FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- How did the Patriots get dragged into a story about Browns head coach Mike Pettine, his preference for smaller playbooks, and the Jets' liberal printing of their playbook under Pettine's former boss, Rex Ryan?
Good question, so let's go through the details and hopefully create an accurate perception of what this is all about.
1. Greg A. Bedard of TheMMQB.com wrote a story on Pettine and getting to know his defensive system. Within the story, Pettine spoke of his preference for smaller playbooks because, "We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.” Pettine also noted that Ryan used to print out playbooks "like candy" and suggested that after Ryan gave one to Alabama coach Nick Saban, it would probably end up in Belichick's hands because they are close friends.
2. The perception was created, in some circles, that perhaps the Patriots had some top-secret Jets information that couldn't be found somewhere else.
3. Rex Ryan answered several questions on the topic Thursday and questioned Pettine's remarks. He backed the Patriots and Belichick.
4. Belichick seemed less than pleased to have the topic come up on the final day of mandatory minicamp, referring his questioner to Pettine.
5. Meanwhile, one version of the Jets' defensive playbook is available to anyone who simply Google searches "Jets, defensive playbook, 2010." It's right there on footballxos.com.
So while teams don't want their playbooks in other teams' hands, the feeling here is that the potential advantage of an opponent having it is also very minimal. We come to this conclusion, in part, based on the fact that a simple Google search produced the Jets' 2010 defensive playbook. If any of us can read it, chances are the 31 other teams in the NFL are too -- not just the Patriots. There are quite a few NFL playbooks on footballxos.com, including some of the Patriots' own.