New York fans are famous for dramatizing every game. In this town, meaningless victorious are praised like championships and losing is equivalent to sinning. With every loss, we as Jets fans find it necessary to pick a scapegoat. While I don't agree with this philosophy, I will admit that the loss against the Broncos was alarming. I won't even mention Brian Schottenheimer's short comings, because they have been analyzed to exhaustion. Instead, I believe that the blame should be placed on Mike Tannenbaum.
Since assuming his position in 2006, Mike Tannenbaum has repeatedly proven that he's a better general manager than the fans at home. Every one of his decisions has been criticized on this site (and other forums), but a very high percentage of them have worked out for the better. I love his wheel-and-deal approach, and I consider him among the top GM's in the league. With that being said, Mike T. has made serious errors this year, and these mishaps threaten to destroy the season.
In my opinion, the Jets had two glaring weaknesses coming into the season: a lack of a pass rush and shallow depth on the offensive line. The latter weakness was further aggravated by Rob Turner's preseason injury. We didn't need to acquire any superstars, just some role players that fit the needs. Money was not an issue, as Tannenbaum deftly freed up millions in preparation for the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes. Available talent wasn't an issue either, as several serviceable veterans were cut during training camp. In fact, the (6-3) Ravens picked up Bryant McKinnie and Andre Gurode late in the preseason. McKinnie has become the starter at LT, and Gurode is the primary backup on the line, already filling in for five games. The Ravens have been above average protecting their QB despite having two "fill-ins" on the line (13th best in the NFL with 20 sacks allowed. The Jets are 26th in the league with 26 sacks allowed). Picking up one of these guys as a backup would have solidified a line that currently employs Vlad "The Impaler" Ducasse as their main backup. If any lineman goes down, we can pretty much call the season in. As for the pass rush, there was a myriad of options. Matt Roth isn't a world-beater, but he'd be valuable as a pass-rusher in a rotation of linemen that don't get much pressure on the quarterback (3 total sacks). Admittedly, "Mr. T" caught lightning in a bottle with Aaron Maybin, but clearly it hasn't been enough to alleviate this problem.
Tannenbaum has become known for his big trades, improving the team by taking chances on risk/reward guys like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Antonio Cromartie. This September, he traded safety Dwight Lowery for an unconditional draft pick, which created a third weakness: a lack of a cover safety. Eric Smith isn't a bad football player, he's just horrible in coverage. I'm not saying that Dwight Lowery would have neutralized tight ends Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Gates, but he certainly could have helped. Why did Tannenbaum trade our best cover safety? That is certainly beyond me.
From a fan's perspective, it certainly appears as if Mike Tannenbaum stockpiled his chips in anticipation of a big move (i.e.- Nnamdi Asomugha), and was taken off guard when none of these moves materialized. He went for the home run when all the Jets needed was a single. If the Jets have a successful year, it will be in spite of Mike Tannenbaum's moves, not because of them.