Buffalo Bills fans and especially those of the Mike Pettine heard the chatter near the end of the regular season that Buffalo’s first-year defensive coordinator could become a head coaching candidate. The coast appeared clear for Pettine’s return when six of the seven vacancies around the league were filled as of early Wednesday.
Unfortunately, that mood has changed quickly following the news first reported by Jay Glazer early this evening that Pettine will interview for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job, the last gig remaining in the league.
According to Glazer that interview will come tomorrow.
And just like that Bills fans, staff and particularly head coach Doug Marrone will stressfully await what happens. Marrone hand-picked Pettine immediately upon taking the Buffalo job last year and it turned out to be for good reason. Under Pettine the Bills set a franchise-record with 57 sacks (good for second in the NFL) and had the second-most interceptions in the league with 23. Buffalo finished ranked in the top 10 defensively for the first time in a decade and three Bills (Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Jairus Byrd) were sent to the Pro Bowl for the unit’s efforts.
The Browns have yet to find a coach to replace Rob Chudzinski, who was unceremoniously dumped after just one season.
If there’s one thing Buffalo doesn’t want to see happen right now it’s lose Pettine. The Bills have already went through three defensive coordinators (Dave Wannstedt and George Edwards) over the past three seasons and with the aggressiveness Pettine has brought to the defense, losing him would feel like a hard punch to the stomach.
The good news is that just because Pettine is interviewing with the Browns, it doesn’t mean he’ll get the job. Cleveland is likely to interview other coaches still alive in the playoffs and maybe others jump into the mix.
For the sake of Marrone and the Buffalo defense, let’s hope that’s certainly the case. Losing him would be demoralizing, and there’s no getting around that.
By the way, I had what’s probably the most ill-time tweet ever when I hit send on this bad boy at around 11am this morning.
A lot of people, including myself thought Mike Pettine may get some real consideration for a HC gig. Obviously, that never materialized.
— Patrick Moran (@PatrickMoranBSD) January 15, 2014