The Rex Ryan hype starts for Jets' next game

By Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. UPI /John Angelillo
Former New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan. UPI /John Angelillo | License Photo

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Signs reading RECOVERY STARTS NOW were posted throughout the New York Jets' locker room inside MetLife Stadium following Sunday's 28-23 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

So does the hype.


Ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan will head to MetLife Stadium as a visiting head coach for the first time Thursday, when the Buffalo Bills arrive for a key divisional game. And if you thought the short week would cut down on the amount of bluster generated for the primetime contest ... well, you don't know Rex Ryan, do you?

Ryan announced Monday that Bills linebacker IK Enemkpali would be one of Buffalo's captains against the Jets. If that name sound familiar, well, he's the guy who ended up with the Bills after he was cut by the Jets for slugging then-starting quarterback Geno Smith during a locker room fight Aug 11.


"I'll get ripped or whatever, but I do this all the time," Ryan told reporters in Buffalo on Monday. "Anybody that's played (for an opponent), you're going to see (as a captain).

"Because I think for them, you put them out there, that was recognized (by) their teammates and their former teammates."

Of course, it's not like Ryan is sending out for the coin toss a Ring of Honor candidate, or even someone who was popular with teammates and fans. Enemkpali was a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2014 who played in six games and made three tackles as a rookie. He was on the roster bubble this year before he was released immediately after the fight with Smith.

Enemkpali was claimed by the Bills the next day -- an attention-seeking move by the embittered Ryan that was almost as transparent as Monday's "news."

Not surprisingly, the Jets didn't contribute to the news cycle Sunday or Monday, when wide receiver Brandon Marshall shrugged off Ryan's appointment of Enemkpali.

"Typical Rex," Marshall said. "That is a Rex Ryan move. I mean, are you guys surprised?"

A day earlier, following the win over the Jaguars, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis -- an all-time "Ryan Guy" -- offered a flat "no" when asked if Thursday's game would mean more than any other regular season game.


Head coach Todd Bowles, meanwhile, maintained his usual focus with the Jets (5-3) looking to further establish their wild-card standing against the Bills (4-4), who are one of just three other non-division leaders in the AFC with a non-losing record.

"We're trying to win two games in four days," Bowles said. "It's not facing him. It's facing the Bills. They're a division rival and we're trying to win the game."

-The Jets will have a new kicker Thursday.

Head coach Todd Bowles said Monday that kicker Nick Folk will be out four to six weeks with the right quad injury that he suffered while warming up Sunday. Folk ended up serving as the holder Sunday for punter Ryan Quigley, who was 4-for-4 on extra points and booted all five of his kickoffs into the end zone. The Jets didn't try a field goal, though they eventually scored a touchdown after successfully going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Jaguars' 25-yard-line in the first quarter.

ESPN reported Monday that the Jets tried out four kickers: Veterans Randy Bullock, Billy Cundiff and Garrett Hartley as well as rookie Kyle Brindza, who missed six of 12 field goal attempts this season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before being released on Oct. 5.


--Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may use the Jets' quasi-bye week following Thursday's game to repair his damaged left thumb.

CBS reported during the Jets' win on Sunday that Fitzpatrick was leaning towards undergoing surgery to fix the torn ligaments he suffered against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 1. Fitzpatrick seemed surprised when asked about it after Sunday's game but didn't deny it was a consideration.

Fitzpatrick continued to dodge the question Monday but acknowledged he either has to have the surgery Friday or wait until after the season. He said he can play the rest of the season with the protective glove he used Sunday. Undergoing the surgery Friday should not impact his availability for the Jets' game nine days later against the Houston Texans.

NOTES: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (thigh bruise) is no better than "50/50" to play against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday. ... Safety Dion Bailey (high ankle sprain) didn't practice Monday after getting hurt in the fourth quarter of the Jets' 28-23 win over the Jaguars on Sunday. ... Safety Rontez Miles was promoted to the 53-man roster Saturday, one day before he played 10 defensive snaps in the Jets' 28-23 win over the Jaguars.


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