Thursday, August 12, 2010
Ryan lays out Jets' plan on 'Hard Knocks'
By Tim Graham
You didn't have to wait too long into the season premier of "Hard Knocks" on HBO to discover this series is as uncensored of an inside look into an NFL organization as you'll see.
About five minutes in, Jets head coach Rex Ryan stands before his team on the first day of training camp and delivers his mission statement:
"All right, guys, let’s go ahead and get started," Ryan says in front of a projection screen illuminated by the picture of a championship ring. "We have one goal as an organization, don't we? One goal as an organization, and that's to win the Super Bowl, right? That's it.
"How do we get it done? I want to lead the league in wins. That's what I want on offense, lead the league in wins. All right? We straight with that?"
Ryan's voice rises for emphasis, sounding almost angry at times.
"Defense expectations ... Guys, we don't have [Darrelle] Revis in this building right now. Does it matter that Revis is not here? Goddamn, he's pretty [expletive] good. He's pretty good. OK? But you know what, guys? It ain't about one guy. It's about leading the league in [expletive] wins on defense, isn't it?
"Special-team expectations ... I want to lead the league in something. What is it? Wins. How about that?"
Ryan later delivers his tone-setting, motivational statement for camp.
"If we play at our best we will beat every team in this [expletive] league playing at their best," Ryan says. "So who's it on? Who's shoulder does it fall on? Ours. We effect how this thing turns out, don't we? It starts with training camp. We've got to have a great goddamn training camp, men.
"Last year, 'Hey, we were under the radar. That's good place to be.' [Expletive] that! The best place to be is when expectations are high. Get used to it. It's always going to be that way.
"Now let's go out and prove everybody right. We know we're better than you. We don't give a [expletive] if you know it or not. We don't give a [expletive] if you give us your best game. We're going to give you our best game, and we're going to beat the [expletive] out of you. How about that?
"Let's go get it."
Yes, sir ...
The one-hour show is jammed with compelling story lines that will play out over the course of camp. Some will be shorter than others.
We get a glimpse inside general manager Mike Tannenbaum's office as he literally pulls his hair out over the Revis contract squabble and follow him to Roscoe, N.Y., for a seemingly fruitless meeting with Revis' agents.
And we also witness the first cuts of camp, linebacker Kevin Basped and offensive lineman Aaron Kia. "Hard Knocks" appears willing to make rookie fullback John Conner a star, and is setting up that position battle with Tony Richardson and Jason Davis as a camp highlight.
Even the mundane aspects of training camp -- Ryan performing bed checks, for instance -- look entertaining with Ryan on camera and the sensational production values of HBO and NFL Films.
There were times during the show when I felt like a voyeur and got the fleeting feeling "I hope the Jets don't catch me looking at this. Oh, wait. It's on my TV ..."
It's shaping up as a great bleeping show.