Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rex's grip on defense doesn't bother Thurman


Dennis Thurman says he doesn't care who gets the credit.

Thurman was named the New York Jets' defensive coordinator following the January departure of Mike Pettine, who bolted for the Buffalo Bills in an effort to shake Rex Ryan's shadow. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

With that, Ryan has re-taken a firm grip on the Jets' defense, and Thurman is more than happy to let the defensive guru do his thing, even at the expense of his own recognition.

"This defense is part Rex's dad [Buddy], this defense is part Marvin Lewis, this defense is part Mike Nolan, this defense is part Rex Ryan. It's a combination of a lot of things,'' Thurman recently told Newsday's Kimberley A. Martin.

"But his ability to teach it, his ability to get the techniques the way he wants, the fundamentals the way he wants them, the way he can get the group as a whole to learn the entire defense -- I have the utmost respect for Rex in that regard. To hear that [Rex runs the defense], it's not a big deal to me.''

When Ryan took over the Jets in 2009, he essentially called all the shots on defense, and Gang Green ranked No. 1 on that side of the ball that year. Ryan increasingly delegated more responsibilities to Pettine over the past three seasons, and while the defense didn't necessarily suffer, Pettine still loomed in the background.

Thurman, a former NFL defensive back who has coached secondaries alongslide Ryan for over a decade, will be yet another background actor of Rex's show, as Ryan will retain playcalling duties.

And that's just fine with Thurman.

"This is Rex Ryan's team, because he's the head coach. So it's not a big deal to me," Thurman said. "When you really sit back and think about the head coaches that call games, be it an offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator, everybody gets the credit if you win.

"You don't worry about getting credit, you worry about winning football games."

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