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Mike Pettine on guessing Rex Ryan's D: 'You're chasing ghosts'

Pettine and Ryan 2
Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says his long relationship with Jets coach Rex Ryan will provide no advantage in upcoming Sunday's game against the Jets.

By Tim Graham


Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine knows Rex Ryan's defense. They worked alongside each other 11 years.

Pettine, however, claimed their long relationship will provide no edge Sunday against the New York Jets.

Pettine was the Jets' defensive coordinator the past four years and previously worked with Ryan on the Baltimore Ravens' defensive staff. Despite their familiarity, Pettine is wary of trying to guess what Ryan will do.

"The strength of the system that was built defensively is its flexibility, the ability do adapt each week to a particular opponent," Pettine said today at One Bills Drive. "Rex has 10 years' worth of material to draw from and tighten that down into a 30- or 40-call game plan, and it's just hard for me to even try.

"You're just chasing ghosts when you go, 'I might see this,' or, 'I might see this.' To me, it comes down to execution, and you've got to get your players lined up and play sound and hope that your guys can out-execute their guys on a given day."

Ryan, on a conference call with Bills reporters this afternoon, said neither he nor Pettine has an advantage given his familiarity with how the other thinks.

"You're still talking about hundreds of defenses that typically 40 or so are pulled for a game plan," Pettine said. "I mean, I know the mentality, but ... it's just too much volume to sit there and say, 'OK, I'm going to put myself in Rex's shoes, and here's what his game plan's going to be.' "


Mike Pettine | Rex Ryan
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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.

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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 |