2 Ex-Jets Coaches ‘Joining Forces’ With Former NYJ Quarterback

Mike Pettine

Getty Former New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is expected to head to Minnesota to join the Vikings staff.

About a week and a half ago, it was announced that former New York Jets quarterback Kevin O’Connell “is expected” to be hired as the next Minnesota Vikings head coach after the Super Bowl.

Now, it appears the new NFL HC is bringing more ex-Jets onto his coaching staff.

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O’Connell Plans to Hire Donatell, Pettine

On the morning of Super Bowl LVI, NFL insider Tom Pelissero tweeted that “the Vikings plan to hire Mike Pettine to new coach Kevin O’Connell’s staff.”

He added: “Ed Donatell will be the defensive coordinator, but Pettine also will work with that unit and gives O’Connell a former head coach on staff.”

ESPN’s NYJ beat reporter Rich Cimini noted that this means “two former Jets coaches, from different eras, [will be] joining forces to work under a former Jets player.”

Donatell’s tenure in New York was less memorable. He actually began his NFL career with the Jets under HC Bruce Coslet, as the “secondary coach” from 1990-93.

He ended up staying on in that role for Pete Carroll’s 1994 campaign, and also returned as a special assistant in 2007 during Eric Mangini’s run as HC. Donatell has become one of the more respected veteran defensive minds in the sport and he’ll be key in Minnesota’s transition out of the Mike Zimmer era.

You might remember Pettine as Rex Ryan’s DC from 2009-12. He also had a two-year run as the Cleveland Browns head coach later on.

Ryan stuck with Pettine for four of his six seasons in New York. He led the Jets to a top-10 defense in yards allowed all four years as DC — first in 2009 — but dropped to 20th in points allowed the final two campaigns.

Although his new title has yet to be announced, Pettine is expected to serve as a “defensive advisor” with Minnesota. Under Donatell, the defense will likely shift from 4-3 to 3-4 and Pettine adds plenty of experience in that regard.

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Super Bowl Staff in LA?

We’ve talked a ton about the Jets emulating the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 but fans can only hope that Robert Saleh has a bit of Sean McVay in him.

The Los Angeles Rams HC has transitioned over to the CEO role magnificently and like Saleh, his passion and fire on the practice field have gained national recognition. McVay has yet to win the big game but he has another shot at it this afternoon. He’s also producing NFL head coaches left and right — the true sign of success in this league.

One of them is his Super Bowl opponent, Zac Taylor. The others are Los Angeles Chargers HC Brandon Staley and the aforementioned O’Connell. You could even make the argument that Matt LaFleur has some McVay influence in him, although he’s more of a Kyle Shanahan disciple if you ask me.

This is a copycat league and when you start to see your staff leave for coaching gigs, it’s the ultimate show of respect. Right now, Mike LaFleur probably has the inside track to land an HC job someday based on his name and his meteoric rise through the ranks.

You never want to see your key coaching cogs leave but if the Jets do lose some of their top guns in the future, let’s hope it’s because of a promotion and not a firing.

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