Redskins

Bills hire Pettine, Hackett as coordinators

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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.

That's well below the preseason expectation of a defense that included the offseason addition of Mario Williams, the defensive end who signed a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency.

``We're not going to sit back and let offenses dictate to us,'' he said. ``So if you're going to beat us, it's because you've taken our best punch.''

That's a switch from former coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who rarely blitzed.

Pettine is accustomed to a three-lineman, four-linebacker formation, while the Bills went with a 4-3 look last season. He intends to go with both formations, and fit them to the strengths of his players.

Hackett will be responsible for running Marrone's offense, which will include play-calling duties. That's a familiar position for Hackett, who has worked under Marrone for the past three years.

The Orange offense went with an up-tempo approach in setting numerous school records. Syracuse posted an 8-5 finish, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl last month. The offense set records for yards per game (476), yards passing (3,757), first downs (328) and touchdowns passing (26).

Hackett is familiar with the Bills. He previously served as the team's offensive quality control coach from 2008-09, with his final year in Buffalo coinciding with the arrival of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Hackett inherits an offense that finished 19th in yards gained and 21st in points.

The unit's production dropped as the season progressed. After the offense combined for 15 touchdowns in Buffalo's first four games of the season, it managed just 21 over the final 12.

Fitzpatrick's future is uncertain in Buffalo, and he's due a $3 million roster bonus in March. General manager Buddy Nix has already said he plans to select a quarterback in the draft in April. He also hasn't ruled out the possibility of acquiring one in free agency or through a trade.

One draft candidate could be former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who is projected to be a second- or third-round pick.

``Ryan Nassib is a talented player,'' Hackett said. ``I think right now, it is all about evaluating our Buffalo Bills team first.''

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Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

Late push for McGlinchey, Landry and Davenport would help Redskins at 13

For months, draft conversation suggested that there wasn't an offensive tackle to pick in the Top 10. And after Bradley Chubb, there wasn't an edge defender worth a Top 10 pick either. 

All of a sudden, that conversation is changing. 

Late charges from Notre Dame tackle Mike McGlinchey, Boston College defensive end Harold Landry and University of Texas San Antonio pass rusher Marcus Davenport are starting to influence mock drafts.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Peter Schrager predicted the 49ers to take McGlinchey with the ninth overall pick. Charley Casserly, in a mock draft with NBC Sports Washington on Monday, predicted the Chicago Bears take Davenport with the eighth overall pick. Reports on Landry are all over the place, but some guess he could break the Top 10 as well.

The thing to remember about the NFL: It's a passing league. Positions tied to the quarterback are the most important, and that means protecting the QB and getting after the QB is in high demand. No position will ever get over-drafted like quarterback, but it's not a surprise that teams might reach for players at tackle or edge rusher.

What does this mean for the Redskins holding the No. 13 pick?

It means great news. 

Washington will already benefit from four QBs going in the Top 10. That will likely push down an elite talent to their draft spot.

If McGlinchey, Davenport or Landry also crack the Top 10? Even better.

The Redskins need help at just about every position group on the defensive side of the ball. It's well documented how the team struggled against the run in 2017, but the defense also lost Bashaud Breeland and Kendall Fuller this offseason. 

There will be a number of weapons available for Washington at 13, and that could include players like Minkah Fitzpatrick or Derwin James in addition to Vita Vea or Da'Ron Payne. It might mean Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith lasts to 13 too. 

For the Redskins, Fitzpatrick or James at 13 seems like a steal. Both players present elite potential at the evolving position of nickel cornerback. They can play some corner, some safety, and James might even be able to play some linebacker. 

Regardless of the eventual destination for James or Fitzpatrick, if more surprise players sneak into the Top 10 on Thursday night, the better Washington's options become. And that includes the possibility of trading down, Vea or Payne, Smith or Edmunds.

More elite options at 13 only helps the Redskins. 

Redskins fans should be rooting for Mike McGlinchey, Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport early Thursday night. The folks in Ashburn will be. 

MORE 2018 NFL DRAFT:
- Mock Draft 9.0: Almost draft day
- Top Prospects: RB options for the Redskins
- Top Prospects: WR options for the Redskins
- Need To Know: Rich Tandler's Seven-Round Redskins Mock Draft
- Mega-Mock Predictions: DC Media choose No. 13 pick

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Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

Once undrafted, how Trey Edmunds found his way as a rookie in a crowded backfield

NBC Sports Washington’s four-part digital series ‘E-Boyz’ -- chronicling the illustrious past, decorated present and bright future of the Edmunds family -- is NOW LIVE. Check out a new episode daily, leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Watch the third episode above and more here.

A position change. A school change. A season-ending injury. 

Those are the kinds of things that prevent an NFL career from ever starting. But none of those things stopped Trey Edmunds from reaching the league and contributing for the Saints as a rookie in 2017.

Trey, the oldest brother in a family that features 2018 prospects Tremaine and Terrell, came out of high school as a linebacker, but became a running back after enrolling at Virginia Tech. After three productive seasons with the Hokies, he transferred to finish up his career with Maryland, yet his senior season was cut short after fracturing his foot five games in to the schedule.

That injury was a big reason why the 2017 NFL Draft came and went without a phone call for Edmunds, so he signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May. There, he played spot duty on special teams for much of his rookie campaign before his breakout moment in November:

Now, heading into his second pro year, Edmunds will reportedly have to fight for a roster spot in New Orleans again. But hey, adversity is something the 23-year-old is very familiar with, so don't bet against him.