Mike Pettine is out to prove that he more than just a clipboard-toting flunky of Jets head coach Rex Ryan. The Bills introduced Pettine as their new defensive coordinator on Thursday.
Pettine had been the defensive coordinator for the Jets over the past four years for a unit that has consistently been in the top 10 in total defense during that time. But because his head coach is a defensive mastermind, Pettine often languished in the shadows and there were questions about how much he contributed to the scheme. Now in Buffalo, Pettine will have the chance to be the one in charge.
“For the past couple of years, I’ve had a great opportunity to work with Rex and call a vast majority of their defense,” Pettine said on Thursday when addressing the media in Buffalo. “I also have a great deal of experience in making adjustments to the defense during the season that helped improve our unit’s performance.”
Pettine announced with two weeks left in the season he would not be signing an extension with the Jets. There was much speculation as to why Pettine’s contract would not be renewed, given a decade-long relationship with his head coach that first began when they were on the same staff with the Ravens.
One source within the Jets locker room told Metro, “Everyone thinks [Pettine] is the source and responsible for some of the recent leaks to the papers.” The source is referring to the recent leaks of information from within the organization to news outlets, something which the team is trying to stop. Those claims cannot be substantiated.
Whatever the case may be, Ryan said on Tuesday during his season ending press conference that “Mike Pettine is a guy who I have a ton of respect for.” He also teased that he wished Pettine well wherever he went, except if he stayed in the division and went to Buffalo.
“Rex and I are like brothers, brothers that fight a lot. I’ve been with Rex since the first day I stepped in the NFL in Baltimore in 2002. Rex and I have a very unique relationship. It’s a strong bond based on the love of the game. Our styles are very different, but we’re both sons of very successful coaches and I think that’s what drew us together right away,” Pettine said. “Learning from him helped build a foundation for me. But at the same time I was very deeply influenced by my father and other coaches that I’ve worked with. Our styles are similar from a scheme standpoint, but I think people will realize our personalities are very different. I love Rex and am so thankful for the opportunity I had there.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.