Florham Park, N.J.– There’s a lot of pressure riding on Rex Ryan and this year’s Jets team, pressure that was put on them by none other than Ryan himself. If the Jets fail to live up to their own lofty expectations, fans and pundits will look for reasons why. ‘Fire Schottenheimer.’ ‘Get a pass rusher.’ ‘Sanchez will never be good enough.’ Are just some of the potential excuses that fans and critics alike will lean on, but there is one person who will not be making any excuses.

If the Jets don’t get it done this year, it will be no ones fault but his own. The head coach of this team has done a masterful job of deflecting the attention away from his team and putting it squarely on his shoulders, so if the ship starts to sink, captain Rex will go down with it. No excuses.

Ryan has become know as much so for his strategic use of words as he is for his strategic use of blitzers, a conversation or press conference with Ryan can go any one of a million different ways. So when he consciously repeats a particular phrase or thought over and over in a short span of time, it means he has a specific message he wants received. This time around that message is simply, “We have no excuses.”

“I love this roster, like I say, there’s no excuses. We feel great about it and we have some depth at some areas where maybe we were a little thin at last year. I think, the fact that when you look at our defense and we bring back 10 starters, from a pretty good defense, and some keys guys, it’s hard to get better than that.” Ryan said at today’s press conference. “And than on offense, yeah we knew we were going to lose some guys, but we added some veteran players that I think are smart, they’ll catch on and I think we should be rolling.”

Over the past few weeks he has uttered the phrase, “we have no excuses,” numerous times, far too many to count, and it’s clear that he is making a point. He knows the pressure and expectations that have been put on this team and himself, he also knows it’s of his own doing. But most of all he wants his players to believe in them as much as he believes in them and that he expects greatness from them. He doesn’t care about outside expectations, not when his expectations are even higher anyway, he wants his players to realize the only thing that can stop them is themselves and if they do fail, they will have no one to blame but themselves. No excuses.

It’s about accountability and the ownership of responsibility. When one doesn’t embrace full ownership of a responsibility they are less likely to do everything in their power to make sure the plan is a success. Why go all out when you know that ultimately the brunt of the blame will fall on someone else? But if you accept ownership of the burden put upon you and you have no one else to blame you’re far more likely to lay it all on the line and outperform even your own highest expectations. Once one accepts this way of thinking they will never look for the easy way out, if something doesn’t work it will be their own fault and they will have to work harder to eradicate the problem. No excuses.

Every time a reporter asks him about a particular roster move or area of the team that could be considered questionable Ryan shifts into ‘no excuses’ mode. Throughout the entire preseason Ryan has been asked about the roster turnover and being able to meet expectations and every time he answers in a similar fashion. Take today for example.

“Yeah, we’ve said all along we would have loved to have that team (last year’s entire team) back. There’s no doubt we would have loved to have that team back and we knew there would be changes, but when the rules played out they way they were, when free agency started we had 19 free agents.” Ryan said, “And the job that Mike Tannenbaum and Ari (Nissim) and Jackie (Davidson) and all those people upstairs did to get this football team, like I say we have no excuses. We get to play and we get to prove it. I feel great about the talent that we have on our roster and the chemistry that we have as well.”

Most coaches would avoid declaring that type of ownership of responsibility. They would never come out and say their General Managers’ didn’t get them enough talent, but they’d sure as hell let others make that assumption. Not Ryan, Ryan constantly talks about the best player in the league at this position and that position and oh yeah don’t work forget about the best staff filled with the best coaches. So he knows what he is doing when he says these things, he is putting the responsibility squarely on himself.

He is letting everyone know if this Jets team fails it’s his responsibility, his fault. He has full confidence in the talent he has been given to work with and if it’s not good enough he has no one to blame but himself and it’s clear he wants his players to adopt this same mantra.

No excuses.

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