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Rex Ryan: ‘I haven’t and I never will’ kiss Bill Belichick’s rings

10.16.13 at 11:06 pm ET
By
Rex Ryan

Rex Ryan’s Jets are struggling, but he remains the same brash coach when talking about the rivalry with the Patriots. (AP)

Rex Ryan made headlines the day late in Jan. 2009 he was hired to take over the Jets. He boldly proclaimed he didn’t come to the AFC East to “kiss” Bill Belichick‘s Super Bowl rings.

Well, since New York’s stunning playoff win in Jan. 2011, it’s been Belichick who has had the upper hand over Ryan, winning the last five encounters, including a 13-10 decision on Thursday night in Week 2.

Still, Ryan said Wednesday, he’s still not about to bow before Belichick.

“No, I haven’t. Maybe you have, but I haven’t, and I never will,” Ryan said when asked if he’s felt like he’s kissed the rings of late. “I came here to beat him and to win, and to win our own championship rings and all that type of stuff. Again, hey, the facts are we’ve lost five in a row to them and things like that. We’ll see if it’s six in a row.”

Since taking over the Jets in 2009, Ryan is 3-7, including the current five-game skid. Ryan started off with a win in 2009, holding Tom Brady without a touchdown in a 16-9 Jets win in September that year. In the next eight games, Brady averaged 30 points against the Jets, scoring at least 21 points in each game. That streak and the losing skid nearly ended on Sept. 12.

How has Ryan’s approach towards Brady evolved over the years?

“Well, apparently I do a terrible job of it because we’ve lost five in a row, so I don’t know,” Ryan deadpanned. “Maybe we’ll just have somebody else look at it.

“The guy was – him and Peyton Manning, I’ve said it before from day one, are the best two I’ve ever gone against. They were when I came in the league many years ago as a defensive coordinator, and they’ve remained that way. Certainly we throw everything at them and see what happens, but we’re not just going to stand and play one or two coverages and let them pick us apart like he does a lot of people.

“You can’t just sit back and take it from him, that’s for sure.”

Here is the rest of Rex Ryan’s conference call from Wednesday:

Q: You didn’t have Jeremy Kerley the first time you played the Patriots. What impact do you expect him to have in this game, and with the signing of Joshua Cribbs what do you expect out of him?

RR I’m certainly not going to say one way or the other on Kerley. He’s a good player for us so we’ll see what he does, and as far as getting Josh Cribbs, first off we’ve got to see where he’s at conditioning-wise and everything else. But I’m sure he’ll have some role for us.

Q: What did you learn and how much were you encouraged by the way you guys played against the Patriots in Week 2?

RR: Well we lost, so that was disappointing, without saying – without question. How much we learned, I don’t know about that. Obviously it wasn’t good enough, so that’s what we know.

Q: Why are you guys doing so much better against the run through the first six games of this year as opposed to what you were able to do last year?

RR I think we’ve got an outstanding group in the front seven. They’re young, and they’re kind of maturing together. It starts with Muhammad Wilkerson and then the nose tackles, obviously ‘Snacks’ – Damon Harrison – and Kenrick Ellis have done a good job for us, and Sheldon Richardson, so all the big guys up front have done a decent job in the run, and then I think we’ve got as good a middle linebacker as there is in the league in David Harris. I think he’s done an outstanding job for us.

Q: With Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo out for the season, does that open the door for you guys to try to attack the middle of their defense?

RR: You’ve got a big problem out of the way, that’s for sure, with big Vince [Wilfork]. He’s an outstanding player. That’s kind of where our nose tackle is, you know, when you look at Snacks [Damon Harrison] and Kenrick Ellis, they’re both big giant guys, they’re playing extremely well. Kind of a like a young Wilfork-type, not quite as big or beefy or have the notoriety, certainly, but they’re playing well. But having him out of there clearly is – he’s really one of the blue-chip guys as a nose tackle.

Q: What about Mayo’s absence?

RR: Yup, he’s a good player. Good player, and I understand he’s lost for the season.

Q: Your team has committed a really high number of penalties so far this year. Are you concerned that that’s more of a discipline problem among the players, or a coaching issue?

RR: Jeez, you talk about blunt force trauma… I certainly don’t see it as a coaching problem or discipline on our players. Obviously we got – at the end of the game against New England, we did have an unbelievable amount of penalties in a couple of games this year. But again, I think that’s more of an aberration. I think when you look over the stretch since I’ve been here, we’ve probably been at the lower end of the penalty scale than the upper end.

Q: Have you consulted your brother [New Orleans Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan] at all, or will you consult him at all, given the fact that he played against the Patriots just three days ago?

RR: Yeah. But we pretty much know each other anyway. I know the Patriots well, they know us, but absolutely, yeah I’ll talk to him for sure about it. I’ll be honest, I watched that game [against the Saints], I was like ‘Aww man, you’ve got to be kidding me.’ But again, those things happen, that’s Tom Brady.

Q: Tom Brady’s teammates have talked about how they draw strength from how calm he is at the end of the game. How does that affect a defense when they see a guy like Brady come in, knowing how calm he’ll be driving a team downfield when they need it?

RR: I don’t know, we’ll see. I think we’ll be calm as well, so it’ll be an interesting matchup if that indeed is the case where it comes down to that. I think both – I know Brady is extremely confident, and I know we’re extremely confident about putting our defense out there in crunch time. In Atlanta, they had a holding call against us or we’re off the field there, which is kind of unusual, I keep watching, I haven’t seen it yet, but we’re off in a crunch time there I think, so we’re confident as well. Obviously we expect [Brady] to be confident, he’s won a ton of games and things, but each game is different.

Q: Do you feel like you have an opportunity to do more in your game planning when you have a full week to prepare for the Patriots, as opposed to that first meeting this year with only a couple of days to prepare playing on a Thursday?

RR: I think you’re prepared anyway going into it, because of the fact – I mean, it wasn’t like the schedule jumped up on somebody and they called you Sunday night. So we’re preparing for them even through training camp and things like that. But yeah, getting them on a normal week certainly is easier than on a short week.

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