Last week New York Jets owner Woody Johnson made headlines by saying he would like to see his team on HBO’s Hard Knocks for a second time in three years. Today, head coach Rex Ryan made headlines by saying he doesn’t want his team featured on the show, apparently wanting to move away from the circus atmosphere surrounding the team last year that he helped perpetuate.
I am not sure how much of an impact Hard Knocks would have either way on the Jets season but this an admirable move by Ryan to stand up to ownership. Without question, Ryan’s pride took a major shot last year. A guy known as a players coach admittedly lost the pulse of his team, watched his locker room turn ugly and his team miss the playoffs for the first time of his career. The defense and running game he built his success on floundered last season.
Look for this to be the first of many moments this year where Rex pulls it back a little bit when it comes to the media. I am not saying he will change his personality entirely but look for a much more focused, slightly angrier approach from Ryan this season.
In the long run, last year could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to Ryan’s coaching career. He learned a valuable lesson about needing to be a true head coach not just a glorified defensive coordinator, along with how his comments could paint a target on his team’s back. Ryan should be more hands on when it comes all elements of the team this season and likely won’t be grabbing as many headlines with his press conference statements. I am not saying his attention grabbing statements will disappear entirely, and they shouldn’t, he just needs to pick his spots.
Rex Ryan has a very good defensive mind and had the right idea when he took over the Jets to build an identity around that defense and a power running game. His primary focus this season will be getting back to that.