The Jets' run of six victories in their past seven games coincided with the benching of safety Kerry Rhodes for two games. He returned to the starting lineup Dec. 13 at Tampa Bay, and now, he's preparing to play a big role in coverage of San Diego tight end Antonio Gates in Sunday's divisional playoff game.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine suggested this afternoon that while Rhodes will be on Gates at times, it will be a "group effort" involving multiple defensive backs. At the same time, Pettine said he's happy with how well Rhodes has addressed the issues that led to his demotion, including his focus on his job on the field as well as his off-field interests.

"He's done his job, and he's done it well," Pettine said. "He's paid attention to detail, and he's prepared well. I think the situation that occurred with him was maybe a little bit of a wakeup call. From what we've seen, I think he realized what had happened and didn't want it to happen again. So, he's elevated his level of play."

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Asked if his relationship with Rhodes is all right, Pettine shrugged and said, "Sure, as far as I know. I'm a coach, he's a player. I have no issues with Kerry. We talked about it when that situation came up. Guys are going to do what they do off the field. We just want to make sure it doesn't affect their job. It's my job to make sure guys have bought in and are doing what it takes for us to be successful. And Kerry has responded."