hey man it might be crazy and false but it's interesting. Im just trying to shed some light on the Pettine/Rex situation. I'm not seeing alot of alternative theories from the peanut gallery. Too busy crying that Rex isn't fired or whatever. Something happened for Pettine to be let go, right?
If people go back, and read this article it could add some credibility to the idea that Petitne took Rex's bullet.
Rex Ryan, Mike Pettine and Dennis Thurman - three 'nuts' - are the brains behind the NY Jets defense BY MANISH MEHTA http://www.nydailyne...ehind_the_.html
Just before midnight, Rex Ryan grabbed a plastic spoon and reached for a jar of peanut butter inside the Jets coaches' offices.
He twisted. He tapped. He shook. He stared. He twisted again. Darn thing wouldn't open.
Ryan had never before encountered such a stubborn lid.
He didn't notice the iPhone pointed at him from a few feet away, preserving the moment on video forever. He also didn't notice the bald man with a goatee nearby suppressing his laughter.
"We super-glued the lid," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine says proudly.
In the manic, pressure-filled world of the NFL, Ryan has flourished thanks to a pair of friends that share his passion for football and fun.
Ryan, Pettine and defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman, the architects of a defensive system that helped the Ravens remain among the league's elite for years, return to Baltimore Sunday night. The trio hopes to bounce back from the Jets' early-season defensive struggles that included giving up 234 rushing yards to the Raiders last week.
They're "brothers from a different mother," Pettine says, three different personalities that routinely cross the line with each other. Nothing is out of bounds.
"Rex has an emotional side and sometimes gets a little out of control," safety Jim Leonhard says. "Pettine and D.T. are able to kind of balance him out."
Although Ryan grabs the headlines, he sticks to one core belief: It's not his defense. It's their defense.
"We're all very competitive people," Thurman says. "In all ways, we're perfectionists."
So, they pore over the finite details, each breaking down the three levels of the defense, debating and discussing ways to best attack opposing offenses.
They've preserved their sanity through the years with levity. Not even the boss is immune.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously," Ryan says. "Pettine's mean. I'm not mean. When he cuts somebody, he'll cut to the bone. I'm like, 'Oh Pett, did you have to go there?' He'll find something that can needle a guy and, oh yeah, he'll get 'em."
"They're all nuts," Leonhard says. "They're crazy."
* * *
Thurman boarded a plane at 2 p.m. on a Friday afternoon two years ago at Baltimore Washington International Airport, hoping to get back into the league. He spent the 2008 season at home "sitting on my ass getting paychecks" after new Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh let him go with one year left on his contract. Now, Jon Gruden was targeting him to be Tampa's defensive backs coach.
Ryan, who had forged a connection with Thurman in six seasons together in Baltimore, knew that his days with the Ravens were likely coming to an end, too. The defensive coordinator was in the mix for two head coaching jobs and wanted to bring Thurman aboard.
The Ravens, meanwhile, were preparing for the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh two days later. So, Ryan asked Thurman for a favor before he went to Florida: "Don't sign anything."
"I made him that promise," says Thurman, who helped assemble the Ravens' defensive system after Ryan was promoted from line coach to coordinator in 2005.
Ryan, Thurman and Pettine discussed favorable fronts and coverages. They carried over 20%-30% of former defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's system. Ryan added elements from his previous stops in the league, including concepts used by his father, Buddy. They copied schemes from other teams and added original ideas.
Thurman used his experiences as a safety and cornerback in the league for nine years to help shape the overall defensive philosophy. The former Cowboys and Cardinals defensive back was a de facto player-coach, a cerebral athlete who understood cutting-edge principles.
He played during the rise of Bill Walsh's 49ers dynasty, absorbing the subtleties of an offensive attack that consistently put defenses on their heels. He shared this vision with Ryan: Play an attacking style on defense like Walsh did on offense.
"We wanted it to be a defense that dictates to the offense," Thurman says. "You have to be willing to take a few more risks than conventional defenses."
Thurman believed his success in Baltimore would give him the inside track for the Buccaneers' gig. He was unaware that his career path had forever changed while he was still in the air.
When he landed in Tampa just past 4 p.m., his cell phone was filled with eight voicemails and text messages.
Gruden had been fired.
Thurman walked into the Tampa Airport Marriott, where a message was waiting for him at the front desk. Buccaneers' defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who was scheduled to pick Thurman up for dinner, was in negotiations to be the next head coach. So, he went to his room and flew back to Baltimore the next morning, unemployed.
Ryan's words stuck in his head. Thurman always wondered if the system that he helped construct in Baltimore would travel. Could the Ryan-Pettine-Thurman defense succeed somewhere else?
It was Jan. 16, 2009.
Three days later, he would find out.
* * *
The A/V geek at North Penn High School in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia was miserable. He was fixing printers and overhead projectors by day and crafting a high school playbook with more than 100 formations in his basement at night.
Pettine, the son of a legendary high school football coach, had carved out his own niche as one of the more successful coaches in the area in the late 1990s, but he desperately wanted something more.
He called Matt Cavanaugh, a friend who had coached with him at the University of Pittsburgh before eventually becoming the Ravens' offensive coordinator.
Baltimore head coach Brian Billick wanted a third video assistant to tape special teams practices and help him convert playbook drawings into PC files. Pettine took a 50% pay cut and accepted a job that paid $30,000 a year. He cashed out his 401(k) retirement savings to supplement his income for his family.
He took the gamble of a lifetime with no promise that he'd ever coach in the NFL.
"We'll see how that pans out, but don't become a pain in the ass for me," Billick told Pettine.
"I understood where he wanted to go," Billick says now. "Mike just made himself invaluable. There was nothing that he wouldn't do. Rex kept tapping into the resource. So, their relationship grew."
Ryan, the defensive line coach at the time, quickly realized that Pettine was destined for bigger things.
"The more I was around him, I was like, 'Wow, we need this guy to be coaching, not doing this other stuff,'" Ryan says.
Pettine became the assistant defensive line coach in 2003 before being promoted to outside linebackers two years later. Pettine, Ryan and Thurman showed solidarity when they were offered contract extensions after the Ravens led the league in scoring defense and total defense in 2006.
"We were either all going to sign them or nobody was going to sign them," Ryan says. "It was a pact that we were going to stay or go together."
By the time Ryan accepted his first head coaching job on Jan. 19, 2009, he had already come to an agreement with Ravens' general manager Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh. He could take only one member of the Baltimore coaching staff with him. Pettine was headed to New York.
Then, Ryan called the man who had just flown back from Tampa.
* * *
General manager Mike Tannenbaum used to leave the Jets' facility on Tuesday nights with a knot in his stomach. "What are we doing here?" he'd think when the gameplan for the upcoming week was still up in the air.
By Wednesday morning, Tannenbaum was greeted by a grease board filled with coverages and schemes in Pettine's office.
"It's like 'A Beautiful Mind,'" Tannenbaum says, shaking his head.
Although Pettine, who has taken over as the primary play caller, has kept the Tuesday all-nighters to a minimum, the coaches still formulate ideas in unorthodox fashion: Maybe walking around the building. Or brainstorming in the sauna.
"When people are as brilliant and talented as they are, you just let them do their thing and stay out of the way," Tannenbaum says.
Pettine begins his weekly preparation by watching the sack tape on Mondays, studying pass rushes that have stumped the upcoming opponent. He'll analyze trends in four-game increments and consult with senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach Bob Sutton before discussing the plan with Ryan.
Thurman will study red-zone, goal-line and down-by-down passing tendencies. Ryan and Pettine will consult Thurman for the best base coverage schemes: Should Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie shadow specific receivers or simply play the left and right side of the field?
When Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant got off to a hot start in the season opener, Thurman recommended to Ryan and Pettine that Revis be moved over to shadow him for the rest of the game.
On gamedays, Thurman always stands to the right of Ryan, one of the head coach's superstitions, on the sideline. Ryan relies on Thurman's knowledge of an opponent's likely route combinations in certain situations to determine the best coverage on a given play.
"They're not always going to run the route that you anticipate, but you rely on the human factor," Thurman says. "People become creatures of habit and like to do certain things in certain situations, especially if they'd had success doing it in the past. Your preparation has to be thorough during the week. Because the information that you give Mike and Rex is crucial."
Pettine sometimes communicates with Ryan from the coaches' booth in a slightly different way:
F--- you, Rex!
Oh, shut the f--- up, Pett!
"We've called each other every name in the book, but it never lingers," Pettine says. "There's going to be disagreements. Nobody wants a bobble head, somebody that always says, 'Oh, that's a good call.'"
Ryan fosters "casual conversations" with Pettine about upcoming calls: Hey, Pett, what are you thinking here? Have your third-down call ready.
"He has a great feel for it," says Pettine, who shared play-calling duties midway through last season after Ryan made all the calls in his first year. "If he felt that I was trending the wrong way on how I was calling it, then he'd speak up."
Their formula with the Jets has worked. Gang Green led the league in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense in 2009. Last season, Ryan's team finished third in total defense and rush defense.
Although Ryan believes it's only a matter of time before Pettine and Thurman have head coaching opportunities, he's not ready to break up "The Three Musketeers" just yet.
"Just let us win a Super Bowl or two first," Ryan says. "And then come get them."