Call them clowns if you want.
But Rex Ryan’s going to make sure you know that’s not how they’re playing.
Ryan and Jets officials are sufficiently tired of the cracks about their circus atmosphere (trust us on that one) that they’re using the criticism as motivation.
That’s why he gathered his players last week and challenged them to not provide evidence that would point to such a conclusion.
“It seems like that’s how people look at us,” Ryan said, via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “I was like, ‘You can think that all you want, but we see something totally different.’ I do — and I know this football team does. Our opponents will take us seriously, I promise you that.”
Several players said Ryan’s speech, prior to the win over the Bills, as a passionate one.
“It made it a bigger deal for us to go out there and prove to each other that we had each other’s back,” linebacker Aaron Maybin said.
It’s also moved them into the unusual spot of being quiet.
Cimini said starters present in the locker room in Monday’s media period were in the single digits, with no sign of linebacker Bart Scott after he snapped “you treat us like a f—— joke,” on Sunday.
“The big thing Rex was hammering last week was, he didn’t want us in the mode of proving outsiders wrong,” Maybin said. “He said it has to be about the people in this locker room.”
Ryan’s point is a valid one. They have played good football under his watch, with 30 wins since he took over as head coach in 2009. Only eight teams in the league (New England, New Orleans, Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, San Diego and Philadelphia) have more over the same span.
But they’ve also been active at times in pursuing the attention their neighbors get for winning championships. At times, the drama, much of it by their own creation, has overshadowed the product.
That’s not always Ryan’s fault. But he’s going to make sure to use the perceived slight as motivation all the same.