It was an easy layup for New York Jets reporters, never shy about stoking the fires around coach Rex Ryan.
And the coach was clearly ready when asked Wednesday about a Sporting News poll in which Ryan was voted the runaway leader as the most overrated in the league.
“My first thought was, I looked and saw who was second. ‘Hey, I finally beat (Patriots coach Bill Belichick). I got him,” Ryan said. “I knew it would take time, but I finally got him.’
“At the end of the year, we’ll see who’s overrated.”
Ryan and the Jets have much more to worry about than polls, however. It had to be a long bye week stewing over a blowout loss at home to the Miami Dolphins before travelling to Seattle on Sunday.
Earlier, Ryan had opened the door to getting more work for backup quarterback Tim Tebow, though he backed off on that sentiment on Wednesday.
“If we’re going to use him more or we’re going to use him the same or less, if I think it’s an advantage to this football team, one way or another, I’m not going to share it,” Ryan said.
COWBOYS ARE A ‘COUNTRY CLUB’
They may keep on losing games, but the carnival commentary around the Dallas Cowboys is never going to settle, is it?
In the aftermath of the team’s Sunday night loss to the Falcons, we’ve heard owner Jerry Jones talk about how he would never give up his GM title. And as the damning commentary swirls around the team, one of Jones’ most successful coaches has weighed in with his opinion.
Jimmy Johnson, now a studio analyst for the NFL on FOX, says the atmosphere around the Cowboys is what’s dragging them down.
“The No. 1 motivator (in the league) is fear,” Johnson told the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio. “Fear of maybe letting down your teammates or being embarrassed or chastised for losing your job. There is no fear in Dallas. It’s a country club where everybody is buddies.”
With the Cowboys reeling at 3-5 and with a game at Philadelphia on Sunday, Johnson said that current coach Jason Garrett should be feeling the heat.
“I think Jason is probably coaching for his job the rest of the year,” Johnson said. “I think this game with Philadelphia, I think this game may decide the futures of players and coaches with those two teams.”
SAINTS AND CITY ‘LOVE SEAN PAYTON’
With New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis allowed to return to work this week after serving his eight-game Bountygate suspension, life is far from normal around his team.
And among the top priorities will be to get suspended coach Sean Payton under contract, which may or may not be easier said than done.
Reports suggest that the league will allow the Saints to negotiate with Payton while he is suspended but that doesn’t mean others — Dallas Cowboys anyone? — won’t be interested.
“I absolutely expect Sean to be our coach next year and going forward,” Loomis told reporters in New Orleans. “These contract issues will be resolved.”
Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt also campaigned for Payton’s return.
“Our football team loves Sean Payton and Sean Payton loves this football team,” Vitt said. “Sean Payton loves this city. And this city loves Sean Payton. That goes a long way.”
So does money, of course and all this speculation may be nice and profitable for Payton.
BILLS COACH STANDS BY FITZPATRICK
His general manager may have hinted at it earlier in the week, but don’t expect Buffalo Bills coach Chan Gailey to toss his starting quarterback under the bus.
When asked whether Ryan Fitzpatrick is running out of chances in this his third season running the Bills offence, Gailey wasn’t biting.
“I do not even want to talk about that,” Gailey told reporters in Buffalo on Wednesday. “To me, that is not even right to talk about. Everybody goes out and does the best they can they you evaluate everything when you get to the end of the year.”
After a lacklustre offensive performance in a 21-9 loss at Houston last week, the Bills travel to Foxboro to face the Patriots on Sunday.
“Ryan has played extremely well at times and I am going back to that word ‘consistency’ that I have been using for our whole football team,” Gailey said. “We have not been consistent in a lot of places.”