Rex Ryan says he'll have a bigger role with the defense
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In his first two seasons as the Jets' coach, Rex Ryan was involved in many aspects of the defense. But in Year 3, he scaled back, preferring to do only "some" of the defensive play-calling instead of all of it. But Ryan will be a bystander no more.
Ryan reiterated Saturday that he'll run all of the walk-throughs, install all of the defenses and make all of the defensive play calls during the season -- just like he did in years past. But he also said that a return to his roots isn't a result of not trusting new defensive coordinator and longtime friend Dennis Thurman, who replaced Mike Pettine this offseason.
"It has nothing to do with Dennis' ability," said Ryan, whose voice carried on the practice field Saturday as he barked out assignments during Day 2 of rookie minicamp. "I mean, there's a reason for four straight years people wanted him to be their coordinator and we denied it every time. So it has nothing to do with Dennis' ability."
Ryan, who said the task of replacing seven starters on defense helped precipitate his decision, also said: "I'm going to go back to doing what I do, and that's teach and coach primarily on defense. We hired a great offensive coach. Will I be involved there? Of course. But I do my best down there on defense."
Last season, when Tony Sparano served as the offensive coordinator, Ryan made a point to say he would take a more hands-on approach with the unit. But in the end, the Jets' offense finished 30th in the NFL and Sparano was fired in January.
Marty Mornhinweg was hired as his replacement.
This season, however, Ryan said he's sticking to what he knows best.
"I think we're better served if I'm on the defensive side and making sure we've got the rules set the way I see it set," the Jets coach said.
Ryan insisted, however, that he'll also be involved in the offensive meeting room.
But how much remains to be seen.
"As I look at it, that's my offense, as well," he said. "Do I have a confidence level in Marty? Absolutely. How much I can contribute? I'm not sure. But certainly, I'll be involved in it and I'll understand what's going on. But I'm going to spend much more of my time on defense."