Mike Pettine has reportedly interviewed with the Washington Redskins for their vacant defensive coordinator position. How would he fit in with the organization?
The Washington Redskins have had a vacancy at their defensive coordinator position since they fired Joe Barry in the middle of last week. They have been doing their due diligence on candidates in the weeks since, and they recently had a key interview for the team’s position. The candidate was the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Mike Pettine.
Pettine is not a name that has been heard since the 2015 season. The coach was fired by the Browns after accepting a job that was basically a death sentence. The defensive minded head coach had no chance to succeed with the dumpster fire that was the Browns, as ineffective leadership and lame-duck general managers undermined his success. That ended up being a black mark on his resume, and fully explains why he was unable to land a job for the 2016 season.
That said, Pettine still has an extremely solid track record as a defensive coach in the NFL. From 2009 to 2013, Pettine was a very successful coordinator. Coming from the Rex Ryan tree, Pettine worked with the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills and led some very solid units.
In four seasons with the Jets, Pettine never had a defense that ranked any less than eighth in the league in yards allowed. In fact, during the 2009 season, the Jets had the top ranked unit in yards and points allowed. They made it to the AFC Championship game under his tutelage, and that really started his rise up the coaching charts.
During Pettine’s lone season in Buffalo, he did a good job of reworking the team’s defense into a strong unit. They ranked 10th overall in total yardage, but they saw growth under Pettine. That led him to landing the job in Cleveland, which unfortunately ended poorly. The Browns did not have the personnel on defense to remain competitive, and as a result Pettine’s scheme never worked.
For the Redskins, Pettine’s experience with 3-4 defenses is extremely attractive. The team needs an experienced head coach who can come in, work to develop personnel, and work well with the existing staff. Pettine would offer that, and that is the big reason that he got an interview. Whether or not Pettine actually gets the job, he was definitely a quality candidate who I had on the team’s short list for coaches they should look at.