There was no brash statement, no bold remarks, and no guarantees from Rex Ryan. After simultaneously losing his top corner Antonio Cromartie via free agency and watching Darrelle Revis defect to the Patriots, Ryan didn't lash out. Instead, Ryan took the high road in both developments involving his former corner tandem.
On the Revis situation, Ryan said
"Quite honestly when Darrelle went to New England it was like, okay, that's it, he's now a Patriot," noted Ryan. "So it is what it is. This isn't Fantasy Football."
Interestingly for Ryan, that fantasy football concept is something he had with Revis and Cromartie manning the two top corner positions. Revis' quick feet and impeccable technique shut down the opponents' best receiver, virtually eliminating half the field, while Cromartie used his length,athleticism and aggressiveness in complimenting Revis.
In losing his second top tier corner in successive years, Ryan tried to remain upbeat.
" I certainly wish him the best and he did a great job here," noted Ryan. "He was a durable guy. He played. He stepped up to the plate each week. (We) certainly appreciate all his efforts that he did for this football team. But things move on, and like I say, I'm happy with our team." Ryan did express disappointment in both Revis and Cromartie for leaving the Jets.
"I'm upset more with that individual than I am anybody else," admitted Ryan. "We do everything we can, we don't paint a false picture. We're honest. We come in here and some guys recognize what we have, some guys don't. If they choose to go somewhere else, that's it, I'm done with them."
Through this transition period, Ryan reiterated his confidence in the Jets as a team.
"I can't tell you how excited I am about this football team and the direction we're going."
This excitement, while palpable after last season's resurgence towards mediocrity and respectability, was not the identity of this team during the Revis/Cromartie era. Instead, they were a super-bowl contending team with teams frightened to throw against the Jets.
Now, a different picture is painted with Ryan promoting journeyman/mediocre corners into prime-time positions.
"I'm excited," Ryan said regarding the cornerback situation. "Obviously we have Kyle Wilson who has been in that nickel role for us for a while. We were willing to get Ellis Lankster back, who is an outstanding special teams presence for us, but will maybe have more of a chance in different roles. Darrin Walls is kind of like our relief pitcher, he filled in for us, so we're comfortable there."