Coming off a disappointing 8-8 season in which they didn't make the playoffs, the New York Jets will try to make a rebound and get back to the postseason.
Since Rex Ryan took over as head coach of the Jets, one of their prime focuses is to take down the rival New England Patriots and their head coach Bill Belichick. After knocking them out of the playoffs in 2010, the Jets had their butts handed to them by the Patriots--in both New York and in Foxboro.
While he's had plenty of complimentary things to say about Belichick and the Patriots (referring to them as the end-all-be-all in the NFL), he says that his Jets won't "concede" the AFC East battle quite yet.
"Do I respect New England and the fact that New England has won our division a zillion times?" the coach asked rhetorically. "The three years I've been here, they've won it all three years -- and I don't think it's been close.
"But ... I will never back down and concede to anything. When you talk about conceding the division ... yeah, right. Not me. There's no chance here. Not with the Jets."
While he's been the head coach of the Jets, Ryan has guided the Jets to two AFC championship games--and he had to beat New England to get their once. Still, Ryan's focus for the Jets is to win their first AFC East division crown for the first time since 2002. But he'll have to go through Belichick and the Pats to do it.
"You've got to knock New England off," Ryan said. "They've been clearly dominating this division for years and years and years. So you have to beat them. It always goes through them."
While he didn't talk about the Patriots as much as Ryan did, Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie also brought up his team's rival, but in a more belittling way. Might I say, in typical Cromartie fashion.
When asked about the NFL's best defensive minds, Cromartie named his head coach Rex Ryan and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. But when one reporter asked why he did not include Belichick--who's been regarded as one of the best defensive minds the game has ever seen--Cromartie said this:
"Did I say his name? It's Rex and LeBeau. I got a one and a two, not a one, a two and a three."
Well, did you expect anything less from the big mouthed cornerback? I know I didn't.