Rex Ryan lost 90 pounds since the end of last season, but that's not the only change for the Jets head coach.
He's also getting off his soapbox when it comes to making proclamations about his team's prospects for the season. Ryan was on the radio with Michael Kay and said that he was done shooting for the moon.
"I wanted to put — coming off back-to-back championship games all that’s left is the Super Bowl. And I thought by guaranteeing that, it would put the arrows on me. Now granted it did, but it also put arrows on our players and I didn’t want that. If it was gonna come down, it would come down on me only. That was what I thought would happen, and that didn’t happen. It was shot on some of our players and obviously shot at me as well, where it should have been. But it wasn’t directed at me, and I think that was my mistake by saying what I said."
The problem wasn't that the arrows were shot in the direction of his players, the problem was that Ryan wildly overrated the players in the first place. After his first two years, Ryan was due for a backlash but the one that came would have been far more muted if Ryan hadn't overpromised and underdelivered.
Look, we get that Ryan was asked a question and responded to it in this case so it isn't like he just decided to go out and make a guarantee that he wasn't making any other guarantees. For a real change to come to the Jets, though, it has to go well beyond not trumpeting the Super Bowl in the offseason.
It has to do with not standing up and comparing third-round pick DeMario Davis to Ray Lewis before the kid has even gone through a full practice with the team. It has to do with not making Mark Sanchez out to be a hybrid of Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas while simutaneously saying that you're not sure just how big a role Tim Tebow will wind up playing on the football team.
From an entertainment standpoint, we'd take Ryan over just about any coach in any sport because his willingness to say more than the bare minimum makes him worth a listen anytime a microphone is nearby. Having said that, the idea that the entertainment value produced by bold pronouncements somehow translates to victories is a pretty hard one to defend at this point.
In that interview, Ryan said he wasn't sure what he accomplished by predicting a victory parade. Has he asked himself the same questions about the other things that come out of his mouth?
Whether it was Sanchez, Scott, Shonn Greene or Plaxico Burress, the Jets spent a lot of time talking about how good their players were while the players themselves were providing physical evidence to the contrary. If they were in a writing class, the teacher would flunk them with a reminder that the key is to show, not tell, the reader what's happening.
The NFL isn't a writing class, but the message is essentially the same. The Jets have to show that they are a different team because simply saying so just won't cut it.