Jets coach Rex Ryan says he’s a changed man, not only because he’s dropped 100 pounds but because he says he has put a renewed emphasis on building a team that works well together, which he now knows he didn’t do well enough before last year’s late-season meltdown.
“I’m sitting there, talking in front of the team, selling, ‘Team, team, team,’ like I always am, and I did not know we had a rift in our team. How was I not aware of it?” Ryan told Jenny Vrentas of the Star-Ledger. “I was mad. I was upset. I was mad at myself, because you’re either coaching it or allowing it to happen, and I’m not going to do either.”
Ryan now says he has engaged in more open communications with his players to try to get to the root of the problems in the Jets’ locker room last year and ensure that it doesn’t happen again this year. And he’s also communicating with someone he refers to as “my little sensei,” using the Japanese word for a teacher.
So who is this “sensei”? That’s something Ryan won’t answer.
“After we have the season that we’re going to have,” Ryan said, “I’ll mention his name.”
Ryan appears to be confident about the season the Jets are going to have, just as he is every season. But this year he isn’t planning to guarantee a Super Bowl, one sign that Ryan may be maturing as a coach, just as he wants his locker room to mature.