We can learn a little more about new Jets head coach Rex Ryan by listening to the words of two of his now former players.
One of them, linebacker Adalius Thomas, left the Baltimore Ravens before Ryan did, to join the New England Patriots before the 2007 season. And when the Ravens were about to try to derail the Patriots' undefeated regular season early that December, Thomas attempted to assist in preparing QB Tom Brady for what Ryan's defense was going to unleash on him.
"I tried to help Tom during the week," Thomas recalled. "But ultimately I told him to expect everything."
Brady no doubt did expect everything, but it was almost too much. The Pats pulled out the 27-24 victory for Win No. 12, but Brady had very human numbers: a 47.4 percent completion rate (18-for-38) that was the fifth-lowest of his career, and a 76.8 passer rating.
The other player we'd like to cite up here is DT Trevor Pryce, who was left behind when Ryan agreed to move up I-95 to take over the Jets fortunes. Before the talks with the Jets heated up, Pryce was asked about his DC's future.
"If he becomes a head coach," Pryce said, "I'm going to find out and I'm going with him."
Here are some more quotes from Baltimore players and coaches who came in contact with Ryan during his phenomenally successful reign over the Ravens' defense.
LB RAY LEWIS
"Rex is the guru. He's not afraid to be different and move guys around to take advantage of our athletic ability. He trusts us that much."
HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
This is a great football coach and even a better person. Rex is going to be a great head coach in the NFL, without a doubt. He's got all the talent, all the ability to do it. He's built something here that is one of the best in the National Football League, and that's the foundation for us to stand on."
S ED REED
"Defense is a tradition here at the Ravens, and I'm just proud to be a part of it. Yes, we try to go out and dominate, but we do it in a structure that is well-coached and proven."
CB SAMARI ROLLE
"Rex is a better person than coach. He cares about you, and he keeps us under control. We're his guys. I mean, look at this locker room. There are some strong personalities on this defense to deal with, real strong personalities. But Rex handles it. He's got a strong personality, too. Nobody disrespects Rex — nobody. We all play for him."
DT TREVOR PRYCE
"It has a lot to do with Rex putting us all in positions to make plays. He takes advantage of our skills and keeps everyone happy by calling plays to give us all a chance to be a hero. It's fun."
S JIM LEONHARD
"Guys would run in front of a bus for Rex. We'd do anything for Rex."
FORMER CB GARY BAXTER
"Every time he gets up to speak in a defensive meeting room, all eyes and ears belong to him."
GENERAL MANAGER OZZIE NEWSOME
"Rex has always been a gym rat for football. It's not work for him. It's pure enjoyment."
LB TERRELL SUGGS
"You want to give your heart out for Rex. I don't know what it is about him, but I hope he never changes. That's exactly why in a heartbeat, no matter what he'll ask me to do, I'll do it. I love Rex Ryan."