Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Rex Ryan implores Jets to show leadership
By Tim Graham
Rex Ryan is the face of the New York Jets and the star of the HBO series "Hard Knocks."
The head coach apparently is wary of not only being in front as a leader, but also alone.
In the latest episode of "Hard Knocks," an exasperated Ryan scolds his team for a growing lack of professionalism and a dearth of demonstrable leadership.
Previous scenes showed offensive coaches bemoaning a lack of confidence, veteran pass-rusher Jason Taylor showing up late multiple times and defensive players groping into a McDonald's bag for cheeseburgers during warmups for a practice at Hofstra University.
Ryan's speech to his players the night before playing the Washington Redskins:
"You guys know me, that I'm about as positive a guy as there is. I believe our team is better than every [expletive] team in the league. I believe our players are better than any players in the league, right? Those are true statements. That's how I believe.
"But the team's only going so far if I'm the only guy that leads. The team is only going so far. I'm not a great leader, OK? I'm not a great leader. I can't lead myself, this whole group of men. We ain't going to win, guys, if it's about me.
"I'm sitting back for us, waiting for us to understand the team that we said we're going to be. What the hell are we waiting on? What are we waiting on? Do you want it or not? Do you understand there's a price to pay?
"Can we have fun? You're damn right. I demand that we have fun. Now there's a difference between having fun and being a jackass. Our defense was a jackass when we went to Hofstra, eating a bunch of [expletive] cheeseburgers before we go stretch and all that. That's being a jackass.
"You can be a world champion, but not like this. We won't win it. We'll sit back and say 'Why didn't we do it?' We didn't do it because 'Where were our [expletive] priorities?' How about our offense? When are we going to put it together? Can we not run the ball down their throats every snap? Can we not throw it any time we want to [expletive] throw it?
"Let's make sure we play like the [expletive] New York Jets and not some slap [expletive] team. That's what I want to see tomorrow. Do we understand what I want to [expletive] see tomorrow?"
Earlier in the show, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer admits his players aren't showing much assertiveness. Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and running backs coach Anthony Lynn agree.
"We have some really talented guys," Cavanaugh says. "But none of them motivate vocally the group. So they all kind of look to each other like 'Yeah, we're pretty talented. Somebody's going to make a play here,' instead of saying 'I'll take this [expletive] game over.' "
Other highlights on this episode (there's only one more):
- Nose tackle Kris Jenkins telling the rest of the defense in Washington they needed to force a turnover because Mark Sanchez needed more work.
- Ryan's man crush on rookie fullback John Conner and the possibility veteran Tony Richardson will be released.
- A close look at how much rookie left guard Vladimir Ducasse is struggling and concerns that position will get Sanchez hurt.
- Ryan telling former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden that Santonio Holmes might be the best player on the field.
- How backup quarterback Kellen Clemens avoided being cut.
- Releasing receiver Laveranues Coles and reserve quarterback Kevin O'Connell.
- Flabbergasted general manager Mike Tannenbaum trying to decipher where Tim Cowlishaw's infamous report about Darrelle Revis was coming from.
- Ryan on the first three games against the Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins: "We open the season with three of our toughest games right out of the gate. But the great thing is if we end up kicking ass, that's going to send a frickin' message to the rest of the league. 'Oh, [expletive]!' "