Tonawanda News — In one season in Buffalo, Pettine improved the defense in every statistical category, transforming a shaky unit into one of the league's nastiest. With an aggressive style Pettine perfected working under Ryan, he turned Buffalo's pass rushers loose, and the club finished with a franchise-record 57 sacks.
Pettine has his work cut out for him in Cleveland.
The Browns have been to the playoffs (2002) just once since their franchise rebirth in 1999 and have never built any sustained success or momentum. Change has been the only constant.
Perhaps the team's biggest issue has been an inability to find a franchise quarterback; 20 QBs have started for the club in 15 seasons. Cleveland is expected to address its quarterback quandary in May's draft. The Browns have 10 selections, including two in the first round.
The Browns also have plenty of salary-cap space to sign free agents, and with six Pro Bowlers, the talent cupboard is far from bare.
Football has formed Pettine's life. His father, Mike Pettine Sr., won four state championships at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, Pa., and retired in 1999 as the winningest coach in state history.
Pettine credited his dad with steering him toward making football his career.
"He gave me the advice that a lot of good parents give," he said. "Find a job that you love and you never work a day in your life. I've been fortunate to pair my passion with my profession."
Back in Western New York, Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone issued this statement regarding Pettine's departure: "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. 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."