Thursday, August 25, 2011
Updated: August 27, 11:11 AM ET
Rex Ryan: Jets are best team in NY
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The annual preseason game between the New York Jets and New York Giants received a jolt late Thursday, with Rex Ryan claiming the Jets are the superior team. Ryan also fired back at Giants defensive end Justin Tuck.
On Wednesday, Tuck made a passing comment about the name of the stadium, saying "it'll always be Giants Stadium" even though MetLife purchased the naming rights this week.
Ryan couldn't resist.
"I think of it as MetLife Stadium and it's the home of the New York Jets," he said on a conference call with reporters. "I guess he can think of it that way. (He's) probably one of the only guys that think of it that way. I certainly won't think of it that way."
The Jets' outspoken coach fueled the rivalry in his book, which was released in the spring. Ryan says the Jets are "Big Brother" to the Giants, adding that he believes the Jets will remain the better team for the next 10 years.
"I'm not backing down from one comment," Ryan said. "I believe we are the best team in New York. My goal is to be the best team in the National Football League, not just in New York. I'm not backing down one bit from that statement. I believe that will be the case."
He said we'll find out Christmas Eve, when the two teams face each other in the regular season for the first time since 2007.
On Wednesday, several Jets players played up the importance of the preseason game. Safety Jim Leonhard said, "It's for bragging rights. You're fighting over New York here." Guard Matt Slauson said, "We want to dominate."
On Saturday night, the Jets will play their starters only two-plus quarters. That includes former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who showed no residual effects Thursday from lower-back soreness, according to Ryan. Media weren't at practice, but Burress participated fully and made an "unbelievable catch," Ryan said.
Unlike the Giants, the Jets are getting healthier as the preseason winds down. The only players who won't play are backup quarterback Mark Brunell, tight end Jeff Cumberland (hamstring) and tackle Trevor Canfield (knee).
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.