Rex’s latest zinger came after the Patriots released Adalius Thomas, and he was asked about the player’s skills.
“If you’re just going to take a defensive end, or an inside linebacker, or an outside linebacker, then he’s not going to be quite as effective,” Ryan said of Thomas. “If you can use him all over the place as a defensive end, an inside linebacker, and outside backer, a safety, he’s special.
“We’ll see. I think with him we’ll end up first in the league in defense, and without him we’ll end up first in the league in defense. If we get him, great. (But) I’m not worried about him, he’s not on our team.”
OK, so if you read between the lines there you might see … Rex Ryan believes the Patriots utilized Adalius Thomas incorrectly. But is that what he was trying to say?
Ryan’s always said that Thomas’ versatility is what makes him special. We covered it earlier in the offseason, and Ryan said it more than once back when he was Thomas’ defensive coordinator in Baltimore.
In September, he reiterated his feelings in a conference call with the New England press.
“He’s a special person. He’s a special player and he’s still doing a great job in New England,” Ryan said. “I was watching that game and I even remember watching the Super Bowl. If he knocks the ball out of that guy’s hands or whatever quarterback he was close [to] that time, he might have been MVP of that game.
“He’s doing a tremendous job in New England and he’s a guy you definitely have to know where he’s at.”
The bottom line here is that it seems that, in this case, Ryan’s comments were, in part, to help a guy he genuinely likes who’s looking for a job (a very common practice by coaches). And if he could nail the Patriots along the way — something he’s never been shy to do — well, so be it.
Anyway, we’ll find out what Ryan really thinks of Thomas along the way here. He’s out there. The Jets, with Vernon Gholston’s position change, could make room for him.
So whether they go after him or not will tell you all you need to know on that.