Rex Ryan quoted a certain Miami running back in the opening remarks to his news conference today. If you thought there was a subtle message there, you’re probably right.
"As Ronnie Brown said, the tougher 11 guys will win on the field and will get the job done," Ryan said following today’s first practice of the week for Sunday’s home rematch against the Dolphins.
Asked what he meant by using that remark, Rex was ready.
"That’s a great quote. Obviously, they must’ve felt they were the tougher team that Monday night," Ryan said, referring to the 31-27 ‘Fins win three games ago. "And we’ll see who the tougher team is this time.
"I think it’s a great statement. I think he’s dead-on," Rex continued. "I don’t have the silver tongue like he does. I respect Ronnie Brown. I think he’s a heck of a football player, he and his partner, Ricky Williams. I couldn’t agree with him more on his statement."
There is no question Ryan appreciated the Dolphins’ showing against his defense in primetime: 151 rushing yards, 262 passing yards, 23 first downs, 31 points. If anyone missed his grudging admiration at the time, he repeated his sentiment today:
"Other than struggling to stop the run and the pass … those would be the two areas I think we need to improve in. That wasn’t our day."
But unless I miss my guess, I’d say Ryan’s message was: We respect you. But you won’t be the only tough team on the Meadowlands turf on Sunday.
On the Miami Wildcat, he said, "Whether it was the scheme, the execution, whatever it was, they got the job done. So we’ll see what happens."
On QB Chad Henne, he replied, "Hey, they threw the ball for 250 yards. That’s the number that really jumps out at you." But, he noted, "This is Henne’s first NFL start away from his home stadium. We’ll see how that works out for him. This is a difficult place to play."
The bottom line, if Rex needed to underscore it, is that Miami had the NFL’s rushing offense when they played the Jets. Now the Dolphins are No. 2 — and the Jets are No. 1.
"If you like old-fashioned football, this is a game you don’t want to miss," said the Jets’ head coach. "If you want to see an aerial circus and all stuff like that, you’ll probably have to go to a different game."
Rex’s closing point was that had the Jets lost a difficult Monday night game on the road to Minnesota or Chicago, the chance for payback wouldn’t come for four years.
"The great thing about this one is it’s right now. It’s happening right now," he said. "They’ve only played one game, and they get us again, so we’ll see. Every man in that room I’m sure felt — I know I did, that I wanted this opportunity again.
"Now sometimes be careful what you wish for. Ronnie Brown hit it on the head, and I think we’re going to find out. We’re going to find out who has the tougher 11. And I’m OK with that."
Washington Crossing the Country
Ryan said Leon Washington is expected to return to North Jersey tonight from Northern California, where he’s been since undergoing successful surgery after suffering his broken leg against the Raiders.
"He can’t wait to get back, start rehabbing and get back with the guys, getting ready for next season," the coach said. "He’s got a great mindset. That’s why I think he’s going to recover from this. I think he’s going to be as good as new when he hits the field next year."
And Ryan said he doesn’t doubt that Washington will put the pads on again.
"This guy’s a tough guy. That’s why I have confidence in Leon. We’ve got the right guys here with John [Mellody, head athletic trainer] and Sal [Alosi, head strength and conditioning coach]. I have great faith in our trainers and our strength coach and our program. I believe he’ll be back. There’s no question in my mind that Leon will do what it takes to get back and to be 100 percent."
Today’s official injury report for both teams is now live, but Ryan as always read off his list at his news conference right after practice.
The good news is that wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith were limited at practice. The bad news is that WR David Clowney did not practice.
Both Cotchery and Smith "looked good on the practice field," Ryan said, adding that
Clowney (ankle), G Brandon Moore (foot) and CB Lito Sheppard (quadriceps) were all DNPs today. But Ryan said of that threesome, "I’d say Lito’s the one I probably have the biggest concerns with right now."
Cotchery (hamstring), Smith (quad), DE Shaun Ellis (knee/ankle), LB Bart Scott (knee) and T Damien Woody (foot) were all limited. LBs David Harris (wrist) and Bryan Thomas (wrist) and CB Donald Strickland (ankle) all participated fully.
Frank Comments from Rex
Ryan was asked about the Great Hot Dog controversy involving Mark Sanchez. "First off, everybody thought it was my hot dog," the coach said. "I was disappointed. To me, he certainly wasn’t meaning it in a disrespectful way. … I’m an old-school football guy. You’re playing a great game. I know you’re hungry. Leave that to the fans. You can go into the locker room and eat afterwards. Hey, that’s not the biggest mistake he’s ever going to make."
Tags: Chad Henne, Leon Washington, Mark Sanchez, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown
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