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Thursday, December 29, 2011
Rex's moment to motivate

By Jane McManus

Jets coach Rex Ryan called the team into a scrum at midfield of the indoor turf Thursday afternoon soon after the Jets finished stretching before practice. It wasn't part of the regular routine.

He told them the season was still in hand, that playoffs and even a Super Bowl were still possibilities. He tried to fan that flame of possibility in everyone's mind and let them know how rare it was to get a chance at the postseason.

"Today, I just wanted to remind them of the opportunity that's in front of us," Ryan said. "Obviously, it's a little different. For the last two years, we really haven't been in this position. We, obviously, were already in the playoffs last year. The year before, we knew if we won, we were in the playoffs. This is kind of a different scenario than we've had in the last two years. I just wanted to make sure that I just kind of expressed that, 'Hey, we still have a heck of an opportunity still in front of us,' and to basically practice accordingly.

"It was just something I wanted to share with them."

Ryan's emotional speech had an impact on the assembled players, and may have been a way of changing focus from things they can't control -- the three NFL games that have to break their way -- to the one they can control in Miami.

"He's an animal, I love him," tight end Matthew Mulligan said. "Best coach I ever played for. Absolutely. He has different ways of motivating."

Ryan reminded them that players like Archie Manning and Takeo Spikes had tremendous careers, but they never won a Super Bowl. It made center Nick Mangold think back to his rookie year, when the starting center at the time, Pete Kendall, took him under his wing.

"He had played for 10 years, or whatever," Mangold said. "When I first got here, when we had the opportunity to got to the playoffs my rookie year; he was saying he’d only been to the playoffs his rookie year and that was it. I've taken that to heart. Every opportunity you get you got to make the best of it."

A few players mentioned that they have to do the work this week or Ryan will inevitably get the blame, should the Jets fall short of the goals that Ryan isn't afraid to say out loud even now -- the playoffs, the Super Bowl.

"You've got to appreciate a guy who is going to put himself out there, and really show how he cares about this team, this organization, the guys in the locker room," Mangold said. "It's definitely appreciated."