One of the best aspects of the Rex Ryan experience as an analyst will be hearing all the things he’ll say that conflict with the things he said when he was coaching the Bills and the Jets.
Here’s the latest, and perhaps most egregious to date, example of Rex engaging in revisionist history.
Now: “With [Mark] Sanchez, I knew he wasn’t going to be a franchise quarterback, but I thought he’d be good enough to win with.”
Then, from Play Like You Mean It (2011), Chapter 11, titled “Mark Sanchez":
“Coming into my first year as head coach with the Jets, we knew there was a pretty good chance that Brett Favre was planning to leave. If we were going to be successful, the most important person that we had to draft was someone who could lead. It had to be someone who could take control of this franchise. For a quarterback, we set our sights on Mark Sanchez.
“For the record, let me clarify that previous statement. [General Manager] Mike Tannenbaum and I set our sights on Mark Sanchez. Mike and I were determined to draft Sanchez. Of course, now that he’s become the first quarterback in NFL history to win four playoff games in his first two seasons, everyone in our organization says they wanted Mark!
“Who wouldn’t want to be responsible for making Mark a Jet? There isn’t a single person in the franchise who doesn’t respect him as a person and a player. Honestly, the kid is unbelievable. He’s not just a guy with GQ good looks and a good arm. He’s the real deal. He has all the intangibles: talent, charisma, intellect, and leadership abilities. I believe Mark’s going to be extraordinary in the NFL. I have believed that since I first met him. I refer to him as ‘my baby.’ I know that may not be the most masculine way to put it, but it’s the truth. He is absolutely my baby. He wasn’t just my first draft pick as an NFL head coach; he was the first of many important decisions I was going to make for this franchise. He’s my guy, and I’m damn proud of it!”
Ryan goes on to explain that, with the 17th pick in round one of the 2009 draft, the Jets believed they were too low to get Sanchez. So they traded up to No. 5 to get him. Which isn’t surprising based on what Ryan wrote in his book. But it is surprising based on what Ryan is saying now.
So which version is true? Since the action of trading up meshes more closely with the praise of Sanchez, it’s safe to say that Ryan claiming that he “knew Sanchez wasn’t going to be a franchise quarterback” is a load of crap (all due respect), aimed at shifting blame for the failures of the Ryan-led Jets away from him and toward others.
And it’s clear based on Rex’s own words from 2011 that Rex of 2017 is essentially, albeit unwittingly, blaming himself.