Rex Ryan: “I like our team and we are going down there to win this thing.”
Rex Ryan started off the week by stating his desire to beat Peyton Manning in Saturday’s playoff game is “personal”. I guess it would be to me as well if I was 2-6 against him, including 0-2 in the playoffs, with the most crushing defeat coming last year in the AFC Championship Game. Manning’s record is quite impressive considering how complex Ryan’s defense is, but I’m not surprised at his success because the Jets defense is predicated on blitzes and Manning is one of the best at beating the blitz. This year’s Jets team is better with the addition of LaDainian Tomlinson to the offense, Antonio Cromartie to the defense, and with the maturation of second year quarterback Mark Sanchez. Although Sanchez hasn’t been playing as well recently as he did earlier in the season, which could be a problem, it is Peyton Manning and the Colts offense that scares them.
Rex Ryan joined ESPN Radio in New York to talk about what he can take out of last weekend’s game and apply it towards the game against the Colts, if this team is any better heading into the playoffs than they were last year, and whether it is fair to say if the Jets are a better team this year and the Colts aren’t as good of a team this year.
If he enjoyed himself this past weekend:
“Oh I did it was great. Big win for us. Not because of the fact, our eleventh win is big, but really what was a big about that was everyone on our roster basically contributed to that win right there. Hopefully it kicks us into the playoffs on the right foot.”
What he can take out of last weekend’s game and apply it towards the game against the Colts:
“I just like the way we played. It was just like the ‘Jet Way’ just full of intensity and passion and I think that is the way we want to do business. It was an opportunity for a lot of guys to step up and it was exciting to see Jason Taylor and Calvin Pace, they did a tremendous job of rushing the passer, and then I thought our back-end, having Darrelle out and Cromartie out, and those guys really stepped up. Marquis Cole and Kyle Wilson, those guys really played well.”
If his treatment towards Joe McKnight in ‘Hard Knocks’ was in an effort to make him work harder and get better as a player:
“Well I think the thing about Joe is that he was the number one recruited player in the entire country when he came out. His athleticism is top-notch and we know he was a very productive player at USC. I think he had 1,000 yards and all of that kind of stuff, so we knew where we were getting but he had to make sure that he was securing the football before we were ever going to have confidence in him and he worked hard on doing that. Obviously he has got natural ability; he is an excellent receiver out of the backfield, or as a receiver. Then the thing that I was really blown away with was when I saw that he worked hard on being a corner, working on special teams, like all that kind of stuff. He wanted to show his teammates that he is a football player and that they can count on him and I think everybody was exciting on the kind of day that he had.”
If this team is any better heading into the playoffs than they were last year:
“I think we are. I think we have more weapons on the outside that if you want to stick them all down there than we get you on the outside. I think we have proved that. I think Mark is more confident with the offense knowing the system. I just think we are better offensively, and then on defense, I think we are obviously, statistically we weren’t as good as we were last season, but then again, I want to talk about how we are going to finish and I think, right now I think we have a huge test in front of us, but I think we have more depth right now. Last year, when we played Indianapolis, when we had a couple of corners go down, it devastated us. I think now, even as soon as against the Bills, that we do have depth around the corner and that is what you have to have going up against these guys.”
Whether it is fair to say, if the Jets are a better team this year and the Colts aren’t as good of a team this year:
“I hope so. As long as you have got Peyton Manning out there he seems to make everyone better, but losing Dallas Clark is going to hurt him. Collie, the slot receiver, but they are still the Indianapolis Colts. I think they are running the ball better than they did, especially recently, and then their defense they still got all those great, edge pass rushers, so they’re still an excellent football team, but I like our team and we are going down there to win this thing. That is our mission and we expect to win.”