Describing the game of wits that goes on between defensive coordinators and Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, Jets coach Rex Ryan sounded as though he ranked Manning a notch ahead of Patriots QB Tom Brady in terms of the degree of control they exercise on the field how well they recognize what the defense is doing. It might be splitting hairs, but if the Jets manage to get past the Colts in Saturday's first-round playoff game, Ryan's "diss" of Brady, if you could call it that, is bound to come up.
Here's how Ryan described the way Manning takes charge of the offense: "He's not just a coach on the field. You give the coaching community too much credit. This guy is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game, and he's one of the smartest guys. He's not just a coach dialing up plays. He dials his own plays up.
"Each play has three options. He comes up [to center], 'Okay, I'm going to take option 1. No, forget those options. I'm going to option 4.' This is who he is. There's nobody like this guy in the league.
"Nobody studies like him. I know Brady thinks he does. But I think there's probably a little more help from [head coach Bill] Belichick with Brady. With Peyton Manning, [former offensive coordinator] Tom Moore has done a great job with him forever and [Colts head coach Jim] Caldwell and Tony Dungy, but it's Peyton Manning."
Of course, Brady won his last meeting with the Jets, 45-3, which just shows how good he is in concert with Belichick.
Ryan touched on a variety of other subjects today, including the loud music and crowd noise the Jets have been playing during practice all week in their indoor facility to get ready for the environment in Lucas Oil Stadium, a domed venue known for its decibel level.
"I don't pick out the music," Ryan said. "That's not off my i-Pod because there would be a lot of country on there. If it gets louder than that, I don't know if that's possible. I shouldn't say that because it gets pretty loud in that stadium, but the crowd noise is blasting as loud as it can from one side [in practice] and music from the other side. It's like 'Oh, can we stop this already?' But we try to make practice as difficult as you can. That way, in a game, it's the same or even easier."
In last year's AFC title game, Drew Coleman was one of the Jets' defensive backs whose assigned receiver gained more than 100 yards. But Ryan said Coleman, who is having an excellent comeback season, will be the nickel back against the Colts. Of course, the Jets also will use Marquice Cole, Kyle Wilson and Dwight Lowery as extra defensive backs in different alignments, but Coleman will be in a key role.
Asked if he's afraid Manning will target Coleman again, Ryan said, "I'm not afraid of that. Peyton is going to who he thinks he has the best matchup with. If that's Drew Coleman, so be it. I think we'll be ready for the challenge."