On Monday the Redskins announced that they had interviewed former Browns head coach Mike Pettine for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Why would they be interested in bringing in Pettine? Let’s take a look at his coaching resume.
Before becoming a coordinator: Pettine traveled an unusual path to the NFL. After playing at Virginia, he was a high school assistant coach and head coach for 12 seasons with two years as a graduate assistant at Pitt sandwiched in there. In 2002 Pettine made the jump to the NFL, joining the Ravens and serving in a variety of roles before becoming the outside linebackers coach in 2005. When Rex Ryan was hired as the Jets head coach in 2009, he took Pettine with him as his defensive coordinator.
Note: If you want more complete stats on Pettine’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.
For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro
2009 Jets (9-7)
Rankings: Yards 4,037 (1st), points 236 (1st), takeaways 31 (8th), 3rd down conversion 31.5% (1st), DVOA -25.5% (1st)
Notable players: CB Darrelle Revis*+, DE Shaun Ellis*, LB Calvin Pace, LB Bart Scott
The Jets had a middle of the pack defense in 2008 and they became a dominant unit. Revis went from being a good player to a great one as the Jets defense carried the team to the AFC championship game.
2010 Jets (11-5)
Rankings: Yards 4,664 (3rd), points 304 (6th), takeaways 30 (8th), 3rd down conversion 37.0% (10th), DVOA -10.9 (5th)
Notable players: CB Revis*+, CB Antonio Cromartie, LB Bart Scott, LB David Harris
The defense took a step back from its dominant 2009 form but it was still a solid top-five unit as the Jets again made the AFC title game, winning in New England along the way.
2011 Jets (8-8)
Rankings: Yards 4,993 (5th), points 363 (20th), takeaways 31 (5th), 3rd down conversions 32.7% (4th), DVOA -16.1% (2nd)
Notable players: CB Revis*+, LB Harris, LB Pace
The team’s record took another step back but the defense remained strong.
2012 Jets (6-10)
Rankings: Yards 5,174 (8th), points 375 (20th), takeaways 23 (18th), 3rd down conversions 37.2% (12th), DVOA -16.1% (2nd)
Notable players: CB Cromartie*, S LaRon Landry*, DE Muhammad Wilkerson
Revis went out with a torn ACL in the second game of the season but the defense held things together reasonably well. After the season Ryan survived but Pettine, whose contract had expired, was not retained.
2013 Bills (6-10)
Rankings: Yards 5,334 (10th), points 388 (20th), takeaways 30 (6th), 3rd down conversions 37.1% (14th), DVOA -13.8% (4th)
Notable players: MLB Kiko Alonso, DT Marcel Dareus*, DT Kyle Williams*, FS Jairus Byrd*, OLB Mario Williams*
The Bills were second in the league with 57 sacks and three members of their front seven were rewarded with trips to the Pro Bowl. Their DVOA improved from 27th in the league in 2012 to 4th. After the season the Browns hired Pettine as their head coach.
2014 Browns (7-9)
Rankings: Yards 5,857 (23rd), points 337 (9th), takeaways 29 (4th), 3rd down conversion 37.7% (11th), DVOA -3.0% (11th)
Notable players: SS Donte Whitner*, FS Tashaun Gipson*, LBC Joe Haden*, MLB Karlos Dansby
This wasn’t exactly a shutdown defense but it was an improvement over the 2013 edition of the Cleveland D. They gave up a lot of yards but they were solid in takeaways, good on third down, and very good in the red zone (5th in NFL). And, as the head coach, Pettine led the Browns to their best record since 2007.
2015 Browns (3-13)
Rankings: Yards 6,067 (27th), points 432 (29th), takeaways 21 (22nd), 3rd down conversions 39.9% (20th), DVOA 10.5% (29th)
Notable players: MLB Dansby, SS Whitner
This is Cleveland, after all, and the success of the previous season melted away. After a second season as head coach, the perpetually impatient Browns organization let him go.