For this year’s opening remarks at the NFL Combine, Jets head coach Rex Ryan offered a mea culpa.
“I know what everybody’s thinking — the infamous Super Bowl guarantee was here,” Ryan said of his remarks to the assembled media at the start of last year’s combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. “in all seriousness, looking back, it was a huge mistake to make that guarantee.
“At the time, we were coming off two [AFC] championship games and I really thought it would be a thing that would actually motivate our team, to talk about the Super Bowl, to focus on the Super Bowl. But in hindsight, I think it put undue pressure on our team … and we really lost focus on what we do best. So, you know, it was obviously a big mistake.
“I go back and look at it. It obviously contributed to the season we had. Realistically, it was something I’ve been thinking about a great deal. Obviously we had a terrible season. And I’ll take full responsibility for it. And I think part of it, that guarantee really contributed to that.”
That being said, Ryan still has confidence in the Jets that in a few months will return to start work collectively on the 2012 season, and confidence in general manager Mike Tannenbaum’s team and his staff to bring in new Jets who will also contribute to a strong Green & White rebound.
“First off, no promises. There’s not going to be any promises. But I will say we’re going to have a team that I think’s going to have the potential to do great things,” he said. ‘I look at our team and we’ve got a great owner, a great staff, a great organization. More importantly, we’ve got a great group of players and I think we can accomplish anything we set out to do.”
One of the foremost topics on many fans’ minds is how QB Mark Sanchez and WR Santonio Holmes are getting along and how he’s so sure they can fix any differences that may have existed late in last year’s stumble to the 8-8 finish.
“Those two guys, they have a lot in common,” Ryan said. “They’re both competitive guys. They’ve had success in this league. Santonio had the catch, of all time maybe in the Super Bowl. Maybe Sanchez hasn’t quite had the success Santonio’s had obviously, being a Super Bowl champion, but he’s had some success.
“Their first year together, they did a lot of great things. In fact, I think they contributed to winning four games in the closing minutes. It’s not like they haven’t been successful before with each other. … I really think there’s enough in common right there that they’ll fix it.”
Ryan was asked about another phase of the offense’s comeback plans with new coordinator Tony Sparano and a set of new offensive coaches that have come in with him. He said he always admired Sparano, the Dolphins head coach from 2009 until late this past season, but wasn’t sure why.
“Then as I thought about it, you know what? That guy thinks he’s as tough as I am,” Ryan laughed. “That’s something I really admire about him. I schedule at least an hour a day with him. We’ll sit and talk football. He’s putting in our offense and things like that. And I figure if he can teach it to me, he can teach it to any of these guys. … It’s been a great experience so far.”
Ryan was also asked about the comments that rookie QB Greg McElroy made to an Alabama radio station critical of the Jets’ locker room makeup and said he was a little angry about them.
“But the thing that maybe makes us different than other teams is that we are truly a transparent organization, so you’re going to know a lot about the New York Jets in the great times but you’re also going to learn a lot about us in the not-so-good times,” the coach said.
“I don’t think it was the way maybe it’s portrayed out there that we had a huge problem. No question we had some problems with some individuals. But we’re going to fix it. And I know I’m the guy for the job and we’ve got the right players and we will get it fixed.”
Tags: Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, Mark Sanchez, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Randy Lange | 42 Comments »