One-on-One with Rex Ryan of the New York Jets

Jim CernyContributor IMay 26, 2009

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 02:  Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets speaks to the media during minicamp on May 2, 2009 at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

With free agents signed, the draft in the rear-view mirror, and OTAs in full swing, it's time for Rex Ryan, the new head coach of the Jets, to answer some pressing questions.

1. Players have stated that the prior Jets' regime created an atmosphere that was "stifling" and "uptight", and that your approach is anything but. How important was it for you to come in, establish your own personality, and change the atmosphere and culture here once you were named head coach of the Jets?

2. Now that you are a head coach, do you believe that it will be more difficult for you to foster the close personal relationships with your players like you were able to have as an assistant in Baltimore? And if you believe that it will be more difficult, how much will you miss that aspect of coaching?

3. You have been pretty open about stating that the offense has not looked sharp so far during the OTAs. Is it too early to be concerned, or are there things that you have seen already that could potentially be troublesome during the season?

4. How much—if at all—are you bothered by the fact that Thomas Jones has skipped all team workouts to this point?

5. When Jones does finally arrive, is it your job as head coach to sit him down and tell him not to let his contract situation stand in the way of contributing 100 percent to the team?

6. Should Jones' play be compromised by his being upset with his contract, are you confident that the tandem of Leon Washington and rookie Shonn Greene can successfully carry the load at tailback?

7. You have stated repeatedly that you want to play smash-mouth football on both sides of the ball. Last year's rushing success notwithstanding, is your offensive line good enough and deep enough to play that style, especially with no real blocking tight end on the roster?

8. Simple question: Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens on opening day?

9. And whoever the quarterback is, to whom do they throw the ball? Do the Jets have enough quality in the receiver department after Jerricho Cotchery? Have David Clowney and Chansi Stuckey shown you enough for you to feel confident, so far?

10. You are not the GM, but you do have input, of course, as head coach. Do you want Plaxico Burress on your team?

11. You imported Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, and Marques Douglas from Baltimore as free agents. Which is more important to you: That all three are talented, hard-nosed defensive players, or that they are Rex Ryan disciples?

12. Why was Bart Scott so important to you that you were at his house at midnight to woo him once free agency commenced?

13. Your linebacking crew is shaping up to be a tremendous strength on the team. That said, where does last year's first-round pick Vernon Gholston fit in, and can he rebound after a miserable rookie season?

14. In Baltimore, your defenses always had special, big-play defenders on the back end. Here in New York you have two potential such stars in Kerry Rhodes and Darrelle Revis. How good can each of those players be, in your opinion?

15. You said the other day that your style of defense is fun for the players to play, and if they don't think so, then they should go play offense or go play for another team. Would you say your current group of Jets defenders are enjoying your aggressive style of play, so far?

16. Mark Sanchez graces the pages of GQ this month. What would you say if GQ asked you to take part in a photo spread?

17. Where does Ray Lewis stand on your list of all-time great linebackers?

18. Who could those great Bears' teams of the '80's least do without—Mike Ditka or Buddy Ryan?

19. How much do you pattern your coaching style after your father? And other than your father, what coach has been the biggest influence on you during your career, and why?

20. Based on what you've seen so far in OTAs, can President Obama pencil your visit in on his 2010 calendar, or will he have to wait deeper into his term for a visit from Rex and the Jets?