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Rex Ryan's bravado is brilliant

Columnist Jenni Carlson writes that while Jets coach and Oklahoma native Rex Ryan can be brash, he is also very smart for saying the things he says.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: January 17, 2011 at 6:19 pm •  Published: January 17, 2011

Rex Ryan is many things.

Outspoken. Bombastic. Playful.

Brash. Irreverent. Spirited.

But he is no dummy.

The New York Jets coach has caused many brows to furrow and many eyes to roll because of some of the things he's said. Every time he steps behind a microphone is reason to make sure there are fresh batteries in the tape recorder, but of late, he's been in rare form, calling out two legendary quarterbacks and one illustrious coach.

It's been genius.

Oh, plenty of folks would have you believe that the Oklahoma native who played football at Southwestern Oklahoma State is some sort of buffoon. That couldn't be further from the truth.

The proof is in the results — the Jets have gone on the road as underdogs the first two weeks of the NFL Playoffs but now stand only one win away from the Super Bowl.

Credit the players and the assistants, but give Ryan his due, too.

His bravado has been brilliant.

“I don't do anything by accident,” he told reporters last week. “I'll know what I'm saying and what the reasons are behind it.

“Sometimes, it works, and sometimes, it doesn't.”

It sure seems to work more often than not for Ryan.

A year ago when his Jets battled their way into the playoffs — Ryan himself had pronounced their postseason hopes dead only a month and a half earlier — he distributed a detailed playoff schedule before their opening-round game against the Bengals. It wasn't just for the Cincinnati game but for a playoff run that culminated with a Super Bowl victory. It even included a date for the Jets' victory parade in New York City's famed Canyon of Heroes.

The whole thing put the focus on Ryan and took the spotlight off his inexperienced quarterback.

The result: a pair of playoff wins and an appearance in the AFC Championship game.

This postseason, Ryan has been at it again, but this time, he's made things “personal.”

Before the Jets' wild card game against the Colts, Ryan was reminded of the two times that Indianapolis had knocked him out of the playoffs. The first was in the divisional round in 2006 when he was the Ravens defensive coordinator, the second in the AFC Championship Game a year ago when he was a rookie head coach with the Jets.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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