The new Rex Ryan is a reduced-bluster coach, which is not quite the same thing as a bluster-free coach.
“I know what everybody’s thinking,” Ryan said Thursday at the start of his news conference at the scouting combine. “The return of the infamous Super Bowl guarantee.”
From the tone of Ryan’s introduction, it was clear that Punxsutawney Rex had seen his shadow: there would not be any guarantees this February, or any future February.
“Obviously, it was a huge mistake to make that guarantee,” Ryan said. He added that he thought last year’s prediction of a Super Bowl title, in the wake of the Jets’ back-to-back appearances in the A.F.C. championship game, would motivate and focus his players. “In hindsight, I think it put undue pressure on our team.”
Ryan took full responsibility for what he called a “terrible” Jets season, then set much lower goals for the Jets in 2012 than he has in the past. “We will be a team,” he said. “We will play as a team.” Ryan then offered some of the platitudes and gentle deflections that make up typical combine news conferences: praise for his players, promises to get better, votes of confidence for quarterback Mark Sanchez and receiver Santonio Holmes.