Jets head coach Rex Ryan expects he and his team...

Jets head coach Rex Ryan expects he and his team will tone down the rhetoric as they prepare to face a Steelers team with whom they don't have a bitter rivalry. (Jan. 17, 2011) Credit: Joe Epstein

As always, Jets head coach Rex Ryan has interesting things to say whenever he opens his mouth. His interview with Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN Radio was no exception. In a wide-ranging interview with Kay, Ryan touched on a number of topics, including his extended meeting at mid-field with Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the Jets' 28-21 win over the Patriots on Sunday in Foxborough. 

Ryan wouldn't get into the specifics of the chat immediately after the game, and he didn't shed any more light on what was said with Kay. But he did say something interesting that leads you to believe he still doesn't command the kind of respect from Belichick he thinks he deserves. 

"I really don’t want to get into the specifics of it, but he knows that I have a great deal of respect for him and I don’t think that he has the same respect for me, but maybe one day he will," Ryan said in the interview, courtesy of "I know he respects the fact that I am a real football coach and he knows I’m going to give everything I can to the team.”

Ryan spoke about several other topics, including: 

* On how he takes the blame when the Jets lose, but passes the praise to the players when they win:

“I really think that if you’re a competitor, that’s how you look at things. The job of a coach is to prepare your players, get them ready each week. Clearly, I thought we were out-prepared … that Monday night game. … But the players came back and did a great job executing the plan. Their effort was tremendous.”

* On if it feels different going to the AFC title game this year as opposed to last:

“It does feel different. Last time, we were new to it. We had a rookie quarterback, obviously a rookie head coach, and it was like we had something to prove to the league. Even though we believed in ourself, we might not have been built to go all the way. … I still think our passing game is at a different level now than it was back then. … Last year we were just built on running it.”

* On Belichick benching Wes Welker to start the game due to his foot comments:
“That’s his football team, he can do whatever he wants with his team. Somebody said that he wasn’t starting, so we were like, ‘OK.’”

* How the idea came about to have Dennis Byrd give a speech the night before the game:

“What happened is he sent me the jersey and a note saying, basically, that he had waited 18 years but he thought it was the appropriate time and he thought I was the appropriate guy to give the jersey to. That blew me away. … I was reading the note and it talked about how that was such a huge thing in his life. … Immediately, we reached out to Dennis and he accepted our invitation to come speak to our team. I wanted our team to hear what he was telling me as well.”

* On how motivational speeches affect players:

“I think they do. I think what happens is if they know you’re speaking from the heart, a lot of times that message will hit home. If they just think it’s something you read out of a book … then maybe it doesn’t happen. … I never take a note, I don’t do anything when I speak to the team. It’s blunt-force trauma. I tell them what I believe and most of the time the message gets across.”

* If the Jets make it to the Super Bowl, will it be the toughest path ever to get there?:

“It’d be hard for me to see anyone who has taken a tougher route. All on the road. But again, if that’s what it takes to get there, then that’s what we’re committed to do.”

Whether he’s bothered by the fact that the attention of him being a great football coach is sometimes hidden by the fact that everyone sees him as a boisterous guy:

“No. Again, I’m not in it for that. I don’t need credit, I don’t need anything. I’ve been assistant coach of the year before, I’ve done different things. I think when you look at my background, the numbers may give you a different story than what you believe. My numbers, statistically, on defense, will stack up with anybody that’s ever coached this game. I understand I’m an excellent football coach, but the reason I’m an excellent coach is the fact that I work with great assistant coaches … and the players, most importantly.”

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