D-Rex has hit the ground running, and it's been an impressive debut.
Of course, most new head coaches for most pro sports franchises and major athletic programs at major colleges also make impressive debuts. But Rex Ryan, in his whirlwind of media and organizational activity here at the Atlantic Health Training Center today, is well aware of his words.
Asked if he truly believed, at the top of his 10 a.m. news conference being introduced as the Jets' new head coach, that his players would be meeting another new head of state, President Obama, in a few years as Super Bowl champions, he replied:
"Absolutely, I believe it. I planned on saying it. I'm not afraid of the expectations being high. They should be high."
"My goal," he said during an informal Q&A with reporters in the second-floor boardroom following the news conference, "is to win the Super Bowl, not just win 'X' amount of games. You look at this conference. There's Tom Brady and Bill Belichick — that's competitive right there. Bill Parcells leading the Miami Dolphins? It doesn't get much better than that.
"But I'll meet 'em head-on."
Speaking of Parcells, who coached the Jets from 1997-99 and served as GM in 2000 before leaving ultimately for parts southwest, Ryan and Bill have a great relationship.
"Bill is kind of like a mentor to me," Rex said. "The first time I met him was last year. We're both football people. I almost look at him like I do my father."
That would be Buddy Ryan, the architect of the Bears' "46" defense and a .500 head coach (55-55-1) in seven seasons combined as head coach of the Eagles and Cardinals, which led to another Rex observation.
"My dad's considered one of the greatest defensive minds in the league. I'm not there yet," the son said. "But I want to be a better head coach than my dad. I'm not afraid to say it."
Rex Ryan isn't afraid to say much of anything. He's already labeled Darrelle Revis "the best cornerback in football," likened Kerry Rhodes to the Ravens' Ed Reed, and said of Vernon Gholston, last year's sixth overall pick of the draft, "We hope Vernon can be a great player. We expect him to be a great player. If he can't do it for me, he's never going to do it."
Ryan even, in his empowering way, has challenged Jets fans.
"I think our fans are part of our defense in particular," he said. "Obviously, they're a part of our whole team, but you can see the value of your fans in how you play defense at home. I bring this up because I'm excited about this opportunity. This is going to be great. This is a great marriage. The style of defense we're going to play with our fans — whoooo, it's going to be rough on people."
Eric Allen will have more on Rex's first day in the green and white spotlight shortly.