The Browns are not wasting any time filling out their staff under recently hired head coach Mike Pettine. ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reports that the team requested to meet with Bills linebackers coach Jim O’Neil.
O’Neil coached under Pettine with the Jets from 2009-12 before coaching the Bills linebackers under Pettine last season. O’Neil is thought to be a potential defensive coordinator replacement for Pettine in Buffalo, but it seems that the Browns want him as their now.
In his lone year as LB coach for the Bills, O’Neil was responsible for a strong unit of linebackers lead by rookie standout Kiko Alonso. As a defensive backs coach for the Jets, O’Neil fielded top units lead by All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis. O’Neil also coached Pro Bowlers LaRon Landry and Antonio Cromartie with the Jets.
It’s not surprising that the Browns are trying to scramble and get a jump on filling out their staff. Since they were the last team to hire a head coach, the Browns are behind teams such as the Buccaneers and Titans, who have also cleaned house and hired new coaches across the board.
If O’Neil is hired by Cleveland, the Bills will be further behind defensively after having one of the league’s underrated units during the 2013 season.