No one has to tell New York Jets coach Rex Ryan how good the Chiefs’ defense is.
The Bob Sutton-led unit ranks first in the NFL in pass defense and third in the NFL in overall defense, and Ryan could hardly wait to praise the job Sutton, his former assistant in New York, has done this season to turn around a group that gave up big plays toward the end of last season.
“Bob Sutton is an outstanding football coach,” Ryan said. “You talk about a great man, a great leader, and man, does he have those guys playing. I was surprised he never got a head coaching job last year.
“Hopefully he gets one this year …. I hope it’s not mine,” Ryan added with a chuckle.
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Ryan is on the proverbial “hot seat” after a 1-7 start to the season. Over the last two seasons, he’s lost several top assistants to other teams, including Sutton and current Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine.
Andy Reid managed to lure Sutton, who was the Jets’ assistant head coach and linebackers coach in 2012, away from Ryan before the 2013 season with the opportunity to coordinate the Chiefs’ defense.
“Andy Reid tried to get (Sutton) every single year,” Ryan said. “He would call and try to get him, and I’d be like no, I’m not letting you have him. At the end of the day, I never wanted to lose Bob. He was my assistant head coach. But it was the best thing for Bob and his career to get an opportunity to be a coordinator. And I knew he kind of coach he was.
“It’s a huge loss. But as a coach, you also have the responsibility to do what’s right by your coaches ... I wasn’t holding guys back.”