Ryan and Jets finish disappointing season at Dolphins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — For the second year in a row, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan comes to Miami for the finale of a disappointing season, his job in jeopardy.

This time he's unlikely to receive a reprieve.

When the Jets (3-12) face the Dolphins (8-7) on Sunday, it will be one of the most meaningless meetings in the 99-game history between the AFC East rivals. Regardless of the outcome, both teams will sit out the playoffs, the Dolphins for the sixth year in a row and the Jets for the fourth consecutive season.

Ryan was also on the ropes a year ago, but his team beat the Dolphins to eliminate them from the playoff race in the final game. Afterward owner Woody Johnson announced Ryan would be back in 2014.

Another win in Miami probably wouldn't be enough to save Ryan again. Johnson is widely expected to fire the sixth-year coach, and perhaps general manager John Idzik as well.

What does Ryan see himself doing a year from now?

"I don't look down that road," he said.

With a dead end to the season approaching for both teams, here are things to know about the Jets and Dolphins:

REX'S FUTURE: Following last year's game in Miami, when Johnson announced in the locker room that Ryan was being retained, cheers from the 8-8 team could be heard in the stadium hallways.

The reaction would likely be the same this time, because Ryan remains popular with his players.

"Rex is our guy," tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "We definitely love Rex, and we'd love to have him another year. And I think that feeling is felt throughout the whole locker room."

But for Johnson, the downward direction off the franchise's fortunes is expected to outweigh Ryan's postseason success early in his six-year tenure. He's 4-2 in the playoffs but 45-50 in the regular season.

Ryan has ducked questions about his status, with his default answer being he's focused only on the game against the Dolphins. He used that response so often it became something of a joke this week, even to Ryan.

"It is going to be a heck of a game plan," he said with a laugh.

PHILBIN'S SAFE: The Dolphins have endured an even longer playoff drought than the Jets, but owner Stephen Ross announced last week that coach Joe Philbin will be back for a fourth season.

Philbin is 23-24, and his team's sometimes uninspired play reflects his stoic demeanor. But the Dolphins have had lots of coaching turnover in the past decade, and players said they welcome some stability in leadership.

"It's good," receiver Mike Wallace said. "I'm happy just knowing that we will be able to continue what we started when I first got here, and build off of what we were working on the past three years since coach Philbin got here."

GENO'S FUTURE: Quarterback Geno Smith will make his 29th start for the Jets, and it could be his last.

Smith has regressed in his second NFL season, and New York ranks last in the NFL in yards passing. The team will likely look for quarterback help in the draft or free agency, with Smith relegated to a backup role.

When the Jets lost to Miami four weeks ago with Smith at quarterback, New York netted only 49 yards passing.

WHAT'S A WIN MEAN?: Philbin said a victory in the final game can provide momentum for next year. His quarterback disagreed.

"Honestly, I don't think it matters," Ryan Tannehill said. "There's so much time in between seasons."

With a victory, the Dolphins would finish with their first winning record since 2008, and Philbin said there's carry-over.

"The jersey numbers change many times in the National Football League. Every single team in the league has transition," he said. "What you hope is that when you have a good program, some of the enduring characteristics of the team — be it resiliency, work ethic, character — live on in the next group."

TANNEHILL'S IMPROVEMENT: The retention of Philbin means Miami first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will likely be back next year, which means Tannehill will have another year in the same system.

Tannehill has made progress in his third NFL season, and is coming off perhaps the best game of his career, a four-touchdown performance in a comeback win over Minnesota.

"I want to do it on a regular basis," he said. "Nothing on the outside is going to put more pressure on me than I put on myself to make plays and lead the team to wins."


AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak in New York contributed to this report.


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