In a development that shocks nobody, Jets coach Rex Ryan opened his mouth and created a buzz in the media on Thursday. Ryan was asked about his interview for the Chargers job in 2007, which eventually went to Norv Turner.
""Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said. "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded."
It's hard not to love it when Ryan makes comments like these. While they may not help Brian Schottenheimer open up the playbook or help the Jets' defense stop the run, they undoubtedly help deflect attention away from the on-field performance of his team and redirect it solely towards Ryan, making him the story. Win or lose.
Instead of talking about all of the issues facing his Jets team, which might have posted one of the most unimpressive 18-point wins in NFL history against Miami on Monday night, the media is all over Ryan essentially saying he's a better coach than Turner.
The Jets head coach isn't the first person to question Turner's coaching ability and he probably won't be the last. Ryan was right when he said the Chargers have been loaded over the past few seasons and honestly, what do they have to show for it?
In Turner's four seasons at the helm in San Diego, he has just an appearance in the AFC Championship Game in 2007 and an opening-round playoff win in 2008 to show for 41 regular-season wins. Ryan has two appearances in the AFC Championship Game in two seasons with the Jets and has definitely earned the right to say a few words. It also helps that Ryan's Jets beat Turner's Chargers to reach the AFC Championship Game in 2009.
Realistically though, the issue at hand is less about the past and more about this Sunday's matchup between AFC playoff hopefuls. Ryan has once again succeeded at taking the headlines away from his struggling football team and letting them rest solely on him, something he has done consistently since joining the Jets before the 2009 season.
Like it has in the past, this strategy should allow the Jets player to relax and fly under the radar heading into a big game at home, where they are 3-0 on the season. Ryan's detractors may claim that his comments put more pressure on his players to come up big this weekend but even if the Jets lose, the media will focus on the battle between the coaches before looking at the Jets' deficiencies as a football team. It's not a complete free pass for the players, but it's about as close as they're going to get.
Regardless of how you feel about Ryan's comments, one thing seems certain. The Jets will need to take shots downfield on offense and clamp down on Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert in the running game to have a chance against a very good Chargers team.
Ryan has set himself up to take the heat if his team loses Sunday and now, it's on the players to realize they have less to lose and come out strong early to make their beloved coach look good. It definitely wouldn't be the first time.