Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jim Leonhard back in Mike Pettine's system


Jim Leonhard could only get away from Mike Pettine for so long.

Leonhard, who worked under the defensive coordinator Pettine for three years when the pair was employed by the New York Jets, signed with the Buffalo Bills Monday.

Pettine led the Jets' defense the past four seasons but joined the Bills at the beginning of this year. Leonhard, meanwhile, was with Gang Green from 2009 to 2011 before spending last season with the Denver Broncos.

Leonhard was acquired for what appears to be insurance purposes regarding an uncertain Bills safety corps that includes its star defender Jairus Byrd battling a foot ailment.

The 30-year-old veteran Leonhard has plenty of experience in Pettine's system, which is an extension of Rex Ryan's scheme. Leonhard was the primary play-caller in Ryan's Jets defense and in fact was brought over by Ryan from the Baltimore Ravens five years ago to help Ryan interpret his schematic to a new squad.

The Jets defense ranked No. 1 that season.

“He’s been in the system before, but I’ll wait to see him out here and see how he reacts to it because the system has changed,” Bills coach Doug Marrone cautioned reporters Monday.

Leonhard sustained a major leg injury in each of his last two seasons with the Jets before playing in 16 games in Denver. He started just one of those contests. The former Bronco, Jet and Raven began his career with the Bills in 2005 as an undrafted rookie.

Follow Nick @NickStDenis
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily