Rain, rain, go away

Rex Ryan sounded optimistic today about the health of Pro Bowler Nick Mangold (JI Photo).

Rex Ryan sounded optimistic today about the health of Pro Bowler Nick Mangold (JI Photo).

A rain-shortened day of camp wasn’t without some good news on the Jets’ injury front.

Center Nick Mangold is progressing nicely after injuring his knee early in camp, and head coach Rex Ryan said the Ohio State product appears to be on track to play in the club’s next preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. Mangold missed the team’s preseason opener, along with offensive line teammates Alan Faneca (broken middle finger) and Damien Woody (concussion).

“We’ll see, but I definitely think he’s headed in that direction,” head coach Rex Ryan said of the center at his press conference Tuesday afternoon.

As for the other injured members of Gang Green, cornerback Darrelle Revis and defensive tackle Kris Jenkins participated in individual drills this morning, but wouldn’t have participated in group drills during the afternoon session had it taken place. Ryan ended the practice early after a driving rainstorm swept through Cortland.

Patience is the measure being taken with the two defensive stars for the time being, but it’s certainly a positive to see them being worked back into the daily grind of training camp.

“We weren’t going to put them in any team drills or anything like that,” Ryan said. “It’s progressing slowly, but it is progressing with Kris. I think he’d rather go out there on the practice field than face the punishment from (head strength and conditioning coach) Sal (Alosi). I think that’s the way all of them feel, but Sal’s going to get them back and get them healthy.”

Jenkins also missed last Saturday’s opener.

NEVER SHY-

Jets head coach Rex Ryan has made it perfectly clear that hes not intimidated by Bill Belichick or his Super Bowl rings (JI Photo).

Jets head coach Rex Ryan has made it perfectly clear that he's not intimidated by Bill Belichick or his Super Bowl rings (JI Photo).

Yesterday, it was Ryan’s former team, the Ravens, who took the brunt of the seemingly daily verbal shots from the rookie head coach. Today, it was the club’s rivals to the north, the New England Patriots, who were the topic of conversation.

“We’re not going to just tiptoe our way through this thing,” he said. “You don’t win and beat a Bill Belichick-coached team by tiptoeing up there. We’re going to be ourselves and I’m going to be myself and that’s just the way it is. How much more motivation are they going to get by putting a quote from Rex Ryan on their wall saying I believe in my football team and that I’m not going to be intimidated by a coach or anybody else? If that’s where you’re going to draw motivation from, hell, we’re probably going to kick your (butt) if that’s the case.”

You’ve got to love the gusto of the new head man, and he’s exactly right. What would you like him to say, that he thinks his team will go up to New England and get run out of the building? Of course he believes in his team. Why shouldn’t he? He has a talented squad that can compete.

Fans and media alike crucified Eric Mangini for being less fun in an interview than watching paint dry, and now a large portion of the sporting world thinks Ryan needs to “tone it down.” Professional sports is littered with coaches and players who refuse to deviate from their perfectly-tailored cliches, and we constantly complain about how they never really say anything of substance. Yet here stands Ryan, a man who’s confident in his abilities as a coach and the team he’s inherited, and there’s a growing population of sports fans who just wish he would shut his mouth.

You may be in that corner, however Rex Ryan is the breath of fresh air we need in the sports world. Outspoken, honest, and most importantly, human. He says the things that you wish all our prominent sports figures would say. And that’s something that should be embraced.

Ryan’s talk could certainly serve as bulletin-board material for the Patriots. The Jets open their last season at the Meadowlands against their rivals Sept. 20. The two are also scheduled for another late-season battle in Foxboro on Nov. 22.

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