Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Jan 2010

Rex Ryan, Not an FO Reader

How many meaningless, demonstrably-false things did Rex Ryan say in this Michael Kay interview?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Jan 2010

62 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2010, 7:59pm by dbostedo


by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:08pm

Yeah, there is a lot of silly stuff in there, but I do think the backlash against the "run to win" bromide gets overblown. In particular, a team that plays in Jimmy Hoffa's crypt has a decent chance of playing meaningful late season, or playoff games, in very windy conditions where passing will be hard to do efficiently. Running efficiently then becomes very important.

by Doug Farrar :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:10pm

It's impossible to enjoy an actual Rex Ryan transcript after seeing the Kissing Suzy Kolber version. Everything else disappoints.

by Antique Furniture (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 8:49pm

KSK is usually a bit hit and miss with their personas (I can't read the Bawston fans without going insane), but the Rex Ryan ones make me laugh without fail every time.

by E :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:27pm

Having listened to Ryan on Kay's show for most of the year, I think a lot of what he says in interviews is directed to his team. He says that teams that can run and play defense will win in December and January because he wants his team - which is great at running and defense and terrible at passing - to believe that they will win in December and January. Similarly, he tells Kay that he believes the Jets have as good a chance as anyone to win the Super Bowl. Does he really believe that? Maybe, but I doubt it - more likely he wants his team to believe that. All season long Ryan has emphasized what his team does well as the keys to success and minimized the importance of their shortcomings.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:32pm

I think a lot of what he says in interviews is directed to his team
Not, I think, entirely different from another coach in the same conference.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:21pm

Norv Turner?

by drobviousso :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:49pm

I was thinking of Belichick, but now that I think about it, I would add Cable and Singletary to the list too. I haven't seen Turner's pressers, so I couldn't say.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:53pm

I figured you meant Belichick. I was just poking fun. I like to poke fun.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:34pm

Wow, that went so far over his head he'd have needed the Hubble to see it.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:29pm

Yeah, I’m not mentioning any names. It would’ve been a great catch. I think Braylon woulda caught that thing eight out of ten times.

Of all the things that could be characterized as false or incorrect, this has to be the most incorrectest, twice over.

by doctorjorts :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 3:58pm

"The one Braylon dropped?"
"Yeah, I'm not mentioning any names... I think Braylon..."

Not only is he incorrect, but he contradicts himself TWICE by confirming, then denying and then reconfirming that they're discussing Edwards.

by just another internet dog (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:44pm

You can look at last years, somebody was telling me, the top four teams in last year’s tournament none of them made the playoffs this year. It just goes to show how difficult it is.


Pittsburgh? Check.
Arizona? No check.
Baltimore? No check.
Philadelphia? No check.

I guess one out of four is close enough?

by WD (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:47pm

He's referring to the #1 and #2 seeds in each conference last year. None of which made the playoffs.

by C (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:51pm



by Dean :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:52pm

Say what you want about him not embracing sabermetrics, but Rex Ryan was the most interesting thing that happened to the NFL in 2009.

by Rogersworthe (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:55pm

Unless, you know, you happen to NOT be a Jets fan. Then it falls to about 10,000 on the list of interesting things.

by Gruntled (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:59pm

I'm not a Jets fan; I'm find him entertaining. Plus, he managed to produce the number one defense in the league in his rookie season, and got into the playoffs without a quarterback. He may be a little brighter than the act would indicate.

by Gruntled (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:01pm

"I'm find him" - geez. Of course I meant to say, "Me find him"

Captcha "norsemen Min-"

It's some sort of a sign. Or a map.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:07pm

I'm not a Jets fan either, but I've always enjoyed watching Rex Ryan's defenses; he obviously is an outstanding coach on that side of the ball. He also doesn't seem to have the contempt for offensive players and coaches that his dad seemed to, so I think he has a chance to have nice head coaching career.

by t.d. :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:09pm

yeah, buddy was great, but he torpedoed his own teams with his scorn for the offensive players. never made any sense. rex seems to have learned not to do that

by Rogersworthe :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:09pm

That's all well and good, but to say he is the most interesting thing to happen in the NFL this year? Come on. Not even close. Just read the interview. Pretty boring stuff there. The last interesting thing he said was in the preseason when he started trashtalking. Then the media killed him and Mark Sanchez happened and he pretty much shut up with the trash talk. HOW EXCITING!!!

by Dean :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 5:46pm

Except that he didn't shut up. Maybe you weren't paying attention. At least every other week he's said something entertaining, even if they weren't all as outrageous as the "The Jets are coming" stuff of the offseason.

by Dean :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 5:44pm

I couldn't give a rats ass about the Jets one way or another. But I find Rex Ryan absolutely compelling. He's a breath of fresh air. Or is it hot air? Either way, in a league that's overly corporate, he's a welcome change.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:14am

I'm a Texans fan. The Jets were directly between my team and their first ever playoff birth. I still love Rex Ryan.

by Rogersworthe (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:53pm

Oh come on! Who knows more on how to win? Proven winner Rex Ryan? Or a bunch of MIT stat nerds sitting in their Mom's basements? You can take your Colts, Chargers, Saints, Eagles, Cardinals and Packers. I'll stick with the Jets and the TRUE formula for NFL winning - running the ball. In fact, the Jets would be 14-2, possibly 15-1, if they had never let Mark Sanchez throw a pass all year!!!!

Running the ball is how to win. Defense wins Championships. Football is the same as it was with Paul Brown, Chuck Knoll, and Mike Ditka. All your fancy schmancy passing and going for it in OBVIOUS PUNTING SITUATIONS only causes losses and whiny, prima donna Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers. ***

All previous statements Null and Void if your QB is Brett Favre. He transcends all football wisdom. F*** Adrian Peterson. THROW THE BALL, BRETT!!! You're the MAN!!!

by Illmatic74 :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:06pm

This reminds me of something Max Kellerman would have on his radio show(it was on the same station as Michael Kay) he would bring on a guy named Typical Football Analyst Guy(or TFAG) where he would constantly say Brett Favre is just having fun out there he was a riverboat gambler stuff like that.

by Rogersworthe :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 4:11pm

Was it Jon Gruden?

by Sophandros :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:32pm


Yet, I would not be surprised to see or hear a similar tirade in the next few days/weeks.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 5:54pm

Well, Rex Ryan may not read FO - but apparently Merril Hoge does.

by Jerry :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:11pm

Hoge knows there's no K in Noll.

by BJR :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:57am

"All previous statements Null and Void if your QB is Brett Favre. He transcends all football wisdom. F*** Adrian Peterson. THROW THE BALL, BRETT!!! You're the MAN!!!"

Why bring Keith Null into this discussion?

by just another internet dog (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 3:55pm

Ah. Well, that makes a lot more sense. Though then he shoulda said "the top four seeds," no? I don't think you get to claim to be one of the top four teams in anybody's tournament if you're not one of the last four still playing. :)

by dbostedo :: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 7:59pm

You do if you're talking about top four teams by seed, or by saying the top four regular season teams. If I asked you now who the top four teams were for the 2009-2010 NFL playoffs (tournament) you'd have to say Indy, San Diego, New Orleans, and Minnesota (assuming you're talking about seedings, or top four regular season teams). It doesn't matter if you think they are actually crap teams; They are by definition the top 4 teams.

by Joe B. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:06pm

Maybe I'm dense, but what did he say that was so bad? FO's stats say that the Jets have the best defense in the NFL by FAR as well, so what's the issue? The comment about the running game? There's a lot of coachspeak filler in his interviews, but who cares? All coaches say those things, and even with a few cliches, Rex is still way more entertaining than that 5-11 robot in Cleveland and his ilk.

by Jeff Fogle :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 6:29pm

Bill, could you list (or cut and paste) a couple of the things you thought were most glaring in terms of being "demonstrably false?" Anyone else too for that matter. Thanks in advance...

by Arkaein :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 7:24pm

Not Bill Barnwell, but here goes:

Point caught by drobviousso with two contradictory statements about the Braylon Edwards drop (he makes that catch most of the time, but it would have been a great catch, Braylon's name right after saying he wouldn't mention names concerning the drop).

When asked about backing into the playoffs he went off on a tangent about the Jets D and specifically run D, completely ignoring the events of the past two weeks.

At the end he says the team has "peaked at the right time", as if beating the Indy JV squad indicates peak performance (though I suppose you could at least make the argument for the Cincy performance, one real game hardly counts as peaking in my book).

Part of what Bill might have taken issue with is the intro paragraph, which is chock full of sportswriter cliches ("swagger", "confident", "playmakers on offense", "shutdown corner", "formula for success in the playoffs") that have basically been shown to be meaningless buzzwords or unsubstantiated nonsense.

by Jeff Fogle :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 8:43pm

Appreciate the list arkaein. I agree with the Edwards example.

Regarding the playoffs, "ignoring" something isn't a demonstrably false statement. And, the notes at the end of the tangent were:

"I believe in this football team and I think were built for this time of year. We’ve said that. Be able to run the football, play great defense, do a good job on special teams, protect the football and make plays down the field when we need to. I think we’re definitely built for it.”

That seems demonstrably true to me...so obviously demonstrably true that I think it would be tough to disagree with.

In terms of "peaking at the right time." They went 5-1 their last six games. If you give them a loss at Indy on the very fair assumption they would have lost if Peyton played the whole game (huge yardage edge at the time he left for Indy), that's still 4-2 over the last six games...which is their best six game stretch of the season. Don't think we can pencil in a loss to Cincy if Cincy shows up considering the lethargic efforts the Bengals had been posting lately.

If Bill took issue with the intro paragraph, he should have referenced the sportswriter rather than Ryan. And, to be fair, a lot of playoff teams in past years did possess all of those things listed. You could say that they cancel out in the playoffs because most contenders have confidence, swagger, playmakers, etc... Tough to make the case playoff teams don't have those things...and that teams trying to breakthrough don't have increases in confidence and swagger as they win some big games. I agree that it would be great if the media focused on better "difference-makers" than confidence and swagger. Doesn't mean that instilling them in your team is a bad thing come playoff time. Lacking them is surely a negative, isn't it?

So, I agree with your point about the Edwards catch. What were the other things Ryan specifically said that triggered FO's introduction to the piece? How "many "meaningless, demonstrably false" things did Ryan say? The lead-in said "many."

by t.d. :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:13pm

they also harp on the 'passing triggers winning, not rushing' argument. (and they're right)

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:06pm

That may be true in general, but I'm pretty sure if you're the Jets passing triggers losing. No one's ever said that running the ball well doesn't help you win.

We've certainly seen two examples in the not so distant past of teams winning Superbowls with great defenses, strong special teams play and effective rushing attacks, despite mediocre at best passing games. A third such team, the 2006 Bears, won their conference championship. It may not be the most efficient way to construct a team in the long term, but the investment of a top 5 pick in Sanchez makes it pretty clear the Jets aren't trying to. It is definitely the most efficient way to try to win if you are the 2009 Jets.

by tuluse :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 10:10pm

Just a nitpick, the Bears weren't mediocre at best when passing. In fact they were quote good at best, they were just rarely at their best.

by Jimmy in Oz :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:01pm

I disagree with some of your points.

- you expect Ryan to throw Edwards under a bus.
- you totally discount that the Jets played the Indy starters to be down by 5 points with 5 mins to go in the 3rd quarter.
- you infer that Revis shouldn't be called a shutdown corner.
- you talk about Ryan mentioning Run D when he actually mentions the rushing attack.

by Agamemnon :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:06pm

- you totally discount that the Jets played the Indy starters to be down by 5 points with 5 mins to go in the 3rd quarter.

The Jets had a kickoff return for a touchdown at the beginning of the second half. If you get rid of that, the Colts would have been up 15-3 when Manning leaves. Hardly a good performance for the Jets at this point. And that doesn't even bring up all of the other Colts starters who also left the game and/or didn't play.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:19pm

yeah but if peyton Maning didn;t have a twig and berries he'd be Phylis Manning and play in womens league. Point is, Jets scored td on kickoff. Had to be times this year when Clots score points on non offensive plays. Scoring on defense and speical teams is part of football

Looked like Caldwell leave manning in game to get 2nd half lead and then remove from game. This to make Manning feel like winner or something stupid like that.

If scraed of getting him hurt dont use him at all (But cant do that becausue Manning want start streak intact) and let C Panter play entire game.

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 11:47pm


Well if you feel like taking away kickoff returns for touchdowns, you could start with Chad Simpson's 93yd return in week 15 against the Jaguars.

by DGL :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:36am

If you feel like taking away kickoff returns for touchdowns, the Steelers would be in the playoffs...

by Joe B. (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 3:03am

It's also good to know that Jet fans can write off the Week 8 loss to the Dolphins as well, since KO returns don't count now.

by Agamemnon :: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 9:43am

My point was: the previous commenter said that the Jets were playing well and competitive because they were only behind 15-10 when PM was pulled. But 70% of those points came on one special teams play - not necessarily reflective of the performance of the team as a whole during the other 40 minutes of the game up to that point.

by Jimmy in Oz :: Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:59pm

If you want to say special teams doesn't count, at least get it right and say it should have been 17-3 to the Colts when Peyton left. The Jets blocked the Colts first PAT, who then went for 2 & failed after their next score.

by Venger :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 7:46pm

You probably could have shortened the title of this to "Rex Ryan, Not a reader".

Or, "Rex Ryan, illiterate."

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 7:54pm

So what? So what if R Ryan not rader. Fact is he coach tema to playoffs. 20 other head coaches (including T Cable) couldnt do it this year. Maybe those 20 coaches all read books and magazines, but goal for those 20 guys is to get team into playoffs and all those 20 failed.

by San Marcos Landlord (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 8:10pm

Ah, the savant actually makes sense.

by Temo :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:37pm

Hey, Rex Ryan > Rex Grossman.

I don't know where I was going with that, but I swear I had a joke initially.

by Marc Bolan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:55pm

That's only 2 Rexs, I think you meant T.Rex.

by Penguatroll (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 2:19am

A T. Rex would be the greatest football coach ever, if we use some kind of shrinking ray so he fits comfortably in the stadium without crushing spectators or blocking the field of play.

by Ed Werder (not verified) :: Tue, 01/05/2010 - 9:40pm

It's interesting see Josh McDaniels and Rex Ryan. Both always speak to their teams in their interviews, but one always has the back of his team while the other one always attacks his team.

by C (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:16pm

I like Rex Ryan and I don't like the " look how stupid he is" smug attitude. His players like him too.

by Jim Beam (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 12:18am

Hey Bill Barnwell - you're a real loser for trying to make a big deal out of a couple statements in an interview. GFY clownshoes.

by Jim D (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 9:55am

These "Look how stupid everyone else is" articles never come off as clever as they're intended

by Harpo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 11:47am

If I remember correctly - the Jets defense held Manning to something like 2 of 12 on third down attempts. Not exactly a formula for success. I'm not so convinced the Colts would have won if they left him in the game. I actually think Sanchez had better numbers on third down than Manning. And Manning over-threw a couple of open receivers -- he just didn't look very sharp, and the Jets defense has been making opposing QBs look pretty impotent all year.

Heck -I think they held Drew Brees to 10 points when he was at his best this year.

by Jeff Fogle :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 1:42pm

Did a quick estimate. At the point Manning left the game, Indy led yardage approximately 296-120 based on the numbers in the drive charts (which is more of a rough ballpark estimate because penalty yards are counted when you add up drive distances, but the dominance at moving the ball was clear and indisputable). Both QB's were 2 of 7 on third down attempts according to the play-by-play rundown. Manning was far from impotent against the Jets defense, finishing 14-21-0-192 for 67% completions, and 9.1 yards per attempt. Pro-rated out to 35 attempts(reasonable full game estimate), that's 23-35-0-320. His passer rating for the game was 95.7.

Manning had led an 81 yard TD drive, and an 86 yard field goal drive. He wasn't having a bad game (though the Jets did neutralize him on third downs for the most part, they weren't embarrassing him on first and second down).

After Manning left, the "drive chart yardage" shows about a 178-42 edge for the Jets vs. the Colts JV.

The Jets could have come back and won, but the kickoff return TD disguised what was a relative mismatch in terms of moving the ball starters vs. starters. It's not likely they would have given what the yardage was saying.

Has anyone put together a list yet of the demonstrably false things Ryan said? Would be interested in seeing what the consensus was about that.

by Harpo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 3:22pm

So Manning orchestrated 10 points before he left the game, if he doubles that -- and gets another 10 points in the 4th quarter -- the colts still lose.

Unless by leaving him in the game he somehow plays defense and helps stop the Jets' rushing game, and all of a sudden he assists his special teams unit so they don't allow the return for a TD.

Or maybe he would have continued to consistently blow it on 3rd down ... and if that were the case, I still see the colts losing.

by Jeff Fogle :: Wed, 01/06/2010 - 5:37pm

Harpo, please.

*The Colts were up 15-10 when Manning left. He orchestrated 15 points. I mentioned the two VERY long drives to show that the Jets weren't shutting him down. He also had a 54-yard TD drive in the mix. If you watched the game, you remember this.

*The Jets kickoff return TD was already on the board. It would have been 15-3 without it...which is in line with the yardage stats at the time. If you watched the game, you'd remember this too. You said "going from memory" or something earlier, but you don't seem to have many memories of the game. Are you expecting the Jets would get a SECOND special teams TD if he stayed in the game longer?

*The Jets running game was in the mix when they were behind 15-3 in terms of offense and defense during the time Manning and the other starters played. The Jets weren't controlling the game on the ground by any means.

*Both the Jets and Colts were even on third downs at the time he left, meaning both were equally "blowing it" to use your words.

Do you have a database showing that teams trailing roughly 300-120 in yardage midway through the third quarter generally win their games? Would be cool to see that evidence if you have it. The Jets were getting ROUTED in terms of moving the ball during the time Manning and the other starters played. The kickoff return TD helped disguise that, and kept them within striking distance. Once they were playing the JV, they got things going and pulled away.

Manning was on pace to throw for over 300 yards, and the team was on pace to score in the 21-25 range if he stayed in. Considering 7 of the later Jets points came on a Painter turnover...and that the Jets offense only started moving vs. the JV, it's a very difficult case to make that the Jets would have won the game anyway. They might have. Manning may have thrown a pick. The Colts defense may have faded in the fourth quarter creating the typical Colts thriller. Indy usually wins those too.