FLORHAM PARK, NJ – The New England Patriots tend to bring out the best in Rex Ryan.
At the microphone, that is.
Despite a 3-7 record against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, Ryan never seems to disappoint when discussing the rival Patriots.
Whether it was his refusal to kiss Belichick’s rings during his inaugural press conference or openly admitting he hates the Patriots and doesn’t care much for Brady, either, Ryan has a knack for saving his best performances for the podium.
And since the Jets and Pats face off at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Ryan was back to his old bag of tricks.
“Absolutely we respect them,” said Ryan of New England. “But we fear none of them. I can promise you that.”
Ryan did heap an extra helping of praise onto the Patriots, but didn’t mince words or non-verbal cues when discussing how the defense disrupted (or didn’t disrupt) Brady and his young receivers during their first matchup of the season on Sept. 12.
“It has nothing to do with us, I understand we were just out there,” said Ryan sarcastically. “Certainly that was well reported. We’ll get to see if some of those issues exist this week.”
Without the familiar faces of Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, Brady was visibly out of sync with his new receivers during his Week 2 matchup against the Jets, missing throws he’d normally make while letting them have it on the sideline.
Since then, Brady appears to have warmed to his new cast of characters, leading a game winning drive against the New Orleans Saints off a touchdown pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins.
But Ryan isn’t content with attributing Brady’s lackluster performance last time around to unfamiliarity or poor weather or any other excuse that has been conjured up recently.
“Well, I don’t know if that’s the case,” Ryan said, when asked if he thought the Jets defense might have had something to do with Brady’s struggles.
“Apparently it’s not,” he added, before finishing, facetiously, “It might have been, sure.”
Ryan’s bravado is not completely without merit as he has played the Patriots close during his tenure, with the exception of the buttfumble game and a 45-3 blow out loss on Monday Night Football in 2010.
But close doesn’t count for Ryan when he hasn’t made the playoffs in two years and has failed to take home a division title every year since coming to New York.
“Obviously you want to win. I want a championship. I want to win our division, no question,” said Ryan. “And the fact we haven’t done it, yeah absolutely, it’s a painful reminder.”
So, does that mean he’s ready to kiss Belichick’s rings?
“No, I haven’t,” said Ryan on a conference call to the New England media. “Maybe you have, but I haven’t and I never will.”