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Mike Pettine: 'perfect storm' on D

New York Jets' defensive coordinator Mike Pettine stands

New York Jets' defensive coordinator Mike Pettine stands on the field during training camp at the State University of New York at Cortland in Cortland, N.Y. (July 29, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

Mike Pettine, the Jets' defensive coordinator, has experienced performances about as bad and good as one can imagine over the past two games.

The 7-6 victory over the Cardinals Sunday? ""Yeah, it was a perfect storm in a good way," he said Thursday.

The 49-19 loss to the Patriots Thanksgiving night "was obviously in a bad way," he said.

Pettine said the near complete shutdown of the Cardinals, who not counting a fake punt had 97 total yards, "obviously was a rare thing."

The trick was not letting the Jets offense's struggles frustrate the defense. Arizona led, 3-0, at halftime.

"As rough as the circumstances were on the other side of the ball, I think we found a way to pull together for the last 8 1/2 minutes," Pettine said, referring to the offense taking control of the ball and the clock with a strong running game down the stretch.

Pettine said the defense's "running joke" in games such as that is, "When the offense struggles, hey, it's more TV time for us."

Although Pettine endorsed the decision to stick with Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback, he said in watching Greg McElroy run the scout team offense against his unit in practice he has "absolutely" seen a dramatic improvement in arm strength since last year.

Pettine said McElroy also is a cerebral figure on the scout team who points out potential deficiencies in the defensive scheme. He said having someone like that in that role makes the defense better.

 "He's very interactive," Pettine said. " You can tell he's a football junkie. He's  very into it."

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