 2012 | Reply

    You want karan’s phone number now Bennett. You may find it on FaceBook.
    Interesting and formative…barf. Probably never seen Namath throw one pass. If Sanchize had half of namaths courage and strong arm…maybe he would amount to something and should of sent SH a bottle of Johnnie Red..Joe Willies favorite soft drink.
    I can just see Richardson from Alabama falling in the draft because of his knee injury and we go draft him. what a mistake. And worst yet bypassing a premier OLB pass rusher. At that point it would betime for Mr. T head. They better be going into this draft looking for a pass rushing headhunter first and then safety. Anything will be a waste of manpower.

  12. By jorge on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    i want to know did we not get that pick from the texans becouse they cut mason doesnot make sense what they do after the trade is done doesnot matter

  13. By Jimmer on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    We need to draft for needs this year. We will need to trade down to complete this as well. We hedged everything on Osomughua(sp) and got nothing last year. After the brick refund, we do have some free money, lets use it wisely.

  14. By GaryC on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    right on Jimmer, if the jets think of putting the franchise tag on Pouha their really needs to be an investigation,I might tweet a valentines day message to Red Bryant instead of franchising Pouha.

  15. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Nice one on Joe, Sanchez, and folks who pretty obviously haven’t ever seen some guys play, Kevin65. Namath’s arm was still one of the best anybody’s ever seen, short, medium, and long. And his physical courage is up there with anybody who ever played the game, probably more so.

  16. By Bennett on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Keven65Fan Whats the matter I can.t say something about Karan without you saying something like that? To me your all just nameless fans, Maybe Karans a guy and thats a last name for all I know or for that matter care. Your all just people to me. Sounds like a good fan to me and the posts are interesting unlike yours. Why not say so ? Were all fans or we wouldn.t be here.. right ? .

  17. By Karan on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    We have different views but your a good fan too bennett

  18. By Karan on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Like I said Kevin, good things take time, you and the rest of the Sanchez haters need to be patient. Heck, I might be wrong in the future and I might not be wrong in the future about him, but I’m sticking to what I believe.

  19. By Tom Spicer on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64, Between the $8 MIL from Brick & the $8 MIL carry over money we got over $16 MIL to spend there is plenty of money the Jets need to step up. If they dont IT IS OWNERSHIP BEING CHEAP PERIOD!

  20. By Tom Spicer on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64, ” I don’t know why some of you think I’m just down on Sanchez” In regards to this quote it seems this way because nowadays ever post you put up you are either talking bad about Mark or Rex. It seems like lately you have no positive posts & no posts talking negatively about the o line, rb, wr, pass rush, saftey play or the GM. To me all of these spots need improvement. Also no suggestions for what we should do in the draft or free agency?

  21. By Bennett on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Kevin65Fan Hey just looked up “Karan” It’s a 45 year old bald, fat guy named Karaninski that lives in the Bronx. Want me to get you the number?

  22. By russ on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Getting a Safety as a #1 pick is foolish…A good pass rush takes seconds from quarterback’s time to find recver. If quarter back has extra time safety become only a reactionary player not a force… a great safety becomes an asset when there is a pass rush not before….

  23. By GaryC on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    ryan saying the jets might not make a big splash in free agency is fine with me, too many big names always getting tossed around with jets,there will be many players signed for less who will contribute a lot more,time for the jets to forego these all galaxy teams that they are always trying to put together,and get out in the fields and try to find the real football players.

  24. By Tom Spicer on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64 & SCJoe, Who are your top 5 & top 10 current Jets?

  25. By Tom Spicer on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64 & SCJoe, How do you think the Jets would have done if we brought back Woody, Braylon & Cotchery? & How do you think Mark would have done if we brought back the same 3 guys? My answer is the Jets would have gone at LEAST VERY deep into the playoffs if not won the Super Bowl & Mark would have had a much MUCH better year. What do you think?

  26. By scjoe on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    64, correction, with Bricks restructuring (7.5 mil) and the 8 mil from 2011 the Jets are more then 15 mil under. Now, as soon as they restructure Sanchez they can be more then 20 mil under. And if he is not restructured I think fans need to know why.

  27. By alex25912 on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    please please go out and get decent backup or starter to compete with mark s the anchez, do your homework at the combine and bring home some ball players that want to win. passrusher,linebackers and a hard hitting safety.. By the way a hard running north and south back would be nice shonn greene is ok but hell half the time he off the field hurt no consistency…

  28. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    I love this headline on ESPN: “Tannenbaum Says Sanchez Must Get Better Faster” — yeah, fast enough to save his and Rex’s jobs! Good point about the problem with going overboard on “quality vs. quantity,” Jimmer, we’ve put ourselves in the hole for yrs by simply not having enough highly-drafted guys in camp. And I agree with you totally, Kevin65, while we have a lot of needs, there’s no way anything should come before a pass rusher and a S, with a OT and and then a DL guy, maybe a NT, not far behind.

  29. By wayne on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    scjoe, don’t give the capologist that much credit. He did so well with it last year that when his team needed a vet OL pickup, Jets were forced to settle for a rookie free agent. This year they’re bumping right up against the ceiling. And now are forced to talk about signing valued pieces only if demands are within reason.

  30. By Karan on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Dont let Kevin get to you, Bennett. The guy seems ignorant.

  31. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    That’s funny, Bennett, I’ve been wondering if “Karan” is a guy or girl, too. Spice, I just said on the story before this one that given his upside, I’d still put Sanchez in our Top 10 with ease. My Top 10 would be something like 1-Mangold/Revis 1-Revis/Mangold 3-Holmes 4-Harris 5-Sanchez 6-Brick 7-Moore 8-Cro/Keller/Greene 9 -Cro/Keller/Greene 10- Cro/Keller/Greene, etc. Trying to stay calm, I’ll also say that after 2011 yr I was cautiously optimistic about MS, whose arm strength still worried me. The several steps backward he took in 2012 looked to me like signs that he doesn’t really have it on some key levels, and I give him a 1-in-4 chance to ever be great, 1-in-2 to stay at this level, 1-in-4 to get worse. 2012 is huge for him.

  32. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    In terms of our needs, Spice, I think they’re more serious than they should be because of Mr T’s trading away picks and Rex’s bad judgment and bad grooming of players. I’m actually not worried about someone to “push” Sanchez because he either “gets better faster” in 2012, as Mr T said, or he’s gone. There’s a mock draft on Gang Green Nation that I like but I’d say 1- OLB/S 2- S/OLB 3- WR/OL/DL 4- WR/OL/DL 5-WR/OL/DL 6, 7, etc. RB, OL, DL, whatever. I think we’ll need to get another S in FA, maybe another WR in FA. And yeah, NO QUESTION we and Sanchez woulda done better with Holmes, Edwards, and J-Co, you’ll recall I kept saying we needed to sign all 3. Those who thought it woulda been too much money to spend on WRs were proven badly wrong!

  33. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    And if you haven’t figured it out already, Spice, a lot of what I post here is just to make folks laugh (and maybe think a little) and to sometimes get a rise out of some folks, including you! Without a good deal of that, one disappointing decade of Jets football after another is just too boring. Any Jet fan who hasn’t developed at least a slightly sardonic sense of humor probably hasn’t been watching the team very long. That’s one of the reasons I like GaryC’s posts, his tongue-in-cheek sarcasm about the Jets both past and present is really Pulitzer-worthy sometimes. Which reminds me, there’s a great new documentary movie on Glickman that I hope we all get to see. (Don’t think it’s available yet but coming soon.)

  34. By scjoe on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Wayne, they had plenty left over last year. (8 mil) The fact they didn’t sign a veteran o linemen was not cap related. I really couldn’t tell you what the reason was but it goes back to my original statement that Mr T is a great capologist, but not a great GM in general.

  35. By scjoe on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Spicer, You asking me who my top five Jets of today are, is that a trick question? Is it somehow related to my opinion of Sanchez? I think I have mentioned this before, but I don’t really look at it in that way. I am a Jet fan, not so much a fan of individual players. Players change teams so frequently that it makes no sense to have favorites. That said, if you were to ask me my all time Jet favorites I would tell you 1-Joe Willie 2- Klecko 3- Walker. If I was really forced to choose a couple of today’s players I would say 1-Mangold 2- Harris 3- Brick. Not just because they are very good at what they do, also because they are leaders and team players, and class acts.

  36. By scjoe on Feb 25, 2012 | Reply

    Spicer, question #2 How do I think the Jets would have done had we brought back Woody, Cotchery and BE? I think Woody would have been a huge upgrade over Hunter, that goes without saying. As far as BE and Cotchery? I don’t think they would have had a big enough impact to change the final W-L record at all. I think Burris canceled out BE and I believe Kerley (if used correctly) was/is an upgrade to Cotchery. I liked Cotchery, and I wouldn’t even mind seeing him back as a #4, but Kerley would be my choice playing in the slot. Overall? Best case scenario? Maybe 9-7 and miss the playoffs.

  37. By wertyuiop on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    Positive post. Masybin is a beast keep him at all costs! revis cro kyle solid secondary. mckniight is wicked. K ellis is the NT of the future! But Pouha is a beast sign him for 2-3 more years and trade him (only cause of cash flow) Love jets #1 picjk last year! plz for the love of god draft a saftey with first pick and cut sanchez if he does not renegotiate his contract

  38. By Rick Rosselli (Stayloaded) on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    Jet Fan Since 64 Tom,
    Am I reading this right they might get rid of Maybin for a first round. He had more sack than the whole team I think they are sitting on they brains. From what i see they get rid of the players that make an impact as you can see from past experience.I am with you all the way on the makeover of the personal

  39. By jorge on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    WOW THAT KID HILL FROM GA IS KILLING THE COMBINE COULD BE A NICE 2ND ROUND FOR US FAST AND GOOD HANDS AND I HEAR HE IS A GOOD BLOCKER MAYBE EARLY 2ND I THINK THE JETS COULD USE SOMEONE LIKE THIS. I KNOW WE MADE 2 TRADES IN THIS PAST SESON WHAT DID WE GET ANYONE?

  40. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    Rick R, somebody on Gang Green Nation speculated that putting that high a tender on Maybin means we might be looking to trade up to get…a QB. I don’t really know about that, but it’s an interesting theory. scjoe, my 3 favorite Jets might be the same 3 you picked, with Sauer, Hill, Rasmussen, Martin, Barkum, Snell, and Chrebet rounding out the Top 10. But I know what you mean, it’s not about favorites but guys who are effective for us. The 10 I gave Spicer from our current roster are the guys that I think we’re getting the most out of or could be getting the most out of, with McKnight, Kerley, Wilkerson, and Wilson waiting in the wings to enter such a list.

  41. By Jimmer on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    I’m suprised to see the positives about Wilson and McKnight. Last offseason most people wanted them both run out of town.

  42. By scjoe on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    64, I like your top ten. Thing is, after the first three there are so many more that you can name over the years, guys like Biggs, Philben, Mehl, Powell, McNeil, Lyons, Joe Fields, John Elliott etc. Then there is one very controversial player who I liked, at least as a player, but he never really got the respect he deserved as a player and that was Mark Gastineau. The guy did go to 4 straight pro bowls and was the best pure pass rusher this team has ever had, hands down.

  43. By Tom Spicer on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    SCJoe, No trick questions on the prior post Another Tom asked in Mark was in the top 5 or top 10 of current Jets I answered the question & I wanted to see what you & Tom 64 thought.

  44. By Tom Spicer on Feb 26, 2012 | Reply

    SCJoe, This is where you & I totally disagree I think Woody over Hunter was good for at least another win. I think you are underestimateing how much better Braylon is than Plax & Kerley has to play well before I even consider him in Cotcherys class & what he did last year to me is not playing well only showing flashes that he might be good 1 day. Braylon was a game changer for us please utube his Jets highlights I think we would have been at least 11 & 5.

  45. By Allan O'Dane on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    What in the name of Kyle Clifton is going on between Bennet and kevin65fan?..LOL..we are all JET FANS who have DIFFERENT opinions. Some like the Sanchize some don’t. All I know is that I want a winning team. I want to be able to sit back and say the NYJ is going to destroy the opposing team. What I can say about the Sanchize is he needs a lot of work. He has to stop staring down his recievers, read the WHOLE field before making ill-advised throws. And learn how to throw the ball out of bounds stop leaving your defense out to dry. Now NYJ FO can help this young man out by giving him an O-line and another WR and a staring RB. Let Mark and McElory battle it out fairly and let’s see who wants it.

  46. By Allan O'Dane on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    Now if the NYJ let go of McElory and he becomes the next Brady for another team…you’ll be seeing a lot of jet fans heading for rooftops…..

  47. By 40 year fan on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    Allan, you are mistaken ,.. Jets fans are already heading for the rooftops…

  48. By jetfan on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    get s-barron in 1st round or upshaw if possible
    and wr-sanu in 2nd round he is a complete player and underrated

  49. By john ski on Mar 1, 2012 | Reply

    Forget about McElroy, no arm. Upshaw is a no go either, he’ll be fat and out of shape instantly. Barron looks good.

  50. By Vince-Florida on Mar 2, 2012 | Reply

    Great article, Eric!
    Before the draft, why doesn’t Management just sit down with Mark S. and ask him what would he would need to get the job done?

    On the NY Giants there’s an offensive meeting chaired by the QB in which there is communication about plays, certain games, etc.

    Establish these kinds of aids, right away!
    Go Jets!

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