Rex Ryan talking tough, as usual


Rex Ryan talking tough, as usual

By Mary Paoletti

Patriots fans who want Rex Ryan to shut up have to keep waiting.

On Wednesday morning, while New England slept under a foot of snow, the Jets head coach spoke with the media via conference call. His attitude was typical: unapologetic, outspoken and controversial.

"In this country you're allowed to have opinions and all that kind of stuff," Ryan said. "Obviously, as an organization we respect Tom Brady, there's no question about it. But is there dislike between us and Brady and Brady and the Jets? Of course there is.

"We're not apologizing for anything. Did we vote Brady to be the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl? Yeah, we did. There's plenty of respect without being all lovey-dovey. We have a right to our opinion. A comment like that is no big deal."

The treatise was Ryan's defense of cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who, the coach says, will not be punished for calling Patriots QB Tom Brady an a------. And why would he be? Ryan has set the tone for this Jets team and speaking ones mind is at the heart of its weekly grind.

And that means taking subtle, or not so subtle, jabs at Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

"Maybe they do follow my lead in the fact that we can say what's on our mind or whatever. I don't say that, 'Whatever we do, don't say this or don't say that.' We're a transparent organization. We let our guys speak. We don't tell them what to say or what to say."

That one's an uppercut.

Of course, the tight-lipped Belichick won't even flinch, but that's not what Ryan is after anyway. His words are meant to be an injection of steel into the spines of his players and he's been doing it since boasting Super Bowl intentions on the first day of training camp.

Heading into a playoff matchup on New England's home turf, the Jets will need the confidence.

When the teams last met in Week 13, the Patriots inflicted a 45-3 beatingon New York. It was a complete turnaround from the 28-14 loss Belichick's team took in Game 2 and showcased a much-improved Pats defense and an unbridled Brady.

Ryan was forced to acknowledge the complete defeat ("It's the biggest butt-whipping I've taken as a coach in my career.") To shrug it off would have been ridiculous. And that's not Rex, right?

"Danny Woodhead is in football because of the New York Jets. It was an excellent pick-up for them."

Well, that's an odd way to describe waiving a player, isn't it. Classic Rex Ryan spin. Just a coach looking at the NFL world through hunter green-colored glasses.

"I'm not worried about their injuries," he said on the conference call. "We lost Kris Jenkins for the entire season and I don't know if they lost anyone as big as that. Statistically, they've improved since we played them last. They've got some big guys."

What about the injuries to Leigh Bodden, Kevin Faulk, Ty Warren and Mike Wright? They don't even register on Ryan's radar. Apparently, congratulations are due to Belichick and The Replacements for making the compensation for those roster hits look like a breeze.

But wait! Not so fast. Ryan didn't waste much time complimenting New England before bouncing back to his favorite vacation destination: his Happy Place.

"If you visit Revis Island, the success rate going to that island is not real good," the coach pontificated. "Brady knows that. He can look at a different matchup that he likes better than that matchup. This is a once-in-a-lifetime corner. He is, in my opinion, the best corner in football. It's not smart business to target him.

"I'm not worried about anything," he continued. "I'm concerned, but I'm not worried."

Not worried and not done talking. The only ridiculous thing, with regard to Rex Ryan, would be to expect otherwise.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.