We might have to wait until morning for confirmation, but Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News is ready to call a winner in the Browns' search for a head coach. Gaughan says it will be Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Gaughan tweeted Tuesday night that Pettine "is going to get the Browns job. A deal is close." Pettine interviewed for the position for a second time on Tuesday.
Pettine has been involved in the NFL since 2002 and has been a defensive coordinator since 2009, first with the Jets before joining the Bills in the same capacity this season.
For what it's worth, the last three defenses coordinated by Pettine finished in the top ten in yards allowed. But each of those teams finished 20th in points allowed. The Bills ranked second in the league this year in sacks and interceptions.
If this report is true, the Browns are the last of the seven teams with openings to find their head coach, and it's been that way for about a week. Josh McDaniels, Todd Bowles, and Adam Gase all said "no" to the Browns. They would have to wait a couple of weeks to have more contact with either of the Seahawks' coordinators, so they probably figured they couldn't waste time any longer. Pettine is an aggressive defensive coordinator, but it might be too soon for him to be given the keys to a franchise. It feels like the Browns settled after striking out on the coaches they really wanted. That's what happens when you ax a head coach after only one year on the job and let your coordinators walk without putting up a fight to retain them. I don't think Browns fans will be happy with this hire, but they aren't pleased with the entire organization right now, so it's a perfect fit.
For fantasy purposes, whom Pettine hires to be his offensive coordinator will have a major impact.