Jets welcome Ryan to New York

Updated: January 22, 2009, 6:44 PM ET
Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Making one bold declaration after another, Rex Ryan gave his vision for the New York Jets: a Super Bowl trophy and a White House visit.

"With all the cameras and all that, I was looking for our new president back there," Ryan said with a big, bright smile Wednesday, moments after being introduced as the team's head coach.

Rex Ryan
AP Photo/Mike DererRex Ryan inherits a Jets team that started 8-3 but fell short of the playoffs.

"You know," he added, "I think we'll get to meet him in the next couple years anyway."

Whoa! Talk about putting pressure on yourself. After all, this is a franchise that hasn't been to a Super Bowl since his father, Buddy, was an assistant on the 1969 champions.

"I'm not afraid of expectations," the 46-year-old Ryan said. "My goal is to win a Super Bowl. It's not to just win X number of games."

And that sounded like the perfect game plan to an excited Woody Johnson.

"Why else are we here?" the Jets owner asked. "Yee-haw! That's good."

Ryan, Baltimore's defensive coordinator the last four seasons, said all the right things in meeting with the media for the first time since being hired Monday to replace the fired Eric Mangini.

"We want to be known as the most physical football team in the NFL," Ryan said. "The players will have each other's backs, and if you take a swipe at one of ours, we'll take a swipe at two of yours."

More big statements from the big man now in charge of turning around a franchise that's parched for a title.

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After spending big bucks in the offseason, trading for Brett Favre and starting out 8-3 last season, the Jets were talked about as a potential Super Bowl team. Then came the late-season collapse in which the team lost four of its last five and stunningly missed the playoffs.

"We expect to win," Ryan said. "We have a lot of talent here that's already in place."

Several of those players attended Ryan's press conference, including cornerback Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, who wanted to get a first look at their new coach.

"He's relaxed and he's not tense," Revis said when asked to compare Ryan with Mangini. "He's exciting and you can just tell he's going to bring a lot of stuff over here that we'll like."

Whether Favre is a part of this team remains uncertain. The 39-year-old quarterback is mulling retirement again after tearing a biceps muscle and throwing nine interceptions in the Jets' last five games.

"I would think anybody would want him as their quarterback," Ryan said, adding that he planned to speak to each one of the players during the next several days, including Favre.

Ryan, who signed a four-year deal reportedly worth $11.6 million, has already started assembling his coaching staff, announcing that he hired Ravens outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine as his defensive coordinator. Pettine, who spent seven years as an assistant in Baltimore, will replace Bob Sutton.

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff will be retained, and Ryan hopes to have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer on his staff. Both Callahan and Schottenheimer were beaten out for the job by Ryan in a lengthy interview process by the Jets. Ryan said he would meet with Schottenheimer during the next few days.

It became apparent Ryan was at the top of the Jets' list of candidates when several other teams filled coaching vacancies and New York's remained open. The Jets needed Baltimore's season to end -- which happened Sunday with a 23-14 loss to the Steelers -- before offering him the job.

"I think you saw a coach that was very comfortable in his own skin," Johnson said.

Ryan sat with beat writers in a conference room after the introductory news conference for more than a half-hour, answering questions, cracking jokes and showing off an impressive PowerPoint presentation detailing the team's goals and philosophy. He also talked about how he still sometimes seeks advice from his father, a longtime NFL assistant who had head coaching jobs with Philadelphia and Arizona.

"I know my dad is known as one of the best defensive coaches in the history of this league," Ryan said. "I want to be a better head coach than my father."

Buddy Ryan had some advice for Rex.

"I told him the Jets were my team, just don't [mess] them up," Buddy Ryan said during a phone interview with The Associated Press.

The 74-year-old Ryan, now retired and living in Kentucky, said he doesn't expect it to take long for his son to put his own stamp on the team.

"He's qualified and certified," Buddy Ryan said. "They did theirselves a good favor by hiring him. He's happy with the job, that's what he wanted."

Rex Ryan, the twin brother of Cleveland defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, has no previous head coaching experience, but has been an assistant at the pro and college levels for more than 20 years. Nicknamed 'The Mad Scientist' by his players for his aggressive and unpredictable game plans, Ryan spent the past 10 seasons with the Ravens.

"The message to the rest of the league," he said, "is, `Hey, the Jets are coming, and we're going to give you everything we got. And I think that's going to be more than you can handle."

Ryan's Baltimore defense has been ranked in the top six in total yardage allowed the past four years and led the NFL this season with 34 takeaways. Ryan prefers to run a 3-4 defensive scheme, which the Jets already have in place.

"I'm not a one-hit wonder," Ryan said. "When you look at my background, I think I've been successful at all stops along the way. I know the kind of responsibility it takes to be a head football coach. Again, you got the right guy -- and I plan on proving that each and every week."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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