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Mike Pettine left Rex Ryan and joined Bills to be his own man

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Where did Rex Ryan stop and Mike Pettine begin with the New York Jets' defense?

"I've been asked that before," former Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum told me in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "I think Mike's his own guy, and he'll do a good job.

"Where one started and one ended, it could've been by the game, by the quarter. It depended on the game and the situation. But Mike's really good."

Bills head coach Doug Marrone hired Pettine to be his defensive coordinator. The Jets had a terrific unit in the four years Pettine was there, but Ryan was considered the defensive mastermind.

Pettine coached in his father's famous high school program before taking an entry-level job with the Baltimore Ravens and meeting Ryan.

Pettine was Ryan's hand-picked choice to run the Jets' defense when Ryan became head coach in 2009. The Jets ranked first, third, fifth and eighth in yards allowed over the past four seasons.

While Pettine's job switch is considered lateral -- his contract was up, and he turned down a contract extension offer from the Jets to join the Bills -- it is a promotion because he will have ownership of the defense now.

"He probably wanted to get out of Rex's shadow," Tannenbaum said.

Tannenbaum predicted success for Pettine with Buffalo.

"He's a great evaluator," Tannenbaum said. "He has a really good pedigree from his dad to Rex, and I'm sure he's going to do a good job out on his own."


Doug Marrone | Mike Pettine | Rex Ryan | Super Bowl XLVII
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |