Matty I: I know we spoke about Rex Ryan a few weeks back, but since there are some new "developments" I wanted to bring him up again. I'll be honest - I've never seen a head coach do as much "trash talking" as I've seen Rex Ryan do this offseason. And it's not so much the stuff about not backing down to New England - or "kissing Belichick's rings" that bothers me. But the attacking of players - saying Channing Crowder is "tatted up" and that if he was younger, he would "handle him myself" - really baffles me. Aren't head coaches supposed to be above the trash talk? Isn't it a little odd for a heach coach to get into a verbal sparring match with a player? What kind of example is Rex Ryan setting and how has this gone over in New York among Jet fans?
John B: I completely understand why you seem so taken aback by Ryan. I mean the Dolphins are the defending division champs and deserve some respect. I'd probably be upset too if a rival coach got into a war of words with one of my team's players like this. I still don't see this as a major deal, though, more of a storyline to keep our interest during the dead period.
Every coach has a different style. Some guys are very soft spoken and humble like Tony Dungy and Joe Gibbs. Not every one is, though. Take Miami's own Bill Parcells. I recall him once questioning the gender of one of his players to the press. This was one of his guys, not the opposition. Because Parcells is a winner, people call it motivation. If he had the record of say Jerry Glanville, the same people would probably talk about how he threw his players under the bus. Joe Namath and Mark Messier are heroes in New York because they backed up brash predictions. Patrick Ewing didn't and is not on the same level.
All it does is put a bigger target on the backs of his players. That could be a problem, but word out of the locker room is the team is totally behind him and is motivated to back up his talk.
Games are won on the field. If Channing Crowder and the Dolphins don't like what Ryan says, they have two chances to make him eat his words.
Jets fans like the brevado for the time being. We have played second fiddle to New England for a long time. It is nice to see a coach with such confidence. If the team doesn't back up his talk, fans will of course turn on him.
I have seen plenty of coaches try and tweak the opposition in all sports. I don't think it's quite as rare as your question suggests. The ones who back up their talk are remembered as great. The ones who do not are remembered as blowhards. Ryan's legacy has not yet been written.
My Take: First off, you can't compare attacking opposing players through the media with attacking your own players through the media. Those are two completely different things. If you want to treat your own players like that as a motivating tool, that's fine. But that is in no way related to having a head coach attempting to start a fight with an opposing player.
Secondly, a head coach trying to pick a fight is also completely different than a player making a guarantee or a player trying to pick a fight with an opposing player. So you can't compare Ryan's actions to Messier's or Namath's, either. John says he has seen many coaches attempt to "tweak" the opposition in the past. But I simply cannot recall a head coach - the guy who is supposed to be the leader of a team, be the logical and mature face of the team - trying to pick a fight with an opposing player through the media.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - Rex Ryan is a giant jackass. And some might say he fits in perfectly with the Jets. But I won't say that. No - not me.
Be sure to head over to GGN to see my response to John's question about Bill Parcells.