Rex Ryan Says Patriots-Jets Matchup Is ‘Level,’ Plans to Be Best Coach on Field for Sunday’s Game

Jets coach Rex Ryan sure isn’t wasting any time in hyping this Sunday’s Patriots-Jets showdown in the AFC Divisional round in Foxboro.

Ryan spoke to the media on Monday, touching on everything Patriots-related from saying that Peyton Manning wouldn’t have went to a Broadway show on Saturday night like Tom Brady did, to this week’s matchup will be about the head coaches — Ryan and Bill Belichick.

Late Monday afternoon, Ryan continued his rant, when he joined Michael Kay on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio.

When asked to reflect on his team’s embarrassing 45-3 loss to the Patriots in Foxboro during Week 13, Ryan said that he was outcoached by Belichick, but insisted that the two teams are even from top to bottom.

“When we lost that game, it wasn’t about their playiers being better than ours,” Ryan said. “It’s a level playing field. … [Belichick] got the better of me the last time we played. He was clearly the better coach. I recognize he’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame coach. But I plan on being the best coach on Sunday.

“Overall, it’s level. Our players, their players, our assistants, their assistants. It’s level ground. I plan on stepping up, I know I need to do a better job than last time — that goes without saying. I think if he slips up at all, we’ll beat him.”

The second-year head coach also shouldered all of the blame for his team’s ugly performance in December, calling himself the “main culprit” for his team’s letdown at New England.

“I thought we had a great week of practice, and then we had the injury to [safety Jim Leonhard], and I didn’t do a good job of communicating the plan to everybody,” he admitted. “There may have been too much grey are in the gameplan. I don’t think everyone was honed into what we were doing. … We know what we did wrong.”

In Ryan’s two seasons at the helm in New York, the Jets have scored just 17 points at Gillette Stadium, as they fell to the Patriots 31-17 last season, as well.

Ryan also confirmed the already fairly obvious point that he is brimming with confidence not only heading into this week, but as a football coach throughout his career in general.

“I don’t have to look in the mirror, I know I’m a good football coach,” he said. “I came here to win, so I expect to win. It’s hard to win any time in the playoffs, but I’ve got a great team, a great group of coaches, a great front office. I’m set up to succeed. It’s no surprise that we have been successful.”

When Ryan was asked about his observation that Manning is a better student of the game than Brady, the coach insisted that he was right.

“I know I was getting ripped for ‘How dare you take a shot at Tom Brady,’” Ryan said. “I just said this — nobody prepares like Peyton Manning, and that’s a fact. … Anyone who digs up 16 millimeter film and watches my dad when he was coaching the Bears — there’s only one quarterback who would do that and it’s Peyton Manning. … When it comes to preparation, there’s only one Peyton Manning.”

Ryan was also asked, despite that assertion, if he thought that Brady was the best quarterback in the league right now. And while he wouldn’t definitively state that, he did admit that Brady has impressed him this season.

“I think he’s had the best year this season. I know I voted for him to be [NFL] MVP. … He’s outstanding. He knows that system like the back of his hand.”

Finally, Ryan was asked if he has ever wanted to win a game in his life as badly as he wants to take down the Patriots this weekend.

“No,” he not-so-surprisingly boldly asserted, adding, “You can’t want to beat someone worse than I want to win this one. I think this is the same thing [as last week against the Colts], maybe more so. The fact that we got beat up there, did they rub our noses in it? Maybe a little, so yeah, absolutely, that’s the truth.

“I want to beat the Patriots. Yeah, I wanna outcoach Bill Belichick, but I just want to beat the Patriots and move on to the AFC Championship.”