Rex Ryan pulled no punches speaking about Robert Saleh
After the New York Jets‘ latest mind-numbingly atrocious defensive performance, a 45-17 loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, former Jets head coach Rex Ryan did not hold anything back as he criticized the team’s current leader, Robert Saleh.
On Monday, Ryan appeared on ESPN’s DiPietro & Rothenberg, a New York-based morning radio show. Speaking about Saleh, Ryan said he took it “personal” that people ever compared Saleh to him, and he proceeded to critique Saleh’s career background in addition to his current performance.
We asked Rex Ryan about the job that #Jets HC Robert Saleh is doing.
— DiPietro & Rothenberg (@DRonESPN) November 15, 2021
“This is a horrendous defense,” Ryan said. “Now they’re going to use, ‘Well, we never had our safeties,’ So what? Everybody has a million injuries … I remember playing without five corners. It never looked like this.”
Ryan went on to vent about being compared to Saleh.
“This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru, I heard everything. And I take it personal on this one. Everything I heard about was, ‘Well this guy’s a lot like myself, but without the bad part.’ Yeah? Well, some of the bad part you need. Because this team doesn’t play with any damn heart. That’s the thing that’s disappointing to me.”
Ryan continued, “Don’t ever compare this guy to me. This Robert Saleh to me. Because statistically, one time they were like, a top defense. Alright? Here’s one thing they’re familiar with. Four out of five years, the 49ers were dead last in their division. So he’s going to be dead last again. So he’s used to that.”
It’s clear how offended Ryan is by the Saleh comparisons based on his tone when speaking about the topic.
Ryan wrapped up by saying, “To me, I’m a little pissed off about it when I hear that this guy, you know, ‘his background’s a lot like yours,’ no it isn’t. No it isn’t.”
The Jets are allowing a league-worst 32.9 points per game, which is on pace to be the worst mark in franchise history. The team record is 30.9, set in 1975.
Ryan led the Jets to No. 1 in scoring defense in 2009 (14.8 points per game), his first season as the Jets’ head coach. He captained them to No. 6 in 2010 before ranking in the league’s bottom half of the category in each of his final four seasons at the helm, bottoming out at No. 24 in 2014 (25.1 points per game).
Prior to becoming the Jets’ head coach, Ryan spent four seasons as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Under Ryan, Baltimore achieved an average rank of 9.0 in scoring defense, highlighted by a first-place finish in 2006 and a third-place finish in 2008.
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