Friday, June 14, 2013

Rex Ryan: I'm better than people give me credit for

Rex Ryan knows he's living on borrowed time this season.  It's either an extended run into the playoffs or the unemployment line for the head coach of the New York Jets.

With a depleted roster and another unstable quarterback situation, the cards are stacked high against Ryan still being with the Jets on New Year's Day.  Still, the blustery coach was defiant as ever —and just a tad defensive — when he was interviewed by Newsday, minutes after the team concluded its final minicamp Thursday afternoon in New Jersey.

"I'm a hell of a lot better football coach than I'm given credit for," Ryan said.
"I don't care," he added with a smile. "I don't need the credit. But I can tell you one thing, when it's said and done, they'll look back and say, 'Oh man, this dude can coach his butt off.' And you know what? It's true. And I'll let the people that know best talk on my behalf about the kind of coach I am.
"I don't have to brag, even though statistically, I can brag about anything I've ever done defensively."

First on Ryan's new agenda, he needs to figure out how to get his team back to where they were early in his Jets career when he coached them to two straight AFC Championship games.

Ryan repeatedly has said he's going back to basics in Year 5 — taking a hands-on approach again with the defense and stay out of the offensive meeting room after a disastrous season with offensive coordinator Tony Sparano last year.

"I will not be there," he stressed. 

That's not to say Ryan won't be giving his opinions to new coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense.

"Don't think for a second that I don't know what we're doing," Ryan said. " . . . Marty knows what I want. We're on the same page."

The Jets have yet to decide who will run it — incumbent Mark Sanchez or rookie Geno Smith -- and there still are questions about the health of their receivers. After the offense finished 30th overall under Sparano last season, Ryan knows it must improve dramatically.

Ryan also tossed aside the assumption he was devoted to the ground-and-pound game.

"When you really look at it, ground and pound was one year," he said. "That was what it was. It was the first year. But we talked about it forever, but that's not the case."

When all is said and done, Ryan still believes his era at the helm of the Jets — no matter how long — will be remembered fondly by Gang Green fans.

"They'll say, 'He's a hell of a football coach, and you know what? He had more passion than anybody who's ever coached here before.' Eventually that's what's going to be said about me," Ryan said.

"And hopefully it's not for another 15 years."

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