Mike Pettine will be offered the Cleveland Browns head coaching job, sources close to the team indicate.
The Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator has been through a series of interviews with the Browns, and the two sides are expected to meet to work out a contract. If negotiations work out, the Browns are expected to officially name Mike Pettine as their next head coach within the day.
With the Bills, Pettine turned around one of the weakest defenses in the league with a package of blitzes and pressure as well as what turned out to be the league’s best defensive line. Defensive linemen Kyle Williams, Marcel Dareus, and Mario Williams were all named to the Pro Bowl, and the team had three players with 10 or more sacks.
The Bills also forced 23 interceptions, second most behind Seattle.
47-year-old Pettine also spent four years as defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan with the New York Jets before joining the Bills.
The Browns are looking for their seventh coach since 1999 after firing first-year coach Rob Chudzinski. The firing seemed to send ripples through the league, with many established candidates seeing the Browns job as “radioactive,” NFL sources said.
Other candidates for the job had reportedly contacted Chudzinski, who was honest about the difficult situation in Cleveland.
Before settling on Mike Pettine, the Browns seemed focusing on a small group of candidates that included Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase, though Gase would later withdraw his name from consideration.
The selection of Pettine also seems a change in philosophy from the beginning of the search, when the Browns appeared focused on offense. From NFL.com:
“The Browns also spent Saturday talking with Chargers coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, and they ‘like’ Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, per Rapoport, reinforcing the belief that team owner Jimmy Haslam, CEO Joe Banner and general manager Michael Lombardi seek an offensive-minded coach to replace the fired Rob Chudzinski.”
Mike Pettine and the Cleveland Browns will reportedly meet on Thursday to work out a contract.