Just days after announcing former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone as their coach of the future, the Buffalo Bills have also named the men who will be leading their offense and defense when the 2013 season rolls around.
Marrone has to be thrilled for the opportunity to be working with his friend and fellow Syracuse coach Nathaniel Hackett, whom Buffalo announced will be hired as the team’s offensive coordinator. Hackett is actually making his return to the Buffalo Bills after a three-year stint working with Marrone coaching the Orange’s offense, quarterbacks, and tight ends in 2011-12. Under Hackett, the Orange set multiple records on the offensive side of the ball including yards per game (476), passing yards (3,757), touchdown passes (26), completions (295), and first downs (328). The Orange also featured a 3,000 yard passes, 1,000 yard rusher, and 1,000 yard pass catcher. This is good news for Bills fans and the players that play these key positions in Fitzpatrick, Spiller/Jackson, and Stevie Johnson.
When asked whether the hire was based on a familiarity or because Hackett was the best available, Head coach Doug Marrone told the media that he “felt he was the best offensive coordinator available and that’s why [he] hired him. He did an outstanding job for us at Syracuse and I have tremendous confidence in him making the transition back to the NFL level. He’s our offensive coordinator because he’s earned it.”
On the other side of the ball, Buffalo selected Mike Pettine as their Defensive coordinator. Pettine will enter his 12th year in the NFL coaching ranks in 2013 and fifth as a defensive coordinator. Most recently, he served with the New York Jets from 2009-12 that finished top 10 in total defense each year. Pettine’s 2012 defense limited their opponents to the second-fewest passing yards per game (189.8) and finished fifth in the AFC in total defense (323.4 total yards per game).
Over the last four years, the Jets’ defense held opposing passers to an NFL-low 71.0 quarterback rating, completion percentage (52.6%), passing yards (186.3 per game). New York forced the highest percentage of three-and-out drives (29.4%). The Jets’ defense yielded the second-fewest yards per game (294.8) and posted a 34.6 third-down efficiency mark while holding their opponents to an average of 20.0 points per game (seventh-fewest in the league). New York’s defense recorded 115 takeaways in Pettine’s four-year tenure – the second-most in the AFC (seventh in the NFL). New York had nine 100-yard receiving games against from 2009-2012, the fewest in the league.
Pettine will have the pleasure of inheriting a defensive unit that was supposed to be dominating in 2012. Mario Williams and co. could certainly benefit from some new direction, and Marrone feels that Pettine is the man for the job. Marrone had nothing but praise for his new defensive coordinator in the press conference saying, “I have admired his work for a number of years and his reputation in this league is impeccable. Mike comes highly recommended from a number of sources, both within and outside the NFL.”
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