Rex Ryan did not invent the art of trash-talk, nor did he perfect it. In fact, Rex Ryan is not particularly good at smack-talk.
He has a certain swagger that fits the New York mentality, and as of right now, New York has embraced Ryan as one of their own. That said, if you are going to trash talk leading up to a big game, you had better be able to back it up.
No one knew this better than Muhammad Ali. Just ask Sonny Liston. Liston was in Ali’s crosshairs for a year, leading up to their fist dance in the ring. Ali could get away with it, because he had both the mental and physical tools to make it work. Rex Ryan and his players offer a lot of lip service, but lack all of the necessary tools to turn that jaw-jacking, testosterone fueled machismo into consistent victories.
I will not take away the fact that the New York Jets have a very physical and dominant defense. The Jets did their best at shutting down a typically punishing Ravens running attack, holding the bad birds of Baltimore to a less than pedestrian 49-yards on thirty-five rushing plays. That is no small feat and here goes a tip of the hat to the Jets defense for making Baltimore a one dimensional offense.
It was that one dimension however, that ended up being the Jets’ Achilles heel.
Leading up to this game, Baltimore was reminded that the scope of this game had changed when the Jets announced that they had inked a new deal for their best player, and training camp holdout, Darelle Revis. Revis’ arrival was supposed to be the momentum changer. With Revis in the secondary, the Jets are Super Bowl Bound!
There is however an inherent problem with this logic.
Darelle Revis can only cover one person at any given time, and he is very, very good at doing just that. While Revis was taking care of his assignment, The Jets’ secondary was exposed, especially in the area of Boise State product, Kyle Wilson. The Ravens offense picked on Wilson ad nauseam, and it worked. Rex Ryan placed a rookie in man-coverage, and Wilson fell on his face in front of the entire nation on Monday Night Football. And let’s not forget Antonio Cromartie, who other than not knowing the names of all of his children, couldn’t break wind on Monday night without being flagged for it.
All of the problems that plagued the Jets last night can be attributed to one glaringly obvious factor. Rex Ryan sold this team on the idea that they are the best, and his team bit.
There is a difference between being confident and being egotistical. Rex Ryan is egotistical to the point of self destruction, and his team has taken a page straight out of Rex’s playbook. The Jets have bought into the hype.
Is the self-manufactured hype warranted?
To an extent, yes!
There is no question about the ability of last season’s number one ranked defense. The issue is that the team is not a complete entity. The Jets boast a great defense but also a very mediocre (at best) offense. We all know that defense can win championships. We have seen this happen in Baltimore. In order for that to happen, a team needs the ability to at least move the ball on offense. In Monday Night’s game in the new Meadowlands, the Jets offense was anemic.
Mark Sanchez (10/21 for 74-yds) has not shown much promise in his short career. Last year, Sanchez was given the opportunity to air the ball out, and the results were unsavory, with 12 TD’s and 20 INT’s. This year, it appears that the game-plan has changed to the mentality of “protect Sanchez” from mistakes.
The QB is supposed to be a leader. “Hard Knocks” on HBO completely stripped Sanchez of the ability to lead. He was constantly being corrected on camera like a child with Attention Deficit Disorder by his coaches. It was uncomfortable to watch, and now the lack of confidence has carried from the walls of training camp, to the football field.
Throughout training-camp and the preseason, NFL fans have heard about how awesome the Jets are. And all the talk is coming from… well, the New York Jets.
Mark Sanchez is quoted as saying “We are building a dream team”.
Antonio Cromartie is on record as claiming that the Jets are the Miami Heat of football.
Head Coach Rex Ryan autographed an ESPN bus that was headed to Patriots training camp with the phrase “Soon to be Champs”.
Discretion is the better part of valor, Rex and I’m sure the New England Patriots will remember your “autograph” when they arrive at New Meadowlands stadium next week.
You know, just like the Baltimore Ravens remembered you and your team’s lip service prior to the season opener.