ESPN Tim Tebow: New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum Takes Blame For Trade, What Did Mark Schlereth Say About Denver Broncos QB?

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Jan 30, 2013 09:51 AM EST
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow
The Arizona Cardinals have a number of moves to make moving into the 2013 offseason and they took care of an important one on Friday, as they decided to release veteran safety Adrian Wilson."

ESPN analysts caught talking about Tim Tebow the same day as former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum gives his first interview and takes blame for trade. What did analyst Mark Schlereth say about the Denver Broncos QB?

The New York Jets were one of the worst teams in the NFL this season and general manager Mike Tannenbaum took the bulk of the blame, as he was fired soon after the year was over.

The Jets had a number of issues on both sides of the ball, but where they struggled the most was at the quarterback position, with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow both giving disappointing performances.

There have been questions from the media throughout the season about who was the main person responsible for the Tim Tebow trade (since it turned out to be such a failure), with blame going to Tannenbaum, owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan at various turns.

Tannenbaum gave his first interview since being fired on Tuesday and took the blame for the trade of Tebow, saying that it was up to him to go through with the trade.

"I'm disappointed it didn't work out, just like I'm disappointed when certain draft choices don't work out," Tannenbaum told Tuesday. "We put in a lot of time and effort. We had a rationale for it. At the end of the day, it didn't go as we had planned."

The Tebow experiment was the biggest failure by the Jets this season and still leaves many fans and media members in the New York area scratching their heads. When Tannenbaum acquired the quarterback in March, after the Broncos signed Peyon Manning to be their new starter, the team preached that Tebow would be a good change-of-pace option and a secret weapon on offense.

Instead, Tebow was used sparingly and Sanchez constantly had to answer questions about his backup. Tebow played in only 75 offensive plays and gained 102 rushing yards on 32 carries. He made only eight pass attempts and completed six of them for 39 yards.

"It's just a trade that didn't work out," he said. "Each year, we'll make 200-plus transactions. Some worked out, some didn't."

Tannenbaum spoke about the thought process surrounding the trade and said that he was the final decision maker on the move, not Woody Johnson, as many media outlets have reported.

"Once we met on it and talked about it, ultimately that was my decision to trade for Tim," Tannenbaum said. Asked if he had to convince Johnson, Tannenbaum said, "I had a great working relationship with both Woody and Rex (Ryan). Anytime we'd make a decision on something like this, we'd talk about it, discuss the pros and cons and ultimately it was my decision. I've always said that.

This season the Jets were ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense behind Sanchez and backup Greg McElroy and dealt with a number of injuries, including to wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who was lost for the year after hurting his ankle. The team ranked 30th in passing and 12th in rushing, gaining under 300 yards per game.

"We thought there was a role for him," said Tannenbaum, speaking publicly for the first time in nearly two months. "Working with Rex every day, and seeing the way the league has evolved with the ball being in the quarterback's hands and making plays with your feet, we thought it would give us a chance to make our offense more dynamic. It just didn't work out that way."

Sanchez threw for 2,883 yards with just 13 touchdowns and 18 interceptions while completing less than 55 percent of his passes. Over the past two seasons he has turned over the ball 50 times, more than anyone else in the NFL. He threw three interceptions in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 2 and was benched in favor of McElroy, who sparked the Jets to a 7-6 win.

Special teams coach Mike Westhoff commented on the entire Tebow situation after the season, saying the whole thing was a "mess".

"It was a mess," Westhoff said of the Tebow situation, according to "It was an absolute mess. You can say whatever else you want, it was really a mess. I was very, very disappointed. There are things that Tim Tebow as an NFL quarterback, he's very limited in some things. If you throw him in the middle of a drop-back passing offense, he will look very, very average at best. But if you incorporate him in different facets of your offense, I think he can be a factor. That's what I thought we were going to do, but we never did it."

As the man who orchestrated the trades for both quarterbacks, Tannenbaum was the easy target after a disappointing 6-10 season, but both players are currently still on the roster. There is a chance one or both of the quarterbacks could be traded in the offseason, especially Tebow, but both player contracts may make things difficult.

There were some reports that the Jets had planned to look into former No. 1 draft pick JaMarcus Russell, but that move is unlikely. There are a number of quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters that could be trade options, especially Alex Smith with the San Francisco 49ers.

Earlier this week reports came out the Smith wants the 49ers to release him in the offseason so he can sign somewhere else as a free agent after losing his job to Colin Kaepernick. Smith would like to pick his next destination, but it is more likely the 49ers will hang on to him and trade him at a later point.

The Jets have a number of questions heading into the 2013 season and Tannebaun's replacement John Idzik will have to find some fast remedies to turn he franchise back to its winning ways.

Tebow has a way of staying in the news even when he isn't involved, as a hot mic conversation was caught on camera between ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth and anchor Hannah Storm during Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. The two could be heard momentarily talking about an unnamed Broncos player, reportedly Tebow.

The broadcast had cut suddenly from an interview with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a shot of Storm and Schlereth seated at the ESPN table. Schlereth could be heard saying:

"... it's like a tight end, h-back instead of a quarterback," Schlereth could be heard saying as the broadcast switched to the unsuspecting pair. "But I'll tell you something, I've talked to a bunch of the Broncos coaches and they're like, 'I just don't know if he's a fluid enough athlete to go over and play tight end. He doesn't catch the ball naturally, either.'"

Tebow is one of the most polarizing players in the NFL and helped lead the Denver Broncos to a playoff win following the 2011 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing the game-winning touchdown to Demariyus Thomas on the first play of overtimes.

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