Rex Ryan made major headlines over the offseason, going after division rivals through the press. One of his most repeated lines was that he didn't come to New York to kiss Bill Belichick's ring. Will the Pats use this as motivation?
The silence on the other side from Belichick and the Patriots has been deafening. They’re not going to get into a war of words. When asked about Ryan’s comments, Belichick said, "I have a lot of respect for him and his football team, what they did in Baltimore, and what he has done at the Jets.’’
Just as Ryan’s team has taken on his persona, the Patriots are molded in Belichick’s image. They are careful, calculating, and unflappable in the face of controversy. They speak with actions and not words. As Tom Brady said, it’s just not the Patriots’ style to make predictions and declarations before a game.
"Come Sunday at 1 o’clock, we’ll be ready to go,’’ said safety James Sanders. "During the week, we don’t feed into the hype or the fueling bulletin-board material. We do our talking on the field.’’
Those who have trash-talked the Patriots in the past have often found themselves eating their words. Just ask Mike Vanderjagt, Anthony Smith, LaDainian Tomlinson, or Terrell Owens.
This reminds me of a story I heard once about Michael Jordan. Jordan got bottled up by a defender one night. After the game, the story goes the defender ran into Jordan on the way to his car and taunted him. Jordan dropped 40 points on the guy the next time they played. Later we found out Jordan made up the story about the taunt to motivate himself.
What I'm getting at is this. The Pats probably have Rex's comments plastered all over their locker room. They'll use it as motivation. If Rex hadn't made those remarks, though, they'd find something somebody else said or did to get an extra edge.