Though he was not at liberty to discuss reports of Mike Pettine's refusal of a contract extension, Rex Ryan spoke glowingly of his defensive coordinator.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt” Pettine has “the pedigree” to be an NFL head coach, Ryan told reporters.
“He comes from a coaching family, he’s a lifelong guy that’s been in this business and he’s a tremendous coach, he’s got great knowledge of the game, very smart, and a creative guy, a tough guy. I think he’ll do an outstanding job as head coach.”
Interestingly enough, Ryan was just as effusive in his praise of Brian Schottenheimer – shortly before the offensive coordinator was fired last season.
Pettine has been Ryan’s right-hand man since their days together in Baltimore, but the defensive schemes they employ have long been considered Ryan’s alone. But when asked if he thought Pettine needed to branch out on his own in order to create his own identity, the Jets coach said: “It’s not my defense. This is our defense, the New York Jet defense, and everybody contributes.”
As for Pettine's status for next season, Ryan simply said: "We never discuss contracts or any of that type of stuff until after the season. I think that'd be an appropriate time to comment on whatever it is regarding the staff."