Rex Ryan's introduction as Jets coach was an exciting departure from Eric Mangini. Where Mangini was closed-mouthed and secretive, Ryan was effusive. Where Mangini always seemed interested in being the smartest man in the room, Ryan seemed content to just win games in as simple a way as possible. Just line up and smash the guy in front of you over and over again until the final whistle.
Bart Scott seems like the right guy to run such a coach's defense. He repeatedly came back to the word violent to describe himself and said that football was a game that had to be played with bad intentions. When he described the defense he wanted the Jets to play, he got even more graphic.
"We won’t back down from anybody," Scott said. "We won’t take a step back from anybody. You guys can expect to see a very physical, violent (defense). I do not know if this division has ever seen a violent defense. It is one thing to be physical and make a tackle. It is another thing to be violent. Violence makes guys stay on the sideline when they are getting hit and their ankle is hurting a little bit. (If) they know they are going to get violence, they are going to sit that out. A tackle on a play is different. That is what we are going to try and bring to the table."
Violent isn't the only key word, there, unfortunately. Try is also a pretty important one, especially given the number of holdovers that are going to start in the defense next season. Are players like Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas up to the task of bringing the violence?
In another interview, Scott made a curious reference to Ray Lewis, his teammate in Baltimore. He compared Lewis to Michael Jordan and then said that the rest of the Ravens defense was made up of Craig Hodges-types and Scottie Pippen-types. Presumably, Scott's comparing himself to Pippen, but that's a less robust statement of intentions than screaming violence from the hilltops.
Pippen-led teams always fell short, in part, because he couldn't inspire his teammates. He had many skills, but was always better suited to play as a number two. The Jets need a number one and they need a leader. They need the guy who talks about leading a violent attack, not a guy who sat on the bench in a bad mood when someone else took the last shot. In short, they need the Anti-Pippen.