For a guy who still has not yet coached a regular-season NFL game, new Jets boss Rex Ryan has done more squawking than many pro football coaches do in their entire careers.
And as Ryan prepares to take his new team against his old one, Ryan is squawking again, calling Monday night’s preseason contest against the Ravens (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) a “special preseason game.”
“Let’s see if we match up with the elite teams in the league,” he said Sunday, per Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News. “You’re playing against a great football team, and they’re
playing against one that’s going to be great in the New York Jets. I think that’s going to be a great matchup.”
Um, Rex? It’s a preseason game. Which means it’s not a game at all. It’s glorified, televised practice with full-price tickets.
Many think that Ryan’s bluster — which should only get more interesting once the real games start — is harmless. Others, however, view it as a potential problem.
“You’re gonna tell me it’s not detrimental to the league?” one source observed. “We don’t want thugs, but we’ll let a coach act like an idiot?”
The source pointed out that, just as kids look to players as role models, coaches at lower levels of the sport take cues from the guys at the top of the football food chain. So with Ryan already popping off routinely, other coaches might be inclined to conclude that it’s proper to behave that way.
There’s another intriguing dynamic at play here. The Jets generally have a complex regarding the reality that they’re regarded as a rough-and-tumble alternative to the more buttoned-down New York franchise. Ryan only feeds the perception that the Jets have a much rougher exterior than the three-time Super Bowl champs who also inhabit the stadium that bears their name.
Indeed, as the source pointed out, “[Giants coach] Tom Coughlin has a temper, but he’s a gentleman.”
Ryan, on the other hand, comes off as a guy who, if not on the sidelines at a Jets game, would be hanging out at Gate D.
That said, Ryan’s conduct to date pales in comparison to what Raiders coach Tom Cable allegedly did to Randy Hanson’s jaw earlier this month.
But, hey, there’s still plenty of time for Rex to treat one of his coworkers like Kevin Gilbride.