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Some More Thoughts on the Rex Power Surge


Damien Woody was one of the Jets players who showed up at the Atlantic Health Training Center on Wednesday for the kickoff of the Rex Ryan era of Green & White football.

Actually, the veteran tackle said he showed up late and didn't really catch much of the opening remarks.

"All I heard was one comment," he said. "Did he say something about 'If you take a swipe at one of ours, we'll take a swipe at two of yours'? Yeah. I like that."

Others on hand heard other things they liked a lot.

"He just exudes confidence," said wideout Chansi Stuckey. "He brings a different mentality. We're going to be a lot more aggressive on offense, defense and special teams.

"I'm excited," said safety Eric Smith. "He seemed real confident in his style. You can see the proof in Baltimore."

One thing that really caught my ear was something that Ryan's Ravens defense achieved this past season, which he offered up as he was letting Jets fans know they, too, will be pulling their weight on next season's defense.

"This year," Ryan said, "nobody scored more than 13 points against us at home, and I think that's the first time it's been done in 40 years in the NFL."

All true. Think about it. Holding eight opponents to 13 points or less — they also held all eight to one TD or less in each of those games. Sounds like maybe some other team did that, like the Bears of the Eighties, the Steelers of the Seventies? But no. The last team I found that equaled the Ravens' distinction was the 1962 Packers, who held their seven home foes to 13 or fewer points.

Here are the four NFL teams that held their opponents to fewer than 17 points in every home game in those last 40 seasons that Ryan mentioned (MPG–Most points allowed in a home game):

 Season Team Games  Points     Avg.       MPG  
 1969 Minnesota 7 69 9.9 14
 1977 Los Angeles 7 45 6.4 14
 1977 Atlanta 7 62 8.9 16
 2001 Pittsburgh 8 78 9.8 16
 2008 Baltimore 8 80 10.0 13

One team not on that list deserves to be, and is on other lists of this kind: the 1985 Chicago Bears. They gave up 28 points in the first half of their home opener to Tampa Bay. Then over the next 7½ regular-season home games, they yielded 46 points and five touchdowns, and followed that up with two home playoff shutouts.

The defensive coordinator of that Bears squad was, of course, Buddy Ryan, Rex's dad.

It goes without saying that when the new guy comes in, he's got a great honeymoon because his team won't play for about eight months, at the expense of the former coach's regime. This transition game has been personally a little tough on Woody, as he explained.

"One reason I came here was Eric Mangini," said Woody, who played on some of the same Patriots teams that Mangini coached on before moving on to the Lions and, this past off-season, the Jets. "At the same time, I've been in the league long enough to know it's a business. At some point everybody moves on. There's always going to be change. I'm going to come in, work hard, do what I've been doing, and be professional."

But Woody can't escape the power surge that Ryan has brought into the building.

"I feel like there's going to be more energy," he said. "And I feel the players will be apt to speak their minds a little bit more."

Another element of the regime change is the loosening of the language barrier. Mangini began in 2006 with an embargo on the P-word: playoffs. (He loosened up the past two years.)

Ryan, on the other hand, mentioned the Super Bowl directly and obliquely several times and, at an informal Q&A with writers after the news conference, gave a short PowerPoint demo with the SB Trophy gleaming on the second slide.

"I've been a part of both styles," he said. "At New England, the focus was one game at a time. In Detroit, the first thing Steve Mariucci posted on the screen was the Lombardi Trophy. That's the ultimate goal, that's what you play for. They're two contrasting styles."

And both have won Super Bowls. The Patriots have three, the Ravens have one, and the Ryan family (Rex, twin brother Rob and Buddy) have six.

XL Years Later, Joe's Still Super

Super Bowl III MVP Joe Namath and Super Bowl greats Lynn Swann, Roger Craig and John Elway will all be involved in ceremonies at Super Bowl XLII in Tampa a week from Sunday.

Namath will be a part of the Lombardi Trophy presentation following the game. Swannie, Craig and Elway will participate in the opening coin toss. The players selected come from teams that won Super Bowls 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago.

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