[QUOTE]ORLANDO, Fla. -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan already has dropped about 30 pounds since he had lap-band surgery a couple of weeks ago. The moment you look at him, you can tell he's slimmed down considerably.
Even though the Jets have established themselves as a contender, don't expect coach Rex Ryan to tone down the bravado.
His words are as large as ever.
The bombastic Ryan met with reporters for the first time in months Tuesday morning, sitting down at a media breakfast as part of the NFL owners meetings. Ryan didn't have a plate in front of him, but he dished out several quality quotes.
As we were being chased out the door and reporters were jockeying to get in one last question for Ryan, Boston Globe writer Albert Breer asked Ryan if he would tone down his rhetoric to avoid overconfidence now that the Jets have established themselves as a team to fear.
"Facing Tom Brady, facing [Ronnie] Brown and all these guys you face every week, overconfident will not be an issue," Ryan replied. "We go into every game thinking we're going to win. Every single game. I don't care if we're playing the Pro Bowl team, we expect to win. That's just our mentality. That's our belief in each other, our belief in our systems and our coaching staff and everything we do.
"But to say we're overconfident, we're going into the season 0-0 like everybody else, and we've got to earn our right to get to what we were and fight your tail off to get in the playoffs. We're the same team that, in our division alone, got swept by Miami, split with New England and Buffalo.
"We'll always have the underdog mentality, but now I think we've earned some respect throughout this league, whether through the national media or the opponents. We earned their respect.
"When we were saying things, everybody thought we were crazy. I don't know if they think we're crazy now. We did go in there, saying we were going to have a dominant defense; we led the NFL in total defense. We said we were going to have a ground-and-pound offense; we led the league in rushing. [B]So when I think we have an excellent football team, maybe you should take it to the bank because we've got an excellent football team."[/B][/QUOTE]