The long and arduous journey has finally reached its end. Rumors were rampant this morning that Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine would be named the 15th head coach of the Cleveland Browns today, and those rumors proved true as the announcement was made earlier this afternoon. Pettine was offered the job after a third meeting with members of the Browns’ front office and owner Jimmy Haslam.
Much speculation has been made of the fact that Pettine wasn’t one of the original candidates for the job. Additionally, many have pointed out that three initial candidates for the job (Broncos OC Adam Gase, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels, and Cardinals DC Todd Bowles) removed themselves from consideration. However, Haslam and the Browns brass made it very clear that they are thrilled to hire Pettine. Haslam specifically cited Pettine’s experience in the AFC North from his time with the Baltimore Ravens and his ability to develop players as qualities he brings to the table that the Browns liked. The player improvement factor is especially important for the Browns, as that did not appear to be former coach Rob Chudzinski’s strong suit what with the team’s 9-game losing streak to end the season.
In terms of Pettine’s coaching history, his previous career stops include Baltimore as the Ravens’ linebackers coach, New York as the Jets’ defensive coordinator, and, most recently, Buffalo as the Bills’ defensive coordinator. In both Baltimore and New York Pettine served under Rex Ryan, as Ryan was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator while Pettine was there; when Ryan was hired as the Jets’ head coach, he made Pettine his defensive coordinator. In the Browns’ introductory press conference today, Pettine mentioned his close relationship with Ryan and named Ryan as one of the reasons why he is where he is today. However, he noted that he and Rex have very different personalities; he made a point of saying that he wouldn’t be guaranteeing Super Bowls and wins and whatnot. At any rate, Pettine demonstrated great confidence in his ability to lead the team and the team’s ability to succeed in the near future.