Yesterday, the chatter between the Jets and the Patriots got kicked up into high gear, leading off what should be an interesting week of build-up to the playoff game Sunday. Today was a much different story. According to the few players who were allowed to speak in the locker room today, Bill Belichick has told the team to avoid smack-talking with the Jets players (and Rex Ryan). The players certainly can follow orders well, and the few words that were said were short, sweet, and as far from being bulletin board material as you can get.
When asked if Belichick has the gag order in place, Pro Bowl LB Jerod Mayo responded, “Definitely. That’s why I’m hoping no one asks me those kinds of questions.” S Jarrad Page added, “We’re not worried about that at all,” referencing Rex Ryan’s big talk. “We’re going to go out here and practice the same way, we’re going to do what we gotta do because none of that really matters. It’s just going to matter how you come out and play in the game.” He also said that once it’s game time, “You can do your talking then.”
When WR Deion Branch was asked to compare Bill Belichick’s style versus Rex Ryan’s style, he said, “You know they’re different. I actually just heard what Coach Belichick said, too, this morning. All of it is funny. I think the biggest thing is that we both have to play a game. Coach Belichick isn’t playing Coach Ryan. The New England Patriots are playing the New York Jets. All the stuff that will be said up until that point won’t make a difference.”
And there you have the contrasting styles between the two teams. They both mirror their head coach, which is a credit to the effectiveness of both, regardless of style. Personally, I prefer Belichick’s style, and not because I’m being a homer, but it’s also been my philosophy through life. What goes around comes around, and from what I’ve seen, those that do the biggest talking often have the hardest fall, and an inevitable verbal backlash. Apparently, I’m not the only one that prefers Belichick’s style. According to an ESPN poll highlighted by the Boston Globe, sports fans also prefer Belichick’s “blandness” to Ryan’s “candor.”
Ryan’s act may also be wearing thin on Jets fans. A video from ESPN New York shows fans cringing when asked about Rex Ryan making it personal between him and Belichick. Of course, if the Jets move on to the Super Bowl, Rex Ryan’s style will be lauded (funny how that works). Ultimately, as the players have said, it comes down to them and their performance on the field. Coaches can be as loud or as quiet as they want, but it’s the players that will determine the outcome of the game on Sunday.