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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan and Woody Johnson met the media Tuesday, wearing Jets-green ties and presenting an unusually united front for a coach and owner coming off an abysmal season that produced far more in the way of turbulence than touchdowns.

The general manager is gone, along with the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators.

Ryan isn't going anywhere because Johnson really likes him.

More than that, ``I trust him,'' Johnson said.

``I think Rex is perfect for the New York Jets,'' he said. ``He is 100 percent this team.''

So, basking in that comfort zone, Ryan laid out his plans for the future of the 6-10 New York Jets, speaking mostly in generalities and giving few, if any, specifics about two guys named Sanchez and Tebow.

Ryan made big, bold pronouncements - the kind he made when he was hired four years ago:

- ``We are going to be a dangerous football team. I can promise you that. I'm going to tell you, you're not going to want to play the Jets.''

- ``We're not going to be bullied. Fans don't like for their team to be embarrassed. We were embarrassed at times last year. That's not going to happen. We might not win every game, and no team does. But you've got to stand for something. We're going to be the team you don't want to play.''

He managed to stop short of guaranteeing a Super Bowl trip.

Ryan told the packed press conference room at the training facility that, yes, he thought he might get fired after the season because he ``failed'' to leave his imprint on all aspects of the team, particularly on offense. That, and perhaps the fact the Jets haven't made the playoffs in two straight seasons.

``I don't think I've done as good a job of implementing who I am throughout this team,'' Ryan said. ``I want a physical, aggressive, attack style.''

To get it, he's wiping the slate clean, zoning out all the bad vibes tied to Mark Sanchez being an ineffective starting quarterback and leader, and Tim Tebow being his invisible backup.

``I'm approaching this day like it's the first day. Period,'' Ryan said. ``Like my first day as a head coach. This is a new chance for me. This is a beginning, certainly not an end.''

It was the end for general manager Mike Tannenbaum and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who were both fired, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract was not renewed, and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, who retired.

Johnson said Ryan will have a say in hiring the new GM. San Francisco director of player personnel Tom Gamble has been considered by many to be the front-runner, but he has attracted interest from several teams. So has Atlanta director of player personnel David Caldwell, who was hired Tuesday by Jacksonville.

The team also met with Marc Ross, the Giants' director of college scouting, and in-house candidate Scott Cohen, the Jets' assistant GM. Johnson acknowledged that the team has told candidates they will have to be willing to work with Ryan, who brushed off any talk that he could be considered a lame-duck coach.

``I'm pretty sure I'll have the exact same agenda as the general manager,'' Ryan said. ``We want to win.''

Sparano was fired Tuesday after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst, and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is also out after four seasons.

``I have failed in that area,'' Ryan said.

Neither Sparano nor Cavanaugh could get Sanchez to make the next step in his development, and the quarterback actually regressed this season - culminating in the first benching of his career. Sanchez's 52 turnovers the last two seasons are the most in the NFL. Ryan and Johnson insisted money wouldn't factor into any decisions on personnel - despite the fact Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guarantees and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit if they cut him.

``We'll play the player that fits what we do best,'' Ryan said, refusing to commit to Sanchez.

The Jets also couldn't figure out a way to effectively use Tebow, who failed to get into the end zone all season and stood mostly on the sideline, though he was supposed to be a major part of Sparano's offense. Tebow is expected to be traded or released - but personnel moves will largely depend on the next general manager.

``It is way too early to say what any of our players' futures are,'' Ryan said.

Ryan hinted that Pettine's replacement would come from within the franchise, likely secondary coach Dennis Thurman. Westhoff will be replaced by his assistant, Ben Kotwica.

Ryan's much-discussed tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey - photographed while he was vacationing in the Bahamas - also came up. The coach laughed at the question, saying he's had it on his right arm for nearly three years.

``I know what you're thinking. Obviously, if Sanchez doesn't play better that number is changing,'' Ryan said with a laugh. ``I've been married 25 years and, in my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.''

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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