The Cleveland Browns coaching search is finally over. After meeting with Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine today, an agreement was reached, making the Pettine the seventh Browns head coach since 1999, per Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland.
The hiring of Pettine does not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the Browns coaching search these last few weeks. Today was the third meeting between the two parties, and multiple reports indicated that an agreement was very close.
Pettine is a coaching disciple of Jets head coach Rex Ryan. He coached under Ryan with the Ravens from 2002-2008, and then became the Jets DC when Ryan was hired as head coach for New York.
The numbers certainly back up Pettine. In every season that he has been an NFL DC, his defenses have finished in the top 10 in total defense. In 2013, his Bills unit ranked fourth in the league against the pass. With the Browns having elite secondary players in place in corner Joe Haden and safety T.J. Ward, Pettine should be able to field a very solid pass D in 2014.
By hiring a well-respected defensive coach in Pettine, the Browns should be able to improve on defense without making many new moves. The last few seasons in Cleveland, the offense has been the bigger issue. It starts with the quarterback, something the Browns will likely address with their fourth overall pick, in what will be an offense-heavy draft for a team that has few weapons outside Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.