Rex Ryan Taking Full Control at First Training Camp

Brian FitzsimmonsContributor IAugust 1, 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)

Rex Ryan is making sure no stone goes unturned in Cortland, New York, where the Jets and their first-year head coach began training camp on Friday.


Needless to say, the 46-year-old Ryan is forced to iron out a myriad of issues.  Fans are familiar with the most pressing problems surrounding the Jets, such as the stagnant contract negotiations with running backs Leon Washington and Thomas Jones, the looming four-game suspension for linebacker Calvin Pace, and the quarterback race between Kellen Clemens and rookie Mark Sanchez.


Ryan is taking charge of even bigger concerns, though.


“It is my first day on a diet,” Ryan said in a transcript provided by the Jets after Friday’s practice. “We’ll see how long that goes. You guys may want to have a bet with each other. It’s all liquid or something like that for five days. It’s going to work great.


“I feel good. [I had] oranges, lemons, and all that stuff to squeeze in there. It was a great breakfast. I’m looking forward to the vegetable thing that they have for me today.”


A married father of two, Ryan claims he weighed about 300 pounds at the conclusion of last season, when he was a defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Apparently, he decided to make a life change once he stepped on the scale and saw 340 stare back at him recently.


“I think it stemmed from the entire organization. They saw I weighed 340, I was like, that’s enough,” Ryan said. “I think I hit that spot I was looking for. Now I have to go back down in the other direction.”


Ryan, clearly expressing his self-deprecating humor, realizes he has more worries than having to consume a bad-tasting shake.


Known for concocting rabid defensive schemes for the hard-hitting Ravens over the last four seasons, Ryan was brought in to help an already strong defensive core reach its potential. Even in the wake of Pace’s setback, Gang Green’s defense should prove to be one of the league’s best thanks to entities such as Kerry Rhodes, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, David Harris and Jim Leonhard.


However, an uncultivated offense has already hinted it could be a weakness for Ryan and the Jets.


“The thing I was disappointed with today’s practice, if you want to go from a negative [standpoint], it would be [that] we had way too many guys jumping early on offense,” Ryan said. “I don’t even want to say the number [of times], but obviously we have to get that corrected.


“Some of that is expected. You have guys moving around and they’re itching to go. They’ve been away from it for a little bit and it’s certainly expected but it’s not going to be accepted. We have to make sure we get that done.”


Obviously it’s too early to label the offense as an Achilles' heel, especially coming off a season during which the Jets ranked third in total scoring among AFC teams. That club, however, boasted the likes of veterans Brett Favre and Laveranues Coles.


Though the identity of New York’s offense has changed a bit, Ryan already established its creed: no mental gaffes.


“With this football team, if you’re going to beat us, I want you to try to beat us not because we’re making mistakes, and that’s something we always talk about,” Ryan said.  “We’re going to be a tough team to beat physically, so let’s eliminate the mental errors and the dumb penalties and make a team have to try and beat us physically and I think we’ll be in great shape.”


Several hours into training camp, the rookie coach seems to have it all figured out.


Ryan is definitely talking the talk. The countdown of him having to walk the walk has commenced.