Rex Ryan has officially quashed his burgeoning feud with Jets coach Robert Saleh.
Ryan, who was the Jets’ coach from 2009-14, was extremely critical of the first-year coach during a Monday radio hit. He took exception to the notion that people would even compare him to Saleh, particularly as it relates to the Jets’ (2-7) defense acumen.
Six days after bashing Saleh for the Jets’ poor defensive performance and 2-7 start, Ryan revealed on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” that he and Saleh have since talked. The former New York coach backtracked from his previous comments, saying he “was blown away” by Saleh’s vision for the Jets.
“I was blown away. I thought he was super smart,” Ryan said. “He’s got a direction for this football team. But I’m telling you, Jets fans, I mean the more I talked to him, the more impressed I was with Robert Saleh. Like I became a fan of his.
“And, No. 1, taking my call and all that, speaks volumes about him. But it was way more about — we put that stuff behind us. But it’s 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.”
Here’s the segment of Ryan’s discussion with Saleh:
That’s quite the reversal of opinion from Ryan, who was absolutely critical of Saleh in a Monday radio interview with the New York-based radio show, “DiPietro & Rothenberg.” He not only blasted the Jets’ defensive woes this season — they rank 28th in pass defense and rush defense — but also took aim at Saleh’s stint as defensive coordinator with the 49ers.
“This is a horrendous defense,” Ryan said of Saleh’s defense. “This guy is supposed to be a defensive guru? I heard everything and I take it personally on this one because I heard he was a lot like myself, without the bad part.
“Don’t ever compare this guy to me,” Ryan continued. “Statistically, one time they were a top defense. Here’s one thing he’s going to be familiar with — four out of five years, the 49ers were dead last in their division, so he’s going to be dead last again. So he’s used to that.”
Saleh later heard of Ryan’s dig at him, responding in kind on “The Michael Kay Show.”
“I’ve never met Rex,” Saleh said. “I’ve never had a conversation with Rex. I don’t even know him, except for people who know him throughout the league. Obviously, if it’s that personal for him, he knows where to find me.”
Apparently, Ryan did know where to find Saleh. And while that certainly doesn’t do anything to help the Jets on the field, at least Ryan is a vocal supporter of the team, instead of a critic.
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