BOSTON -- The Patriots are 2-9, and the wolves are coming out to howl.
Such is life in the NFL, where the most recent results dictate the daily conversation. And in the case of Bill Belichick and the Patriots, it's led to a former division rival taking some potshots.
"This team plays like they're exhausted. And the Patriot Way, that's it: It exhausts these kids. And Tom Brady was the only reason you won anyway, all right?" Ryan said on "Get Up" on Monday morning. "I'm just telling you the difference. Tom Brady was the absolute difference. I said from jump, they would never win again, I said they would never win again when that guy trotted down to Tampa."
With fellow analyst Ryan Clark shouting and dancing around the set after Ryan made that comment, the former Jets and Bills head coach did defer a little bit to Belichick's Hall of Fame resume.
"Bill Belichick, greatest in the history, I will never dispute that," Ryan said. "Had my ass kicked by him a million times. But if you think for a minute that it wasn't about Tom Brady, you're absolutely crazy."
It does seem like Ryan might be disputing it a bit.
That mini-rant came after Ryan implored Belichick to not keep up the mystery of whether Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe will be the Patriots' starting quarterback.
"Can I just say this? Bill Belichick, please stop. Just name your dang starter. It doesn't matter -- they both stink," Ryan ranted. "Whether it's Zappe, Pea-Shooter Jones, we don't care. They stink. Just go ahead and save the drama. Like we care about your team. Your team stinks."
Obviously, at 2-9, the Patriots do stink. That is a matter of fact. And it's true that it doesn't really matter whether Jones or Zappe starts at quarterback going forward, as neither seems capable of running a successful NFL offense at this point in time.
The current situation for Belichick and the Patriots is bad as bad can be. No doubt about it.
But for Rex Ryan to dismiss all of Belichick's success by saying it was entirely about Tom Brady? That's a bit much. It's something you'll hear on sports radio or in local bar conversations, but you wouldn't expect such commentary from someone who spent his whole life dreaming of being a football coach before going through the rigors of football coaching for the bulk of his adult life.
It's likely an opinion that Ryan has held for some time, but he saw this day as the right opportunity to let it out into the world.
Ryan, 60, is likely done coaching, as he hasn't worked in the NFL since his brief stint with the Bills ended in 2016. He finished his head coaching career with a 61-66 record. With the Jets from 2009-14, Ryan went 3-9 against the Patriots (including New York's playoff win in Foxboro). With the Bills in 2015 and 2016, Ryan went 1-3 vs. the Patriots, with the lone win coming when an injured Jacoby Brissett started at quarterback for New England on the last day of Brady's DeflateGate suspension.
Currently, the Patriots are fair game for criticism. This particular message from Rex Ryan, though, felt at least a little bit personal.
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