If there was any beef between former Jets head coach Rex Ryan and current coach Robert Saleh, it appears to be no more. Actually, their relationship has done a complete U-turn.
Last week, Ryan disparaged Saleh on a New York radio show after growing tired of the various comparisons made between the two defensive-minded coaches. The Jets come into Week 11 with a 2–7 record in Saleh's first season, and their defense is the worst in the NFL in total yards (417.1) and points allowed (32.9) per game.
“This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru,” Ryan said earlier this week. "I take it personal. Everything I heard was this guy is a lot like myself, but without the bad part. Some of the bad part you need, because the team doesn’t want to play with any damn heart. That’s the thing that’s disappointing me.
"Don’t ever compare this guy to me, this Robert Saleh to me. … To me, I’m a little pissed off about it when I heard his background is a lot like yours. No, it isn’t. No, it isn’t.”
The comments did not sit well with Saleh's brother, David, who took a couple of shots at Ryan on Twitter.
But Ryan completely reversed course today on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. The ESPN personality raved about a conversation he shared with Saleh following the criticism, saying he actually thinks the Jets made the right decision in hiring the former Niners defensive coordinator.
“I was blown away,” Ryan said. “He’s got a direction for this football team. I’m telling you, Jets fans, the more I talked to him, the more impressed I was with Robert Saleh. I became a fan of his. Number one: Taking my call and all that speaks volumes about him.
"But it was way more about we put that stuff behind us. But it was about the future of this team, and I’m just telling you something, this guy’s got a great plan and I think they got it right."
Saleh may now have Ryan's blessing, but it doesn't change the fact that the Jets have a very steep hill to climb in order to be relevant.
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