Former Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson said yesterday that he sees head coach Rex Ryan as a big part of the franchise going forward despite the team’s recent rough spell. Tomlinson, who retired at the end of last year, played the last two seasons of his storied career under Ryan.
“I think he’s part of the solution. I really do,” Tomlinson said on Sirius XM Radio’s “Opening Drive,” where he is a co-host. “Because there are certain qualities that you have to have as a head coach … and I just believe … being around Rex Ryan, hearing him talk, hearing the things he talks about — the game planning — I just believe he’s the right guy.”
It is a slightly different tone than at this time last year. Tomlinson was critical of the organization and in particular the locker room atmosphere following an 8-8 season.
“Everybody doesn’t like that type of style, and they’re not supposed to,” Tomlinson said a year ago. “But at the same time there are certain things that you can do to not have it come off like that.”
A year removed and perhaps a bit of perspective has given Tomlinson a different outlook. While his criticism of his former head coach was never stinging, the future Hall of Famer seems to be much more in Ryan’s corner in 2013 than a year ago.
“I wouldn’t say that they are not disciplined and Rex doesn’t hold those guys accountable, because he does. He lets guys have it whenever they need to have it. When we talk about coaches who are a ‘player’s coach,’ it means that the coach is always talking to the players, the players feel comfortable that they can go talk to the coach. Now, there are some coaches that really don’t talk to the players,” Tomlinson said on Sirius XM on Wednesday morning. “Rex Ryan is always a guy that is around the players, talking to the players, talking about game plans and players feel comfortable that they can go to Rex Ryan and talk to him about the game plan [and say], ‘Hey, Rex, I like the game plan,’ or ‘I don’t like this part about the game plan.’ That’s a player’s coach.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.