Ahead of Thursday night's matchup, a handful of New York Jets players have had less-than-glowing things to say about Rex Ryan and his antics. Safety Calvin Pryor called his decision to name IK Enemkpali “disrespectful,” showing his displeasure with the move.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, defensive end Sheldon Richardson showed some love for Ryan. Richardson played under Ryan for the first two seasons of his career, recording 11.5 sacks in that timeframe.
He has no hard feelings for the Bills head coach and is looking forward to squaring off on Thursday night.
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“Hey — it’s going to be fun,” Richardson said via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be mad if we pull the ‘W’ out. This is a divisional game. It’s going to be huge for us. He loves the AFC East. Hey man — we’re trying to get two up in the division and get behind these Patriots.”
Ryan's coaching style in particular is what Richardson appreciated most. He's never been known as a strict or hard-nosed coach, and that's something Richardson liked about him.
“He’s one of us,” Richardson said. “Me coming from a strict coach in college, overstrict, I always said — Rex is the completely opposite. First thing he said is, ‘I don’t work for you, you don’t work for me, we work for each other.’ He made himself one of us.”
Additionally, Richardson shared that Ryan has always had a “soft spot” for him, so he doesn't expect his former head coach to be chirping at him from the sidelines during the game. His teammates, however, might get an earful.
“I don’t know about [for] me. Some guys on the team [maybe],” Richardson said. “Not me, man. Rex always had a little soft spot for me, man. I came in, I was hell on wheels as he always said.”
Ryan has downplayed the meaning of this game of late, but he'll certainly be overcome with joy if he's able to knock off the Jets in his return to the Meadowlands — especially after the messy breakup at the end of 2014.