Mike Tannenbaum Has Had a Busy Off-Season

March 19, 2010 – 7:00 am by Paul Bessire

If a coin is tossed and no one is there to see it, was it heads or tails?

Mike Tannenbaum, the General Manager of the New York Jets has had a busy off-season. In free agency, the team has already brought in LaDainian Tomlinson and traded for fellow ex-Charger Antonio Cromartie. But there is a current story making far more news for the Jets than that – and it involves a coin toss.

After the commissioner’s office, without any team representatives present, flipped a coin to determine which New York team gets to host the first game in its new stadium (a coin toss won by the Giants), Jets’ owner Woody Johnson released a statement that included the following:

“An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved. That’s how it’s always done in the league, whether it’s determining the order of the draft or deciding who’s going to kick off the game. When the issue of which team would be hosting the first regular-season game could not be resolved on the merits, I suggested a coin toss as the fairest way to resolve this issue. The league rejected that idea. Then, I was told on Friday that a coin toss had taken place at the league office and that the Jets had lost. We rejected a process in which neither team was present. The league departed from our time-honored tradition and declined the opportunity to set the matter straight with a transparent process.”

Mike Tannenbaum joined Brandon Tierney on ESPN New York to discuss the coin toss, LaDainian Tomlinson, Thomas Jones, this off-season, and Vernon Gholston.

On the coin toss to determine the first game at the new stadium:

“Woody’s statement speaks for how we feel. He was passionate about it for our fans. The way I look at it is, Brandon, that it is up to me and our staff to put the best team together to go win that Monday Night game on opening day. We are really excited about the stadium. Obviously, we are really disappointed with how that occurred, but now we are moving forward and really looking forward to opening up with a win on that Monday Night.”

On bringing in LaDainian Tomlinson:

“We feel really good about LaDainian. We feel that he has a lot of gas left in the tank. The way that Brain Schottenheimer is going to use him in our offense, we really think that he will help be able to help us over the course of the season… I think over the course of the 16-game season, when we are talking at different points, you’ll be really happy that LaDainian is a Jet. He brings a lot of skills to what we want to do. He can help in the passing game. He’s a great pass protector and we think he can still run the ball.”

On letting go Thomas Jones:

“I’m a big Thomas Jones fan too. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the people here that acquired him. It was a very difficult decision to let him go. He did a lot of things for this organization not only on the field with 1400 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. He was a great leader on the field and in the locker room.”

On if he envisions Vernon Gholston on the team next year:

“Yes I do. I am excited about this off-season for Vernon. It’s really important to him. We have had a lot of talks with him over the last few weeks about how important this years is for him and where this off-season is. It took him a couple years of Ohio State to get to where he was. I believe in Vernon and I believe in our defensive coaching staff.”

And on how this off-season differs from previous years:

“In our sport, it’s the head coach and quarterback. Those are obviously the two pieces that you have to have. Without those, it’s hard to have sustainable success. With Rex and Mark here, I think the stability of those two guys, barring unforeseen, they should be here for a long time. I think the fan base should be really happy about that because they are two people that love football, two people that the ultimate people persons from the standpoint that they care about people. They are true leaders. With that said, moving to this year, we thought corner was an absolute must.  We felt that we had to improve that position. So Cromartie was the key to the off-season because, looking at our options, it was the Cromartie trade – or it was the 29th pick in the draft. To get that out of the way, we really enhanced our draft because now we can say that whatever happens in the draft we can take whoever we want. Move up, move down we can get what we want. Without Cromartie, at the 29th pick in the draft, we would have taken a corner.”

Listen to Mike Tannenbaum with Brandon Tierney on ESPN Radio New York. (21:45 into Podcast)

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