This is part 2 of a 5 part series on the evolution of Rex Ryan. To read part 1 about 2009 click here.
In 2010 the Jets went from the hunter to the hunted. Coming off of an unexpected run to the AFC Championship Game and with the acquisition of Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Ladainian Tomlinson, and Jason Taylor the Jets were a team on the rise. Expectations were sky high and Rex Ryan didn’t shy away from those expectations. The Jets decided to be featured by HBO on the Hard Knocks series and what followed was one of the greatest years in Jets history although it ended in disappointment.
Right off the bat Ryan addresses how the Jets have gone from hunter to hunted in the first week on Hard Knocks:
“Last year, hey we were under the radar that’s a good place to be. F**k that the best place to be is when expectations are high.”
Rex also addresses the other major storyline from Hard Knocks, the holdout of Darrelle Revis, in typical Ryan style:
“Hey, guys, we don’t have Revis in this building right now. Does it matter that Revis is not here? Goddamn, he’s pretty f******* good. He’s pretty good, OK? But you know what guys? It isn’t about one guy, its about leading the league in f******* wins.”
Rex Ryan set the tone for the season on Hard Knocks. He was blunt, straight-forward, and confident in himself and the team. Nowhere is that more present than in his most famous speech from Hard Knocks:
“You guys know me I’m about as positive a guy as there is. I believe our team is better than every f****** team in the league. I believe our players are better than any other players in the league. Those are true statements. The team is only going so far if I’m the only one who leads. I’m not a great leader. I can’t lead myself. This whole group of men we ain’t gonna win if it’s about me. I’m sitting here waiting for us to realize the team we said we were going to be. What are we waiting on? Do you want it or not? Do you understand there is a price to pay?…Let’s make sure we play like the f****** New York Jets and not some f****** slap d*** team. That’s what I want to see tomorrow. Do we understand what the f*** I want to see tomorrow? Now let’s go eat a Goddamn snack.”
The team went 11-5 during the regular season finishing behind the Patriots, including a 45-3 drubbing at New England that decided the division, and having to take the long road in the playoffs for the second year in a row. In the first round the Jets would look for revenge against Peyton Manning and the Colts who beat them in the AFC Championship Game the year before. A fact the Rex Ryan used to motivate the team.
“I don’t know when I’m going to beat him, but I want it to be Saturday night. Is it personal? Yes, it’s personal. It’s personal against him (Peyton Manning), Reggie Wayne, all those guys, yeah. (Dwight) Freeney and (Robert) Mathis and those other dudes? Absolutely.”