Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pettine's "lateral" move to Bills isn't really lateral


Mike Pettine's reported move from New York Jets defensive coordinator to Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator is lateral by definition, but in reality, it's a step up.

Working under head coach Rex Ryan, Pettine was "in charge" of the Jets' defense the past four years, but it was never truly his defense. At least that was the perception.

His responsibilities and ownership of the unit grew during that time, but he never really escaped the large shadow of Ryan, who is one of the best defensive minds in the game and got most, if not all, of the credit for Gang Green's stout play on that side of the ball the last four years. (photo credit:

So it's no surprise that Pettine opted to part ways with the Jets when his contract expired after the 2012 season. Pettine jumped on the Bills' wagon to serve as new head coach Doug Marrone's defensive coordinator. Now, he'll have a chance to prove himself as the clear-cut leader of a defense.

Ryan was supportive of Pettine Tuesday but made it clear he'd prefer Pettine end up somewhere other than Buffalo. And to no avail.

"Mike and I have been together for over 10 years. He’s a tremendous coach," Ryan said. "... Mike thinks it’s best that he go to a different team as a defensive coordinator, and I wish him all the best unless he goes to Buffalo. But I love Mike and I respect him.”

The move undoubtedly makes the AFC East rivalry that much more intriguing considering the coaches' knowledge of one another. Plus, Pettine will be going from a personnel group more suited for a 3-4 to a 4-3-favored squad. If his scheme looks anything like the Jets', though, it'll be a combination of both.

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