Rex Ryan is brash, and Rex Ryan is bold. That’s his shtick. He spends a lot of time trolling fans and other teams.
“It’s interesting because in your position, you see it as trolling, but I think what Rex does really well is (he) takes a lot of the attention – good, and more importantly, bad – away from his team,” Super Bowl champion Steve Weatherford said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence.
“Now, he paints a bullseye on his back, but I don’t ever remember with my time with him as a player – and my time with the New York Giants when he was with the Jets – of him ever blaming one of his players for a loss or for a bad play. He’s always the guy that’s going to jump on the grenade for his guys. I think that’s one thing as a player that you really appreciate because he’ll go to bat for you. He’ll never throw you underneath the bus. There’s not a lot of NFL coaches that will do that, that will fall on the sword for you, and I think that’s one way that Rex Ryan really endears himself to his players, knowing that he’s not afraid to step in front of the bullet for you. Guys appreciate that and they want to pour it out 100 percent on the line for him on game day. He definitely gets the most out of his players effort-wise, and I think he runs a great defense. But I think we all know in order to win in the National Football League, make it into the playoffs and win championships, you go to have a franchise quarterback – and that’s something that they’re lacking right now. I think the young quarterback stable that they have has potential, but they’re not there yet.”
Tyrod Taylor has been surprisingly effective this season, completing 71.8 percent of his passes for 1,278 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also rushed for 231 yards and two scores.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, has bene just as solid for the Jets, with 14 touchdowns (13 pass, one rush) to just seven interceptions. In fact, he’s thrown just two picks in his last five games and has done a good job of keeping the Jets on schedule.
“I think mentally, he’s very acute,” Weatherford said. “He’s very cerebral in his approach to the game and his preparation. He’s been in the game 10 or 11 years. He’s a Harvard grad. He’s a smart guy. He knows his limitations and he plays within them. I think Todd Bowles does a good job in managing his capability. Now, if you look at the passing tree of different routes you need to be able to throw as a quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t have the higher-end throws, meaning he doesn’t have a deep passing attack game. But he does a very good job of identifying weaknesses in the defense and making very accurate medium, short and behind-the-line-of-scrimmage throws. So he can throw anything within 25 yards and under very accurately – and not only does he throw it accurately, but he has a pretty good idea of where he wants to go with the ball before the ball is even snapped, which is a great indicator. That is something that you can’t necessarily teach. That’s instinctual. You can get that from preparation and film, but there’s just an intangible instinct that he has that has enabled him to be successful in that system. But I think the one thing that has enabled Ryan Fitzpatrick to be successful and win games is the fact that they have an amazing running game leading the way, and they’ve stayed very consistent in their balance of running and passing the ball. I think that’s very beneficial for Ryan Fitzpatrick knowing that he’s got to keep the third down very manageable. When you get Ryan Fitzpatrick into a 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-10, you’re putting too much pressure on him to throw the ball.”