By Dan Snapp, Patriots Daily Staff
Any parent recognizes the behavior instantly. You innocuously call out your kid’s name and they respond, “It wasn’t me!” They weren’t in trouble before, but they probably are now.
That’s Rex Ryan.
For whatever reason, when first questioned about the tripping incident during the Miami game, Ryan’s gut reaction – and Ryan going with his gut is no small gesture – was to disavow any knowledge of Sal Alosi’s actions. Now he’s screwed, because the tape didn’t self-destruct.
As a result, either he’s a deceitful tyrant willing to scapegoat his subordinates so to elude culpability, or an in-over-his-head career coordinator unable to control what happens on his own sideline. Take your pick, Jets fans.
In his short tenure as Jets’ head coach, Ryan has been celebrated as the Anti-Belichick. The media thought he was honest, funny, brash, and forthright. More importantly, he filled their notebooks. “Refreshing!” was the most common laud from the scribes. Now that he’s lied to them, though, they smell blood in the water and they’re circling.
The kicker is he didn’t even have to lie about it. He could have copped to the Code Red, and be done with it.
“Hell, yeah, we line ’em up. I told ’em to,” he should have said. “What’s the big deal? We saw Miami likes to get a little edge in coverage having their guys run 30 yards out of bounds, so we thought we’d discourage that. Sal shouldn’t have tripped the guy, but I don’t see anything wrong standing there.”
The New York press probably would have applauded. Ryan would have been praised for his leadership, his honesty, his willingness to say, “The buck stops here.” Perhaps Ryan would have gotten a slap on the wrist – a few players were not designated to be in that area – but that’s as far as it would have gone.
This past offseason, Jets linebacker Bart Scott claimed (something later supported by player polls) that many league players wanted to come play for Ryan. I wonder if that’s still the case. And I’d love to see the same poll posed to league assistant coaches. Want to come work for Rex? Just make sure you rent.
Now the Jets are the ones tripping all over themselves, trying to contain the damage, with each updated penalty opening the door to more questions, more doubt and more egg on their faces. And Ryan’s being exposed as not quite the stand-up guy they all thought he was.
Quite refreshing, if you ask me.