Appearing on NFL Network this week, former New York Jets manager Mike Tannenbaum expressed his admiration and respect for Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow, despite the former Heisman Trophy winner’s limited playing time and lack of success in his first season with Gang Green.
"This is a guy who was successful in high school, won championships in college, and he's the type of person who's either going to be successful as a pro quarterback or die trying," Tannenbaum declared.
Tannenbaum recently admitted to being the impetus behind the Jets dealing for the former University of Florida standout, initially considering Tebow to be an ideal complimentary player to incumbent starting signal-caller Mark Sanchez.
In reality the Tebow experiment was nothing short of a disaster as he not only watched helplessly from the sidelines as his role on offense diminished week by week, but Sanchez’s continuity and confidence was shaken to the point where his own future in New York was being brought into question.
"I don't think I would have signed a quarterback to an extension knowing that he'd have 26 turnovers,” reflected Tannenbaum on Sanchez’s long-term deal last offseason."
Following a Week 15 loss on Monday Night Football to the Tennessee Titans, head coach Rex Ryan announced that third-stringer Greg McElroy would leapfrog Tebow for the starting gig and play under center for the final two games of the year. When McElroy was diagnosed with a concussion after taking 11 sacks in a 27-17 home defeat to the San Diego Chargers, Ryan elected to go back to Sanchez instead of giving Tebow the starting nod.
Tebow’s relationship with Ryan and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano slowly began to deteriorate; stirring speculation that the Jets would look to trade him this offseason.
With Tannenbaum out of New York’s front office and into the NFL media world, he provided an assessment of Tebow’s attributes, both the good and the bad.
"He's highly competitive," noted Tannenbaum. "Obviously there's some skills he has to work on. He has to be a more consistent thrower from the pocket, we all know that; the accuracy. But with that, there are things he does bring to the table."
With newly hired general manager John Idzik looking to dig the Jets out of salary cap hell and replenish a depleted roster, Tannenbaum reflected on his own tenure in New York and ultimately came to grips with his dismissal.
“I would pride myself in our decision-making process, in terms of bringing everyone into the room, but ultimately, I had final say, and as the leader of the team, when we fell short, Mr. Johnson made a decision, and I understand it," said Tannenbaum.