Jets coach Ryan makes no apologies for outspoken confidence in his team

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan realizes that anything he says might end up on another's team's bulletin board -- even in June, with the NFL season still three months away.

And, quite frankly, the New York Jets' first-year coach couldn't care less.

"It is fun to ruffle some feathers and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said Tuesday in between minicamp practices. "I've got no problem doing that."

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That's for sure. In just a few months on the job, Ryan has made it clear that he's confident in his abilities and his team, and he has strong opinions about them. And, he doesn't mind if people think he's being brash, arrogant or cocky.

"I make no apologies for any of those types of things, those types of statements that I make," Ryan said. "I know one thing: Our football team is going to be prepared and we're going to play our tails off and we're going to give everything we've got. That's one thing I can promise our fans and anybody else listening. If people have trouble with it, live with it because it's going to happen."

Ryan sounds every bit like his outspoken father, Buddy, who attended his son's first minicamp as a head coach. After watching the Jets' defensive and offensive lines practice, the 75-year-old Buddy Ryan -- decked out in a green T-shirt and shorts and a white Jets cap -- chimed in with some big talk of his own.

"I think you can damn near guarantee yourself a Super Bowl if they stay healthy, both offensive and defensive lines," Buddy Ryan said.

Ahh, so that's where it all comes from.

Last week, Ryan made headlines when he said during a radio interview that he "never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings." That already tense rivalry between the Jets and New England Patriots? Yeah, it's becoming juicier.

"The thing with Belichick, I'm not going to concede anything," Ryan said of the Patriots' coach. "Do I recognize the fact that Belichick's a heck of a coach? Absolutely. My thing is I'm not intimidated by him or anybody else in this business, period. I don't care who it is. Our football team certainly is not going to be intimidated, either. If there are issues with that, so be it."

Also last week, Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder sounded off on Ryan's bold talk, sarcastically saying that he must be excited because he's a first-time head coach and that he won the offseason Super Bowl.

"I don't know this Channing Crowder," Ryan said, bringing up the topic unprompted. "All I know is that he's all tatted up, so I guess I ought to be nervous about him. He's right about one thing: I am a first-time head coach, but I've been around the game all my life. I'm no different than I've ever been, just that more people are listening.

"The other thing is I think he's wrong because I do think you win in June. I think you win with your preparation and all that kind of stuff. If I was younger, I'd probably handle him myself."


Ryan was joking, of course, and complimented Crowder for being a good player. But these are the type of nuggets that have many Jets fans embracing Ryan for being refreshingly candid, if not controversial. After all, Eric Mangini, the guy Ryan replaced, was never this chatty or so willing to give other teams so much to discuss.

"If that motivation is going to get them an edge, if they need that, that's fine," Ryan said. "No big deal."

That approach makes it clear that Ryan learned a lot from his father -- and more than just putting together a dominant defense. And the elder Ryan sees some of himself in his son.

"Yeah, I'd like to think so," he said. "He's 6-2, he's good looking."

Buddy Ryan also was asked if perhaps his son could be rubbing some people the wrong way.

"Well, you can't worry about that," he said. "I can't imagine how many I rubbed the wrong way, but I got my point across."

No, Buddy Ryan could never be accused of being shy. Not when he helped the Jets win a Super Bowl in 1969 as a defensive assistant, or as the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and then the Chicago Bears' vaunted 46 defense. And certainly not when he was the Philadelphia Eagles' coach or when he punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline during a game while he was the Houston Oilers' defensive coordinator.

Now, Rex Ryan is carrying on the sharp-tongued tradition as the head coach of what he calls "Dad's team."

"I'm not going to go on the line and say that I'm going to do exactly what he did because he did win it in his first year," Rex Ryan said. "I just want to win one, and then we'll worry about it."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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