Patriots

Rex Ryan talking tough, as usual

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Rex Ryan talking tough, as usual

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Patriots fans who want Rex Ryan to shut up have to keep waiting.

On Wednesday morning, while New England slept under a foot of snow, the Jets head coach spoke with the media via conference call. His attitude was typical: unapologetic, outspoken and controversial.

"In this country you're allowed to have opinions and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said. "Obviously, as an organization we respect Tom Brady, there's no question about it. But is there dislike between us and Brady and Brady and the Jets? Of course there is.

"We're not apologizing for anything. Did we vote Brady to be the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl? Yeah, we did. There's plenty of respect without being all lovey-dovey. We have a right to our opinion. A comment like that is no big deal."

The treatise was Ryan's defense of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who, the coach says, will not be punished for calling Patriots QB Tom Brady an a------. And why would he be? Ryan has set the tone for this Jets team and speaking ones mind is at the heart of its weekly grind.

And that means taking subtle, or not so subtle, jabs at Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

"Maybe they do follow my lead in the fact that we can say what's on our mind or whatever. I don't say that, 'Whatever we do, don't say this or don't say that.' We're a transparent organization. We let our guys speak. We don't tell them what to say or what to say."

That one's an uppercut.

Of course, the tight-lipped Belichick won't even flinch, but that's not what Ryan is after anyway. His words are meant to be an injection of steel into the spines of his players and he's been doing it since boasting Super Bowl intentions on the first day of training camp.

Heading into a playoff matchup on New England's home turf, the Jets will need the confidence.

When the teams last met in Week 13, the Patriots inflicted a 45-3 beatingon New York. It was a complete turnaround from the 28-14 loss Belichick's team took in Game 2 and showcased a much-improved Pats defense and an unbridled Brady.

Ryan was forced to acknowledge the complete defeat ("It's the biggest butt-whipping I've taken as a coach in my career.") To shrug it off would have been ridiculous. And that's not Rex, right?

"Danny Woodhead is in football because of the New York Jets. It was an excellent pick-up for them."

Well, that's an odd way to describe waiving a player, isn't it. Classic Rex Ryan spin. Just a coach looking at the NFL world through hunter green-colored glasses.

"I'm not worried about their injuries," he said on the conference call. "We lost Kris Jenkins for the entire season and I don't know if they lost anyone as big as that. Statistically, they've improved since we played them last. They've got some big guys."

What about the injuries to Leigh Bodden, Kevin Faulk, Ty Warren and Mike Wright? They don't even register on Ryan's radar. Apparently, congratulations are due to Belichick and The Replacements for making the compensation for those roster hits look like a breeze.

But wait! Not so fast. Ryan didn't waste much time complimenting New England before bouncing back to his favorite vacation destination: his Happy Place.

"If you visit Revis Island, the success rate going to that island is not real good," the coach pontificated. "Brady knows that. He can look at a different matchup that he likes better than that matchup. This is a once-in-a-lifetime corner. He is, in my opinion, the best corner in football. It's not smart business to target him.

"I'm not worried about anything," he continued. "I'm concerned, but I'm not worried."

Not worried and not done talking. The only ridiculous thing, with regard to Rex Ryan, would be to expect otherwise.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

Julio Jones presents Johnson Bademosi opportunity to prove he's not niche player

None of us thought Johnson Bademosi would be starting this past Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Jets because -- well -- that’s not what we perceive the 27-year-old to be. He’s a special teamer. It’s how he’s made his mark in the NFL dating back to 2012 with Cleveland. So why would that change in mid-October for a team he’s only been with for six weeks? Because Bademosi is -- and has always been -- intent on proving he’s more than a niche player.

“I see myself as a football player,” he said, “and whatever position they put me in, I’m going to try to be the best because that’s how I operate and who I am as a person. Whether that’s as a cornerback, on special teams, if they ask me to play wildcat quarterback. Whatever…”

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Bill Belichick and his staff asked for Bademosi to go on the field and not come off. He played 73 defensive snaps in addition to his usual core four special teams duties. 

“I felt like I played a whole game,” Bademosi joked, before saying, “I love playing football so I’m going to go out there and empty myself.”

He did just that, getting targeted only two times in the 24-17 win over the Jets. It was hoped that Bademosi would return to his normal specialist role, but with Stephon Gilmore still out with a concussion, it now seems more and more likely that the sixth year pro will have to be an ironman again Sunday night in primetime against the Falcons. Historically, the Pats have defended bigger receivers. That means Bademosi may be responsible for one of the most dangerous players in the league, Julio Jones.

“He’s an amazing player," he said. “We all know what he’s capable of. As a defense, we have to be prepared for him.”

The Pats were on Super Bowl Sunday and Jones still made a couple of ridiculous plays with either Logan Ryan or Eric Rowe in coverage with safety help over the top.

“He’s fast. He’s physical. He can jump. He can run. He’s smart. He’s everything you want in a wide receiver,” said Bademosi without blinking an eye. That’s the kind of confidence you want from a player at that position and facing this type of challenge. 

“You gotta believe in yourself,” he said “ I’m confident in my abilities. I work hard and trust my preparation.”

Being an elite athlete certainly helps. Bademosi was a scholarship football player at Stanford -- “some guy named Jim Harbaugh called” -- before ending up in the NFL. But it’s Bademosi’s willingness to go all in in the film room that impressed safety Devin McCourty. 

“…I think, honestly, the most work he did was probably with just himself jumping into the film, watching more stuff to exactly see,” said McCourty Thursday. “You know, when you’re a backup more, you’re kind of trying to see everything because you don’t know what role you might be thrust upon once you’re in the game. But, I think once he knew he was starting, it was kind of like, ‘Alright, let me focus in on this.’ I thought he did an awesome job of just being ready and competing.”

Bademosi will have to compete his ass off Sunday night, even against what has been to this point a physically compromised Jones. Based on what he did several days ago, there’s no reason to believe the Pats cornerback won’t bring everything he has, trying to prove again that he’s more than just a special teams whiz.

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