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Rex Ryan hits back at Giants RB Williams

8/20/2014

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The annual preseason game between the New York Jets and New York Giants may not actually count, but you wouldn't know that for all the verbiage -- and regret -- that comes with it every season.

Jets coach Rex Ryan picked up on Giants running back Andre Williams' comments that the Giants were the "real New York team," and then Ryan shot back at the rookie. The teams square off on Friday night.

"Last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson," Ryan said Wednesday, referring to an Oct. 12 game between Williams' Boston College Eagles and Clemson, the team Ryan's son Seth plays for. The Tigers won that game 24-14 and held Williams to 70 yards on 24 carries.

"I will say that kid's a good back, though. He is," Ryan said. "I was like, 'Is anybody going to tackle him?' It's great. I have a funny feeling he's going to get some Riddells [helmets] on him, but we'll see. I have a feeling he's going to be pumped up and trust me, our guys are going to be pumped up, too."

Ryan said the back and forth just shows once again that the matchup between the two New York teams means a little more than other preseason games.

"This is the only time you get to play each other," Ryan said, "and I think it amps up a little bit. I really do."

As if to back his coach up, Jets defensive lineman Damon Harrison called out Williams via social media.

"See you Friday Mr. Williams...#JetLifeeeeee," Harrison tweeted.

Now for the regret.

Last year, Ryan put likely starter Mark Sanchez in during the fourth quarter of the Jets-Giants game. The quarterback took a hit from Marvin Austin that resulted in a season-ending shoulder injury.

During his postgame news conference, Ryan got so frustrated by one persistent line of questioning that he turned sideways to answer.

"I got a lot of flak from you guys," Ryan said Wednesday. "Let's face it, they [wanted to] run me out of here. Was that my proudest moment? Probably not. It's kind of funny, I forget who I was sideways with. But you know what? I think I just got a little tired of [the questions]."

The question that got to Ryan that night: Was he ready to name Geno Smith as the starting quarterback, given the injury to Sanchez? Ryan said then he wasn't going to answer.

"Sometimes after games," the coach said Wednesday, "we tell our players to cool off a little bit, but sometimes I need to cool off, too."

Ultimately, the Jets put Sanchez on the reserve/injured list as the one player designated to return. Now he's playing backup for the Eagles, and looking a lot better.

Given an opportunity to redo the news conference, Ryan said he would do it differently.

"There's a lot of things you'd take back in life," he said. "That's probably one of them."