Coaching Buzz: Saban, Pettine And (Jay) Gruden

We’ve learned that what Nick Saban says and what Nick Saban does when it comes to his coaching future can be two different things. But he sounded pretty convincing Tuesday when the questions about the NFL came up once again. From the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“I think somewhere along the line you’ve got to choose. You learn a lot from the experiences of what you’ve done in the past.

“I came to the Miami Dolphins, what, eight years ago for the best owner, the best person that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work for. And in the two years that I was here, had a very, very difficult time thinking that I could impact the organization in the way that I wanted to or the way that I was able to in  college, and it was very difficult for me, because there’s a lot of parity in the NFL, there’s a lot of rules in the NFL.

“And people say you can draft the players that you want to draft; you can draft a player that’s there when you pick. It might not be the player you need, it might not be the player you want. You’ve got salary cap issues. We had them here. You’ve got to have a quarterback. We had a chance to get one here; sort of messed it up.

“So I didn’t feel like I could impact the team the same way that I can as a college coach in terms of affecting people’s lives personally, helping them develop careers by graduating from school, off the field, by helping develop them as football players, and there’s a lot of self-gratification in all that, all right.”

“I kind of learned through that experience (with the Dolphins) that maybe this is where I belong, and I’m really happy and at peace with all that,” said Saban. “So no matter how many times I say that, y’all don’t believe it, so I don’t even know why I keep talking about it.”

Local product Mike Pettine, who served as the Jets defensive coordinator from 2009 to this past season, is a free agent. And he’s keeping at least a half-an-eye on what the Eagles are doing. From Ed Kracz:

“Obviously a lot of people, myself included, are very interested to see what happens there,” he said. “Growing up an Eagles fan, you always have that hometown team in the back of your mind.”

Pettine, the CB West grad and former North Penn coach, is expected to interview for the DC job in Buffalo.

Finally, a report surfaced that the Eagles will interview Jay Gruden on Wednesday. The Eagles have denied that report.

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Coaching Buzz: Pettine, Saban And Reid/Polian

An accomplished assistant with local roots is going to become a free agent at the end of the season, according to a report.

A source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has turned down a contract extension with the team.

Pettine has spent the last four years with Rex Ryan in New York. He was a defensive assistant with the Ravens from 2004-2008 and is a well-known name in high school football circles. Pettine’s Dad coached 33 years at C.B. West in Doylestown, and Pettine was the head coach at North Penn for five seasons.

Despite the Jets’ offense being a train-wreck, Pettine’s defense ranks seventh, according to Football Outsiders. And keep in mind, that’s without Darrelle Revis. In 2011, they ranked second; in 2010, fifth; and in 2009, first.

The New York Daily News article suggests Pettine could get some look as a potential head coach. That might be true, but there’s certainly a chance he could go elsewhere and become a defensive coordinator. We’ve seen in recent years with Andy Reid how crucial assembling a staff is for the head coach. Pettine’s a name to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

SABAN RUMORS CONTINUE

The Nick Saban rumors don’t appear to be going away any time soon.

A longtime source told Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports that Saban was staying put at Alabama. But Cole heard from another source who felt differently:

As I posted on Twitter, take the adamant denial for what it’s worth, particularly when another source I spoke with on Thursday claimed that Saban has already begun interviewing potential assistants he would take to the Cleveland Browns with him. The source laid out the timing of how current Browns coach Pat Shurmur will be fired after the season, one or two candidates will be interviewed (complete with the name of a minority candidate) and that Saban will be hired on Jan. 8, the day after Alabama’s BCS title game tilt vs. Notre Dame.

Joe Banner and the Browns had previously been linked to Saban by Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe.

REID AND POLIAN?

Could Andy Reid and Bill Polian team up somewhere after this season? The National Football Post is hearing their names mentioned together:

We’ve heard Bill Polian and Andy Reid could be paired up as a package deal to a team that has cleaned house and has deep pockets. The Polian-Reid combo would be especially attractive to a team that needs to sell tickets or has credibility issues with its fan base.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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