- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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What is a Rex Ryan news conference without a few jabs at the New England Patriots?
Despite being beat up and put on the hot seat after two straight non-winning seasons, the flamboyant New York Jets coach still poked some fun at his biggest rival at the NFL owners meetings. Ryan touched on the usual Darrelle Revis trade/no trade talk and how the Jets will or will not have Tim Tebow next season.
However, Ryan was candid about his feelings on the Patriots losing Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker in free agency.
"I'm glad Wes is not there. I'm not kidding,” Ryan said, via our colleague Dan Graziano from the NFC East blog. “That guy was a pain in the tail. I hated Wes Welker. Just kidding. Kind of. I admire him. I'm a huge fan of Wes Welker's, but I'm glad he's gone."
It’s safe to assume Ryan is taking some level of joy in New England's pain. The Patriots are going through an ugly divorce with Welker. Both sides are pointing blame as to why the Pro Bowl receiver left for the Denver Broncos.
Ryan, a defensive head coach, had a rough time defending Welker. The Patriots receiver averaged 7.3 receptions and 88.5 yards against the Jets during Ryan’s tenure. That included an amazing 15-reception, 192-yard performance by Welker against the Jets in 2009.
The Jets no longer have to worry about defending Welker twice a year. Danny Amendola is the replacement in New England with big shoes to fill.
“Will he have the same success as Wes Welker? We'll see. Wes Welker had historical success," Ryan said. “[Welker is] unbelievable. Just a great route-runner. He doesn't run but maybe five routes, but you can't cover him. So talented, so tough, he's like a running back when he catches the football, and [Tom] Brady and him were on the same page all the time."