Rex Ryan is returning to his roots to ensure that the Jets remain among the NFL’s elite defenses this season.

A few months after defensive coordinator Mike Pettine left to accept the same position with the Bills, Ryan told the Daily News that he will assume the defensive play-calling duties in 2013. New defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman will have input, but Ryan will be the triggerman after relinquishing those responsibilities last season. Earlier this month, Thurman admitted that he hadn’t discussed play-calling with Ryan and that “it doesn’t really matter to me who calls it.”

“Dennis and I worked side-by-side with each other literally for years now,” Ryan told The News at the league meetings on Tuesday. “It’s something that we talked about and we want to do. I want Dennis to just be totally involved like he always is, but I’ll make the calls (and have) the final say on the calls. But again, the process will be very similar.”

Ryan called the majority of the defensive plays when he took over in 2009 en route to having the top overall defense in the league, but gradually handed those responsibilities to Pettine. Last season, Ryan made the third-down calls before relinquishing those duties for the second half of the season.

Ryan will have a more integral role in defensive meetings during the week. Thurman will provide his insight and input, including on the sideline on game days, but Ryan will assume nearly the same role that he had four years ago.

“I enjoy it,” Ryan said. “There’s no question. I enjoy the meetings, which I’ll be more involved in. I love it, because that’s my roots. I think that any coach loves teaching. That gives me an opportunity to teach and to be really more hands-on with that unit.”

The Jets finished in the Top 5 in total defense in Ryan’s first three years before slipping to eighth last season. He didn’t seem overly concerned that he’ll have to replace at least seven starters, excluding the possible loss of Darrelle Revis via trade.