The wait is over for the Cleveland Browns and their diehard fan base. Owner Jimmy Haslam and his CEO Joe Banner have tried the offensive minded coach, now they will give it a go at a defensive mind. Former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine will hold the tight reigns for Cleveland. This move comes after numerous candidates pulled out of the running by choice because of Cleveland’s “touchy” situation.
While Pettine does not have any previous pro head coaching experience, the 47-year-old does have 11 years under one of the most defensive-minded names in the game – Rex Ryan. The worry and big question with bringing in Pettine is what sort of defensive scheme will he bring in. Recently, the Browns have flip-flopped between a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme in the past two years. Under Pat Shurmur, Cleveland went with four down lineman and with Rob Chudzinski, they went with four linebackers. What will Pettine do is the big question. With the current personnel, the Browns may fit either scheme. Perhaps even the bigger question – does Pettine have the talent to do the successful things he has done in the past?
Groomed in no-nonsense defenses with the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets, Pettine thinks outside-of-the box and loves to blitz. According to Pro-footballfocus.com, Pettine blitzes almost 40% of the time on passing situations. If you thought Ray Horton blitzed, you haven’t seen anything yet. He also uses multiple looks and has been known to use seven defensive backs at times. Against the Browns last season, Pettine and the Bills sacked Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden five times in the loss.
What about on the offensive side of things? The Browns have two rising stars, Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, that only need above average consistent quarterback play and a decent running game to shine even further than the did last year. Pettine is expected to bring in Green Bay Packers running backs coach and former NFL quarterback, Alex Van Pelt to put new life into the offense. The Packers seem to breed coordinators on both sides of the ball. The Browns are expected to make big moves in the upcoming draft and in off-season free agency.
Coming from a thick bloodline of American football in Pennsylvania, the Steve Goldberg look-alike has his work cut out for him in 2014. Is Pettine the head coach that will finally light a fire under this team? The Browns and their fans desperately need him to save the franchise and start a once great tradition in Cleveland – winning football.
Ryan Ruiz is the Cleveland Browns Beat Writer for The Inscriber: Digital Magazine. You can follow him on Facebook: Ryan (BrownsWriter) Ruiz and Twitter @ryanpruiz24. Ryan is also a Browns correspondent for The Sportsfix. Tune in every Friday at noon on www.thesportsfix.net. Have a question or comment for the “ASK Ryan” column on Fridays? Email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org