Monday, February 4, 2013

Pettine: Bills' defensive structure won't model Jets


When Mike Pettine served as the New York Jets' defensive coordinator, he was mostly perceived to be just an extension of head coach Rex Ryan.

So when Pettine saw a good opportunity to break off and take full ownership of a defense, he took it. And Pettine is certain the Bills' defense will be just that. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

"Are we going to build the structure of the system the same way as New York? Absolutely not. This is going to be the Buffalo Bills' defense," Pettine said in late January, via Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News.

To properly put those comments into context, Pettine was asked about Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who, at the time, had reportedly been put on the trading block.

Pettine noted that the Jets' defense was the Jets' defense because it put two stellar cornerbacks -- Revis and Antonio Cromartie -- in shutdown mode on the outside, allowing the rest of the unit to operate from there. Since two of their three best defenders were at corner, they could put them one-on-one with receivers and use the extra bodies to help in other deficiencies, namely the pass rush.

The Bills won't be that way. With the personnel Pettine has to work with up front, Buffalo will operate from the front to the back. Mario Williams is still a superior edge rusher and demands more attention than any outside player the Jets had. Plus, a mixed bag of pre-snap looks on the front seven will help provide some leaks in the opponent's pass protection.

Pettine will be aggressive, but he won't need to blitz the house as often as he did in New York.

As for the perimeter, Pettine will certainly challenge second-year cornerback Stephon Gilmore in one-on-one situations, but he won't put him in a Revis/Cromartie role on a regular basis, at least yet. He'll run the secondary around one the of best safeties in Jairus Byrd, assuming they retain him.

". . . we're excited, like we mentioned before, in just the early evaluations of the roster," Pettine said, "there are some talented football players here."

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