Rex Ryan bashes critics in team talk

Updated: January 8, 2011, 8:32 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- The world knows how Rex Ryan feels about the New York Jets' chances in the postseason. But the brash coach evidently doesn't think the world believes him.

Ryan played on that theme Friday night in his address to the team. In a typically fiery presentation at the Jets' suburban Indianapolis hotel, Ryan hammered the team's critics, according to people in the room. He showed video clips of TV types criticizing the team and their ultra-confident coach.

"[They were] dismissing us as a team that can't get it done," one player said.

The Jets get a chance to state their case Saturday night in an AFC wild-card game at Lucas Oil Stadium, where they meet the Indianapolis Colts in a rematch of the 2009 AFC Championship Game.

From the start of the offseason program last March, the Jets -- led by Ryan -- have proclaimed themselves on a Super Bowl-or-bust mission. They have made plenty of enemies along the way, becoming the villain of the NFL postseason.

On the eve of the game, Ryan wanted his players to hear "the doubters," as one player put it. So they sat in a darkened ballroom, watching one after another take shots at them. Can't do this, can't do that. Can't beat Peyton Manning. Can't back up the tough talk.

At the same time, Ryan's presentation featured highlight plays from the season, emphasizing "the level of commitment that it takes to win it all," another player said. "He was pointing out all the hard work we've put in the offseason all the way to this point. It really got the juices flowing."

Ryan is known for his inspirational eve-of-the-game speeches. The night before the Jets' victory last month in Pittsburgh, he got so wrapped up in the moment that several players said he was on the verge of tears.

But in the days leading up to the playoff opener, Ryan was his usual brash self in public, describing his "personal" war with Manning, predicting a Super Bowl run and even tweaking New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Behind closed doors, however, Ryan took a businesslike approach, focusing on the Colts and only the Colts -- a departure from last season.

When the Jets began the 2009 playoffs, they received a postseason itinerary that included the date of the Super Bowl victory parade in Lower Manhattan. This time, he stayed away from parade dates. Instead, he bashed the Jets' many critics.

No parades, just football.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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