Bruins

Brady vs. Ryan: a tale of the tape

Brady vs. Ryan: a tale of the tape

By Jon Fucile
Special contributor to WickedGoodSports.com

Hes at it again. Oh, that zany Rex Ryan. He just cant get the Patriots out of his head. Even when hes not playing against them.

Yes, sexy Rexy just couldnt keep his mouth shut. Again. And not just at lunch. He began launching verbal assaults at the Patriots before the Jets even beat the Colts. When asked about facing Peyton Manning, Ryan needlessly took a shot at Brady and the Patriots:

"The guy is tremendous. There is no one else like this guy in the league. Nobody studies like him. I know Tom Brady thinks he does. I think there's probably a little more help from Bill Belichick with Brady than there is withPeyton Manning.

Ryans obsession with the Patriots and Brady borders on creepy. We heard a rumor that Rex Ryan paid big money to buy a set of game used Tom Brady underwear and will disappear for hours into his room with the undergarments.

It almost seems like Rex Ryan knows he cant beat Brady in a playoff situation so has to talk about it out loud to anyone who will listen in order to convince himself. Right now Rex is probably talking to Sanchez about an elaborate plan to kidnap Brady Celtic Pride style so Brady cant play Sunday.

But hey if Rex wants to challenge Brady, fine. But putting our bias aside, who would really win? Lets check the tale of the tape and find out.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND ACCOLADES
Tom Brady
Three Super Bowl victories, two Super Bowl MVP awards, most career Super Bowl completions, fastest quarterback to reach 100 wins, most touchdown passes in a season, super model wife with a man face the list goes on and on and on. Like Rex Ryans stomach.

Rex Ryan
Won a Super Bowl as defensive coordinator with a Ravens team that couldve won with a monkey coaching, North American hot dog eating champion, holds record for most times stuck in a revolving door in a single year and was the inspiration for the game Hungry Hungry Hippos when a Milton Bradley employee got the idea after seeing Rex Ryan at Old Country Buffet one day.

SCORE: Brady 1, Ryan 0
PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES

Tom Brady
Brady is often described as fit and trim and has one of those butt chins that makes the ladies swoon. Rex Ry, um, some girls have even said Bradys face was chiseled by the gods themselves. Brady has been known to occasionally run laps at practice without getting winded or bend down without splitting his favorite slacks. Women have been known to get violent for a chance to get at Brady.

Rex Ryan
Ryan loves his wifes feet so much because he hasnt seen his own since 1962. People walk up to him on the street and ask him when the baby is due. At the zoo, elephants go wild and use their trunks to make whistling noises when he walks by. He gets winded while driving. Winnie the Pooh started doing his stoutness exercises when someone told him he was starting to look like Rex Ryan. Ryans physique can best be described as a combination between Orpah and Jabba the Hutt.

SCORE: Brady 2, Ryan 0

STUDY HABITS

Tom Brady
Rex Ryan has accused Brady of not studying hard enough, but Bradys record pretty much speaks for itself. From his winning record to his streak of passes without an interception, Brady obviously studies opposing defenses enough to completely rip them apart.

Rex Ryan
The only thing Rex Ryan studies is the Dennys menu.

SCORE: Brady 3, Ryan 0
ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF FOOTBALL

Tom Brady
Brady knows football. That seems to be it. Oh and models. He knows those. But he doesnt seem to have any non-football athletic accomplishments when hes not embarrassing defenses on the field. Rexy on the other hand.
Rex Ryan
Rex might have won 10 Super Bowls in a row in his head, but in reality hes actually a ten time Sumo Wrestling champion. He was recently banned from Japan because Japanese officials thought he was juicing his stomach, and said there was no way a man could be that out of shape naturally. Sorry Japan that is all Rex and your Sumo warriors simply dont compare.

SCORE: Brady 3, Ryan 1

WHAT ABOUT THE ANIMALS?
Tom Brady
Brady might be intense and mean on the field sometimes but off the field hes a kind, gentle soul. He loves all animals, big and small. He even loves farm animals and has been known to take in sick goats and nurse them back to health. Hes one hell of a guy.

Rex Ryan
Rex is the exact opposite. His hunger knows no bounds. Not even animals are safe. Were not talking about steak or bacon. Not even cow hooves in Rexs case. Rex Ryan loves to eat poor, innocent puppies and kitties!!!

Terrible. What kind of human being would do something like this?!?!
SCORE: Brady 4, Ryan 1

We could go on and on.

The fact is Brady and the Patriots do their talking on the field, while Rex Ryan resorts to name calling and publicly calling out his opponents in a futile attempt to draw attention away from that fact that his team really isnt that good and is lucky to be where they are. He can call out every Patriot he wants. New Englands track record speaks for itself Rexy. See you Sunday.

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

Julien thankful for B's video tribute, 'happy he can move on'

BOSTON – It was the final piece of closure for former Bruins coach Claude Julien when he made his return to TD Garden for the first time as the bench boss for the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night. Julien stood on the visiting bench, watched a first period video tribute of appreciation for his 10 years guiding the Bruins and then received the warm, thankful ovation from the B’s fans that still very much appreciate his efforts that resulted in a 2011 Stanley Cup title. 

Unfortunately for him and the Canadiens he also presided over a lifeless, limp effort from his Montreal club in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins where his team simply couldn’t derive any emotion or juice from his return to Boston. Julien said in both French and English that that his Habs simply “laid an egg” on the road, and that was disappointing for him given that Montreal already has its back against the wall for a possible playoff spot. 

Instead Julien’s biggest bright spot in the game turned out to be the video tribute from the Bruins midway through the first period, for which he was greatly appreciative. 

“It’s always something that you kind of dread a little bit because it’s a little emotional, and at the same time [you’re] trying to keep your emotions intact there so you can coach a game and stuff like that. But, you know, I appreciate what they did for me,” said Julien following his second loss to the Bruins in five days. “As I said, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about this organization that gave me the opportunity to spend 10 years here. At the same time I’m kind of happy it’s over so we can move on now, but that doesn’t mean you forget what’s happened here. It’s always going to be with you. But now I’m in another chapter of my coaching career, and I’ve got to think about that.”

Julien’s counterpart, Bruce Cassidy, called the video tribute a “classy move” by the Bruins organization after the game had been settled, and there’s no doubting it was the right move for a coach that won over 400 games during his 10 years leading the Bruins. It was also the final chapter in his Bruins book as Julien now has completely moved on to his new gig guiding the Canadiens where it seems like his work is most definitely cut out for him. 

Will the real Jaguars defense please stand up?

jaguars_steelers.jpg

Will the real Jaguars defense please stand up?

FOXBORO -- Are we giving the Jaguars defense too much credit?

The numbers, on the surface, paint Jacksonville's defense as one of the best the NFL has seen in years. They finished the season as the league's top passing defense in terms of yards allowed, and they were second when it came to points allowed, total yards and sacks.

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Then there are the postseason awards that have been bestowed upon their defensive regulars. Jalen Ramsey, AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson have all been named Pro Bowlers. Ramsey and Campbell are First-Team All-Pros, while Bouye and Telvin Smith are Second-Teamers. Campbell is in the running for Defensive Player of the Year. 

So why, then, is there this lingering feeling that the Jaguars defense isn't all it's cracked up to be? They allowed Ben Roethlisberger to heave his way to 42 points in the Divisional Round. In Week 16, they gave up 44 to Jimmy Garoppolo and the Niners. Hell, Blaine Gabbert and the Cardinals put up 27 and beat them in Week 12. 

Those results don't exactly scream "all-time defense." So what is Jacksonville? Overrated? Properly rated? 

One thing is for certain: The Jags played an easy schedule. The combined winning percentage of their opponents in 2017 was a league-low 44 percent. And when it comes to the defense in particular, they had the second-easiest schedule in the league, according to Football Outsiders. It didn't hurt that they were able to play the Colts with Jacoby Brissett, the Texans before Deshaun Watson became a star and after he got hurt, and the NFL's No. 23-ranked Titans offense. Twice. Each. They also got the Ravens (No. 27 offense), Jets (No. 28), Bengals (No. 32), Browns (No. 24) and Cardinals (No. 22). Add it all up and that's nine games -- more than half their schedule -- against bottom-third NFL offenses. Two more games came against a Houston offense that featured starting quarterbacks Tom Savage and TJ Yates. 

When you dig into the analytics it's harder to find ways to poke holes in Jacksonville's credibility as a top-tier defensive unit. Pro Football Focus grades the Jags as their No. 1 defense, and it's really not close. Football Outsiders calls them their No. 1 defense in terms of DVOA. Even when you factor in some of its recent performances -- like letdowns versus the Steelers and Niners -- Jacksonville is still the league's No. 4 defense in weighted DVOA, which is adjusted so that games that were played earlier in the season are gradually less important. 

At the same time, the analytics can be occasionally unkind to the Jaguars. Football Outsiders has them ranked as one of the most inconsistent defenses in the league. According to their variance statistic, Jacksonville is the fourth most inconsistent defense in football. A deeper dive into the numbers has also located an apparent soft underbelly of the Jaguars defense. Per Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis, the Jaguars are dominant against three-receiver sets -- No. 1 in the league, in fact -- but they're the No. 23 defense in the NFL when it comes to defending personnel groupings that feature one or two wide receivers. That would explain, in part, why the Titans (who Sharp rated as the least-likely team to employ three-receiver sets this season) and Niners (who went with more "21" and "12" personnel looks late in the season) were able to beat the Jaguars. 

The most difficult argument against the legitimacy of the Jaguars' defensive rankings is the talent they put on the field on a weekly basis. Their roster, defensively at least, stacks up with some of the most imposing defensive units in recent memory. The Seahawks had four First and Second-Team All-Pros on their defense in 2014. The Broncos defense had five Pro Bowlers in 2015. The Jaguars have five players who were named either All-Pros or Pro Bowlers or both this year, and they probably should've had a sixth in pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who recorded 12 sacks (eighth in the NFL) and a league-best six forced fumbles. 

The verdict? The Jaguars defense is loaded with blue-chip players. It will be the best unit the Patriots offense has seen this year. But they have been inconsistent, they have holes -- which we touched upon in this week's Quick Slants the Podcast with Jerod Mayo -- and there remains the very real possibility that Tom Brady and his teammates will light up the Gillette Stadium scoreboard on Sunday. 

Now, is Brady healthy? Good question. Will he have enough time to throw? We'll see. But if the answer to both of those questions is "yes" (or "enough"), then the Patriots should be headed to Minnesota. This Jaguars defense is very good, but it's far from inpenetrable.

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