Rex Ryan is once again being blasted by one of his former players for some comments on ESPN’s “First Take.”
Ryan disputed whether New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick would have had the level of success he’d had if he had a different quarterback than Tom Brady. Ryan used his former quarterback, Geno Smith, as an example, and not in a positive light.
"Give him Geno Smith … and let's see how many Super Bowls he would have won."
That did not go over well with Smith, who was Ryan’s starting quarterback on the Jets for two seasons.
My momma never liked dude he been a snake.. and y’all glorify it.. should’ve got fired after yr1.. truth is we won 8 games after ESPN had us winning two and he got his job back.. somehow I’m caught up in a feud and I’m the scapegoat.. Same guy that drafted me#TheBusiness
Rex Ryan made headlines on Friday for some extremely critical remarks he made about Amari Cooper, and the former NFL coach predictably expressed regret over his comments later in the day.
On ESPN’s “Get Up!” Friday morning, Ryan enthusiastically called Cooper a “turd” and unloaded on the Dallas Cowboys receiver for having a tendency to disappear in big games. Rex also ripped the Cowboys for giving Cooper a five-year, $100 million contract. A short time after, Ryan went back on the air with ESPN to apologize for calling Cooper a “turd” but stood behind his assessment of Cooper as a player.
“First off, I can’t believe I used that word,” Ryan said. “Obviously, it was a poor choice by me to say what I said about Amari. Quite honestly, I think the world of every player and have a great deal of respect for every player in the NFL, including Amari Cooper.”
ESPN hired Ryan because he has a fiery personality and has never been afraid to speak his mind. Creating a stir is part of his job description, and he was obviously just trying to deliver a hot take when discussing Cooper’s new contract. He accomplished that but went too far.
While Cooper did not play well in a number of big games last season, he was injured throughout much of the year. He caught 79 passes for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns in his first full season with the Cowboys last year, so the numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at. There was talk that the Oakland Raiders were unhappy with Cooper’s level of effort before they traded him to Dallas in 2018, but the Cowboys obviously feel Cooper is an extremely valuable member of their team.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Amari Cooper to a massive contract extension this offseason, and Rex Ryan strongly believes the team made a mistake. With the sports calendar on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan apparently feels that now is as good a time as any to verbally destroy the star wide receiver.
During ESPN’s “Get Up!” on Friday morning, Ryan called Cooper the “biggest disappearing act in the National Football League” and said he would not have paid him $100 million over five years. Rex criticized Cooper for not playing well on the road or in big games and referred to him as a “turd.”
"[Amari Cooper] is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League. … I wouldn't have paid this turd."
“This is who he is. He doesn’t love football, the hell with it,” Ryan said. “He stops his routes, he does all this. I wouldn’t have paid this turd. No way in hell would I have paid this guy. To me, you pay Dak Prescott … They’re number one in the league because of Dak Prescott, not because of this guy. It’s a deep draft at receiver. They made a huge mistake.”
The Cowboys acquired Cooper in a trade with the Oakland Raiders midway through the 2018 season, and Cooper gave the team’s offense an instant boost. While he did seem to disappear in a number of big games last season, he also played through significant injuries throughout the entire year. Cooper caught 79 passes for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns in his first full season with the Cowboys last year, so the numbers are certainly nothing to scoff at.
There were rumblings that the Raiders felt Cooper had quit on them before they traded him, so that is likely what Ryan was referring to. Still, his criticism seemed over the top considering how banged up Cooper was in 2019.
Rex Ryan is known for being a fun-loving guy who tries to keep things loose while working as an NFL analyst for ESPN, but we saw a different side of the former coach on Sunday.
ESPN aired a special about the work Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn recently did helping to build a school for children in Tanzania, and Ryan was overcome with emotion while discussing how proud he is of Lynn. Lynn was an assistant coach under Ryan when Ryan was the head coach of both the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills.
Rex Ryan got emotional talking about how proud he is of his friend and former assistant coach, Anthony Lynn. pic.twitter.com/MtJv4dxyrN
Few people were more critical of Baker Mayfield early in the season than Rex Ryan, but the former coach is officially starting to come around. In fact, he now thinks the Browns are going to reach the playoffs for the first time in over 16 years.
The Browns improved to 5-6 with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, and Ryan said on ESPN’s “Get Up” Monday morning that they are going to reach the postseason because of their weak schedule over the final five weeks. He entertained his colleagues by deadpanning that Mayfield is “underrated.”
"Look … [Baker Mayfield] is underrated as hell." —Rex Ryan
“Who’s gonna beat ’em?” Ryan asked. “Pittsburgh, with Duck Hodges or some goose playing quarterback? … I’ve never seen an easier schedule.”
Ryan was serious with his prediction that the Browns will make the playoffs, but he was being sarcastic when he called Mayfield underrated. While Mayfield has played well lately, this is the same Rex who said earlier in the year that the former first overall pick is “overrated as hell,” so he was playing off of that. That said, Mayfield has thrown just one interception in his past four games and has played much better as of late.
Mayfield responded with a great zinger the first time Ryan called him overrated, so he probably doesn’t care that Rex is jumping on the bandwagon now. He’s focused on trying to get to at least 9-7, and the Browns face the Steelers, Cardinals, Ravens and Bengals twice to close out the year. It’s not out of the question that they will only lose one of those games.
Rex Ryan has an extremely awkward tattoo on his arm that many of you have probably forgotten about or wisely decided to black out, but the former coach was happy to remind us all of it on Sunday.
ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” aired a segment on Dak Prescott’s tattoos, which led to a discussion about Ryan’s body art. That’s when Rex proudly rolled up his right sleeve to reveal the promiscuous tattoo that once depicted his wife in a New York Jets jersey but has since been covered with blue ink — kind of.
Rex Ryan provides some quality commentary during ESPN’s NFL pregame show every Sunday, and the former head coach is not afraid to brag about his accomplishments despite the fact that he was unable to find work after being fired by the Buffalo Bills a few years ago. He also has no problem with self-deprecating humor, and we saw another example of that on Sunday.
Ryan and Ponder were engaged in a friendly debate about how Colt McCoy might fare against the Patriots, and Rex sarcastically noted how he beat New England a few times during his career. Ponder then chucked and agreed by saying “and you’re sitting here with us, I get it.”
Rex Ryan: "Colt McCoy, is he the answer? No. He's never been the answer"
"He's beat the Patriots though.."
Rex Ryan: "Yeah, I beat the Patriots a few times too… I certainly wasn't the answer"
Ryan was 61-66 across stints with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. He was 5-12 against the Patriots (including a playoff win), which obviously isn’t a good record. Getting the best of Bill Belichick is something to be proud of, but five wins in 17 chances is nothing to pat yourself on the back about.