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Rex Ryan has been trying to poke and prod at the Patriots for a long time, in fact we can go back to the 09 season when Ryan not only had former Patriot Kevin O'Connell serve as captain for both games against the Pats, but actually traded an undisclosed draft pick to get him. That's not when the real story started though.
The real story started when the Patriots brought Danny Woodhead over from the dark side. Woodhead, who had a meager 151 total yards for the Jets (playing in 10 games), went on to accumulate 2181 yards over three seasons for the Patriots. While Woodhead has traded shades of blue to join the Chargers, Rex Ryan is still seeing red over being made to look a fool. While he may not come out and admit that, his actions have shown that he is hunting for some payback.
While I could go back years and look up many players that he has brought in, I think that this young season is the prime piece of evidence. Let's start with Ras-I Dowling. Utter bust status for the Patriots aside, this is simply a player who has 10 combined tackles in his illustrious 3 year NFL career. He's played 9 of 36 possible games, so you've got a solid 25% chance of him being involved in a game. So with injury history, a lack of production, and no sign of life for his NFL career Rex Ryan decides to sign him. That's right, Rex Ryan thinks he can rebuild the career Belichick couldn't save. If you can name a single time that Rex Ryan's Jets have made a former Patriot better, I'd probably die of shock.
Dowling is not the only former Patriot bust that Ryan decided would be his white whale... I mean Woodhead. Jermaine Cunningham was brought in after a cup of coffee in San Francisco to join the Jets. Now this 5th year pro has actually played 36 of 48 games that have taken place during his career. A solid 75%, which means he and Dowling combined could get through a season. He's also a juggernaut of production when compared to Dowling, with 59 combined tackles in that career. He's closing in on two a game, get that bust in Canton ready. In fact get one for Rex Ryan too, since he's finding all the diamonds in the Patriot rough.
So how have these massive strokes of genius paid off for soothsayer Ryan? Well, that 75% games played marker will go down as Jermaine Cunningham has (shockingly...) been lost for the year to an Achilles injury. Dowling has also shown himself to be a beacon of health, with reports of an oh so surprising foot injury
If these type of strong additions continue, Rex Ryan will be playing the head coaching home game, much to the dismay of comedy (and snack) lovers everywhere.
Stats courtesy ESPN
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