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Jerry Hughes: Rex Ryan's Bills defense "completely different" from Mike Pettine's

Jerry Hughes says that Rex Ryan's Bills defense will be "completely different" from Mike Pettine's Bills defense circa 2013.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine is, in many ways, best known in the NFL for working alongside Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan for 11 years, and for following Ryan into the league's head coaching ranks based on the creative strengths of the defense they worked together in for that duration. Pettine coordinated Ryan's defense for four years with the New York Jets before bringing his system to Buffalo in 2013, where he spent a year coaching Buffalo to a Top 10 finish before landing in Cleveland.

Ask anyone who follows the NFL, and they'll tell you that Pettine runs the closest approximation to Ryan's defense in the NFL (because, yes, no two NFL defense are exactly alike, or called the same way). Bills pass rusher Jerry Hughes, apparently, is an exception.

There are a few possibilities here.

It very well could feel like an entirely different scheme to Hughes simply because his role will be changing fairly drastically from what it was in 2013 under Pettine. That season, Hughes was a dice-roll player that the Bills brought in to add edge rushing ability, and that's what he was: a situational pass rusher, playing predominantly in nickel and dime sets, while only figuring into the base defense as a wave reserve and injury fill-in. The Bills aren't paying him $45 million to ride the pine half the time in 2015, though, so his role will be far broader in scope than what it was in 2013. He'll be standing up a lot, and may be asked to drop into coverage more frequently. Those are fairly significant changes for him, personally.

It's also possible that Hughes could be referring to a stylistic difference in how the defense is called. Pettine is known as an aggressive blitzer, much like Ryan, but nobody in the NFL is as daring with alignments or play calls as Ryan is. They run very similar schemes, with similar nomenclature and personnel package preferences, but Ryan takes it an extra step into exotic territory. That has always been the case; it is part of Ryan's mythos.

Or, sure, Hughes could have been speaking literally, and Ryan is devising something different from what he did in New York and Baltimore to accommodate what Buffalo's talent does best. But given what we've seen for years of Pettine and Ryan, that's something to be believed when seen. And if we do see it, it's probably going to be pretty awesome, because guys - it's Rex Ryan.