Mike Pettine Brings Much-Needed Identity to Buffalo Bills Defense

Josh Cembellin@@JoshCembellinCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2013

Will Mike Pettine finally get the most out of Buffalo's defense?
Will Mike Pettine finally get the most out of Buffalo's defense?The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

New Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine made a lateral coaching move from the New York Jets to Buffalo, accepting the same position with a division rival. Yet for the Bills, the results of bringing in the veteran play-caller will be anything but lateral compared to recent seasons.

Pettine brings with him a pedigree unknown to Bills fans over the past several years. While serving as the defensive coordinator for the Jets from 2009 to 2012, his unit ranked in the top eight in yards allowed each season.

The Bills haven’t ranked in the top 10 in yards allowed since 2004, and they have only done so twice in the last 12 seasons overall.

Clearly, this is a group starved for consistency and leadership, and it will get both of those in its newest hire.

Bills lead journalist Chris Brown offers some impressive facts on the rising coach (via BuffaloBills.com), including this news that should excite Bills fans:

Pettine implemented a completely new defense that finished first in points allowed (14.8 points per game), total defense (252.3 yards per game) and pass defense (153.7 passing yards per game) in his first year with the Jets in 2009 and as a defensive coordinator.

Pettine not only will be charged with implementing a new defense with the Bills—something they direly need—but he also has much more experience now than he did in 2009—his first year as defensive coordinator. In addition, he inherits a promising roster with room to grow and untapped potential, despite the fact there are some holes to fill.

Most importantly, Buffalo’s defense will find an identity with Pettine taking charge. He recently described what he envisions in Buffalo, which is an “attacking style of defense” that is “relentless” and does not “sit back and let offenses dictate to us.”

For fans, this defensive philosophy must sound foreign, as it is the complete opposite of what the team has done on Sundays the past few years.

What Pettine did with the Jets the past four years is both promising and exciting. His success is something Buffalo has lacked and struggled to find amidst seemingly endless changes of scheme, philosophy and personnel.

His defenses were aggressive. They played with poise and discipline. They were tough.

Now that he’s bringing his ideas to Buffalo, he will help shape a new mindset that is founded on confidence and achieved through tangible results.


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