Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Bills' Pettine next up on Browns' to-interview list


After a very successful four-year stint with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills coordinator Mike Pettine led his team to its best defensive performance in nearly a decade in 2013.

The Cleveland Browns noticed.

Now the final team in search of a new head coach, Cleveland will bring in the 47-year-old Pettine Thursday to interview for the position, as first reported by Jay Glazer Wednesday. Pettine is one of many that Cleveland has shown interest in for the gig but is the first defensive coach named as a potential candidate.

Cleveland has reportedly met with a half dozen coaches so far, with no plans on moving forward with any as of yet. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels withdrew his name from consideration after his interview, and two others -- Ken Whisenhunt and Ben McAdoo -- took positions elsewhere.

In his first year with Buffalo, Pettine orchestrated a defense that pulled in 23 interceptions and averaged 3.5 sacks per game. His schematic led to a resurgence of Mario Williams as a premier pass rusher, doubled Kyle Williams's best sacks numbers and propelled rookie Kiko Alonso toward potential rookie of the year honors.

Pettine is likely behind coordinator Adam Gase on Cleveland's wish list, as the youngster has turned many heads this season with Denver's explosive offensive production. Pettine's age and knowledge could win out, however, as Buffalo is his third NFL team and he is 13 years Gase's senior.

Cleveland is looking to fill the role of Rob Chudzinski, who was fired immediately following the team's final game after a 4-12 run his first year at the helm. Also in contention is former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak, who will reportedly interview early next week.

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