Head coach Rex Ryan is still talking big, despite a Sporting News poll of current NFL players naming him the most overrated coach in the league earlier this week.
In a rare showing of the bravado that was once part of his regular routine, Ryan talked up his team’s postseason chances coming off the bye.
“I think it’s about as tough a thing that we’re facing right in front of us. ... You can’t get much tougher [of a] situation than it is, but maybe that’s what we need. Maybe that will pull this group together. ... I think we’re there anyway, but here we come. My confidence never wavered, never,” Ryan said. “To do great things, extraordinary things or whatever, you’re going to have skeptics. There’s no doubt about that; you will always have them and I understand that comes with the territory.”
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Ryan has been through this before. During his first year as a head coach, the Jets were 4-6 after a 31-14 road loss at New England. A couple weeks later, Ryan cried in front of his team in
the locker room following a loss he thought knocked them out of the
playoffs. The Jets would go 5-1 to close out the season, and eventually advance to the AFC Championship.
“There’s probably some similar challenges earlier when I was here,” Ryan said. “I guess the difference is I haven’t counted this team out of the playoffs like I did my first year.”
Whether it takes water works in the locker room or some other motivational ploy, Ryan must change the culture around the Jets ahead of a tough game in Seattle this Sunday. As for being overrated, Ryan hit the funny bone with his response, invoking his rivalry with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
“My first thought was, I looked and saw who was second and was like, ‘Hey, I finally beat Belichick at something. Got it. I knew it would take time but I finally got him.’ Yeah, golly, like it hadn’t been a tough enough year,” Ryan said.
“I wasn’t offended by it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.