Rex Ryan handed out some lofty praise for one of his former coaching rivals Sunday.
Ahead of the New England Patriots’ matchup with the Tennessee Titans, Ryan said on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” that this Patriots season has been the best coaching job of Bill Belichick’s storied career.
“I will say this,” Ryan said. “It sounds crazy, because it never happens. Bill Belichick was outcoached by Mike Vrabel the last time (the Patriots and Titans) met (in the 2019 playoffs). However, unfortunately for Mike Vrabel, whether it’s some kind of motivation, internal, whatever it is, I believe Bill Belichick has done his best coaching job this season ever in his entire career.”
Led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones and the NFL’s top-ranked defense, the 7-4 Patriots have won five straight and trail the 8-3 Titans by just one game for the top spot in the AFC.
“He’s done an amazing job,” Ryan said. “And part of it is you’ve got the rookie quarterback playing like a veteran. That is the greatest compliment you can give to a coach. It’s amazing.”
The Titans have quality wins over the Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Rams, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs on their résumé, but they’ve been hammered by injuries of late. On Sunday, they’ll be without superstar running back Derrick Henry and wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones, among a lengthy list of other absences.
Ryan is fully expecting another Patriots victory.
“I don’t think (the Titans) have a chance in this game,” the former Bills and New York Jets head coach said. “The last time the Tennessee Titans played without Julio Jones and A.J. Brown as their receivers … they got beat by the Jets. And they had King Henry in the backfield (for that game). Now they’ve got to play the Patriots, whose defense reminds me of (the early 2000s Patriots) defenses right now. They are getting after it.”