After a long search by Jimmy Haslam, Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi in which a number of candidates pulled their name out of consideration for the job, the Browns have settled on former Bills and Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to replace Rob Chudzinksi, who was fired after just one season by the Browns, as their new head coach.
Pettine’s only season in Buffalo last year, saw the Bills defense rank 10th overall in total defense in the NFL. The Bills defense finished 4th against the pass and 28th against the run as they played a 3-4 hybrid type defense. The Bills did rank 2nd in the NFL in both quarterback sacks (57) and interceptions (23) on defense. They were 20th in points allowed with 388.
Pettine is the son of a coach, his dad Mike Pettine Sr. won the 4A state championship four times at Central Bucks High School in Pennsylvania. He played quarterback for his dad in high school and then went on to play free safety at Virginia, graduating in 1987.
Pettine, 47, does have some head coaching experience, but that came at the high school level from 1997-2001 at North Penn High School in Pennsylvania. From there he went on to start his NFL coaching career with the Ravens from 2002-2008. He left Baltimore for New York to become Rex Ryan’s defensive coordinator from 2009-2012. During his time with the Jets they made it to back-to-back AFC Championship games.
In a head-to-head matchup with the Browns last season, Buffalo lost in Cleveland 37-24 as Brandon Weeden came off the bench for injured quarterback Brian Hoyer to throw for 197 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Weeden however was sacked five times in the game and 14 of the Browns points were scored on a punt return by Travis Benjamin and a pick six by T.J. Ward.
Pettine takes over a team who finished with a (4-12) record in 2013 and has had six consecutive seasons of 10 or more losses. The Browns do have six players representing them in the Pro Bowl, however they still are looking for a franchise starting quarterback.
Pettine becomes the Browns 8th coach since they returned to the NFL in 1999 and the 18th overall in franchise history. Only 4 of those coaches (Paul Brown, Blanton Collier, Nick Skorich and Marty Schottenheimer) have posted a winning record for their career in the regular season with Cleveland.