It didn't take long for people to stop marveling about the Jets coming from behind to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts in Indianapolis on Saturday night so they could return to the most popular parlor game in today's NFL.
That would be knocking around Rex Ryan for speaking his mind, of course. Judy Battista, usually a reasonable voice on football for the Times, spends almost all of her early preview of Sunday's grudge match with the Patriots focusing on the fact that Ryan said Manning spends more time watching video than Brady. She isn't alone in making a big deal out of this compliment to Manning that didn't remotely slight Brady because, as many admitted when they weren't tut-tutting the Jets coach, he was telling the truth.
Brady spent Saturday night at a performance of "Lombardi" on Broadway. Manning, who famously watched videos of Buddy Ryan's teams to prepare for his first game with Rex, would not have done that. It's as simple as that. Other than media members looking for a hook, there was no intimation that Brady wasn't a great player.
What's more, isn't it more of an insult to say that Brady, he of the three Super Bowl rings, needs such a mild comment to motivate himself? Brady wants to win whether Ryan calls him an Ugg-wearing, Air Supply-haired dilettante or not, because he wants to win when he's facing your traditional coach full of empty platitudes and soporific ramblings.
In short, the Jets aren't going to lose to the Patriots because of anything that's come out of Ryan's mouth. That includes Monday's far less veiled shots at Brady. You're free to think he lacks discipline and control when he gets in front of a microphone, but you'll need to come up with a better argument than that for how it affects his team.
Saturday night in Indy, it was the Colts who came apart thanks to their lack of discipline. Taj Smith ran into Steve Weatherford to extend a Jets drive, Jim Caldwell called an inexplicable timeout with 28 seconds to play and the Colts couldn't convert several third-and-short plays because they couldn't execute. The Jets, on the other hand, stuck with an unusually conservative defensive scheme that was antithetical to everything Ryan has ever preached for four quarters. And, come the second half, they stripped things down to the bare essentials on offense to control the ball and control the outcome without ever trying to do more than what was right in front of them.
That's good coaching, just as it was in the two road playoff wins that Ryan picked up last year and in the 20 regular season games that he's won in his first two seasons. The Jets haven't won those games because Ryan talks a lot, even though plenty of people like to argue that as well. They won them because they are a talented team with a strong coaching staff.
If Ryan's style was detrimental, they wouldn't win those games. If Ryan's style was all positive, they wouldn't have gotten blown out in their last game with the Patriots, a loss that Ryan quite astutely attributed to getting outcoached by Bill Belichick.
His style is his style and it is about time we all accept that it is secondary to his ability to coach a football team.