Bills hire Pettine, Hackett as coordinators
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Mike Pettine intends to bring his aggressive approach to Buffalo in a bid to transform the Bills' high-priced, yet underachieving defense.
As for providing a spark to Buffalo's sputtering offense, that's now in Nathaniel Hackett's hands.
Pettine is taking over as the Bills defensive coordinator, and Hackett will run the offense after new coach Doug Marrone filled the top two positions Thursday.
Marrone went with Pettine, based on the attacking style of defense he ran during his previous four seasons as the New York Jets coordinator.
"His defenses are known for their relentless attacking style," Marrone said, in comments distributed by the team. "That's exactly how I envisioned our defense."
On offense, the former Syracuse coach went with familiarity in having Hackett, — his Orange offensive coordinator — follow him to Buffalo.
"Nathaniel is on the same page with me," said Marrone, who went 25-25 in four years at Syracuse. "I felt he was the best offensive coordinator available, and that's why I hired him."
The moves were announced three days after Marrone took over in Buffalo, replacing Chan Gailey who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons.
Buffalo is coming off its second straight 6-10 finish, has not enjoyed a winning season since going 9-7 in 2004, and has not made the playoffs in 13 seasons — the league's longest active drought.
Pettine has 12 seasons of NFL experience, having also worked as a defensive coach at Baltimore. He was available after turning down New York's offer to extend his contract last season.
In wishing Pettine well earlier this week, Jets coach Rex Ryan kidded that he hoped his assistant would wind up anywhere but Buffalo, New York's AFC East rival.
"Rex and I are like brothers, brothers that fight a lot," Pettine said, noting he watched Ryan's news conference and heard his comments. And yet Pettine still picked Buffalo.
"I love Rex, and am so thankful for the opportunity I had there," he said.
Under Pettine, New York's defense has not ranked lower than eighth in the NFL in yards allowed. And that includes a top ranking in 2009.
He takes over a Buffalo defense that last season finished 22nd in yards allowed, while giving up 435 points — the second most in team history.
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