NFL: Ryan’s bravado brilliant
By Jenni Carlson
Rex Ryan is many things.
Outspoken. Bombastic. Playful.
The New York Jets coach has caused many brows to furrow and many eyes to roll because of some of the things heís said. Every time he steps behind a microphone is reason to make sure there are fresh batteries in the tape recorder, but of late, heís been in rare form, calling out two legendary quarterbacks and one illustrious coach.
Itís been genius.
Oh, plenty of folks would have you believe that Ryan, who played football at Southwestern Oklahoma State, is some sort of buffoon. That couldnít be further from the truth.
The proof is in the results ó the Jets have gone on the road as underdogs the first two weeks of the NFL Playoffs but now stand only one win away from the Super Bowl.
Credit the players and the assistants, but give Ryan his due, too.
His bravado has been brilliant.
ěI donít do anything by accident,î he told reporters last week. ěIíll know what Iím saying and what the reasons are behind it. Sometimes, it works, and sometimes, it doesnít.î
It sure seems to work more often than not for Ryan.
A year ago when his Jets battled their way into the playoffs ó Ryan himself had pronounced their postseason hopes dead only a month and a half earlier ó he distributed a detailed playoff schedule before their opening-round game against the Bengals. It wasnít just for the Cincinnati game but for a playoff run that culminated with a Super Bowl victory. It even included a date for the Jetsí victory parade in New York Cityís famed Canyon of Heroes.
The whole thing put the focus on Ryan and took the spotlight off his inexperienced quarterback.
The result: a pair of playoff wins and an appearance in the AFC Championship game.
This postseason, Ryan has been at it again, but this time, heís made things ěpersonal.î
Before the Jetsí wild card game against the Colts, Ryan was reminded of the two times that Indianapolis had knocked him out of the playoffs.
ěIs it personal? Yes.î
Ryan went with a similar tactic this past week before the Jetsí game against the Patriots, making it into a battle of head coaches.
ěThis is about Bill Belichick vs. Rex Ryan,î he said. ěItís personal.î
To win in both places, New York needed to play fearlessly.
Ryanís antics let his players know that he wasnít intimidated and that they didnít need to be either. What he said also took the pressure off the players and put it on the coach. All of the pregame buildup became about him, allowing them to play unencumbered and focus on what needed to be done.
He wasnít stealing the spotlight. He was taking a bullet.
Part of being a great coach is being able to handle the psyches of your players, and these playoff victories are proof that Ryan knows exactly what it takes to get his guys to play their best.
ěWe talk because we believe in ourselves,î Ryan told reporters after the Jets bounced the heavily favored Patriots on Sunday. ěMaybe people take it wrong way, but thatís it. Weíre not afraid of anybody.î
Say what you will about his methodology. It is loud. It is coarse. It is verbose.
It is also smart.
From staff reports Salisburyís varsity basketball teams will be on the road tonight at Lexington to make up CCC games.... read more