New York Minute

September 18, 2009 12:51 PM

Jets, Ryan Not Afraid to Tweak Patriots

If any body is surprised by the tactics Jets coach Rex Ryan has used to prepare his team for Sunday’s game against the Patriots, they haven’t been paying attention.

One of the first things Ryan said when he landed the head coaching job was he didn’t plan to “kiss Belichick’s rings”, alluding to Patriots coach Bill Belichick.

The teams meet for the first time since that statement on Sunday at Giants Stadium, and Ryan hasn’t backed down from that comment. He has brought a new attitude to the Jets, a bold approach that runs contrary to just about every thing Belichick stands for.

Ryan went so far as to record a message this week for Jets season-ticket holders, asking them to make things difficult for the Patriots and their stud quarterback, Tom Brady. The fans have seen enough of the Patriots winning at the Meadowlands, where they have walked off with eight consecutive victories over the Jets. The last time the Jets beat New England at home was in 2000.

"I’ve always challenged our players, as you know," Ryan said Wednesday. "And I've challenged our fans. I want our fans to be a factor in this game to help our defense out, make it loud and make the communication tough.

"I know Brady has seen it all before, but still, let’s look like we have about 13 or 14 guys out there. It would be great. Sometimes I’ve seen that happen where it gets so loud — it just takes one guy to miss a check. And so I’m challenging our fans to maybe be the difference in the game this week."

Ryan’s attitude has rubbed off on his players. Safety Kerry Rhodes said in The Daily News on Thursday that he merely doesn’t want to beat the Patriots, he wants to “embarrass” them.

That’s fine with Ryan, who likes to talk the talk. Sunday, we’ll see if his team can walk the walk.

The Patriots, following the cue of the keep-it-zipped Belichick, have refused to be drawn into the war of words. There’s not a whole lot of talking come out of Foxborough, but then again, you don’t expect a lot. Belichick never gives any team bulletin board fodder, and certainly won’t give any to the Jets.

“Our main focus is us and what we need to take care of as a team. We try not to pay attention to everything else,” wide receiver Wes Welker said.

That attitude plays well for the Patriots, but the Jets needed a new attitude, and Ryan has given it to them. Even if it doesn’t result in a victory on Sunday, at least Ryan has made the Jets an interesting franchise. After several years under the rudder-less leadership of Eric Mangini, that’s certainly a welcome sign.

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