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Rex Ryan: The Patriots need to worry about us 07.20.14 at 11:16 am ET
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Despite missing the playoffs the last three years, Rex Ryan says he's a "great coach." (AP)

Despite missing the playoffs the last three years, Rex Ryan says he’s a “great coach.” (AP)

Sounds like Rex Ryan is back to being old Rex again.

After sounding chastened the last few years, in a series of interviews Saturday, the Jets coach sounded off about the state of the NFL, his own legacy, and where the Jets stand in relation to the Patriots.

“Somebody asked me if we focus on New England. Bull—-,” Ryan 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 didn’t make any Super Bowl predictions, but still sounded confident in his abilities as a head coach.

“Do I think that I’m a great coach? I absolutely know I’m a great coach,” Ryan told Manish Mehta of 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.”

Ryan, who has a 46-40 career record as a head coach and has seen his team fall short of the postseason the last three years, will lead the Jets against the Patriots twice this season — Oct. 16 in Foxboro and Dec. 21 in North Jersey.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

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Rex Ryan: Idea that Patriots got copy of Jets playbook ‘ridiculous’ 06.19.14 at 4:39 pm ET
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Rex Ryan said a story that intimated the Patriots got their hands on a Jets playbook is "ridiculous." (AP)

Rex Ryan said a story that intimated the Patriots got their hands on a Jets playbook is “ridiculous.” (AP)

Rex Ryan said Thursday the idea that the Patriots had gotten their hands on a Jets playbook was “ridiculous.”

The Jets coach was responding to a story in Monday Morning Quarterback where former New York assistant Mike Pettine said that during Wes Welker‘s 2012 wedding, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had bragged to former Jets assistant Mike Smith — Welker’s college roommate — that New England “may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.”

That charge didn’t sit with with Ryan.

“No. 1, I think it’s disrespectful to New England to sit back and say that they did this,” the Jets coach said. “‘Because I can tell you, every single game that we’ve ever had with New England has been decided on the field. Nobody’s had a competitive advantage. And that’s a fact. So all that type of stuff, is ridiculous.”

Pettine said that Ryan — who “would give [Jets playbooks] out like candy,” according to Pettine — gave one to Alabama coach Nick Saban, a close friend of Belichick. Pettine told Ryan, “Don’t you know Saban and Bill are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”

However, Ryan wasn’t having any of it on Thursday.

“Every single game’s different. So when you go into my room … you’ll see every one of those playbooks. And if you flip [through] them, they’re a lot different each week. And it’s always gameplan-specific. So, to me, it’s ridiculous.

“But it sounds like everybody needs to talk to Pettine because apparently he’s got all the information,” he added.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Mike Pettine, Mike Smith, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
LB Quentin Groves visits Patriots, Rex Ryan backs Calvin Pryor and more 06.11.14 at 8:57 pm ET
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Quentin Groves knocks the ball away from Sam Bradford in a 2012 contest. (AP)

Quentin Groves knocks the ball away from Sam Bradford in a 2012 contest. (AP)

Four football notes from a relatively quiet day with the Patriots:

1. Former Browns pass rusher Quentin Groves visited the Patriots on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The seven-year veteran, who was part of a surprise cut by Cleveland coach Mike Pettine late last week, had two sacks and five tackles in just 53 snaps last year with the Browns. (The 6-foot-3, 265-pound linebacker was limited to just five games in 2013 because of an ankle injury.) The Auburn product has played for four teams in his seven seasons in the league, and had his best stint with the Cardinals in 2012 when he had 46 tackles and four sacks in 16 games with Arizona.

2. Less than a week after Jets rookie Calvin Pryor acknowledged he’s well aware of who he’s not supposed to like when it comes to the rest of the NFL, New York coach Rex Ryan said he has no problem with Pryor’s statement. “I like it,” Ryan said in a Wednesday press conference. “He knows who the enemy is.” Last week, New York’s first-round pick out of Louisville was asked if he knew he was supposed to hate Tom Brady and the Patriots. Pryor responded in the affirmative: “Yeah, man. We don’€™t like Tom [Brady] at all. When I first came here, that was one of the first things I heard about: We hate the Patriots, and we hate the Giants,” he said. “That’€™s what everybody was telling me. We hate those guys, and I look forward to playing them this season.”

3. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was asked by Carolina media about the comments from wide receiver Brandon LaFell, who said last week that his new team (the Patriots) works “a little harder” than his old team (Carolina). “That’€™s Brandon,”€ said Newton, who told reporters he’€™s happy for LaFell and his new three-year, $9 million contract with the Patriots. “€œIf that’€™s how he feels, that’€™s how he feels. … I will always say I beg to differ. But that’€™s just me talking. … I feel as if the Carolina Panther way is we don’€™t do too much talking. We have to prove it.”

4. In the wake of our Sunday notes column where we noticed the fluctuations in the average age of NFL GMs in recent years, we found the average ages of MLB GMs over the last decade. By way of comparison, the average age in the NFL has gone from 52.8 (2004), 49.4 (2009) and 50.4 (2014). In the majors, it is lower, but not by much — the average age of MLB GMs has gone from 46.2 (2004) to 46.5 (2009) to 50.2 (2014).

Read More: Brandon LaFell, Calvin Pryor, Cam Newton, Quentin Groves
Checking in with rest of AFC East at league meetings 03.26.14 at 6:00 am ET
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Jets coach Rex Ryan chats with reporters at the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday morning in Orlando. (AP)

Jets coach Rex Ryan chats with reporters at the AFC coaches breakfast on Tuesday morning in Orlando. (AP)

ORLANDO — While Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and the Patriots have been making news this week at the NFL annual meetings in Central Florida, the rest of the AFC East was involved in the action as well. Here’€™s a look at some of the news from New England’€™s divisional foes over the last few days.

Jets – It wasn’€™t the old-school bravado we’€™ve come to know from coach Rex Ryan, but it was still a fairly brash statement for a team that hasn’€™t finished better than .500 since 2010.

“€œWatch out for the Jets, man,”€ Ryan said at Tuesday’€™s AFC coaches breakfast. “I’€™m just telling you.”

Ryan and the Jets have made a few moves to this point in the offseason, picking up wide receiver Eric Decker and swapping out Mark Sanchez for Mike Vick at quarterback. (Ryan indicated Tuesday that Geno Smith will remain the starter.) They’ve made some moves that give them some financial flexibility, which means they could be in on the race for DeSean Jackson if the receiver can be pried loose from Philly.

However, beyond an impressive front seven, the Jets still have questions at corner (Ryan has lamented the situation in the secondary), and despite the addition of Decker, still need to add offensive oomph this offseason. Look for them to target skill position players and defensive backs in the draft.

And look for Rex to stay Rex.

“€œMy expectations have never changed: I want to win and I expect to win,”€ Ryan said. “œI’€™ll say this: It’€™s time to deliver. It’€™s time to deliver for this community, for New York, for this entire area. We got to step up and deliver. I’€™m not running from it. Let’€™s put it that way — I expect a lot out of this football team.

“Nobody’€™s really talking about us, and that’€™s fine and dandy. They’€™re going to.”
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Read More: 2014 nfl annual meetings, Branden Albert, Brandon Spikes, Brent Grimes
Mark Sanchez Era comes to a close with Jets as AFC quarterback shuffle continues 03.21.14 at 9:04 pm ET
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Mark Sanchez was cut by the Jets Friday. (AP)

Mark Sanchez was cut by the Jets Friday. (AP)

The Jets decision to release Mark Sanchez and add Mike Vick brings this week’€™s quarterback carousel to an end.

Sanchez, who was a first-round pick of the Jets in 2009, was cut loose four days before a $2 million roster bonus was due to the USC product. He spent five years with New York, leading the Jets to back-to-back trips to the AFC title game in his first two seasons with the Jets. However, he was never able to hit the same heights, and sat out all of 2013 with a shoulder injury.

“I’€™d like to thank Mark for everything he’€™s done for this team and me personally,”€ Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a statement released by the team. “We were rookies together and had some early success, becoming the first rookie head coach and quarterback to go to back-to-back championship games. We experienced a lot together, and I really appreciate Mark. He’€™s a great player, a great teammate, and I wish him nothing but the best.”

The Jets later announced they had signed Vick, a veteran who lost his starting job with the Eagles midway through the 2013 campaign to youngster Nick Foles. Vick, 33, inked a one-year deal to (presumably) serve as the backup to Geno Smith.

“€œIt means a lot to have the chance to come in and play for a great organization that had a lot of success last year and being on the brink of doing some good things,” Vick told the Jets’€™ website Friday. “Maybe I can come here and be an asset whenever my number’€™s called. I’€™m excited, I’€™m elated, and I feel like this is a great opportunity for me and my family.”
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Read More: Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Matt Schaub, Mike Vick
Offseason updates on rest of AFC East 02.18.14 at 12:51 pm ET
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While we continue to view the world through a Patriots’€™ prism, here’€™s a quick update on what’€™s been going on in the rest of the AFC East this offseason:

Jets – New York started the offseason with a bang, announcing Rex Ryan landed a multiyear extension. But at the same time, the Jets have some tough calls to make on some veterans, including outside linebacker Calvin Pace. Then, there’€™s the question as to whether or not to release quarterback Mark Sanchez — per salary cap expert Joel Corry, the Jets will gain more than $8.3 million of cap room if they let him go before his $2 million roster bonus is due on March 25. (They’€™ll also get some more financial flexibility if they decide to part ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes in mid-March.) If Sanchez is indeed gone, that will likely clear the decks for Geno Smith, who was involved in an off-field dustup involving a flight attendant on a Virgin America flight. However, GM John Idzik says he anticipates a competition at quarterback this season. On the other side of the ball, while the New York defense is pretty solid as a whole, they’€™ll almost certainly be the market for offensive skill position players this offseason either in the draft or free agency.

Bills – As is the case at this time of year, the biggest moves for Buffalo to this point in the offseason have come on the coaching staff — following the departure of Mike Pettine, the Bills have added Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. They’€™ve also done some more sideline shuffling, including the addition of Rob Moore as receivers coach and Pepper Johnson as linebackers coach. Schwartz favors a 4-3 scheme, which means the Bills will have to tweak their personnel as a result, but on paper, the Buffalo defense is actually pretty well-positioned going into 2014. Led by linebacker Kiko Alonso and pass rushers Kyle Williams, Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes, the Bills led the league with 57 sacks, and were second in the league with 23 picks. They could add some depth in the secondary, particularly if defensive back Jairus Byrd leaves as a free agent. Buffalo also needs some help on the offensive line, as well as some help at tight end if Scott Chandler walks in free agency. The Bills reportedly have roughly $15 million under the cap, and will likely use some of that to put more offensive skill position players around quarterback EJ Manuel, who needs to make a sizable leap going into 2014 if the Bills are able to break through in the AFC East.

Dolphins – Where to start? Miami is a bit of a mess right now, as the franchise continues to deal with the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga. It remains to be seen if the Dolphins end up making changes on their coaching staff as a result of what’€™s happened, but they’€™ve already parted ways with GM Jeff Ireland, going with Dennis Hickey in his place. (They also fired offensive coordinator Mike Sherman after Miami’€™s offense finished 26th in the league with an average of 19.8 points per game. They hired Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor as the new OC.) Hickey will have roughly $17 million in cap space to deal with when free agency opens, and he will almost certainly focus on an offensive line that was struggling, even before the Incognito-Martin situation blew up — quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013, most in the league. From a big picture perspective, it will be interesting to watch the moves that Hickey, coach Joe Philbin and owner Stephen Ross will make this offseason in hopes of trying to repair the Dolphins rep this offseason.

Read More: Bill Lazor, Calvin Pace, Dennis Hickey, EJ Manuel
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 17: Seahawks still No. 1 despite loss 12.24.13 at 8:48 am ET
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The Seahawks stumbled but didn’t fall in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Despite suffering a setback in Week 16, Seattle stands pat because of its overall dominance. The 49ers, Panthers, Broncos and Patriots, who all have secured playoff spots, round out the top five.

As we head into the last week of the season, division titles and playoff spots still are up for grabs. Four teams are fighting for one spot in the AFC: the Chargers (11), Ravens (13), Dolphins (15) and Steelers (17). The NFC is wide open, with three divisions and a wild card spot on the line. The Eagles (12) will look to become the 11th consecutive team in the NFL to finish in last place and then go on to win the division the very next year, and it will take a win over the Cowboys (19) on Sunday to accomplish that feat. Philadelphia’s odds of winning the NFC East improved dramatically on Monday after it was reported that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be sidelined due to a back problem.

The conclusion of the 2013 regular season promises to be a wild one. Be sure to check in next week after all is decided for the playoff edition of the Power Rankings.

Seattle Seahawks1. (1) Seahawks (12-3) – The NFC took notice that the Seahawks are vulnerable in Seattle. They lost at home for the first time in two years. Penalties and a struggling passing attack hurt Pete Carroll‘s team Sunday. 

San Francisco 49ers 2. (2) 49ers (11-4) — They’ve clinched and now have won five straight. The Niners are the type of seasoned, well-balanced team that is capable of going into Seattle and winning if the situation were to arise.

Carolina Panthers3. (3) Panthers (11-4) — The Panthers have the tools to reach the Super Bowl. Cam Newton has proven this year that the big moment doesn’t negatively affect him. Carolina’s defense forces turnovers, rushes the passer well and allows the fewest points per game in the league.

Denver Broncos 4. (4) Broncos (11-3) — Much is being made about the loss of Von Miller, but the Broncos won their first six games this season when the Pro Bowl linebacker was suspended. If Denver doesn’t reach the Super Bowl, it won’t be because Miller is out.

New England Patriots 5. (6) Patriots (11-4) — You can’t count this team out as long as Tom Brady is behind center and Bill Belichick is on the sideline. They’ve proven that this year more than ever.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Bills, Chris Johnson, NFL Power Rankings
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