TAMPA, Fla. -- Jets head coach Rex Ryan has been a Yankees fan since they played at Shea Stadium in 1975. On Monday, he was scheduled to be in nearby Sarasota, Fla., for an engagement, so he dropped in to catch his favorite baseball team at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
"I love the Yankees," Ryan said.
Ryan was nice enough to talk to a few New York reporters, and one reporter asked him to predict whether the Yankees would win the World Series or not.
"No predictions," Ryan said, laughing. "They don't want me predicting anything. But we all know what I am thinking."
Ryan is still no Joe Girardi when it comes to dealing with the media, but he is clearly more careful about what he says than he used to be. In fact, before speaking to us, he called the Jets' media relations chief to ask for permission.
"This being my sixth season, you probably learn that saying you are going to win the Super Bowl is probably not a great thing," Ryan said. "You know what? At the end of the day, it is what you shoot for, and it is what you should go for. To flat out say, 'We are going to win the thing,' I never thought I'd add pressure on my players, but that is exactly what I did. I learned a few things over the five years that, looking back on it, it wasn't the smartest thing to do."
Ryan wouldn't address much specifically regarding his team, but we tried.
• On Mark Sanchez's status: "We will let it play out and see what happens."
• On Geno Smith's progress: "I really liked where he left off. The last month of the season was obviously his best," Ryan said. "I know he had some rocky spots, to say the least, sandwiched in there. So did we as a team. I think he was the second highest-rated quarterback the last month of the season. Very few turnovers. He ran the ball effectively, as well."
As for the Yankees, Ryan pointed to Mark Teixeira as the key to the season.
"I think getting Teixeira back will be a huge thing," Ryan said. "He can drive in 120 runs if he is healthy. If he can do that, they are going to be in great shape. I'm excited to see them."