Rex Ryan calls Jets ‘just another opponent’ ahead of Thursday’s game
Rex Ryan attempted to downplay the importance of the Buffalo Bills’ upcoming “Thursday Night Showdown” against the New York Jets by saying a match-up against the team with which he spent six years as head coach is simply another game on the schedule.
I promise you, it’s just another opponent right now,” Ryan said, via ESPN. “Now will that change when I’m in there? That’s a possibility. But I can tell you this — it’s all about, you’re playing another team. And I know that team really well.
“But that’s really what it is. And it’s no more than that — I can promise you. It’ll be the same way I’m answering it right now until at the end. Now after the game, that might change.”
Ryan of course has attempted to master the art of psychological warfare and gamesmanship throughout his coaching career, so it’s surprising he has tempered his comments ahead of a game that has to mean a lot to him personally and professionally, at least initially.
Given that there are several days remaining in which Ryan has time to adopt his typical bluster and bravado, there’s no reason to assume his tone will remain so low-key heading into a game against the team that decided to cut ties with him during the offseason.
Perhaps even more important for Ryan than an opportunity to show up the team that fired him last December is the fact that the game is a critical match-up for both the 4-4 Bills and 5-3 Jets in the chase for a Wild Card spot in the AFC. So even if Ryan is able to set aside the personal nature of the showdown — which he appears to be trying to do — there’s more than enough heading into the game to keep him properly motivated.