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Rex's Defensive Coaching Tree

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 09:35 PM

Quote

The Jets are riding high at 3-2 after Monday night’s road upset of the Falcons. A victory on Sunday against the winless Steelers, coupled with a Patriots loss at home to the undefeated Saints, would set up an AFC East showdown at MetLife Stadium between the 4-2 Jets and Patriots on Oct. 20.

Who would have thought that was possible at the beginning of the season?

The Jets’ surprising success isn’t the only reason why Ryan has had accolades (instead of arrows) thrown at him this season. His defensive coaching tree is off to a promising start. Bob Sutton (Chiefs) and Mike Pettine (Bills), both former Ryan lieutenants with the Jets, have unquestionably improved their units. At this point, the Jets ranked second in yards allowed per play, the Chiefs are seventh (20th last season) and the Bills are 15th (22nd in ’12).

Posted Image


“The strength of the system is the ability to make it player-driven, as we’ve done here,” Pettine said before taking on his former mentor in Week 3. “I wouldn’t say we’re significantly different from where we were in New York, but we are different based on the personnel that we have here—just as his personnel has changed slightly in New York and he’s adjusted his system accordingly.”

Sutton, 52, had a long college coaching career before joining the Jets in 2000 under Al Groh; he then worked under Herm Edwards and Eric Mangini. Prior to Mangini’s final season, in ’08, the Jets’ defensive staff was tasked with studying the system Ryan used as defensive coordinator of the Ravens.

“It’s so ironic,” Sutton told The MMQB during training camp. “We broke down every Baltimore game, trying to figure out what the heck this was—not quite understanding it; guessing. And then one year later (after Ryan was hired by the Jets) you’re saying, ‘Oh, this is what that was.’ It has been a great system for a number of years.”

Sutton says two factors stand out about Ryan’s system. It’s certainly complex, especially for opposing quarterbacks, but it’s commutable from player to player.

“When Rex got there, we watched the previous four years of cutups,” Sutton said. “I was thoroughly impressed by the number of players that played in the system and the results didn’t change. And then I said, ‘This is really good.’ ”

And then there is the proven ability to get the best out of the defensive linemen who are needed to key the system, from the Jets (Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Damon Harrison) … to the Chiefs (Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito, Tyson Jackson) … to the Bills (Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Alan Branch).

“One of (Ryan’s) best traits is his defensive linemen do a great job playing the ball, playing the blocker and getting off the blocks,” Sutton said. “That sounds like a simple thing, but I think that’s one of the things that goes unnoticed in Rex’s system. He’s had all these players go through the system—every year it seems like it’s somebody new—but every one of them does the same thing up front.”

How Ryan and his former understudies do that exactly remains a mystery.

“Can’t tell you,” Sutton said with a laugh.

But the results speak for themselves. Ryan’s coaching tree is growing well—he’d tell you that himself.

“I just think the proof is in the pudding,” Ryan said before facing Pettine and the Bills. “When you look at it from a statistical standpoint, it’ll bear out at some point. We lead the AFC in defense and Kansas City is second and it won’t be long before Buffalo joins those ranks. So the system is good, but the players make it, and you focus on what the players can do—and obviously Mike knows it. But there’s a lot of work involved. It’s a challenge to the players, but any player that plays defense wants to play in this system.

“That my defense, that’s his defense. Certainly we were together a long time. He’s somebody that I’m extremely proud of.”


http://mmqb.si.com/2...f1_a4&eref=sihp
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