The Rex Ryan era could be drawing to a close in Florham Park, N.J. But the Jets' coach insisted Monday that he's not focused on job security.
For much of his 16-minute conference call with reporters, Ryan deflected questions about his future with the organization, saying instead that he's focused on the task at hand: getting a win Sunday in Miami.
"I'm not disgruntled about anything," he said. "I'm excited about the opportunity in front of us -- which is playing the Dolphins."
His comments came just a day after a source familiar with his situation told Newsday that Ryan talked about his uncertain future -- and the fact that the Jets' front office already has begun reaching out to head-coaching candidates -- during the team meeting Saturday night. Ryan's players responded by defeating the Browns, 24-13, on Sunday at MetLife Stadium after falling behind 10-0.
The fifth-year head coach, whose contract expires at the end of the 2014 season, refused to confirm or deny reports that he discussed his tenuous situation with his players. "Again, guys, I'm not going there," he said. "My focus is just on this Miami thing."
He also wouldn't say whether owner Woody Johnson or first-year general manager John Idzik have talked to him about his future with the franchise.
"I think the entire organization is committed on trying to find a way to beat Miami,'' he said. "That's the commitment that all of us have had to each other . . . That's where the focus is, 100 percent of the focus is. There is nothing past Miami. It's all about getting ready to play Miami."
The Jets (7-8) will not make the playoffs for the third straight season, but Ryan's players say they're determined to close out the year by winning back-to-back games for the first time this season and playing spoiler.
"It would be great," outside linebacker Quinton Coples said of ruining Miami's playoff hopes. "But our main priority is just to go down and win. It's not so much to focus on knocking them out, but it definitely would be a little pleasing."
Players have continued to voice their support for Ryan, but they've also been very realistic about their situation. A win might not save their coach's job, but it would serve as a much-needed confidence boost heading into the offseason.
"Ending on a good note could be huge for us, especially as a young team, knowing that we're capable of it," receiver David Nelson said.
"It means everything for us," added quarterback Geno Smith, who threw two touchdown passes to Nelson and ran for a 17-yard score to lead the Jets to victory over the Browns. "We only have this game to look forward to until the offseason. Obviously, we want to end it off on a good note. We're facing a divisional [opponent], so it means everything as far as bragging rights goes."
Despite the swirling speculation about his future, Ryan has managed to motivate his players, Smith said.
"He's a players' coach, a guy that we all love to play for [and] we all love to compete for," Smith said. "We all play for one another around here and it's a very close-knit bunch. Rex just has continued to be himself, and that's the reason why we love him and that's the reason why we continue to go out there and work hard in practice and continue to play hard."