Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan does not want to be compared to new head coach Robert Saleh.
Ryan was able to lead the Jets to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in his first two seasons as head coach. He was with the organization from 2009 to 2014.
“This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru … I take it personal. … Everything I heard was, ‘this guy is a lot like myself, but without the bad part,” Ryan said in an interview on ESPN Radio. “Some of the bad part you need, because this team doesn’t want to play with any damn heart. That’s the thing that is disappointing to me.”
“Don’t ever compare this Robert Saleh guy to me,” Ryan said. “Statistically, one time they were a top defense. Four out of five times they were dead last in their division. … They are going to be dead last again, so he’s going to be used to that. To me, I am a little pissed off about it when I heard his background is a lot like yours. No, it isn’t. No, it isn’t.”
New York Jets coach Robert Saleh, responding to the sharp criticism, went back at Ryan.
“I’ve never met Rex. I’ve never had a conversation with Rex,” Saleh said in his weekly spot on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio. “I don’t even know him except for people who know him throughout the league.
“Obviously, if it’s that personal for him, he knows where to find me.”
He was then asked if he’s surprised by Ryan’s comments, he said, “Nah, I’m not surprised by him. He’s always got something to say.”
Saleh’s brother took it a step further and talked about Rex’s love of food.
The first-year coach is under fire because the Jets are 2-7 with a historically poor defense. The Jets are last in the NFL in points per game allowed (32.9) and yards per game allowed (417.1)
“This is a horrendous defense,” Ryan said. Now they are going to say, we never had our safeties. So, what? Everybody has a million injuries, let alone an above safety you are missing. I remember playing without five corners [one season], it never looked like this. I think we were fifth in the league in defense that year.”
The Jets (2-7) will face the Miami Dolphins (3-7) in Sunday’s Week 11 matchup.