Rex Ryan 'comfortable' coaching on one-year deal

Rex Ryan looks on before a game against

Rex Ryan looks on before a game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 20, 2013) (Credit: Lee S. Weissman)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - John Idzik and Rex Ryan spent much of their time in front of the cameras trading compliments instead of giving concrete answers about the Jets' future.

But one nugget did emerge from their 35-minute news conference Tuesday: Ryan said he's "comfortable" coaching the Jets under his current contract, which expires at the end of next season.

Neither he nor Idzik, the team's first-year general manager, would provide details on Ryan's contract status. After the team's regular-season finale win at Miami, owner Woody Johnson announced that Ryan would continue to coach the Jets for a sixth season, though he refused to give specifics about the terms of Ryan's deal. NFL Network on Monday reported the front office is only willing to give Ryan a one-year extension, but Idzik would neither confirm nor deny that.

As usual, the Jets GM played things close to the vest, providing little insight on a myriad of topics. Idzik offered no definitive answers on Ryan's staff, including his right-hand man, defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, or the futures of rookie quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Mark Sanchez.

The only thing Idzik did commit to was securing more offensive skill players for his quarterback -- whoever that might be in 2014 -- via the draft and / or free agency.

Smith helped lead the Jets to a surprising 8-8 finish and also improved his ability to protect the football "by leaps and bounds," according to Ryan. But the Jets wouldn't commit to the former West Virginia star being their starter heading into training camp.

"We're all excited about having Geno as a part of the Jets," Idzik said, "but we will always look to improve every position in any manner we can and that doesn't change going into 2014. Yes, we'll look at quarterbacks . . . We're very, very excited and happy that Geno is with us."

When pressed further on the topic of known starters on the team, Idzik conceded: "Yeah, we're satisfied with the likes of D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, we're satisfied with Geno. By that, [I mean] we're happy that they're a part of the Jets. I don't think we anoint anything [yet]. Let's just let 2014 take its shape and then we'll be able to assess that as we go forward."

As for Sanchez, who had season-ending shoulder surgery Oct. 8, the GM said: "We'll get to that in time. He is a Jet . . . Our focus is to get him healthy, just as it has been really the entire season, and then we'll take it from there."

Idzik also revealed nothing about the status of assistant coaches, such as Thurman, Anthony Lynn (assistant head coach / running backs coach) and Karl Dunbar (defensive line), who are in the final year of their contracts. But when Ryan was asked if he wants his good friend Thurman to be back, he replied: "I think it would be pretty clear what the Jets think of our coaches here in the next few days."

Ryan, who would prefer a multiyear extension, also insisted Tuesday that he "never felt that I wasn't John's coach" -- though sources said he brought up his uncertain future with players during their team meeting the night before the Browns game.

"I'm comfortable [coaching under my existing contract]," Ryan said Tuesday. "I'm a guy that looks for opportunities. I have an opportunity right in front of me to coach the New York Jets and that's all I need. To me, I love it . . . Regardless of what my contract situation is, I can't wait for this [upcoming] season."

Notes & quotes: Veteran right guard Willie Colon suffered a torn biceps in the regular-season finale and will have surgery Friday, according to a source . . . Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner was named AFC defensive player of the week, with four tackles, two interceptions and five passes defensed in the Jets' 20-7 win at Miami.

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