Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine was named head coach of the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.
The Browns made the hiring official after meeting with Pettine for a third time on Thursday. He will be 15th full-time head coach in franchise history.
"We're going to build a team that's going to be capable of winning every game when we step on the field," Pettine said at an introductory news conference. "We're going to have confidence that we can win every game and we're going to build a plan to win every game. ... How the numbers fall out or where the results are, I really can't speak to that."
Pettine joins the Browns after spending 2013 as the defensive coordinator for Bills and the 2009-12 seasons as the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. Pettine has helped his units to a top-10 finish in total defense in all five of his seasons as a defensive coordinator.
"We are thrilled to announce Mike Pettine as the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns," owner Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. "Mike is the epitome of what we want the Browns to be -- tough, aggressive and innovative -- with a blue-collar, team-first mentality.
"He knows what's necessary to beat teams in the AFC North. Most importantly, Mike has repeatedly shown the ability to lead his players to consistent improvement and success, clearly what we are striving for as he leads the Cleveland Browns moving forward."
During his season in Buffalo, Pettine implemented a defense that set a franchise record with 57 sacks, second-most in the NFL in 2013 after finishing tied for 18th in the league with 36 in 2012.
Under Pettine, the Bills' defense finished 10th (333.4) in the NFL in total defense, after finishing 22nd (362.9) in 2012.
"I know we were exhaustive (in the search) to the point that we caused people to question and wonder, but we think that was the right way to do it," Browns CEO Joe Banner said. "It's a very, very important decision to make sure we met as many people as we possibly could. We spent as much time as we could with Mike, who we had the chance to interview three different times and spent quite a bit of time with, in our minds, maximize the chances that he knew us, we knew him. "Everybody had a good understanding of the vision, which was very, very important. I think Jimmy said it well; we're very attracted by his intelligence, his aggressiveness, his toughness and the type of discipline I think he's going to bring to the team. I think we're very conscious of the way the team is at now: its evolution, its strengths, its weaknesses, its character. We think he's an outstanding fit."
During his four years with New York, the Jets' defense over those combined seasons ranked first in the NFL in opposing quarterback rating (71.0), completion percentage (52.6) and passing yards per game (186.3). The Jets' defense yielded the second-fewest yards per game (294.8) and allowed just nine 100-yard receiving games from 2009-2012, fewest in the league.
Prior to joining the Jets, Pettine spent seven years (2002-08) with the Baltimore Ravens. In his last four seasons with the Ravens, he coached the outside linebackers.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone thanked his former assistant.
"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," Marrone said. "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."
Earlier in the day, it was reported that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could be back in the mix for the Browns' job. ESPN Cleveland reported McDaniels and the Browns had conversations this week, after McDaniels publicly acknowledged withdrawing from consideration 10 days earlier.
McDaniels was circled as a favorite to replace Rob Chudzinksi, who was fired on the final day of the regular season after posting a 4-12 record in his only season as head coach.
Pettine had no problem with not being the first choice for the job.
ďThat to me is not an issue," he said. "Thatís come up before and much has been made of the number of candidates that have been interviewed. That doesn't factor into my thinking at all. I was going to be like, 'Well, if I'm not the first choice then I'm not going to take it.' It's been my life-long dream to be an NFL head coach and however that opportunity presents itself is fine with me."
Pettine also was not concerned that Chudzinski was given only one year to turn the Browns around before he was dismissed.
"It's not unnerving and, again, I don't feel real qualified to speak on that because I wasn't here; I didnít know the circumstances," Pettine said. "I only know the circumstances that were put in front of me, and that's a leadership group that's committed to winning. When you look at the other attractive parts of the job, it was a young roster, plenty of cap space, a deep draft, plenty of picks. Again, that did not factor in for me at all.
"I'll always take, again, the cockiness of a coach, but I'll bet on myself. Again, I don't want to get involved and back away from a job because of lack of perceived security."
McDaniels interviewed with the Browns during the Patriots' bye week. One week later, he said he was staying put with the Patriots.
Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles also took their names out of the candidate pool
By The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: January 23, 2014 11:13:07 AM
Browns name Pettine head coach
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