It's looking an awful lot like the Buffalo Bills will need a new linebackers coach to work with their new defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz.
That's because the Bills on Monday granted the Cleveland Browns permission to interview current linebackers coach Jim O'Neil for their defensive coordinator post. With that permission in place, it is all but certain that O'Neil will follow Mike Pettine to Cleveland. Update: On Monday evening, the Browns officially announced O'Neil as their new defensive coordinator.
The #Browns have received permission to interview #Bills LB coach Jim O’Neil for the DC job. It’s a formality— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 27, 2014
O'Neil, 35, was brought in by the Bills last offseason as their outside linebackers coach. He came to Buffalo with Pettine from the New York Jets, where he served as an assistant secondary coach under Pettine, then the defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan. Considered Pettine's right-hand man in the same way that Pettine was once Ryan's, it became clear from the outset that Pettine would look to bring O'Neil with him to Cleveland.
Bills defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, assistant secondary coach Samson Brown and quality control coach Brian Fleury all have ties to Pettine, as well, so they will be names to watch for the foreseeable future, as well.