Ryan: 'I'm sure there are things I'd do differently'

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Ryan: 'I'm sure there are things I'd do differently'

FOXBORO - During three-plus seasons as head coach of the New York Jets, it's become clear Rex Ryan has no filter.

That's been tremendous for consumers and people covering the league because Ryan provides storylines.

But Ryan's mouth and the fallout from what falls out of it hasn't helped his team win. The tire-pumping and chest-pumping and "I can lick any man in the place!" bravado has been an impediment to success.

The Jets' declining win totals since the bloom came off his rose in New York and the circus atmosphere around the team are proof. Further proof is that Ryan himself has tried to tamp down his mouth.

This week, he made mention of the fact he would not be "tweaking" the Patriots leading into the game.

I asked him if he looks back on his Jets tenure and regretted being so loose-lipped.

"Yeah, I dont know," Ryan began. "I mentioned that about the guarantee and all that stuff when I was guaranteeing a Super Bowl, but at the time, thats really what I felt. Then when free agency came (after the 2011 labor strife was resolved) and 17 of our players were free agents when the new CBA was announced, that was probably not the smartest thing to say at the time. Id said it before. But, I really thought if we had the same team back, why wouldnt we think that? We got to the conference championship game. But, either way, Im sure there (are things he wishes he hadn't said)."

Every assistant coach, as he climbs the ladder, thinks to himself, "If I'm ever in charge, I'll do this..."

Ryan clearly committed to making things fun, to being glib, to being transparent. But he acknowledged that he's finding things to be different than he imagined at times.

"I came in the league and I have a ton of experience around football," Ryan explained. "Ive been around football my entire life but I never really sat as a head coach before so its a learning experience, no question. Im sure there are things I would do differently, but that specifically? I dont know. At the end of the day, I think the most important thing a the end of the day is that you are who you are and you believe; and I certainly believe things I tell our team about and everything else. So, Im going to stay the course and thats just how it goes."

Ryan is accepting of the fact that, the proclamations that make for good TV, radio and bandwidth, are always going to be used against him when they blow up.

"Well you know, thats just the way it goes," he said. "We kind of understood that and its just like I dont put muzzles on the players or anything else. Ive said from Day 1 that we might not be lined up 100 percent or whatever but, this is football, and it doesnt have to be such a button-up type deal. But I know, I get criticized for that and thats fine. My style is a lot different than obviously a lot of coaches."
Coach has seen what kind of both sides can do, Sanchez said. (When) you come out and say something, it almost puts you in a position where youre supposed to win. And if you win, its like, Yeah, you already said you were going to win. So, who cares? So I dont see any point in it. Its never really been my style. Its just a different approach. And Im all for it.

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Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

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Dominique Wilkins reflects on his rivalry with Larry Bird

During our series discussing the 1986 Boston Celtics, we have sat down with many players from that championship, along with members of the media that were close to the team.

This week features a few of the opponents that were very familiar with the 1980’s Celtics  - Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, former Celtics coach (and Hawk) Doc Rivers, and Lakers great James Worthy.

Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

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Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

BOSTON -- Early in 2016 praises were sung around the league that Xander Bogaerts was the best hitter in baseball.

Rightfully so. For a good portion of the season he led the league in both batting average and hits. But between Mookie Betts’ ascension and Bogaerts’ drop in average from .331 on 7/29 to .306 after Monday night’s game, he’s taken a back seat.

But the Red Sox shortstop’s month-long dry spell hasn’t been a straight decline. Although he was held hitless Monday, Bogaerts went 6-for-13 (.462) against Kansas City.

In fact, the 23-year-old doesn’t even consider the recent month of struggles the worst stretch of his career.

“2014 probably,” Bogaerts said, “yeah I had a terrible, terrible few months -- probably three months.”

That was of course the season a lot came into question surrounding the now All-Star shortstop, so he was pretty spot on. In 2014 Bogaerts went from hitting .304 through 5/31, to .248 by the end of June, .244 after his last game in July, all the way down to .224 by the last day of August.

Bogaerts would hit .313 that September and finish with a .240 average -- but more importantly, an appreciation of what he’d experienced.

“That definitely helped me become a better person, a better player -- and understanding from that and learning,” Bogaerts said.

From that experience, he gained a better understanding of the importance of maintaining a consistent day-to-day routine.

“That has to stay the same,” Bogaerts said without question in his voice. “The league adjusted, they adjusted to me. It kind of took a longer time to adjust to them. They’ve just been pitching me so differently compared to other years.”

Bogaerts has had the point reinforced to him throughout, with Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez serving as one voice of reinforcement.

“When you have a routine from the mental side, physical side, when you struggle that’s when you really need that,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been so good with his daily preparation, it doesn’t matter the result of the game. He can always go to something that feels comfortable.”

“He’s been so comfortable and confident with his daily routine and preparation that it allows him -- when he doesn’t get the results he wants in the game -- to have some peace knowing that the next day, we’re going to go back to doing that again.”

It’s clear Bogaerts needs to maintain his daily routine to help work through slumps -- and maintain hot streaks -- but Rodriguez made it clear, consistent preparation from a hitter doesn’t magically cure every problem.

“That doesn’t mean that because you stick with the routine you’re going to have results,” Rodriguez said. “What it means is, [because] you know and believe in that routine that you know you’re going to get out of it.”

Which means in addition to sticking to his normal routine, Bogaerts also had to identify flaws elsewhere in order work through his problems. He came to realize the problem was more mechanically based than mental -- given he’d done everything to address that.

“They pitched me differently, and some stuff I wanted to do with the ball I couldn’t do,” Bogaerts said. “I just continued doing it until I had to make the adjustment back.”

Bogaerts isn’t fully out of the dark, but he’s taken steps in the right direction of late -- and is nowhere near the skid he experienced in 2014. He and Rodriguez fully believe the All-Star’s ability to maintain a clear mind will carry him through whatever troubles he’s presented with the rest of the way.

“The more stuff you have in you’re head is probably not going to help your chances,” Bogaerts explained, “so have a clear mind -- but also have the trust in your swing that you’re going to put a good swing on [the pitch] regardless of whatever the count is.”

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.