Monday, January 26, 2009

Ryan Brings in Pettine

With the new sheriff officially in town, it's time to address the rest of the New York Jets' 2009 staff. Rex Ryan's first move was to install Mike Pettine as the defensive coordinator (the status of Bob Sutton, the Jets' previous DC and the linebackers coach before that, is still TBA). Pettine was the linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens under Ryan and the two seem to be thick as thieves.

I had a chance to meet the 42-year-old Pettine along with Ryan last week and liked him right away. Like Ryan, he seemed both intensely focused and laid back all at the same time. He also took a slightly different path to the NFL than most do. After playing safety at the University of Virginia, he made a brief stop as a graduate assistant at Pitt, before becoming a high school coach and then jumping to the Ravens. In addition, he, like Ryan, has an interesting pedigree.

Pettine's father is Mike Pettine, Sr. the storied coach from Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (located about halfway between Philadelphia and Allentown). Pettine, Sr. set records with his four state championships and a 326-42-4 record compiled between 1967 and 1999 when he retired. He also holds the longest winning streak in Pennsylvania high school football history with 59. In fact, a movie was made about Pettine called The Last Game, which I plan to look for at my local video store as soon as I have a minute.

So, along with the fact the the Jets have retained Brian Schottenheimer (son of former player and coach Marty Schottenheimer) as their offensive coordinator, and have retained Mike Westhoff on special teams, arguably one of the greatest special teams coaches the NFL has ever had, there is quite a gene pool on display - and you would think that expectations are mounting by the minute.

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