New Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine would not commit to a specific scheme, but promised to be an "attacking" defense that emphasizes disguise and fundamentals.
The Buffalo Bills have finally announced the hirings of offensive coordinator Nate Hackett and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The two Doug Marrone assistants spoke to BuffaloBills.com about their new job responsibilities; Pettine's interview, in particular, is worth pointing out given the importance of the direction he'd be taking the defense schematically.
John Murphy interviewed Pettine, and noted that he has run the 3-4 base defense under Rex Ryan - most recently as the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets. Murphy asked Pettine if that was the base defense he was bringing with him to Buffalo.
"It's not," Pettine said. "It's a situation where I think people try to compartmentalize too much, and just broad stroke it. 4-3? 3-4? What are you? And I answer that question with 'yes - all of the above.' That's what we are - we are a multiple-front, attacking, pressure-style defense. We're going to play man coverage, we're going to play zone coverage."
Pettine also made sure to point out that the defense will be built to maximize the talent of the players on hand, specifically pointing out the high-priced talent along the defensive line in doing so.
"What we're going to do defensively is we're going to take advantage of what our players do well," Pettine said. "I'm not bringing any defense here; this is going to be the Buffalo Bills defense. It's going to be built around the explosive athletes that are here, starting with the front - that's the solid foundation here - moving to the linebackers and the secondary that's stacked behind them. It made the decision so much easier for me to look at the roster and know that, to use the cliche, the cupboard is not bare."
Murphy then changed the line of questioning from scheme to style, and that's when Pettine's philosophies - which will likely be very endearing to Bills fans - bled through.
"We're going to be smart, we're going to be tough, we're going to be relentless," Pettine said. "We're going to pressure you. We're going to force you to make decisions under uncomfortable circumstances; if you're going to make a decision, you're going to have to do it quick. Our other thing too - falling under the 'smart' category - is we want to disguise what we do. NFL quarterbacks are too good. If they know what you're in pre-snap, it's over. If they're going to figure out what we're doing, let them do it during the first second or two post-snap. The disguise thing is a big part of it."