The Sports News conducted a poll asking NFL players which head coaches they would want to play for. Not surprisingly, New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan is right at the top of that list, tied with Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin. Last year, Ryan was tops in a poll conducted by Sports Illustrated asking the same question. In total, 111 players from 31 teams were polled. Players were not allowed to vote for their current head coach.
Ryan and Tomlin led the way with 22 votes apiece, doubling what Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy each received as second place finishers. No other coaches received double-digit votes in the poll.
It's really a given at this point. Ryan promotes a player-friendly atmosphere, an open door with the media, and extreme confidence in his players. The aggressive style of the team is a reflection of his personality as a coach, and it has translated into winning on the field. Some would say it's just a silly midseason poll, but two separate polls by different companies have now come up with the same outcome. Players do want to play for Ryan, and it bodes well for luring future free agents to New York.
Defensive players were especially complimentary of Ryan:
“I just like the way [the Jets] play. It’s a wide-open defense. It’s organized violence. I like to watch them, Pittsburgh, Baltimore with all the movement they do. They just get after you.” Colts DE Robert Mathis commented.
“I was around him when he was with Baltimore. He’s like the coaches I have here, a great motivator." Chiefs NT Kelly Gregg said of Ryan.
“He’s a very player-oriented coach. He knows how to get the most out of his players, and he runs a great style of defense. He coaches with a lot of emotion and that’s what you want. I like that," an unnamed NFC defensive player added.
Rex is a defensive coach, an aggressive coach, and is reasonable with his players. He's fun and he wins. That will draw players. The Jets will continue to improve in terms of talent on the roster as long as Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum are at the helm. It's a nice complement to Rex from players that have never played for him.
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