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Pettine Hired as Defensive Coordinator

The Jets have officially hired Ravens outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine as their new defensive coordinator.


Jets coach Rex Ryan will be hands-on on game days, calling all the defensive plays while defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is up in the press box.

In Baltimore, Ryan and Pettine were extremely close. Ryan was the fire-and-brimstone part of the duo and Pettine, as the Ravens' linebackers coach, was the brains. They were together for seven seasons. Ryan spent the past 10 seasons with the Ravens, the past four as defensive coordinator. His unit never ranked lower than sixth in the NFL in total defense during his stint.

"I rely on him and he relies on me," Ryan said Wednesday. "We're going to get it done. ... (Pettine) is a rising star in this league. Of course, we don't want to pump him up too much. We want him to be around here for a while.

Pettine might be best known for his role as the head coach of North Penn High School in the first episode of ESPN's The Season, a series that served as a documentary offering inside access to numerous teams. On paper this appears to be the perfect hire. Ryan's duties as head coach will take him away from focusing on the finer aspects of his defense. He can delegate to Pettine, a guy who knows the system inside and out and has the trust of the head coach.

Some might look at this and say it looks awfully familiar. Bob Sutton was supposed to have a similar role with Eric Mangini. In both cases, a defensive coordinator turned head coach hired a linebackers coach. However, the similarities end there. Three years ago, the Jets fired Donnie Henderson partially out of fear his popularity with the defensive players could undermine a rookie head coach. Sutton did not have the resume to do so. Mangini also did not have a distinct defensive philosophy aside from using the 3-4 as a base. He himself had been the caretaker of Bill Belichick's defense.

Thus ends Bob Sutton's run with the team. He served as an assistant for three different head coaches over nine seasons. In the first six, he did a solid job as linebackers coach. He just lacked creativity to run anything more than a read and react 3-4, which in some ways defeats the purpose of the system. Here's wishing him luck. Bob certainly could turn up somewhere as a position coach.