Rex Ryan seems to be maturing as a head coach. He’s not as brash in recent media appearances; he’s a little more calm, and he’s no longer calling shots like Babe Ruth. He even turned down an opportunity for the Jets to make a repeat appearance on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Maybe it has to do with the weight loss regiment he’s been on recently, or maybe it’s just Ryan learning that he best change his public persona immediately being that he’s not brought a Super Bowl back to what’s widely known as the media capital of the world.
Either way, he picked a good time to take that next step, because with Tim Tebow in town now, the circus isn’t going anywhere. Rex Ryan joined Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN New York to discuss his quarterback situation with Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, Tebow’s success on throwing the deep ball so far this offseason, his new approach to coaching and managing the media and expectations this offseason and upcoming year, and why he’s no longer making guarantees.
On Greg McElroy getting snaps in practice this week:
“Well I think it’s about third string. I think Tebow’s our guy as the backup quarterback, there’s no doubt. That’s what we brought him in here to do. But I think Greg is a young, developing quarterback as well, and I think he can play in this league, I don’t think there’s any doubt. For us, we have — I love where our quarterback situation is. I mean, you have a definite one, two and three guy and you feel good about it.”
On the differences he’s seen in Mark Sanchez with Tim Tebow on the roster:
“The thing that’s really jumped out at me is not even on the field as much. Even though on the field I think he’s throwing the ball with more velocity, I think he’s stronger than he’s ever been, he’s got better poise, it seems like, in the pocket than I’ve seen. But the thing that really sticks out to me is in the classroom. When Tony [Sparano] fires off questions, he has all the answers. And so I think he’s barking it out and I think his teammates obviously have picked up on that as well.”
On Tebow’s arm:
“The thing what’s strange about it is Tim has great touch and accuracy on the deep ball. And that’s probably the hardest one to throw, and yet he throws that probably as well as any pass he makes. He’s got great touch and he’s got the arm to get it out there. Can he be more accurate? Sure. I think that’s something that you always work on, but I’ve been impressed with him. We really haven’t done anything that would feature kinda his skill set, even like the wildcat stuff and all that. We’re not really doing any of that right now, even though that’s on its way. But I’ve been impressed with him. He’s had his moments where he’s looked really impressive and there’s other times when maybe the defense has had a better day.”
On how he has a different approach this year:
“I’m in the meetings and I’m engaged more than I was last year. I think, for whatever reason — it never worked for me — I tried to emulate what I thought a head coach supposed to be and all that type of stuff. It never worked for me. I just gotta go back to being myself and just being a coach and being a teacher of the game that I love so much. And I think that’s what I am. I think that my passion for the game comes out that way, and I love being out with these guys. And if I can contribute to them, then that’s probably what it is: my knowledge of the game and my passion for it, I think, will rub off on this team.”
On the guarantees he made in previous seasons:
“I don’t know what I accomplished out of it. I think if it gave an opponent fuel to the fire then obviously that was a mistake. If it put undue pressure on our team then that was a mistake. Certainly I didn’t wanna do it, I wanted to put — coming off back-to-back championship games all that’s left is the Super Bowl. And I thought by guaranteeing that, it would put the arrows on me. Now granted it did, but it also put arrows on our players and I didn’t want that. If it was gonna come down, it would come down on me only. That was what I thought would happen, and that didn’t happen. It was shot on some of our players and obviously shot at me as well, where it should have been. But it wasn’t directed at me, and I think that was my mistake by saying what I said.”