ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - There are plenty of storylines heading into this Sunday's Bills-Jets game at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
It's a battle between two 1-1 teams that need a divisional win. Highly touted rookie quarterbacks in EJ Manuel and Geno Smith will be going against each other. It's the young Bills first road game of the season. Then there's the storyline of Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine, who spent 11 years working under Jets' Coach Rex Ryan, going up against his old team.
Pettine says, "There are a lot of new faces on their offense, from a coordinator's standpoint, they're completely different. There's not a lot to pull from my experience on the offensive side." His new head coach Doug Marrone adds "A little bit more knowledge toward the personnel, but that was from last year, not this year and I think they've gotten better."
Bills Center Eric Wood echoes the words of his coaches in saying that the connection doesn't mean much when it gets down to game time. "Rex knows that Pettine knows his defense and some of his schemes, so he won't let that effect him."
When asked today what he thought of Pettine's defense, Jets Coach Rex Ryan joked "looks like someone borrowed our playbook, but naw, that's my defense, that's his defense, and certainly we were together a long time. He's somebody that I'm extremely proud of."
While both Ryan and Pettine downplayed whether either of them would have the upper hand because of their familiarity, EJ Manuel says that playing against Pettine's defense in practice should help him against the Jets. "Seeing those multiple looks and guys standing up and walking around prior to the snap, whether it was in OTA's or training camp, I think it's really going to help me out personally. I think I'll be able to I.D. that pretty fast and still be able to call the plays and have a high tempo, which is our offense."
But at the end of the day the players and coaches know that this isn't about rookie vs rookie, or coach vs coach, it's about the Bills and the Jets and a very important divisional game.