Has Jets Coach Rex Ryan Really Changed?


May 4, 2012; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan addresses media after first day of minicamp at the Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Coach Rex Ryan looks great. 90 pounds lighter he is ready to go. Rookie minicamp started yesterday, and Rex and the crew have gotten back to work.

Rex has also vowed to change the way he speaks. He said no more guarantees. True to his word, he has not guaranteed a trip to the Super Bowl this year. But, when you listen to some of the things he has said, you have to wonder how much he has really changed. Here are a couple of examples.

On how the defense will perform this year:

“I don’t want to put any undue expectations on our team,” Ryan said. “So I would expect that we’d lead the league.”

On his draft picks, Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill:

“Any time you draft a guy that high… they proved it in college,” Ryan said of the Jets’ first two draft picks. “That’s why you have them there. You had a vision for those players. That’s why you took them. … There’s so many different roles… There’s so many things they can start on – there’s sub team, there’s this team… They’re going to play significantly. Is it 100 percent all 16 games? It really depends… So maybe that’s not true, but they are definitely going to play. That’s why they’re here. We think they’re excellent players. We know they’re going to contribute (for) us.”

On third round pick Demario Davis’ potential as a leader:

“You can have a list of 500 numbers up there on a wall, but how many real leaders are up there?” Ryan said on the first day of rookie mini-camp. “It’s easy to say, ‘Well, this guy was a leader for his football team.’ But does he have that thing that he can lead men? That’s rare. Some guys have it. Ray Lewis had it when he came in. The day he walked into Baltimore, he was the leader of that defense. That was one year before I got there. That’s what they all said. When I got there, he was clearly the leader. It’s strange… but what kind of motivator is Ray Lewis? Ray Lewis motivated me as a coach. That’s rare for a player to do that (and) have that kind of ability. I’m not saying Demario is that guy, but… and there’s only one Ray Lewis… but it’s interesting.”

I am a big fan of Rex Ryan. I don’t want anyone to misunderstand me. I love him, and I love the confidence he brings to the team. For years before Rex arrived, no Jets coach ever exerted any confidence, other than Bill Parcells, and the team took on just that personality. It’s great to have Rex show confidence, because the team has taken on that personality too.

I just think he needs to be careful.

These types of statements put expectations on guys. Comparing a guy to Ray Lewis, even loosely, after one day of practice, can be a dangerous endeavour. Talking about two guys that are going to start before they take the field at all, puts expectations on guys. These types of things put pressure on guys, and he needs to learn that this could come back to haunt Rex. His statements have in the past.

His confidence is great. If he is right about these guys, it’s also great. Just be careful. That’s all I’m saying to Rex. Tread lightly.