Rex Ryan really is back. And while he has yet to talk about not kissing Bill Belichick’s rings or guaranteeing that Rex will be wearing one of his own, Ryan has found a way to get back to being the guy he was early in his career as a head coach.
During a June interview with Brian Costello of the New York Post that was published Saturday night, Ryan made it clear that: (1) the Jets aren’t worried about the Patriots; and (2) the Patriots should worry about the Jets.
“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England. Bullsh-t,” Ryan said. “We’re focused on us. We’re focused on us and how are we going to be better. I have to be honest, I don’t worry about them. They need to worry about us. I think that’s really where we’re at now.”
I’m a little worried Rex hasn’t looked at the standings from the 2013 season. Or 2012. Or 2011. Each year, the Patriots won the AFC East. The Jets didn’t.
And while a strong argument can be made that the Jets are moving in the right direction, the Jets have a long way to go to catch New England.
Ryan knows, regardless of whether the Jets catch the Patriots, that the Jets need to do more than finish at .500.
“8-8 is not going to be good enough for us, for anybody in this organization,” Ryan said. “Am I going to get fired if we’re 8-8 or whatever? I don’t know. But I can tell you one thing — our goals are set a hell of a lot higher than that. I don’t care where they rank us or whatever. I know what we’ve got. That’s why I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to get to prove it. Not by me. I’m going to prove it. I am going to prove it. But so is my team. That’s the mission that we have.”
Last year, Ryan’s mission seemed to include saying a little as possible and, when doing so, to not be like the guy he previously was. Maybe he’s more comfortable in his second year of working with G.M. John Idzik. Maybe Rex believes that, if he’d been a little louder last year, the team would have finished better than 8-8. Or maybe Rex just could no longer suppress his nature.
If the last explanation is the right one, good for Rex. Life is hard enough without trying to be someone other than who a guy really is. For 2014, it looks and sounds like Rex is going to be Rex again — for better, worse, or otherwise.