"We're like brothers that fight a lot."-- Mike Pettine to the Buffalo media yesterday
Other than Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine, no one knows the full story of what really transpired between the two. All we can do is piece together clues and draw conclusions. Here's some of those clues.
Rex Ryan Took Back Some Control of the Defense This Year -- Over the first three years of Ryan's time with the Jets, Pettine had more and more of a role on the defensive playcalling. In year four though Rex Ryan wanted to return to his roots somewhat and be more in control the defense, something that seemed to play out in Ryan's third down playcalling. It was something that caused a small stir, but something that Mike Pettine called "overblown" at the time when the question came up with the media. Pettine also told the press yesterday that he called "the vast majority" of plays during his time with the Jets.
Pettine Communicated His Desire to Return -- It's hard to imagine what else he might have said to the press, but less two weeks ago Pettine said he wanted to be back and hoped to be back. It's hard to blame him for that, but it's obvious that he didn't even broach returning while he misrepresented the truth not that long ago, which belies his true intentions.
Pettine Was Rumored to Be a Leak -- Any time anonymous comments are used, the public wants to know who it might be. While he might well have been talking outside of his normal protocol, it's going to be impossible to trace it back definitively. That said, there's many close to the team who assume that Pettine talked a lot to the press anonymously. From what I've heard specifically, he was even disciplined for doing so at some point during the 2011 campaign. That said, even if we assume he did speak out of turn, not all of it might have been meant to betray his friend, but to bolster him. Maybe it didn't always come across that way, but that's what happens when you put your message into someone else's hands ...
Rex and Pettine Are Close, But Very Different -- This Daily News article is a must read if you aren't too familiar with their dynamics. I read this and can see how Rex is fire and Pettine is ice. I then immediately think that Dennis Thurman could be the Derek Smalls of this trio. I then start to worry about if we are about to enter the Spinal Tap Jazz Odyssey era of this defense. Rex is the one who gets carried away, Pettine and Thurman are the ones who ground him. Pettine might be better able to be detached from it, to be analytical but it's clear that the personality clashes -- even among best friends -- are going to arise. Personally, my best friend and I are like this. We argue like brothers, so I totally understand that working together might not be the best thing for the relationship. That said, I don't think I would go out and set up my lemonade stand right next to my best friend's lemonade stand, if it could at all be avoided ...