NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rex Ryan expects the New York Jets to do something special this season.
And he says his nemesis in New England — Patriots coach Bill Belichick — should be thinking along those lines, too.
“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England. Bullsh—,” Ryan recently told the New York Post. “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.”
Ryan has been talking a big game lately, but what else is new? The head coach has been boasting about the franchise ever since his arrival in 2009. And after a brief hiatus, Ryan has revived his “Old Rex” persona, thanks to last year’s surprising finish and a flurry of offseason moves.
“I don’t care where they rank us or whatever,” Ryan said. “I know what we’ve got. That’s why I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to get to prove it.”
General manager John Idzik landed Ryan some big weapons on offense this spring, including veteran running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker. Michael Vick was brought in to serve as an insurance policy on second-year quarterback Geno Smith, who had his ups and downs in leading New York to an 8-8 record in 2013.
Hard-hitting safety Calvin Pryor is expected to contribute in his rookie year, while Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson will anchor one of the NFL’s best defensive lines.
“8-8 is not going to be good enough for us, for anybody in this organization,” said Ryan, who will officially start preparations for the Sept. 7 opener when training camp begins this week. “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.”
Some believe Ryan’s time will run out if he misses the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
But he has belief to spare in his team — and himself.
“Do I think that I’m a great coach? I absolutely know I’m a great coach,” Ryan said in a separate interview with the New York Daily News. “But it’s not just about me. What makes a great coach is the people that surround you, the people that are with you every day. There’s guys that help me be a great coach. My players help me be a great coach.”
Ryan, who led the franchise to consecutive AFC Championship game appearances in his first two years, has been criticized for being too outspoken, though he’s always had the support of his players.
“I’m not a phony,” he said. “I’m who you see. That’s who I am. I’ve been that way consistently (since) the day I took this job. You get other guys who get jobs. Are they in it for the money? Are they in it for this or that? They can’t motivate anybody. I can motivate because I’m consistent and they know I’m telling what I believe to be the truth. And they know I’ll speak from the heart. I’m not afraid to show my emotions.
“I am who I am. I’m no different than anybody else. … When I say I bleed green and white, I do. I am all-in with this organization.”
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