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News » New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-01-30


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-01-30


New York Jets Inside Slant 2009-01-30
As a defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan's calling card was obvious. He liked to bring the pressure.


Even on himself, as he made abundantly clear in his introductory news conference as Jets head coach Jan. 21.

Ryan, the former Baltimore defensive coordinator, displayed an interesting mix of humility and confidence, and quickly showed himself to be the anti-Eric Mangini, which is what the Jets wanted after a listless 1-4 finish sabotaged an 8-3 start in 2008, leading to Mangini's dismissal.

Using none of Mangini's vague coachspeak, Ryan started off with a showstopper.

"With all the cameras and all that, I was looking for our new president back there," Ryan said shortly after being introduced as the team's head coach, and then quickly added, "I think we'll get to meet him in the next couple years anyway."

To get a White House visit, of course, a team needs to win the Super Bowl. The Jets haven't even gotten there since the 1968 season, when they won Super Bowl III with Ryan's father, Buddy, as the defensive line coach.

"I'm not afraid of expectations," Ryan said later, not backpedaling at all from his opening statement. "My goal is to win a Super Bowl. It's not to just win X number of games."

Owner Woody Johnson didn't have a problem with that attitude.

"Why else are we here?" he said.

Johnson also noted that Ryan is "very comfortable in his own skin."

Although Johnson didn't say it, the same didn't seem true about Mangini, who often seemed to be doing a pale Bill Belichick imitation during his three years as Jets coach, from his robotic, emotionless answers to his draconian policies. He also received plenty of criticism for his reluctance to blitz, something that obviously won't be a problem with Ryan, who also ran a 3-4 defense with the Ravens.

"We're going to be an aggressive football team and a physical football team," Ryan said. "We're going to try to put pressure on everybody that we play. ... We want to be known as the most physical football team in the NFL.

"This is a good football team," said Ryan, who has a four-year contract, "so there really doesn't have to be a drastic change. But I think you're going to see a drastic change in maybe some of the style of play, in particular on defense. ... Read and react is for someone else. We're going to be attacking from the whistle. ... We're going to turn the heat up. We're going to let the fur fly and see what happens."

On defense, Ryan has plenty of big-time players in place, such as nose tackle Kris Jenkins and cornerback Darrelle Revis, whom he called "the best corner in football."

But his biggest challenge may be to unlock the potential of outside linebacker Vernon Gholston, the sixth overall pick in the 2008 draft. Gholston had trouble getting onto the field as a rookie and didn't record a sack.

"I don't even think he's scratched the surface of the kind of player he can be," Ryan said of Gholston. "Now with that being said, he's going to have to give a heck of a commitment from himself. ... I'm excited about this opportunity" to coach Gholston.

And, obviously, the 46-year-old Ryan is excited to be an NFL head coach.

"I know how to coach this game," he said, "and I can't wait for the opportunity to line up and get after it."

With Ryan's infectious enthusiasm, he won't be the only one feeling that way.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

Leon Washington Name: Leon Washington
#29
Position: RB
Age: 25
Experience: 3 years
College: Florida State
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