Seems to be a case of Rex Envy around NFL

Jan 21 2011 - 4:56pm

Note to the next Eagles' defensive coordinator:

If you trip and fall around your players next summer, get up quickly. Otherwise you're likely to be on the bottom of a big pile.

Maybe it's just Rex-envy, but don't the playoff-eliminated mouths seem noisier than usual this January? Quintin Mikell, Trent Cole, Ellis Hobbs, Jeremiah Trotter all got their licks in on Sean McDermott the last few days.

Wait, Jeremiah Trotter?

A qualifier: I'm not sure Mikell was piling on McDermott, or piling on those who made his job more difficult than it needed to be. Same with Hobbs. Were McDermott's schemes too complex to be consistently executed, or is the Eagles' defense, as currently constructed, trigonometry-challenged?

I wasn't sure what either was saying.

One thing is clear in this man's NFL, though: End-zone celebrations will get you 15 yards. But stomping on your coach or ex-coach?

Everybody's doing it, man.

Just check out what was happening this week up the New Jersey Turnpike. I mean way up, past the Jets' training facilities in Florham Park.

Here was Giants safety Antrel Rolle this week, talking about head coach Tom Coughlin in a radio interview with WQAM in Miami:

"He has to understand we have a great team, we don't have guys with discipline problems," Rolle said. "We're going to pretty much handle our own outside of football. When it comes to football, we're going to take care of our business on the field. Just let us have a little fun a little bit, man.

"I like the coach, I understand what he's trying to do, but he has to understand it's 2011, man. Things have changed."

This is all the fault of Jets coach Rex Ryan, of course. From HBO's "Hard Knocks" on, he broke several sacred rules as they pertain to head coaches. Don't talk about the other guys. Don't let your players talk about the other guys. And for goodness sakes, make what you do for a living look akin to digging ditches on a rainy, cold night.

But Rex talked. And talked, and talked. And so did cornerback Antonio Cromartie, and so did linebacker Bart Scott, and a few others, too. Rex has no problem with pile-ons. Hell, he's the Fat Albert of pile-ons. If we didn't know that already, we relearned it amid the most entertaining playoff-week buildup since his father was a Jets assistant when Joe Namath quarterbacked there.

And then these Jets did something they may never be forgiven for. They won. Twice. They prohibited both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady from reaching the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick, too.

Now it's like our whole world has been upended. To hear some, Belichick is a dope and Brady is now Matt Cassel. And as it turns out, there's at least one head coach who Peyton Manning did not outsmart.

(By the way, he didn't outsmart your outgoing coordinator, either.)

Perhaps because Rex has no problem with pile-ons, his players continue to gang up not on him, but the other team's coach and players. Some of them, like Scott, wouldn't mind having a few sportswriters and sportscasters on the bottom of the pile too.

"I'm so tired of seeing people taking shots at him," Scott told the NFL Network this week. "It's one thing to criticize his coaching ability, his time management, but when people go at his weight, stupid stuff like that? I've never seen anyone go at (Mike) Holmgren, never seen anyone go at Romeo Crennel, never seen anyone go at Andy Reid."

Well, now, hold on there, big fella. Andy's girth may have been mentioned from time to time.

By him, mostly.

Rex does that, too. But never mind, Scott was on a roll.

"Everyone thinks his weight and that type of stuff is comical," he said. "What part of the game does that have to do with anything? Judge the man by what he does in his profession. I can look at anybody and find something to criticize physically."

The other players hear this, and see how the Jets play for and play with the man.

"People like to talk about Rex Ryan and this, that and the other," Rolle told the radio station. "That team is going to war for him."

It's also having a lot of fun, something Rolle felt has been missing under Coughlin. He was backed by teammate Kenny Phillips who, like Rolle, painted Coughlin as an uptight "general."

"I would love to play for a guy like Rex," Phillips said in the same radio interview. "He goes to bat for his players. He'll take the blame, he allows you to be you. He's not asking you to hide. If you're a guy that likes to talk, go out and talk, long as you back it up ...

"I'd love to be a part of that."

Me, too. Admit it, so would you. If there is a fantasy camp where Rex Ryan is your head coach for a week, I want in. Imagine how much fun that would be? Who knows, maybe Buddy would make a guest appearance.

Well, OK, back to reality. Andy's due back from his vacation any day now, and then we'll find out who our newest coordinator is. The Eagles are said to be looking for someone older, more experienced, someone who neither invites nor incites pile-ons. You, me and the bulk of the defense might want another Rex, but it's more likely the next guy will behave as would a ditch digger in the rain.

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