Rex Ryan defends Bill Belichick... wait, what?!

The New York papers might want to make fun of Bill Belichick but Rex Ryan is having none of that.

With his team trailing the Patriots in the division by essentially four games (Pats hold tie-breaker) he's not in a position to trash talk. In fact he went the opposite direction and went to bat for Belichick in the face of his criticism for leaving Gronkowski in for the extra point.

So, what does Rex Ryan think of people calling out Belichick for playing Gronkowski on that play?
"Absolutely ridiculous," Ryan said on a Tuesday conference call. "(Gronkowski) is on an extra point. He's probably done it 100 times this year for the simple fact that's how many points they score. You never see that. Every single team in the league, we have D'Brickashaw Ferguson there, we have . . . whoever the player is.

"You don't play the game that way and it's just an unfortunate thing," added Ryan.
"That's just a freak deal that that would happen. But unfortunately that's part of the game. Injuries do happen. We lose (wide receiver Santonio) Holmes and (cornerback Darrelle) Revis to non-contact injuries and it's just one of those things and it's unfortunate, obviously."

Can people shut up about this now? Rex went on to say that he wasn't happy that Gronkowski was injured, while adding that if he had to miss time he didn't mind that he was missing their game.

I like this Rex Ryan better. He also had high praise for Aqib Talib too.

"We'll have to see what they do schematically. Generally if it's just straight man coverage you'll probably go away from him," Ryan said. "They're very multiple with what they do defensively, so we'll just have to see how they're playing and we'll see if coverage or whatever dictates that you go there

As if they needed another great player."

Also, he had high praise of Tom Brady:

"You can almost say he's a machine back there," said Ryan, whose team faces the Patriots Thursday night in a virtual must-win. "The thing about him, he's a machine, yet he's a passionate and fiery leader. You wish he was just a machine. His competitive side elevates his team. That's what you get with those once-in-a-generation type quarterbacks."

We can all knock on the Jets all we want, but they aren't eliminated from the playoffs yet. It's still possible that this team gets in, albeit a slight chance.

Also, the Jets always give the Patriots fits. These games are almost never close (barring the couple of occasions the Patriots blew them out).

The Jets aren't taking the Patriots lightly - even without Rob Gronkowski - but the Patriots aren't taking New York lightly either - even without Holmes and Revis. That's just the way this rivalry has gone the last four years.