The New York Jets headed into their bye week by getting dominated at home by the division rival Miami Dolphins. This led to questions about the entire team, including whether Rex Ryan was still the right man to lead the Jets. In fact, in an anonymous poll of the players taken by Sporting News, Ryan was voted the most overrated coach in the NFL.
"My first thought was I looked, saw who was second, (and thought), Hey, I finally beat (coach Bill) Belichick at something, so I got him (joking)," Ryan said. "It is what it is, but at the end of the year, we'll see who's overrated."
Ryan was not the only Jet to have to listen to criticism over the past few weeks. After quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled against the Dolphins, the fans' plea for the team to start Tim Tebow was heard throughout MetLife stadium. As the questions about whether Tebow should get the starting job increase, Ryan still does not hesitate to stand by Sanchez.
"We know he has the ability," Ryan said. "There's certainly proof of that -- that this is a talented young man and when the protection's there and we're where we're supposed to be, he can deliver the football. I'm confident if you just put it on Mark's shoulders and all those other things are in place that I'm confident that he can throw the ball with the best of him."
Sanchez will not only be motivated this week against the Seattle Seahawks by the game's importance. Seattle is coached by Pete Carroll, the man who coached him in college but when he declared for the NFL said he was not ready.
"I did not blame Pete Carroll one bit because if I had that young man as my quarterback, I'd say whatever it took to get the guy to stay with me," Ryan said. "Deep down, he knew he was ready. This guy has a ton of ability, but you don't want to lose a player of his caliber, especially one at that position."
If Ryan and the Jets can pull off a win in Seattle this week, it will go a long way towards silencing some of the critics, as Seattle has yet to lose a game at home.
"This is a tough place to play," Ryan said. "The fans are over the top. When you think of an indoor-type atmosphere, it's kind of like the noise level that you get there even though it's an outdoor stadium, but that doesn't make a difference.That talks about the kind of noise and how much that '12th man' gets involved there in Seattle. It's obviously an extremely tough place to play."