Jets' Ryan calls report of team turmoil 'bogus'
DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
Dec. 05, 2014
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Rex Ryan insists the New York Jets are anything but a "toxic" bunch — no matter what people might be saying to the contrary.
The coach emphatically denied an SB Nation report, quoting anonymous players and management sources, that he twice wanted to fire offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg during the Jets' 2-10 season and that there is discord among the coaches and players.
"To me, I think it's a completely bogus deal," Ryan said during his news conference Friday.
The report said that Ryan and Mornhinweg have had friction all season, and the Jets' run-heavy approach — they rushed 49 times — in a loss to Miami on Monday night was Mornhinweg's way of "sticking it" to Ryan.
"One hundred percent I would deny that I'm looking to fire Marty or anybody," Ryan said. "Maybe there's a perception, when we challenge each other all the time. Coaches, we've got to get the best out of our guys."
The Jets' offense ranks 29th in overall yardage and last in passing in Mornhinweg's second season with the Jets. In a statement issued by the team, Mornhinweg also denied there is tension.
"Rex and I are close," Mornhinweg said. "Everything we do is about getting better and figuring out a way to win football games."
Ryan said he has "not once" considered making any changes this season among his coaching staff. He also laughed off the contention that there is discord among the coaches.
"That's why I give no credibility to that story," Ryan said. "I thought there were some other things in the story, that same one, that I thought were hilarious."
Such as Mornhinweg, traditionally a pass-happy game planner, choosing to run the ball an unusual amount of times against the Dolphins.
"But Marty was trying to stick it to me by running the ball as much as he was?" said Ryan, who usually prefers a run-first approach. "When they said that, well, I hope he has the same problem this week. It doesn't make any sense."
The report also says that general manager John Idzik's inability to provide Ryan with enough quality players to compete has made for a "toxic" environment.
"It's not the reality of the situation," Ryan said. "So, if it's somebody's opinion, it's somebody's opinion. Who the management source is, I don't know, but that's on that person. That's not on anybody down here."
Several players echoed Ryan's assertion that there is no tension in the locker room, despite the team's record.
"It's much ado about nothing," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "One of these days, people will stop believing everything they read or assume to be going on. This is not a dysfunctional organization. There's no bickering. There's no physical altercations. Guys are coming to work every day, hanging out with one another. Coaches and players still have good relationships."
The mood in the locker room Friday was upbeat, with players joking around and laughing — hardly appearing like a 2-10 team. Pace thinks that attitude is a credit to Ryan and how players still enjoy playing for him even during tough times.
"It's not toxic, man," Pace said, insisting the Jets are "no different than any other organization."
"We have our faults," he added. "But it's not us versus them, players versus management. It's always easy when things aren't going well to sit and say, 'What could've been done?'"
Wide receiver Percy Harvin was acquired in October from Seattle, another team that had been accused of being dysfunctional despite winning the Super Bowl last season.
"It's 1,000 percent false," Harvin said of the characterizations of the Jets. "There's no toxic anywhere."
Ryan also took issue with the fact the writer of the report doesn't cover the team on a daily basis.
"You're in that locker room every day, and yet I haven't seen one of our beat writers write anything close to that," Ryan said. "Angered, I think, is too strong a word, but I looked at (the report) like, 'What?' It's one of those deals."
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