He was given another bait question, when he was asked whether or not there are guys not cut out to be starters. To Rex’s credit, he did not take the bait. He instead responded this way:
Well, I don’t know. Look at basketball players. There are some guys that are better as the sixth man in basketball than they are as the starting guys. (They are) more valuable to you. I look at what Wayne can do for this football team, it’s very valuable. When you can plug a guy in all across the line and as a tight end, all of a sudden now, we are a ground-and-pound type mentality. When that big guy comes in there at tight end, everybody in the ball park’s going to think we’re going to run. We don’t have to run. You can put him in as the sixth man in protection. And you can not disappoint them, you can run behind him. So, I think there’s a lot of that. I remember going against Mark Bruener from Pittsburgh all those years as a coach. He was a tremendous blocking tight end. Somebody said, “Oh, he’s a tackle over there.” That gave me an idea then that, you know what? He is a big tackle over there and they could still run the football with the best of them and hopefully that’s where we’ll be as well.
He had the chance to say, “Yes, some guys aren’t starters, they are bench players.” But coach didn’t do that. He instead talked about what Wayne Hunter can add to the team as a sixth offensive lineman, and as a blocking tight end.
This is how you motivate players to be at their best. Rex Ryan handled this situation in the best way possible yesterday. He doesn’t often get credit for the way he handles his players, but he should.
Rex Ryan handled the situation perfectly. And that is why his guys love to play for him.