Last week, Rex Ryan announced that Saturday's playoff game against Peyton Manning's Colts was "personal," then talked smack, sort of, about Tom Brady — thereby taking the spotlight off his players and shining it on himself. And so, in advance of Sunday's game against the rival Patriots, he's at it again.
"When you look at it, both teams are very even," Ryan said. "When you look at the players, our teams are solid across the board. When you look at the assistant coaches, we're on level ground. So this is going to be about me raising my level against Bill Belichick. I recognize he's the best. But I'm just trying to be the best on Sunday. And I plan on being the best coach on Sunday."
"He's going to going to get everything I have on Sunday," Ryan added. "If he slips at all, we're going to beat him."
Ryan's not really trying to hide the fact that he wants everyone to focus on him this week. (Actual Ryan quote: "If it was up to the players, this would be a tie game.") And, we suppose, who can blame him? The last thing he wants is a week of stories about how the Patriots crushed the Jets 45–3 the last time they met. (Also, if anyone does bring that up, he says he was "out-coached" in the game, for which he says he devised an overcomplicated game plan.)
For right now, his plan is working. We are, after all, writing a post about Rex Ryan and not about how the Patriots crushed the Jets 45–3 the last time they met. But it's only Monday. Lots more ink will be spilled about this game before Sunday — and as much as Ryan wants to frame this as a chess match between him and Belichick, no one really believes that this battle of evenly matched teams will be decided by the head coaches exclusively. (For that matter, they're not two evenly matched teams, either.)
Oh, and Ryan's picking on Tom Brady again, too. When asked what he thought about the Patriots quarterback attending a performance of Lombardi on Broadway while the Jets played the Colts, Ryan smiled briefly and called back to his thoughts on Brady from last week: "Peyton Manning would have been watching our game."
Rex Ryan on Bill Belichick: 'If he slips at all, we're going to beat him.' [Jets Stream/NYDN]
Rex goes bonkers on Belichick, Brady [Glauber's Hot NFL Reads/Newsday via Quickish]