Jets fans have been through the touching coach vs. coach stories in recent years: Herm Edwards vs. Tony Dungy, Eric Mangini vs. Romeo Crennel.
This week we’ve got another of those matchups, but Rex Ryan vs. Jeff Fisher doesn’t have the usual NFL dynamic. Ryan respects the heck out of Fisher not only because the two have competed against each other for a while but also because of Jeff’s relationship with his father, Buddy.
"I’m proud of the fact that my dad got Jeff in the league," Ryan said at the end of today’s news conference as the buildup began for Sunday’s Jets-Titans Meadowlands matchup. "He played for my father. My dad gave him his first coordinating job. He was the youngest coordinator in the league at the time. I take a little pride."
"I was very fortunate to be with Buddy for 10 solid years, five as a player and five as a coach at Philadelphia," Fisher, the former safety, said on a conference call with reporters this morning. "I obviously got to know him very well. I got to know the boys [Rex and Rob] at a young age. I knew full well then that they were coming from a football family and were football guys who were going to be successful.
"I’m just really pleased to watch their success over the years at different places, coordinating at different places, then for Rex’s opportunity. We had some great battles over the last few years against his defense. I’m just really excited that the Jets family gave him an opportunity."
All this feel-good reminiscence will have nothing to do with the play on the field. As Ryan, 5 years younger than Fisher, said immediately after talking about the pride he felt at Fisher’s rise to NFL coordinator:
"Now it still doesn’t mean we’re not going to line up there and try to beat their tails. That’s what we’re going to try to do. But I respect the job he’s done and clearly he’s done a tremendous job there."
Fisher, now the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach in his 15th season as the Titans boss, went up against Baltimore four times when Ryan was the Ravens’ D-coordinator from 2005-08. The two gave as good as they got. Here are the results, along with the Titans’ offensive yardage and offensive TDs (home teams in CAPS):
|2005-2||TITANS 25, Ravens 10||290||1|
|2006-10||Ravens 27, TITANS 26||367||3|
|2008-5||Titans 13, RAVENS 10||210||1|
|2008-PO2||Ravens 13, TITANS 10||391||1|
Ryan was quizzed about the idea that the Jets could find themselves in a "trap game" this week, feeling good about their conquest of the Patriots on Sunday, looking ahead to the trip to New Orleans next weekend, and getting caught less than ready to take on the 0-2 Titans at home.
Rex didn’t buy that line of reasoning.
"This team won 13 games last year … they were the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year," the Jets coach recalled his recent history. "So if they think we’re overlooking them, that’s good because we’re not. They’ve got another thing coming when they come in here.
"Now, the first week we play Houston — that’s a pretty good football team — at their place. We win the game like we expected to. We played a pretty good team last week in the New England Patriots. We expected to win. And we never prepared any different for those two. We prepared against New England just like any other opponent.
"I don’t know why this would be a trap game. This is just our next opponent. We know they’re an outstanding football team. If they beat us, it has nothing to do with it being a trap game or us not putting forth the effort. We’re going to give everything we’ve got this week. If they’re going to beat us, they’re going to have to earn it."
Back On Top
Ah, that was the year. Ronald Reagan was president, Michael Jackson released "Thriller," Ozzie Osbourne bit the head off a live bat, John Belushi died … and the Jets were last the No. 1 defense in the NFL.
Confirming what I could only speculate about in my late Tuesday Radar entry, the Elias Sports Bureau stated today that the last time the Jets had the NFL’s top-ranked defense in average yards allowed per game was after the fifth week of games in the strike-shortened ’82 season. Now, almost 27 years later, somewhat like a remastered disc by Jackson, the Beatles or Sinatra, the Jets are back on top.
May the Green & White survive the offensive threats posed by the Titans and in Week 4 by the Saints and hold onto that top spot for a little longer than the one week that very talented ’82 team had it way back when.
Any doubts about Steve Weatherford as a holder should have evaporated on Jay Feely’s second field goal Sunday. James Dearth knows he’s got no worries.
"My snap on that field goal was not good, it was low," Dearth volunteered. "Steve trapped it and got it down for Jay without any problem. That was a great hold."
Mr. J Sees Some Action
Woody Johnson was pressed into duty during today’s practice. Stepping into the role Ryan often likes to fill, the Jets owner put up a couple of passes for the scout team offense working against the first defense.
"We’re always looking for guys out there and we only have four quarterbacks on the roster," Rex joked with reporters. "We’ve got to work on that movement outside of the pocket, but he has a good arm."
S Kerry Rhodes’ take: "He got a redo because the first pass was terrible. I have to give him props. He did get it right the second time and he pays my checks so I’ll be a little more conscious of him."
Tags: Buddy Ryan, James Dearth, Jeff Fisher, Philadelphia Eagles, Rex Ryan, Steve Weatherford, Tennessee Titans
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