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Pettine moving on; Dennis Thurman expected to be new DC

Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator

Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine talk at practice in Florham Park, N.J. (Jan. 21, 2011) Credit: Joe Epstein

Mike Pettine will have “several opportunities” as a defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan said.

Just not with the Jets.

As we previously reported, Pettine received permission to interview with the Buffalo Bills. And according to Ryan, that meeting took place today.

“I’m hoping he doesn’t take that job. I hope he goes somewhere else,” Ryan said of Pettine, whom he’s worked with for over 10 years since their Baltimore coaching days. “He’s a tremendous coach.

“…Mike thinks it’s best to go to a different team as a defensive coordinator. And I wish him all the best unless he goes to Buffalo. But I love Mike and I respect him.”

The Jets head coach strongly intimated secondary coach Dennis Thurman -- who also worked with him and Pettine in Baltimore -- will be named the new defensive coordinator. 

"I think we have a lot of strong candidates internally, especially on defense, to be our defensive coordinator," Ryan said. "The ink's not dry so I'm not announcing him today. But that'll be later. But I have a feeling, internally, we're going to run the New York Jets defense. Period."

The Jets defense finished 25th overall, second in passing defense and 26th against the run. In Pettine’s prior three seasons, the Jets finished 1st, 3rd and 5th overall.

Last month, a source confirmed to Newsday that he had turned down a contract extension earlier in the season. But he declined to comment on those reports a few weeks ago.

Pettine, however, explained to his hometown paper Monday night that he needed to prove his defense could stand on its own.

“I thought it would be good to be exposed to a different style of coaching, a different system,” the Bucks county native said, according to “It’s like continuing education, the more things you can expose yourself too, it’s beneficial.

"It’s certainly not a knock on the Jets. I still haven’t ruled out a return. It’s just something that, when I consulted with my agent, it felt like the right thing to do at that time. …This is just the beginning of the process.” 

Rex Ryan confirmed assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica will replace Mike Westhoff, who plans to retire. 


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