So much for staying away from boastful claims this year.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan went away from his suddenly modest ways Friday by making a very strong claim.
"I look at myself as the best defensive coach in football," Ryan told New York reporters. "That's saying something because [Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau is pretty darn good. [New England Patriots coach] Bill Belichick's pretty good. "But that's the way I've always believed.”
Ryan is a great defensive coach. His Jets defenses have been No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 in his three years in New York. Ryan has proven it time after time with the Jets and also as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens.
Still, I would choose LeBeau over Ryan. I would probably take Belichick over Ryan, too, although last year's awful performance by the New England Patriots' defense scares me a bit.
Ryan undoubtedly is one of the best. Yet, Ryan saying he's No. 1 adds unnecessary pressure. He should be used to it by now.