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The Rex and Ray Show


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Rex & Ray Show: Two Intense Dudes Talkin’

Posted by Randy Lange on September 9, 2010 – 3:32 pm

Rex Ryan and Ray Lewis said hello to each other today through dueling news conferences. You can tell they’re both ready to go Monday night.

It started out as a game-week love-in but had undertones of a prefight weigh-in.

“I don’t think Rex wants it no badder than anyone in this locker room wants it,” Lewis, the Ravens’ iconic inside linebacker, said on his conference call with Jets reporters earlier today about this game against his former Baltimore D-coordinator. “We understand Rex had a long career here and we understand what Rex represents, but now Rex is with the Jets. The Ravens are the Ravens and we’ll continue to be the Ravens. … Rex wants to win bad, but at the same time we want to win bad too.”

“Shoot, Ray was probably — not probably, was — the most inspirational player I’ve ever had the honor of coaching,” Ryan said from his podium in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center media room a short while ago. “The guy’s an amazing guy. He’s all in. It’s team, and his team only, and that’s all he cares about.”

But when two great talkers such as Lewis, the 15th-year player and 11-time Pro Bowler whose career spans as long as the Ravens’ life, and Ryan, the second-year Jets coach coming off his successful if salty turn as the boss in the five-week run of Hard Knocks, get together, you know the questioners will try to get them talking about hot-button issues.

Such as Rex’s no-excuses belief in his team as a Super Bowl team.

“The only danger it can be,” Lewis said, “is writing the check that you can’t cash. Rex can talk all he wants to. Rex isn’t putting on the pads, so that’s pressure on his players. If it’s pressure and his players respond to that, then let them respond. At the same time, you put that bull’s-eye on your team’s head. They’re doing all this talking. They’re in the Super Bowl. OK, do what you do. Come Monday night, no matter what you do, the whistle has got to blow and somebody has to get hit.”

“Fortunately, I’m not in pads. We’ll definitely agree to that,” Ryan said. “But I don’t believe that by speaking the truth, what I believe to be the truth, I don’t think it’s something to get fired up about. If you need to put it in your locker room, go for it. The good thing is we get to play the game on Monday.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Ray. It doesn’t matter what he says. But we’re going to try to smash him, I’ll tell you that much.”

We’ll bring you some reports from the Jets locker room shortly, with former Ravens Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard sure to have their own take on all the talk. But the Rex and Ray show was a good way to officially kick off the first practice week of the season for these two top AFC teams today. The two men have long respect for each other, but as Rex said, all bets will be off Monday night.

“The bottom line,” said Ray, “is we don’t like people to run, they like to run, so it should be a good battle in that category.”

“They’ll be popping out of their skin,” said Rex, using one of his favorite metaphors. “I’ve got news for you: So will we. It’s going to be a great game, a physical contest. It’s going to be a game people are going to remember.”

Round 2 is Friday, Round 3, Saturday. But those will all be on the undercard to the big event under the darkening Meadowlands sky on Monday.

Jets Health Watch

Ryan gave his first official injury report of the season. It’s only three players deep, with no surprises but one worry for Jets fans at safety.

LB Calvin Pace (foot) didn’t practice and is listed as out. DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited at practice “and he’ll always be listed the same way,” Ryan said.

The wild card is S Brodney Pool’s ankle. It kept him sidelined again.

“Brodney’s doing better, so we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow,” Ryan said. If Pool, slated to be the starter alongside Leonhard in the deep middle, can’t go Monday, “We’ll have a combo platter but Eric [smith] will be the guy getting the majority of the reps.”

The Guard House

Ryan confirmed what had been the reality of his left guard position post-Alan Faneca since early in training camp: Matt Slauson will start there over second-round rookie Vlad Ducasse.

“Oh, I do,” Rex said when asked if he has confidence in Slauson. “That’s why he’s in there. We can move Rob Turner over there, but we have confidence Slauson’ll do a great job for us.”

Asked once more what the second-year man from Nebraska did to beat out the second-round man from UMass, the coach didn’t break any new ground.

“Anytime you change positions and you’re stepping up and it’s a brand new system, the thing is that Vlad couldn’t make that kind of ground up,” he said. “Matt had been around here last year, he was actually recruited by Bill Callahan to Nebraska, so he’s familiar with him and all that. So he earned the job

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