New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Rex won't take bait on Obama
CORTLAND -- The media sat in stunned silence, unsure of what to make of the dead air.
Reporters anxiously had been awaiting Rex Ryan's comeback, certain he had stayed up all night crafting witty one-liners.
In his three previous seasons with the Jets, Ryan has never shied away away from an opportunity to be playfully insulting: he unleashed an unprovoked shot at Bill Belichick before his team ever took the field, and over the course of his tenure as head coach, he's delivered blows directed at MMA spectators, a chirpy Pats fan, and event Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder.
But when President Obama weighed in on the Tebow trade Thursday, expressing his concern over a imminent quarterback controversy -- Ryan bit his tongue.
It seems being the leader of the free world has its privileges.
“It’s funny," the coach said. "It shows how popular our game really is. Every single person has an opinion. And it seems like they have an opinion on our football team or whatever.
“It’s amazing,” Ryan continued, partly beaming, yet completely dumbfounded at the same time. “The President of the greatest country there is, and he’s talking about the New York football team. I’ll say this, I respect President Obama. And I respect the fact that this is his opinion.
The assembled media waited for the punch-line. But one never came.
“That’s it," he said. "And I’m not taking the layup and all that jazz. This is it.”
When probed further about the idea that two-quarterback systems are inherently flawed, Ryan stressed the Jets didn't have that type of structure.
“We’re a team," he said. "We have a starting quarterback, as clear-cut a starting quarterback as other teams. It’s Mark Sanchez as our starting quarterback.
"But we also have an athlete and a special talent in Tim Tebow, that allows us to do different things that maybe other teams don’t have. So we’re going to play Tim Tebow because it helps us. It’s going to help our football team win games. That’s how I feel about it.”
During the offseason, Ryan said the Jets planned to give Tebow around 20 snaps per game -- wouldn't divulge if their gameplan has changed. "All I know is they have to prepare for him and I know what that does to your preparation," he said, driving home the point that he wants to keep opponents guessing. "...If you don't prepare, the (offensive coordinator) Tony (Sparano) is probably going to run it 50 times on you."
As for Obama, the coach played coy when asked if he plans to remind the President about his comments should the Jets win the Super Bowl and make it to the White House.
Said Ryan: “Hey, I can’t go there with my 'President' comments because we know I haven’t see him yet."