When Rex Ryan ran his mouth about the Patriots and said he wasn't going to "kiss Bill Belichick's rings," it wasn't clear if he did it to rile up his own team or send a message to the Patriots. But according to former Patriots safety and now broadcaster Rodney Harrison, the Patriots will use those words as fuel for their fire in the 2009 season.
"When people make comments like that, whether it's toward an individual coach or an individual player, everyone takes offense," Harrison told the New York Daily News on a conference call on Wednesday. "You keep that quote in your mind. You put it up on the bulletin board and you keep it in mind. I don't think that's going to make Belichick more mad at him, or make Belichick hate the Jets even more, or for them to play harder. I just think the point of emphasis will be on that."
Ryan is taking over a team that collapsed down the stretch in 2008 and will use a rookie quarterback this season. That hasn't stopped the new head coach from making lofty goals and predictions, though Harrison would advise against it.
"For Rex Ryan to come into the New York arena and you start predicting you're going to the Super Bowl, you're raising expectations really, really high, coming from a team that really hasn't done much the past 10 years," Harrison told the Daily News. "I don't want to say he's setting himself up for something terrible to happen. I like the fact that he has confidence in his ability. I like the fact that he's putting that fascination into his players' minds. And he's absolutely right. Whether it should be said or not, that's another thing."