INDIANAPOLIS — Nobody pulls a crowd like Rex Ryan, a fact not lost on Mike Tannenbaum.
“We can really clear out a room here, huh?” the Jets’ general manager told a scattering of reporters and empty seats in the wake of Ryan’s 15 minutes of beauty.
With his coach out of earshot, Tannenbaum defended Ryan, painting the portrait of a man with some depth behind the bluster.
“I think with Rex, what you see it what you get, and we couldn’t be more lucky that he’s our head coach, and we’re going to go forward into our fourth year taking the lessons from all three years,” Tannenbaum said. “But he’s a very genuine guy that wants to be very good at what he does, and we’ve asked ourselves a lot of hard questions over the last couple weeks.”
Hard questions about an unraveling 8-8 campaign that left New York fans wondering if starting QB Mark Sanchez could be set aside for the likes of Peyton Manning, should he become available.
Tannenbaum, like Ryan, refused to slam the door on the Manning chatter, saying his job is to peer under “every rock, every day,” but he heaped high praise on Sanchez.
“Like Rex, he’s his own worst critic, he wants to be great, and that’s what we like about Mark. We’re fortunate he’s our starter,” Tannenbaum said. “You look the balance of his three years — four road playoff wins — there’s a lot of good there. With that said, he has to play better, he has to play more consistent. We think he will.”
— Marc Sessler