Rex Ryan sounds off on Bill Belichick seeing stolen Jets playbook

Bill Belichick Rex Ryan Jets Patriots
We know there is no love lost between Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick, but Ryan stood up for the Pats coach Thursday.
Credit: Getty Images

Former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine apparently loves to take digs at his former mentor.

Pettine, now head coach of the Browns, told Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback the Jets playbook was not well guarded and head coach Rex Ryan “would give them out like candy anyway.” It was a slap in the face to Ryan, who brought Pettine to the Jets.

Ryan defended his policies on Thursday, including giving a playbook to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, which may have ended up in the hands of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. An Alabama spokesman told Metro on Thursday afternoon the playbook given to Saban by Ryan is currently in the Crimson Tide head coach’s office.

“I saw the article or whatever so I get it,” Ryan said. “I gave a defensive playbook to Nick Saban when he came here and spent four or five days with us. That’s true. Let me tell you about the one thing I know for a fact. … No. 1, it’s disrespectful to New England to say they did this. Every single game we ever had with New England has been decided on the field. No one ever had a competitive advantage, nobody has had anything else and that’s a fact. All that type of stuff like that is ridiculous. … Two is, every single game, your playbook, if you will, changes. Your game plan changes every single week. So I know specifically for us, when you’re dealing with the defense, it’s different.

“Everybody needs to talk to Pettine because apparently he has all the information.”

Pettine’s comments come as a huge surprise, given Ryan’s strong relationship with his former assistant. The two dated back to the same coaching staff in Baltimore and Pettine left his job as outside linebackers coach in Baltimore to become defensive coordinator in New York in 2009 with Ryan.

Ryan frequently sang Pettine’s praises and often referred to him as a budding head coach.

“I don’t understand what he has to gain by it,” Ryan said. “But again, that’s up to Mike and he’s certainly free to do what he chooses.”

“I haven’t heard anything about it,” current defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said. “I’m surprised by it, but I don’t know anything about it.”

Thurman said players turn in their playbooks at the end of minicamp and they will receive it again come training camp. He doesn’t see an advantage for another team to have access to a copy of the Jets’ playbook.

“You got to know what you’re looking at,” Thurman said. “You have to decode it.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


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