According to multiple reports, the Bills have stayed within the division and have hired New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to run the defense in Buffalo. ESPN's Chris Mortensen was the first to report the hiring.
Pettine spent four seasons with the Jets as coordinator, where they ranked in the top 10 of the NFL in yards allowed every year. In his first three seasons, the Jets ranked in the top five of that same category. In 2009, Pettine's first season, the Jets were the top defense in both points and yards allowed.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan announced on Tuesday that Pettine wanted to explore opportunities outside of New York to coach. His contract was set to expire at the end of the month, and reportedly rejected a contract extension offer in December.
This will be the first year that Pettine will be on a staff in the NFL that does not contain Rex Ryan. Since entering the league as a defensive assistant in Baltimore in 2002, Pettine worked his way up to assistant defensive line coach under Ryan in 2004. Then, when the eventual Jets head coach was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2005 with the Ravens, he promoted Pettine to defensive line coach.
Once given the opportunity to become the head coach in New York, Ryan brought his trusted assistant along with him to be the defensive coordinator.
It seems Pettine will be following suit with his departure to Buffalo. According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Jets' assistant defensive backs coach Jim O'Neil will also be a part of the Bills staff. The two have a long history together. O'Neil played at Central Bucks High School when Pettine was an assistant coach there.
The Bills now have three members of their staff under Marrone, if reports are accurate. On Tuesday evening, the Bills hired Syracuse offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to take the same role in Buffalo.