PHOENIX - Rex Ryan said he knows for a fact that the Jets are not "actively trying to trade Darrelle [Revis],'' but the coach certainly seems to be bracing for the possibility.
"To me, I'll coach who's here,'' he said. "On opening day, we'll see who that is.''
Speaking at the AFC coaches' breakfast at the NFL's owners meetings Tuesday, Ryan termed reports of Revis being shipped to another team as "speculation.'' This past weekend, though, owner Woody Johnson said he would trade Revis if it improved the Jets. There have been reports that the Bucs are willing to give a first-round pick for the All-Pro cornerback, who is rehabbing from ACL surgery.
"It's almost like 'Well, it's a foregone conclusion,' '' Ryan said of losing his best defensive player. "I don't believe that. With that, I'm not naive enough to think [he'll definitely be back] . . . Obviously, there are going to be several people who are interested in your good players, whether it's Revis or anybody else. There's always that.''
Ryan said he would be "in the loop'' regarding any decisions the Jets make on Revis' future. But he said the ultimate decision-maker will be new general manager John Idzik. Ryan also distanced himself from any smoking guns that might be left lying around Florham Park should Revis be dealt away.
"I have nothing to do with trades,'' he said. "My job is to coach the football team, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.''
At least in 2013, because Ryan's future with the Jets might be tied to Revis'. If the Jets trade their best player, even though he is coming off knee surgery, it would be the strongest signal yet that they are rebuilding. In that case, Idzik might want to part ways with Ryan and bring in his own coach to replace the one he has inherited.
If Ryan can make the playoffs in 2013, though, with or without Revis, it will be difficult to get rid of him.
Ultimately, Ryan's future likely will be determined by the number of wins and losses in the upcoming season, which could be a transition year for the franchise.
"That's cool,'' Ryan said. "That's good with me. That's all I ever ask . . . I'm not afraid. I've never been afraid of anything in my life and I'm certainly not afraid of this.''
After being humbled by a 6-10 finish in 2012, a season that ended with three losses and a second consecutive postseason as a spectator, Ryan said it did not take him long to find his bravado once again.
Asked whether the Jets can make the playoffs this year, Ryan smirked and said: "That's not my goal.'' He spoke about knowing that the Jets are going to "bring it every game'' and knowing that fans want a team "that plays with unmatched determination.''
"I know what it takes,'' he said. "My team is going to be ready.''
But his team already has had a swift change in personnel, if not personality. The Jets have lost several key players to free agency, including tight end Dustin Keller, defensive tackle Mike DeVito and Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry.
"That one hurt a little bit,'' Ryan said of losing Landry after only one season with the Jets.
Imagine how much pain losing Revis would inflict on him.