BBD Editor: Dan Hope
It didn’t take long for the Buffalo Bills to improve under defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine in 2013. The Cleveland Browns took notice, and made Pettine’s first season in Buffalo his only by hiring him Thursday to be their head coach for the 2014 NFL season.
The Browns job will be Pettine’s first as a head coach since 1995-2001, seven years he spent coaching high school football in Pennsylvania. Since 2002, Pettine has held various assistant coaching jobs within the NFL, including four years as defensive coordinator under New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan from 2009-12 before joining the Bills for one year.
When Pettine left the Jets for the Bills last offseason, some speculated that he did so in the interest of getting out of the shadow of Ryan, a highly-regarded defensive mind, to prove himself with a new team coached by an offensive mind.
If that was his plan to get a head coaching job, it worked.
Pettine brought a pressure-heavy scheme to the Buffalo defense, which led to immediate dividends. The Bills finished second in the NFL with 57 sacks, 10th in total defense (333.4 yards allowed per game) and 20th in points allowed per game (24.3). One year earlier, the Bills had just 30 sacks (23rd in NFL), allowed 362.9 yards per game (22nd in NFL) and 27.2 points allowed per game (26th in NFL).
Having proved his worth as a coordinator in 2013, Pettine now has his chance to prove himself as a head coach in 2014. He will be the Cleveland Browns’ fourth head coach since 2009 and eighth since their reactivation in 1999. The Bills, meanwhile, will be looking for a new defensive coordinator for the fourth consecutive offseason.
Bills coach Doug Marrone released a statement Thursday via buffalobills.com regarding Pettine’s move to Cleveland.
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Mike on becoming the Browns new head coach and thank him for all of his time and efforts with our team this past season. He did an excellent job of improving our defense and we wish him the best.
We have a plan in place and we will introduce our new Defensive Coordinator after our final decision has been made.”