Whispers - Who is really running the show?

From what we hear, the Jets essentially have two general managers right now.

One is the man who has the title, Terry Bradway. But word out of Jets camp is that assistant GM Mike Tannenbaum has emerged into a co-general manager of sorts. Word around the NFL is that Tannenbaum is wielding a lot of power. And we mean a lot.

"Tannenbaum is running the show," said a source close to the Jets. "He is calling a lot of the shots."

One reason why Tannenbaum has been able to grab so much power is that Bradway lives near Atlantic City, and usually is at Hofstra only three or four days a week. So when Bradway isn't in the building, Tannenbaum is in charge.

When Bradway first took over as Jets general manager he moved his family (wife and three kids) from Kansas City to Long Island. However, his kids didn't like the schools on Long Island, so the family moved to Absecon, New Jersey, a suburb of Atlantic City. That is where both Bradway and his wife are from. They have a lot of family in the area, and a good support system.

While Bradway is a great father and dedicated family man, you have to wonder why Jets owner Woody Johnson would check off on this setup. It would be one thing if great GMs like Ron Wolf or Bobby Beathard wanted this type of arrangement, but does Bradway merit this special treatment? It's hard to make that argument.

So with Bradway out of town a lot, Tannenbaum's power has skyrocketed.

And this explains why New England Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini is the top candidate for the Jets head-coaching job. Mangini and Tannenbaum are both Bill Belichick/Bill Parcells disciples. They are close friends. They both worked for Parcells when he was the Jets coach. They both also worked for Belichick in Cleveland.

But should Tannebaum have this much say about who the Jets' next coach should be? Probably not. He's an accountant by trade who never played or coached football. While he's worked hard to learn as much as he can about football, he's still low on the growth curve.

But from what we hear, Bradway defers to Tannenbaum all the time on key decisions. Last summer, a player was doing well in training camp and his agent asked Bradway about the kid's chances of making the team. Bradway responded, "I like him, but I have to convince Mike on him." What? You are the vice president and general manager of the Jets. Why would you have to win over the assistant GM, the "capologist?"

This is the kind of weakness that Bradway displays at times that makes some people in the league wonder if he's strong enough to be a general manager. There is no doubt he's a terrific scout and player personnel director. He's got a good eye for talent. He proved that in Kansas City. Some people around the Chiefs feel the drafts in Kansas City haven't been as good since Bradway left in 2000 to come to New York. But Bradway needs to act more like a GM -- and letting your assistant have too much power doesn't reflect well on him.

And never disciplining your coach when he's run amok is also a sign of weakness. Two examples. The Jets' strength program became a joke in the last two years. This wasn't the fault of the strength coaches, John Lott and now Markus Paul. Herman Edwards deserves all the blame for this one. He refused to fine players for being overweight. We hear that 23 players were overweight last season. Edwards thinks NFL players are adults, and shouldn't require a kick in the butt to work out. This might work well with Kevin Mawae and Curtis Martin, but what about the rookies? It doesn't work with most young players. But Bradway didn't call Edwards on the carpet for this. He knew it was going on and didn't do anything about it.

Another issue was the fact that Edwards was leaking a lot of information to the media off the record in 2005. Bradway knew this and didn't stop it. Why do you think so many reporters loved Edwards and never criticized him? He was a reporter's dream come true, handing out inside information on a silver platter.

It Bradway wants to turn the Jets around he has to be more assertive. After almost 30 years in player personnel, he's forgotten more about football than Tannenbaum knows. In time, Tannenbaum will probably evolve into a person who can run a football operation, but not yet. Bradway needs to make Tannenbaum focus on the salary cap, and Bradway, needs to handle the coaching interviews himself. The Jets are reportedly $30 million over the cap. Tannenbaum is a great cap guy, and that is where most of energy should go right now.

Coaching candidates don't like to be interviewed by accountants or business types. It turns them off. If you are Mike Sherman, do you want Tannenbaum asking you football questions? Not likely.

It doesn't matter if Tannenbaum thinks Mangini is a good head-coaching candidate. He doesn't have enough football experience to make this determination. Longtime Patriots beat writer Michael Felger commented recently that he doesn't think Mangini is ready to be a head coach. Mangini is 35 but looks 25, and he was only a coordinator for one year. It's very easy to act tough with Belichick a few yards away. You have to wonder how Mangini would do as a disciplinarian without Belichick covering his back.

Mangini clearly could use a few more years as a coordinator, and this is what Belichick will probably tell him. Plus, Belichick has little respect for the Jets organization. He proved that in 2000 when he left them at the altar. It's your job, Bradway, to analyze the candidates. It's not the capologist's job.

And the other danger in Tannenbaum having too much say-so in the coaching search is that he is very close to Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. They talk all the time. So Parcells actually could have a role in picking the Jets' next coach. Seriously, folks.

It's time for Bradway to take charge or maybe find another job. Enough of this wishy-washy approach.

You are the boss, Terry. Act like one.

It is illegal to reprint this story on any message board or website. Violators are subject to legal action.


Jets Insider Top Stories