Rex Ryan: ‘Manuel Has To Get Better Fundamentally’

Rex Ryan made a bittersweet appearance on CBS Sports Radio on Thursday. It wasn’t bittersweet for Ryan, but rather, for Brandon Tierney, a lifelong Jets fan and season-ticket holder.

Ryan was fired from the Jets in December before signing with the Buffalo Bills a few weeks later.

Come on, coach. Really? Staying in the AFC East? You’re killing me!

“You know, it’s funny,” Ryan said on Tiki and Tierney, laughing. “Obviously I never targeted that. That’s just the way it ended up. What was important to me me is I look at it like I was blessed to get my first opportunity – and the same thing now. I’m not going to get another opportunity, so it has to work, and it has to be right. So when I met with the Pegulas and (president) Russ (Brandon) and (general manager) Doug (Whaley), I knew it was clear the direction they want to take this team. And the commitment, to me, that’s critical. That’s important. And obviously my owner, I’m blessed: he’s got deep pockets. And we had to use it on some of the coaches. We were able to (bring) in Greg Roman (to be our offensive coordinator). But our entire staff, the answer is yes. We just want to win. We want to bring our community a championship and we’re committed to it. Now it’s just about going out and doing it.”

Roman’s first challenge? Figuring out whether E.J. Manuel can be a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Manuel has 19 touchdowns (16 pass, three rush) and 15 turnovers (12 interceptions, three fumbles) in 15 career games.

Can the 24-year-old Manuel be the guy in Buffalo?

“It’s a good question, but he’s still a young guy,” Ryan said. “One thing he’s done, he hasn’t turned the ball over so that’s been a good thing. But yeah, he has to get better fundamentally. There’s different things he has to get better at. But we’re in such early stages of the evaluating (process) that there isn’t anybody in our organization that can quite honestly say this is definitely going to be our guy right now. We’re open for anything. We’re going to look at free agency. We’re going to look at different things and do what’s best for us.”

Tierney, in truth is happy for Ryan. He’s also impressed that Ryan bit his tongue during his last couple of seasons with the Jets and din’t rip the organization on his way out.

Because, frankly, there was a lot to rip.

“Well first off, I admire Woody Johnson beyond belief,” Ryan said. “He was so good to me, and I truly believe he’s a great owner and he cares deeply for this team. He wants a championship. He wanted to do whatever it took. So it certainly wasn’t a reflection on him, how this team ended up winning four games. I absolutely believe it. But we ended up winning four games. Hard to explain. But my team, I was proud of them. The reason I’m sitting in the chair I’m in now is because of the way my players played. So I admire that stuff. I’ll never say a bad word about that organization.”

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