FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Rex Ryan started his sparsely attended news conference Friday by pretending to duck behind the lectern, which he joked was appropriate for the coach of a 1-8 team.
The gesture capped a week of self-deprecating comments by Ryan, whose chances of returning as Jets coach next season seem less likely with each successive defeat.
On Friday, Ryan was asked about the success of his former assistant, Mike Pettine, who is 6-3 as the Browns' rookie head coach. Cleveland beat Cincinnati on Thursday night, 24-3, to move into a first-place tie in the AFC North with the Steelers, who face the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. "A lot of guys have it going really good," Ryan said. "Except me."
A day earlier, when it was announced that the Jets will play a game in London next season, Ryan said: "I'll say the obvious: As long as I'm on that plane, it'll be a great trip."
None of this is to say Ryan isn't hurting inside while he yucks it up in public. A generally upbeat guy, he can't believe his team is going into Week 10 looking for its second win.
"There is no chance," he said. "Not in a million years would I have believed we would be 1-8. There is no way."
Still, Ryan said, he's not going to give in to negativity. Based on the laughter coming from the locker room after practice, the Jets still are a loose and together team, for whatever that's worth.
"We're 1-8," Ryan said. "I get that, but I don't dwell on it. I look at the opportunity in front of us and pour everything into Pittsburgh. That's what you do. I still come through that door, I drive up and I'm excited to come to work every day."
Ryan did take some time off to watch the Browns' win. He praised the work of Pettine, the Jets' defensive coordinator from 2009-12. "That's awesome," he said. "Fantastic. He has done a heck of a job there. I got to see them play a little last night, and just wow. That team is really playing well. Their defense, I know, started off a little slow, and when you put in a new system, sometimes that happens, but man, they are playing well. They're really getting after it. Then offensively, they ran it like 55 times or something. It was great to see that old-school football. They did a great job."
Ryan also noted the work of another former assistant, Bob Sutton, the defensive coordinator of the 5-3 Chiefs. "Bob Sutton has it going," he said. "Guys that have moved on have done a great job."
Notes & quotes: Geno Smith will back up Michael Vick after being inactive last week. . . . CB Darrin Walls (calf) is out. Ryan said Phillip Adams and Marcus Williams will start at cornerback.