Rex Ryan Is a Man of Peaks and Valleys - NBC New York

Rex Ryan Is a Man of Peaks and Valleys

Jets coach proves that what comes up must come down



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    The notion that Rex Ryan expressing confidence in his players and himself is somehow a bad thing has never been a popular one in these quarters. It always smacked more of writers and pundits who took extra excitement in smacking people down when they dare to spout something other than the old tired cliches than it did of anything that had any real bearing on winning and losing football games.

    That said, we're starting to get a little worried about the head coach of the Jets. He's taking this Monday's loss to the Dolphins a bit harder than you'd like to see for a team that still has quite a bit to feel good about five weeks into the season.

    "It’s blunt force trauma. We accept that. We always say ‘You’ve got to have skin like an armadillo.’ We all know that’s not skin, but so what? We all know what it means. That’s what you have to have. Same thing on me, on the coaches, on each other. That’s just the reality of it. ... There’s no way in heck I would’ve ever thought that would happen. I never knew it. That’s never happened to me before in my life."

    It's clear at this point that there's never going to be much middle ground when Ryan is concerned. Either you're on top of the world and crushing all competition or you're in the bottom of a cesspool with all the disgusting muck of all mankind piling on top of your head. That's good for entertaining quotes, but its an awfully hard way to go about life.

    People who swing wildly from euphoria to depression and back again are usually treated medically to stop it from happening because it is damaging to always live your life to extremes. You can't treat a football team the same way, obviously, but they're going to take their cues from their head coach and it's not ideal to have them ping-ponging between thinking they're great and thinking they suck over the course of a long season.

    Maybe this is just a necessary step of growth for Ryan as a head coach. Getting your teeth kicked in can be a very enlightening experience if you figure out why it happened, that you don't like that it happened and how to stop it from ever happening again. It doesn't mean you have to stop being confident about your team and your chances, it just means you have to make sure that those confidences don't get in the way of actually doing the work that's needed to win football games.

    Dealing with adversity is a new thing for Ryan as the guy out in front answering the questions. He's struggled with it the same way his quarterback and defense have struggled the last two weeks. All of them should get better, and shutting down the emotional roller coaster is a good way to make it happen.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for