Mike Tannenbaum Conference Call Transcript 1/28/11

January 28th– New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum addressed the media via conference call on Friday.  Here is the transcript courtesy of the Jets.

Opening Statement…

“Thank you everybody for listening and I apologize for being late today. I just want to start off with a few comments and then open it up for questions.

I thought this past season was a good one. I’m really proud of some of the things we’ve accomplished, getting to back-to-back AFC Championship games. (It) obviously solidifies our program. I think we have a great foundation for sustainable success for the future. I’m really proud of our coaching staff, obviously, led by (Head Coach) Rex (Ryan) and all of his talented assistants. Now, as we get later into the weeks, we transition into 2011 and our staff upstairs, (Assistant General Manager) Scott Cohen, (Assistant Director of Player Personnel) JoJo Wooden, (Senior Personnel Executive) Terry Bradway (and) (Vice President of College Scouting) Joey Clinkscales, they do a great job. We always talk about “every rock, every day” and that’s when they find people like the Tanner Purdums of the world, the Matt Slausons, maybe guys that aren’t household names, but those are players that help us win both short-term and long-term. That’s the exciting part for us. On the one hand, there’s disappointment of not getting all the way to the Super Bowl and, obviously, (those are) the emotions from earlier in the week, but by the end of this week, we’ve kind of turned the page and tried to move forward for the 2011 season. With that, I’d be happy to answer any questions.”

On whether the draft is more important this season because of the labor situation…

“Obviously, with the uncertainty of the labor situation, we’ve talked about having a couple of different plans. Those plans would be in pencil and, obviously, a lot of our resources and time will be put into the draft preparation, which is still going to go on. Then, we’ll go from there. We always try to look at the offseason as a continuum and we’re always looking for ways to improve the team. You go back to the end of last season, (Director of Pro Personnel) Brendan Prophett and Scott Cohen, they did a great job finding a guy like (defensive back) Isaiah Trufant who helped us in a couple of games. That’s just another example of (how) we’re always looking to improve the team.”

On whether Mark Sanchez’s shoulder will require surgery…

“We haven’t made a decision there yet. He’s going to get a couple of opinions and then we’re going to make the best decision, once we get all the information, so no decision has been reached yet.”

On when he expects the team to reach a decision on surgery…

“In my mind, sooner than later because if you’re going to have a procedure, you’d like to get going on it sooner rather than later just so you can start the rehab process. We don’t have a drop-dead date. We’re working collaboratively, (Orthopedic Surgeon, Head Team Physician and Chairman of the Medical Department) Ken Montgomery with some of these other shoulder experts. We’ll keep looking at it and then try and make a decision as soon as possible.”

On whether the team has recommended to Sanchez that he have surgery done…

“We haven’t. We’re trying to collect all the information. We have the MRI. One of the things I think Ken (Montgomery) does a great job is he is very thorough (and) he’s a good listener. I think he wants to get everyone’s opinion, look at it, and then we’ll sit down and come up with a final plan, which we don’t have, as of yet.”

On whether the team will not try to sign anyone until a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is reached…

“My sense of it is I doubt we would sign anybody between now and the end of the league year. It’s certainly a possibility, but I don’t foresee that, as of now. Once a new CBA is worked out and we get a sense of years to free agency, if there is a cap, how much is it, years for proration, all those other variables, we’ll move forward. Up until that point, we’ll have a plan and know that we’re going to have to adjust it.”

On whether the Tennessee Titans have requested permission to interview Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer for their head coaching position…

“No, as of this call, we haven’t received (a request) for that.”

On his plans for Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards at the wide receiver position…

“We’d actually like to keep all three, with Brad (Smith) in the mix there, as well. We want to keep as many of our good players, as possible, so we’ll see what the system looks like and then move forward from there. Both those players, Braylon and Santonio, did a really good job for us. I think they helped Mark’s (Sanchez) development. Both made big plays during the season (and) in the postseason. Both had big touchdowns, obviously, in the Patriot game. I’m proud of what both of those guys accomplished for us. Then, we’ll see what the system looks like moving forward. We hope to keep them all.”

On whether the team will consider Plaxico Burress if he is reinstated by the NFL…

“If and when a player is reinstated, we can look at that. I just don’t like to deal in hypotheticals for now. We have plenty of other players to look at and decisions to make, so we’ll be focused on those.”

On Antonio Cromartie’s season and his recent comments on the labor issues…

“By and large, he had a good year for us on the field. He wasn’t perfect, but he played well. I’m glad he was a Jet. He did everything we asked of him. I thought he got better. I think he has a great coach in Dennis Thurman, who works very carefully on his techniques. Obviously, I’m not in a position to comment on what he said, especially when he’s talking to other people (and) other players on other teams. That’s really not for me to comment on. I would say, based on his entire body of work and based on his year with us, he is a guy we would like to keep. Again, once we get a sense of what the system looks like, we’ll move forward, but I’m really proud of what he did on the field this year and I think he bought in, worked hard and helped us win.”

On whether the team would pursue Nnamdi Asomugha…

“He’s a player under contract with another team. I can’t comment on him.”

On whether the team wants to bring back LaDainian Tomlinson…

“He is under contract for next season. At the appropriate time, we’ll look at everybody, but as of right now, yes, he’s under contract. I expect him back. These things could change, but we do expect him back. He did good things for us. Going back to what Rex said initially when we brought him in as a three-down back, he’s really good. Obviously, he ran the ball well, over 900 yards, but he also was a great compliment to Shonn (Greene), relative to the passing game, pass protecting and (he) brought a lot of leadership to the team, as well.”

On whether he thought Tomlinson was wearing down at the end of the season…

“That was a little bit of a concern, but I also think it had to do with Shonn playing as well as he did. I think it was maybe a combination of both. Again, I think a decision like this is about much more than yards per attempt, which is a factor, but again, his pass protection was excellent (and) his receiving skills. When you go back to Holmes, you talk about Edwards, I throw LT (Tomlinson) in there from a standpoint of those guys all help Mark. I think Mark is a better player this year than he was last year and I think all those players help contribute to Mark’s development.”

On what could change to prevent Tomlinson from returning to the team…

“With any of these players, unexpected things could happen, from contracts to other acquisitions you may make. We expect LaDainian back and I expect him to contribute for another year in 2011.”

On whether any decision has been made in regards to Sal Alosi…

“We’ve discussed that. We haven’t made a decision yet. We’re still discussing it internally, and when we’ve made a decision, we’ll let everybody know.”

On Jason Taylor’s future with the team…

“(It is a) similar situation, we expect him back. Obviously, once we get closer to the season and things like that, other players here, things can always change. One thing I would say about Jason was that he did so many good things for us from an intangible leadership standpoint. His effect on other players, Bryan Thomas (and) Jamaal Westerman, in particular. He’s a pro’s pro. We’re lucky to have him. I’m really glad he was here and people like LaDainian, Tony Richardson (and) Jason Taylor, their leadership is really hard to quantify sometimes.”

On Kyle Wilson’s season and his development…

“I thought Kyle was somewhat inconsistent this year. Certainly, he had a big opportunity early with Darrelle’s (Revis) holdout and then, as the year went on, Drew Coleman was playing better at the time. Kyle’s future is one of our paramount objectives for the offseason, in terms of his development. I think he has a great work ethic. I think he loves the game. I expect that he’s going to be a contributor for us for years to come. I’m glad he’s here and we’ll need him to play at a higher, more consistent level next year. With his work ethic, I don’t see any reason why he won’t continue to improve.”

On where Wilson needs to improve…

“(His) confidence (and) just trying to make more plays on the ball, which he has all the ability to do. It seemed like he was somewhat tentative. I think with experience at that, (he will be better). When you’re playing inside like that and a player has a three-way go, that’s a challenging position to play, but there is no reason, with his ability, why he can’t play more consistently and at a higher level. Again, he’ll be around Dennis Thurman every day. I think that’ll be really good for Kyle’s development.”

On if the team has pinpointed specific areas for improvement…

“I think the big thing is consistency. I know Darrelle (Revis) touched on that the other day, but we really do need to be more consistent. It starts really from day one. Mark Sanchez is certainly one of them, but a lot of young players, the Nick Mangolds, Darrelle (Revis), D’Brickashaw (Ferguson), those guys are our foundation and we need to start more consistently, stay there and play a complete 16-game season. If you look back at the last few years, we won nine regular season games, then 11 and we need to keep improving on that. Obviously, we have great competition. Buffalo always plays us hard. Miami, we split last year and then you have a 14-win New England team in our division. The bar is pretty high in our division, and for us to get to where we want to go, we need to win more regular season games (and), hopefully, win a division. I think that would be one of our goals for next year.”

On prospects of achieving consistency with a high turnover of players…

“We always talk about sustainable success. In my mind, if you look at the past two years, the foundation is there. There is going to be turnover in a free agent system in any sport. I think because of the infrastructure that Rex (Ryan) has created here, we have great teachers. They allow players to come in and they could be a guy like Marcus Dixon, who has to play a lot more next year. I don’t see why Dixon can’t be a big contributor for us next year. That’s just a real tribute to our coaching staff.”

On if the team has lost patience with Vernon Gholston since he was inactive for the postseason…

“Vernon is someone we are going to take a look at during the off-season. Him not playing towards the end is something we are going to take a long look at and see if there is a role that makes sense for him. If there is, then we will keep him. If not, then we will move on. That’s something we will look at over the next few weeks and months.”

On whether the team will consider other positions for Gholston…

“That’s the thing we are going to look at. (We) are going to see if there’s anything else to try, but he has been given his share of opportunities and it could be time to move on. We are not ready to say that yet. If you look at a guy like Drew Coleman, who was some-what inconsistent at the beginning of his career, and the year he had, just as an example of not closing the book on a player. There can be tremendous development around the corner. I’m not saying that is the case with Vernon, I’m just illustrating the point that a guy like Drew has really flourished under this coaching staff. Vernon is a guy we are going to take a long look at and move forward from there.”

On dealing with contingency plans…

“I think that’s why Ari (Nissim) has the receding hairline (laughter). We give him countless scenarios and we’ll continue to (give him scenarios). I keep saying, our plan will be in pencil. It’s just another challenge, but it’s the same challenge that the other 31 teams have. Ari does a great job. We make a lot of mistakes on the drawing board and a lot of what-if scenarios. We just try to get it right when we execute our plans. There’s a lot of different ways (or avenues) we can go with different trades, but it all comes down to making all of the pieces work. As soon as we know what the rules of engagement are, we will be ready.”

On if any other team has requested permission to interview Coach Brian Schottenheimer…

“We have had a few (teams ask for permission to speak to our coaches), but out of respect for the process, I won’t say for what positions or what teams.”

On if he was approached specifically about Schottenheimer…

“I just don’t want to comment on that, I’m just not confirming it. I will say that we have had coaches asked to join other staffs, but I don’t want to go into the specifics of that as a courtesy to those teams.”

On if he expects the coaching staff back next season…

“I hope to have the staff back. They did a good job (this season). Whether or not that turns out to be the case, it’s really hard to say as of today. When we know for sure, we will let you know. We’ve been asked a number of times by a number of (teams about) our coaches, but our goal would be to have them (all) back.”

On using a franchise tag before the CBA expires…

“My understanding is that the league (rules this year) apply until the end of the season. If this is the case, then we have to operate with tenders and franchise tags. We will certainly look at that during the month of February. We have another four-and-a-half weeks until the end of the league year, so if that’s something we need to do and we have that at our disposal. It’s something we will take a look at.”

On if the franchise tag would be used for unrestricted free agents…

“If that is at our disposal, it’s something we will look at.”

On if David Harris will be the first player to receive a contract…

“He remains a top priority for us. David has done a lot of great things for us on and off the field. We expect him to be here for years to come. We are into what the nuances of what (will happen) when the old system ends and the new one begins and the rules (pertaining to the systems). Those are things we are still trying to figure out. When we know all of the specific rules of those systems, we will move forward, but David is a top priority.”

On if Harris would receive a long term contract or a franchise tag…

“I wouldn’t eliminate either option.”

On the future of Damien Woody and Tony Richardson…

“Those are two guys we are going to take a long look at. They both have done a great job for us. They are great leaders in their own right. No decision has been made regarding either guy and we will see how it goes. I can say that I don’t think we would have had the success that we had without those two players.”

On if Vladimir Ducasse can take over for Damien Woody…

“Yes and Wayne Hunter has done a great job. The way we played the multiple tight end set, Wayne had a lot of reps at tight end. Having depth there with (Robert) Turner and (Vladimir) was important coming down the stretch. We need all of them and they all played (their roles) well. Vlad is certainly a big part of our future.”

On if there will be changes on special teams…

“We will look at that. We are going to sit down with Coach Westhoff, who does a great job every year, and take a look at that. We haven’t studied that closely yet.”

On if there are certain positions he is looking to fill from the draft…

“I think it’s too early to say. You always want to go into the draft the best you can with flexibility. I’ve always believed in that. I think you maximize your value, but I would say it’s too soon to say what our priorities are.”

On the future of Kris Jenkins…

“When we got Kris, we were so excited about him coming here. We were even more excited to have him play in Rex (Ryan’s) defense. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had the participation we had hoped he would have, but we will look at that as well. We haven’t made a decision. It would be very intriguing to see what he can do over a 16-week season and play under Rex. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but we will take a long look at his situation.”

On if Coach Brian Schottenheimer is coming back next season…

“Yes. He is certainly coming back. I think (Bob Glauber) was referring to if (other teams) were requesting permission to talk to us about their head coaching job. They have not done that as of now.”


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