Jets coach Rex Ryan has traded in his annual Super Bowl prediction for a boast that is far less objective, and thus easier to achieve.
“I look at myself as the best defensive coach in football,” Ryan said Friday after the team’s first training-camp practice, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “That’s saying something because Dick LeBeau is pretty darn good. Bill Belichick is pretty good. But that’s the way I’ve always believed. And you know what? I believe it because [of] the guys I coach with, there’s no doubt about that. And the guys I’ve coached. But that’s the truth. That’s kind of how I feel.”
Ryan’s brash confidence doesn’t apply very broadly.
“If it was a spelling bee, I’d bet against me,” Ryan said. “If it’s anything else — a fight, coaching football — I’m betting on me.”
Ryan also confirmed he’ll be more involved in the defense, and that he’s out of the team-predictions business.
“The arrows weren’t just coming on me,” Ryan said. “They were coming on my players. That’s not what I wanted. If we weren’t going to succeed, I knew I would be getting — that the bullets should be coming my way. I understand that. But I never wanted to put the added pressure on the team. That wasn’t it. I thought by making that guarantee it was only going to come down on me. But that wasn’t the case. But maybe [the media] would have said, ‘Didn’t you figure that out?’ No . . . I never figured that out. But I certainly did at the end of the season.”
Maybe at the end of the new season he’ll figure out that he’s not the best defensive coach in football, either. Or maybe he’ll be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Regardless, he’s not making any predictions on that point.