Q & A With Mike Tannenbaum

By Jamie Stuart
Special To Jets
March 10th, 2008
JS: What is your response to the recent grumblings from unnamed Jets about paying outsiders more money that you pay the current Jets players?

Tannenbaum: Eric and I pride ourselves in communication and we will handle this on a case by case basis. We will deal with it privately and that's all I'll say on the matter.

JS: With all the recent free agent moves, and all the big money thrown around, do you feel more pressure than usual to win immediately?

Tannenbaum: We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Each year is different in the NFL. Two years ago we made the playoffs, last year we went 4-12. This year we're 0-0 and we're going to try hard to improve the team by opening day.

JS: You went into last year with high expectations and things didn't pan out. What did you learn from that?

Tannenbaum: To not make the same mistake twice. We're off to a good start and we're in the right direction.

JS: What mistake?

Tannenbaum: Just certain areas we thought we were sound in, we needed to shore up.

JS: Last year you named Chad Pennington the starter before the season, then benched him. Are you ready to name Kellen Clemens the starter now?

Tannenbaum: Eric and I believe in competition. It's a process. Through OTA's, mini-camp, training camp. The best player will play.

JS: So there is no definitive starter as of now?

Tannenbaum: Correct.

JS: There is a prevailing theory that the Jets need an offensive playmaker. You select 6th in the draft. Would you hesitate to seleck a RB or QB at 6--even though you have depth at both positions?

Tannenbaum: We stick to the board as best we can, sometimes free agency determines who we select. That being said, we draft the best player we can.

JS: Does need overshadow talent at times?

Tannenbaum: Great question. In free agency and the salary cap era, sometimes you take the need--but we want to have as many options in the draft as possible, that's why we were aggressive in the offseason.

JS: Has your philosophy changed from building to the draft to building through free agency?

Tannenbaum: The 4 free agents are significant, but the core of our team is still built through the draft. When the opportunity presented itself, however, to improve the team, we took it via free agents.

JS: What's been the biggest surprise of your job since you took over?

Tannenbaum: The biggest has been just the uncertainty of day to day life. Things come up every day that you can't anticipate, you just have to handle.

JS: Any regrets?

Tannenbaum: That's a good one. There are some things I would have liked to have done better, but I choose to think proactively as opposed to thinking about the past.

JS: Dwayne Robertson. You tried to trade him, it didn't work. Where does that stand now?

Tannenbaum: I just talked to Dwayne 2 days ago. We had a great conversation. He's a member of our team, and unless something changes, he'll continue to be.

JS: The Pete Kendall situation turned ugly last year. Did you make a mistake in trading him, considering you cut his replacement and now had to give record cash to Faneca?

Tannenbaum: We're receiving a 4th rd pick for Pete in 2009. It's unfair to assess the trade until that pick. We're also really excited w/ Faneca. Not just from the 7 pro bowls, but from the leadership skills he possesses.

JS: How about Pace? You signed Bryan Thomas to a 5-year deal after he had a great year, then he followed that up w/ a so-so year. How can you be so sure Pace is the real deal?

Tannenbaum: We love his versatility. He can rush, he can cover, he can play the run. His versatility was key for us and we're confident in him.

JS: Lastly, with the type of o-line you're building, is this going to be a smashmouth team we'll be seeing?

Tannenbaum: We want to be able to throw deep, we want to be able to run, with the elements that we play in, we want to have flexibility week to week in what we do.

JS: Thanks Mike for your time.

Tannenbaum: Thanks Jamie.

**Jamie Stuart is a sports anchor/reporter for News 12 Long Island.

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