Rex Ryan being Rex Ryan is taking all the attention off the Jets. Bill Belichick being Bill Belichick is making sure the Patriots ignore it.
Don’t think for a second the coaches aren’t sitting back and enjoying every moment of Jets/Patriots week.
Ryan created headlines Monday by calling out Belichick. There’s a lot of smoke here, not much fire, and it’s amazing Ryan can say all of it with a straight face. But look at the results: it works. If it’s all about Rex, then it’s not about his second-year quarterback, his run defense or anything else meaningful.
“I might have a little quickness on him, he’s probably got a little more strength and power on me,” Belichick responded during a conference call to Ryan’s assessment the game is about the coaches. “I don’t think you’ll see either of us out there making any blocks, or tackles, or runs throws or catches. At least you won’t see me doing that. It’s probably a good thing for our team.”
Belichick translation: None of it matters.
Teams often reflect their coaches, and in keeping with the company line, the Patriots aren’t saying much. Don’t think the players aren’t coached behind the scenes on the nuances of the media, and suggestions aren’t given about what not to talk about. Those conversations are taking place.
Here’s the Patriots talking about the talk:
Jarrad Page: “We’re going to do what we’ve got to do because none of that really matters. It’s just going to matter how you come out and play in the game. After the game, everybody will forget about what was said this week, and you’ll just know who won or lost that game, who’s moving on and who’s not.”
Sammy Morris: “It’s talking. We’re not really concerned with that. We’re just concerned with winning the game and doing what we’ve got to do to win the game.”
Alge Crumpler: “I thought we would get a few days before some of the banter started, but it is what it is. Like I said the last time we played, that team takes after their coach. We take after ours. It all boils down to what you do on the field.”
Jerod Mayo: “I really don’t pay attention to that stuff to be honest with you. I let Coach Belichick handle all that stuff. I’ll give you a ‘Belichick answer.'”
The best part of all of this — outside of filling blog space and inspiring heated talk-radio and bar room discussions — is that both coaches are taking the approach they feel is best for their team, as drastically different as those approaches are.
We’ll find out on Sunday how much any of it really matters.