Apparently, even Rex Ryan can become tired of talking to the media.
The Buffalo Bills’ coach reached his breaking point Thursday, but not with Western New York reporters. Things turned testy during Ryan’s conference call with the New England media in advance of Monday night’s game against the Patriots.
A reporter asked Ryan whether the fact he’s lost eight of his past nine games against New England keeps him up at night considering how much time he spends talking about them.
“The only reason I talk about them is that they are the No. 1 team in our division and that’s where we want to be,” Ryan said. “I know you guys always say I’m obsessed with them and all that. You guys are obsessed with them, not me. You’re the ones who talk about them every single day.
Of course, it would make sense for reporters who regularly cover the Patriots to talk or write about them every day, in the same way that media here in Western New York covers the Bills.
Ryan, however, made clear he feels the Boston-area media has an agenda.
“I just like the way you guys spin everything. You put everything I say … put it out there the way you want to and I understand it,” he said. “You guys have covered this matchup for years and years. We got no business being on the same field, that’s what you said. … So don’t talk to me. I’m sitting back here, I’ll answer the question, whatever, but I don’t know why you even bother.
“I have no clue how to attack them or defend them, so you guys should talk to somebody else who has a better record than I do against them.”
Earlier in the day with Western New York reporters, Ryan said his approach to playing New England is no different than any other week.
“That’s the honest-to-goodness truth,” he said. “Now the reason they say obsessed, I want what they have. They’ve won some rings or whatever. I ain’t kissing them, but I respect them. I admire the fact that they’ve been that successful through the years. But that’s what I’m chasing. I want to win, man.”
As the defending Super Bowl champions and a perfect 9-0 this season, New England remains the gold standard in the NFL.
“If you really want to be the very best then you gotta go ahead and beat this team,” Ryan said. “You got to find ways to beat them and that’s what drives me. I don’t want to just beat some … you know some whoever. You know, some local school. West Seneca High School.”
Ryan called Patriots coach Bill Belichick the greatest of all time earlier in the week, but wasn’t in the mood to throw more roses at his feet Thursday.
“You guys know how I feel about him and things like that,” he said. “But I’m tired of saying ‘hey, he’s the best.’ Yeah, no kidding and anybody who says he’s not is full of whatever. So with that being said, I’m gonna say he’s not very good.”
Ryan’s twin brother, Rob, coached with the Patriots from 2000-03, which Rex Ryan pointed out when asked whether he had a relationship off the field with Belichick.
“I feel like I really know him and all that kind of stuff through him,” Rex Ryan said. “Maybe it’s a twin deal or whatever.”
Ryan then slipped up and used an expletive when saying he and Belichick “aren’t avoiding each other. … But he’s not gonna take me out to eat.”
It’s not hard to see where the idea of Ryan being obsessed with the Patriots comes from.
Leading up to his return to New York in Week 10 to face the Jets, Ryan said it was the two games against the Patriots that were circled on his calendar. After the Patriots piled up 466 passing yards in a Week Two win – and were clearly going for more – Ryan said New England was “trying to embarrass us.”
“Of course they want to bury me,” he said. “I mean, no question they want to beat me. But this is nothing to do with me. It has something to do with our team. Yeah, they want to put us away, there’s no question.”
Ryan said even if the Bills were able to win, the Patriots “are going to win the division. I don’t see them losing four games. … I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see it happening.”
Asked if that meant he was conceding the AFC East to New England, Ryan responded: “No. I’m just telling you the fact. The only thing I’m focused on is beating them right now, on Monday night. We ain’t conceding that, I can promise you.”
Brady’s 466 passing yards were the most ever by a Bills opponent and the second-highest total for a single game in his career.
“Obviously I never expected to give up 466 passing yards to Tom Brady or anybody,” Ryan said. “But that’s what happened. So to say do I think we have the talent to play better than that – 100 percent I say we have the talent to play better than that.
“Like I say, we better play better than that. We better coach better than that. I contributed to that 466 passing yards. Wasn’t just my team, it was me, and so you gotta look at it and I got to be better. I’m gonna be better and I think that’s, to a man, that’s kind of how you feel. Does that mean we’re gonna be good enough to beat them? We’re gonna show up and we’re gonna come into that game expecting to win and we realize we’ve got to improve a zillion times better than we were the last game. We get it. We know we’re a better football team. We’ll find out how much better.”
The Bills’ injury report was a short one Thursday. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams did not practice because of a knee injury that will keep him out of a fourth straight game.
Defensive back Leodis McKelvin was the only other nonparticipant, sitting out because of an illness. Offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio was listed as a full participant with a knee injury, while defensive tackle Marcell Dareus returned to practice after missing Tuesday for a personal matter.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy loves the bright lights. In McCoy’s last five appearances on Monday Night Football, he’s averaged 111.6 yards from scrimmage.
“Can’t wait to get out there Monday night,” McCoy said after Thursday’s practice. “Playing a good team – and in prime time. Go out there and get the win.”
McCoy has topped 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his past two games, both Buffalo victories.
“Just getting in the groove,” he said. “I’ve been hurt for quite a bit. So just feeling good again. Feeling quick. Explosion. Different runs. Just feeling like myself and that’s all. Just took some time.”