Ryan disappeared into a mist of his own bluster last season, "Rex The Personality" overwhelming "Rex The Football Coach." To his credit, Ryan seems to have realized this and has made changes in his approach with the New York Jets.
Getting out of the guarantee business is an off-shoot of his new philosophy. He had his fun with it, and the media surely did, too. But he candidly acknowledged Thursday on ESPN Radio in New York that, for all his boasting, the results were negligible.
"I don't know what I accomplished out of it. I think if it gave an opponent fuel to the fire, then obviously that was a mistake," he said (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "If it put undue pressure on our team, then that was a mistake. Certainly I didn't wanna do it, I wanted to put -- coming off back-to-back championship games, all that's left is the Super Bowl. And I thought by guaranteeing that, it would put the arrows on me.
"Now granted, it did, but it also put arrows on our players, and I didn't want that," he went on. "If it was gonna come down, it would come down on me only. That was what I thought would happen, and that didn't happen. It was shot on some of our players and obviously shot at me as well, where it should have been. But it wasn't directed at me, and I think that was my mistake, by saying what I said."
Five months after he admitted he "lost touch" with his locker room, Ryan has taken a more hands-on approach at OTAs, sitting in meetings with different units and communicating directly rather than delegating to his subordinates. It's a smart move by the coach, who realized some of the changes he'd made had been detrimental.
As for the guarantees, we'll see how long he can hold out. Ryan lives for the spotlight and it's hard to imagine he'll be able to keep his enthusiasm in check if the Jets get off to a fast start in 2012.