New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has announced that he will call the team’s defensive plays for the 2013 NFL season.
The controversial head coach told the New York Daily News that, while new defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman will have input in the team’s defensive gameplans, Ryan will personally select the actual plays.
“Dennis and I worked side by side with each other literally for years now,” Ryan told the Daily News on Tuesday. “It’s something that we talked about and we want to do. I want Dennis to just be totally involved like he always is, but I’ll make the calls [and have] the final say on the calls. But again, the process will be very similar.”
“I enjoy it,” Ryan added. “There’s no question. I enjoy the meetings, which I’ll be more involved in. I love it, because that’s my roots. I think that any coach loves teaching. That gives me an opportunity to teach and to be really more hands-on with that unit.”
For his part, Thurman doesn’t seem too upset about his new boss’ decision. Earlier this month, the freshly hired defensive coordinator admitted that “it doesn’t really matter to me who calls [the plays],” according to the Daily News. Thurman has spent the last five years as the Jets’ defensive backs coach.
This isn’t the first time that Ryan has taken over play-calling responsibilities for the Jets. The Daily News notes that the 50-year-old coach handled the majority of the team’s defensive decisions in 2009, helping the defense become the top-ranked unit in the NFL that year. Ryan also spent four years as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, overseeing the team’s defense during its record-setting 2000 Super Bowl run.
While the Jets fielded one of the NFL’s top five defenses during each of Ryan’s first three seasons as head coach, an aging roster and spotty offense caused the unit to fall to eighth in 2012. Moreover, the potential trade of dominant Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis would be a major blow to Ryan’s plans for the team’s defense.
Still, Ryan seems confident that his team can return to form next season. “One thing I know for sure about this football team -- since I’ve been here and as long as I’ll ever be here -- is we will be one of the premier defenses in the league,” Ryan said. “The Jet way is playing great defense.”