By [EMAIL="firstname.lastname@example.org"]Mark Kaboly[/EMAIL], TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, December 20, 2010
There was nothing scripted and contrived about it.
When Rex Ryan addressed his players Saturday night at the team hotel, he spoke from the heart, and the speech wasn't like anything a rough-and-tough professional football coach would normally recite.
"A tear didn't drop, but his eyes were a little watery," Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis said Sunday after a 22-17 victory over the Steelers.
Knowing that one more loss -- a third straight -- could be catastrophic for his New York Jets in the playoffs and in terms of their confidence, Ryan gave what some of his players said was the speech of a lifetime.
"I wanted to play (Saturday) night, to be honest with you," cornerback Dwight Lowery said. "No question about it that it meant a lot to us. It was really heartfelt and a lot of the guys took it to heart. It wasn't staged, it wasn't phony, it was real. It was obvious to me that everybody took that onto the field."
The much-maligned Ryan has taken a beating around the NFL, and especially in New York, for the brash and confident way he has talked about his team.
It started in August when the Jets were featured on HBO's "Hard Knocks" and Ryan boasted that his team was going to win the Super Bowl. Those same words were thrown back in his face after New England and Miami beat the Jets in back-to-back weeks to all but eliminate them from AFC East race.
Still, with a 9-3 record heading into the Steelers game, the Jets were still alive for a wild-card spot, and Ryan wanted to make sure his team realized that.
"I'm not a real big rah-rah guy, but anytime someone speaks and you see the emotion and conviction they have in what they're saying, it obviously makes you sit up a little bit and listen," veteran defensive end Jason Taylor said.
Ryan talked about playing with heart and playing for the person next to them and having pride in what they do. And he talked about how he had a vision for this year's team -- a Super Bowl championship -- and that it wasn't being lived up to yet.
And, yes, just like 'Hard Knocks,' there were a couple of expletives used, too.
"Anytime your coach shows that kind of emotion and passion, you can't help but feel like you have to get the job done, not only for yourself, but for him," veteran running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "It's not easy to get up and show that kind of emotion in front of a bunch of men. I wanted to run through the brick wall for the guy."
The Jets' offense played better, scoring a touchdown for the first time in three games; the special teams opened the game with a kickoff return for a score; and the defense turned away Ben Roethlisberger twice inside the 10-yard line to win the game.
"The things that he talked about (Saturday night) are the fundamentals we try to instill in every player on this team from offseason programs throughout training camp and throughout the season," Taylor said. "His emotions were on his sleeves and it was good to see."
The win was the most important thing, but even before the game was over I was proud to see that the team came to play, and they played hard. Rex and the coaching staff did a phenomenal job getting everyone motivated. That "weak coach" (according to JI posters) got us a crucial win in Pittsburgh, something no other Jet coach has been able to do.
[QUOTE=Buzzsaw;3873836]The win was the most important thing, but even before the game was over I was proud to see that the team came to play, and they played hard. Rex and the coaching staff did a phenomenal job getting everyone motivated. That "weak coach" (according to JI posters) got us a crucial win in Pittsburgh, something no other Jet coach has been able to do.