Copping An Attitude: Rex Ryan Sends A Message to New England Patriots

Pasquale GattiContributor IJune 4, 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)

"I think we have already sent a message to them [New England Patriots]. So they can read between the lines, they can figure it out. When they come here the second week of the season we'll see. I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick's rings, I came here to win. I'm certainly not intimidated by New England or by anybody else."

-Jets' head coach Rex Ryan on Mike Francesa (6/3/09, WFAN Radio)

Imagine Herman Edwards or Eric Mangini spitting out those fighting words in a radio interview. You can't.

Which is why Rex Ryan is of a different breed. He comes from the old school of coaching. The days when you could elbow a player in the head and not get fined $10,000. The days of his father, Buddy, and the 4-6 defense.

He doesn't fear the threat of saying something that could possibly become "bulletin board material." Because he knows in the end, it's all about what goes on between those white lines.

There's a reason the Jets are just 4-12 against the New England Patriots since 2001—they have simply failed to stand up to this bully that continually picks on them.

Part of that is due to the fact that they have not had a leader who was willing to play the role of William Wallace in Braveheart. A guy who is willing to put the warpaint on and lead the charge against the opposition.

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I think the Jets finally have that in Rex Ryan.

For Ryan, it's his fearless demeanor that seemingly sets him apart from past Jets' head coaches.

While guys like Groh, Edwards, and Mangini often took the high road and chose not to "call out" their opponents and express their sheer belief that their players were better than the opposition's, Ryan does that and then some.

Often times, past coaches would send the Patriots nothing but praise leading up to the game. And while Ryan will definitely respect his opponents, he's not going to fear them and that should rub off on his players.

Safety Kerry Rhodes recently Tweeted that he believes the Jets will have the best defense in the league this season. No doubt a product of Ryan's contagious personality.

Now, I'm not anointing him the next Vince Lombardi yet, but for the first time during this Jets-Patriots rivalry (with the exception of Bill Parcells) the Jets have a leader who talks the talk.

Now he just needs to walk the walk. And from all indications, he will.