Friday, September 9, 2011

SNY's Coakley talks Jets with AFC East Daily

Coakley with Jets coach Rex Ryan. (Photo provided)
I had a chance to catch up with SportsNet New York Jets reporter and anchor Jeané Coakley Friday. Coakley joined the SNY team last year after covering the Indianapolis Colts for four seasons. She’s extremely passionate about her job and really loves football, so I asked if she would do a brief Q&A over the phone, discussing some of the lighter topics surrounding the Jets and the media. Side conversation not included.

Compare the differences between the media dealing with someone like Tony Dungy to Rex Ryan.
“The two are actually really similar in the fact that while they have completely different styles, Tony’s players would’ve done anything for him, and Rex’s players would do anything for him. The Indianapolis Colts adore Tony, and the New York Jets adore Rex. It shows that there are so many ways to coach. It’s interesting, because people say because they’re so different that you either love them or hate them, but their players absolutely love them.

“Rex says what he wants. I’m not saying Tony doesn’t. But when Tony was with the Colts, he didn’t really say as much. The Colts are very guarded, very protective of information. That’s the way that organization is run. I think that’s why he was hired in the first place, because he fits that style... The Indianapolis media is completely different than the New York media."

Do you see any differences between the personality of this Jets team to last year’s, and how has the veteran presence of, say a Derrick Mason, fit in?
“I think there’s a little more swag with the younger guys this year than there was last year. Mark (Sanchez) is a little more confident, and you have (Antonio) Cromartie with his big deal.

… "But they need a guy like Derrick Mason in the locker room. This is a young team. I’m 32, and there are only three guys on the roster who are older than me -- Mark Brunell, Derrick Mason and Plaxico Burress. They lost most of the older guys, some important veterans like Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson and Shaun Ellis.”

Tell me a little about having Kris Jenkins join the SNY set.
“It’s funny because I called him three weeks ago and begged him, ‘Please Kris, you’ve got to join us. It would be so much fun.’ … We have great chemistry interviewing and on set, so I was so excited when he agreed to do it. “

Who is the funniest Jet on the team this season?
“As far as personality, Sione Pouha is my absolute favorite. He’s really funny and has the best personality. He’s a great guy, just so much fun. But I’d have to say Bart Scott is the funniest. He’s hilarious.”

Have you noticed an increase of women in the media since you started covering football, and do women like yourself feel they have something to prove in such a masculine environment?
“I’ve seen a lot more (women in football media). It’s good to see smart, talented women talking football.

… “I think whether you’re male or female, you have to earn that respect. We’re going into their locker room, their home, asking them questions, sometimes after a tough loss. So you have to show them you know what you’re talking about, and I’ve always a good rapport with the guys.”

You covered the Colts. What’s your opinion on the Peyton Manning situation?
“I was shocked. I feel bad for the team, bad for Peyton. He’s one of hardest workers I’ve ever seen play the game. And he loves, loves, loves the game. I think it hurts not only the Colts, but entire league.”

Do you have a favorite football team?
“I grew up an Eagles fan. But after covering sports for 10 years, I root for guys more than teams now.”

Do you sense the excitement of the season around the team?
“It’s like the first day of school for these guys. You had practices, training camp, and now it’s the regular season. They’re so tired of hitting each other. You can even sense it with Rex a bit. That, ‘Finally it’s here.’”

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