September 27, 2011
The New York Jets' first loss of the year has Jets legend Joe Namath and Jets head coach Rex Ryan engaged in a some minor sniping. Joe Namath had a theory about why the Jets didn't play very well against the Raiders, and it wasn't entirely flattering of the head coach.
"It's rather alarming," Namath said on the Michael Kay Show. "It starts at the top. Coach Rex Ryan, he's been doing a great job, getting us to two conference championship games, but there's one thing about the athlete: You keep telling him how good he is, he's going to start believing it to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should." [...]
"I think these guys might be believing that they're better than they are," Namath said. "Rex has been the only coach that we know, in maybe the history of the game that I'm familiar with, that keeps continually telling his guys how good they are. … I think they've got to remember that there's room for improvement."
Via Conor Orr at The Star-Ledger, Rex voiced his disagreement with Namath's assessment.
"I just, you know, I welcome him to come out here and watch our guys prepare," Ryan said. "He can see a team that, in my opinion, prepares as well as any team I've ever been around, so I disagree with him.
"So, I'm not going to change who I am just because Joe Namath said something. Joe Namath can come in here and if he can still throw, we'll have him as a backup quarterback. He doesn't know our team, he's on the outside. Even though he's a Jet, and once you're a Jet you're always a Jet, he's on the outside. He's not in these meetings. I think if he was, he'd be shocked with our preparation."
Namath will always have the respect and adoration of Jets universe, but he can't win this argument. Rex is right, and really, this one fact trumps all: Namath isn't there. He's not at practice every day, so he doesn't know.
It's not that his opinion is worthless, because he is a legend, and is as closely tied to the Jets as any retired athlete is to any team. And Rex's approach to coaching isn't the standard one. He's a very player-friendly guy who pumps his own guys up constantly. That's not the norm today, and it certainly wasn't during Namath's day.
It's also worth mentioning that we're talking about a Week 3 road loss to a quality team here. The Jets are still 2-1, so maybe everyone can calm down just a little bit. Rex Ryan has made two AFC championship games with Mark Sanchez(notes) as his quarterback, and he drops one early season game to the Raiders, and all the sudden, his style is no longer effective?
Let perspective be our friend. It's not alarming. It's September.
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