By Joseph Santoliquito
Rex Ryan coaches in New York, but he certainly seems to be a Philly-kind of guy. The Jets’ head coach is full of moxy, bluster, imaginative profanity, and has all of his daddy Buddy’s good traits–along with a few extras, like his ability to win playoff games and a firm grasp that offense is also an important part of the game.
What’s most inviting about Rex, however, is his magnetic personality. You’d love to see someone like Ryan at the head of any team in this city. Eagles’ coach Andy Reid could certainly take a tip or two from the way Ryan carries himself publicly, which is an ironic twist. Because behind closed doors, away from the hustle and bustle of crowded press conferences, when Reid’s in one-on-one settings, he can be just as engaging, just as humorous, with his dry wiseguy wit, as Ryan is in front of cameras and with the fervid New York media.
The Jets paid a visit to Lincoln Financial Field Thursday night and about the only thing that made it interesting was Ryan. The game meant nothing, save for the 10 or 15 players clawing for those final rare jems at the bottom of an NFL roster playing for a job. Otherwise, it was an exhibition game that revealed little about either team.
What kept the media enticed was the thought of how Ryan would react, for example to Eagles’ safety Kurt Coleman two fumble recoveries for touchdowns. We can only wish that Reid lift the filter of his emotions a smidgen and allow the public to creep inside to see the real Andy Reid, instead of the annoying automaton that Eagles’ fans and media have grown accustomed to seeing after games and at Monday-morning press conferences.
So get ready to be pulled into Sexy Rexy’s sideshow this entire season. He has his Jets heading in a good direction–and isn’t afraid to sanitize his thoughts when it comes to spouting off how good he thinks his team is. Not for the media that covers the team daily, or for the HBO Hard Knocks’ cameras, or for the rest of the National Football League, for that matter. Sexy Rexy says his team is the best in the NFL. He doesn’t stutter or twitch when he blurts it out. He geniunely believes it–and he may be right. That kind of robust talk is refreshing, especially around these parts, and it has already pissed off everyone in the AFC East. Ryan will surely flick the agitation switch of every other team the Jets will see this year. Pissing people off seems part of the Ryan family DNA.
With LaDainian Tomlinson, Jason Taylor, Bart Scott, Nick Mangold and Santonio Holmes (when he’s allowed to play after his 4-game suspension lapses), the Jets have the kind of nucleus that can spell big things. And on top of that, they possess the kind of coach players love to play for.
“If I was still able to play, I’d love to play for a guy like that, he just revs you up,” Hugh Douglas said. “Ryan has a way of getting after you that can be motivating. I love coaches like that.”
It appears Ryan’s Jets love him. It also looks like they’d be willing to do anything and everything he asks them to do. Ryan’s attitude of “keeping it fun” can be contagious. It’s too bad more coaches aren’t like Ryan. Maybe that will change when Sexy Rexy takes his Jets deep into playoffs. Who knows, maybe coaches will loosen up a little more when they see someone who openly enjoys what he’s doing and isn’t afraid to admit. It would be a nice change to see a coach who can be both demanding and jovial leading his team to a Super Bowl.