On the penultimate episode of Hard Knocks, Rex Ryan explained to his team that “there’s a difference between having fun and being a jackass.” At the time, “being a jackass” referred to eating cheeseburgers on the sidelines during practice at Hofstra — an immature, but ultimately harmless, offense. Now, in the wake of Braylon Edwards’s DWI arrest, which itself came on the heels of the Ines Sainz controversy, Ryan’s been forced to speak to his team again. Cameras were not rolling this time. We’d set the over/under on F-bombs at 30.
“I talked with Braylon last night, talked with several people, I talked with the team this morning. What I mentioned to the team was that, quite honestly, I’m basically tired of dealing with some of these issues. I’m tired of the embarrassment to our owner and this organization, and let’s just end it, let’s stop it,” Ryan said. “Whatever it is, however severe, minor, whatever, we don’t need to be that team.”
We’re not sure any organization wants to be “that team,” per se. But the Jets especially have spent an awful lot of energy developing an image: as a team of characters, yes, but ones who think of themselves first and foremost as the best team in the league. Yet two weeks into the season, that’s not how they’re being portrayed: Football — and the bragging and trash-talking that goes with it — has only been the predominant story line heading into one of their three games thus far. In the others, the team’s been forced to answer questions about female reporters and DWI charges. (In yesterday’s twenty-minute press conference, Ryan was not asked a single question about Sunday’s upcoming game.) No wonder Ryan’s upset.