Just got out of Rex Ryan's post-practice press conference, and as you can imagine, he was his usual excitable self following a chance for the Jets to interact with fans for the first time in New Meadowlands Stadium today. The club estimated a crowd of 12,000 fans, and they were remarkably loud in a stadium that seems like it will hold in the sound and with the seats so close to the field.
"Wow!" Ryan gushed. "This is an amazing stadium, how loud it was just at practice. You can imagine what it will be like when you're up in the fourth quarter. This is an amazing stadium for us."
Ryan called the practice a "great conclusion to a tremendous offseason" in which 29 players set personal strength records."
The head coach then invited the inevitable question about his meeting on Tuesday with cornerback Darrelle Revis about his "light-headedness" during a minicamp workout, which really equated to a work slowdown by a player seeking a new contract before training camp.
"We had a great talk for about an hour," Ryan said. "We see eye to eye on everything, on the way he competes on the field. Whether he's here for training camp, that's a personal decision. I believe Darrelle Revis is the best cornerback in football."
Ryan called Revis' actions "out of character" and added that everyone has to pull in the same direction to achieve the Super Bowl goal.
Asked if the players might see a disconnect between his high praise of players like Revis and all-Pro center Nick Mangold, another potential holdout, and the decision of management to go slow in negotiations, Ryan said: "I'm being honest. I'm going to be myself. Is it the best thing for [general manager] Mike Tannenbaum? Probably not. But I would lose all credibility if I wasn't myself."
Speaking of praise, Ryan had plenty for quarterback Mark Sanchez, who spent most of the offseason recovering from knee surgery. "No player I've ever had worked as hard as Mark Sanchez. No player," Ryan said. "Even in the weight room." With a sly smile, Ryan added, "he's not as soft as he was." But it was in the classroom, the coach said, where Sanchez made "incredible strides. He's a born leader, and you see players recognizing that fact."
Ryan went on to suggest the Jets will be a more balanced offense between run and pass than they were a year ago as the NFL's rushing leader. He suggested it won't be as hard to sell his vision of the Jets as a Super Bowl team this coming season and said he believes they have what it takes to achieve that on the roster right now.
But it came with one caveat. "We have to get a lot better in the division," Ryan admitted. "We only won two division games last year, and we're going to talk about that."