Mike Pettine Says Defensive Playcalling Duties are Overblown


July 29, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine prepares to call a defensive play during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Mike Pettine has been Rex Ryan’s right hand man since their arrival in 2009. Ryan leans on Pettine for all things defensive related. As the years have gone by, Rex Ryan’s involvement in the defense has varied a lot, for being heavily involved to leaving it more to coach Pettine. A lot of talk surrounds the topic of who calls the plays. Is it Pettine? Is it Ryan? Is it both? To Pettine, this is a topic that gets too much attention:

I think that is a little overblown. It is basically what it has been and again, it will all depend on the opponent. Sometimes it is in game, sometimes I take first and second down, he will take third down or vice versa or, ‘hey, it is a two minute, you take it.’ We are ego free when it comes to that. To me, a lot of times and I explained this before, the calls are already predetermined in a lot of situations. The ball is on this hash mark, in this area of the field with this personnel grouping, this down and distance, we have already met and agreed on what it would be so it is basically a matter of who is reading it off the sheet. The game plan, especially if a team is sticking to tendency, is almost on autopilot at times. Third downs we will sometimes script out how we are going to call them but again there are a lot of different combinations on how we do it. Again it is something we didn’t feel was broken so there was really no need to fix it.

Aug 15, 2012; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine talks with the defensive unit during training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

He talked more about how the playcalling dynamic works in-game:

It is really not going to be that different than what we have done in the past. We use the word collaboration and that is the way we do it. There are some opponents I have a better feel for that I will do the bulk of it and vice versa. Sometimes it is during a game, we will switch it in game, but again we will always talk and have a plan for it and I think that is the strength of what we do is that we have the ability to bounce calls off of each other. When the offense is up, we almost have a game plan meeting over the headset, ‘what are we thinking about the next third down. Do you like this? Here is what I like.’ We bounce it back and forth and I think it has worked for us. It worked for us before and again with Rex this year, people have used the phrase more of an active role, his active role to me has been more across the team. He has always been very involved defensively, but he has been in with the offensive meetings and more involved in the special teams stuff. I don’t think there is anyone more excited about the season starting than Rex. He did what he said he was going to do and has really immersed himself back in it.

As how it should be. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine should do it together, as they created it together coming from Baltimore. Whether one guy or the other is making the calls is a non issue. But then again, the mainstream media has to report on everything Jets related, meaningful or otherwise.