Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- Over the past two days, the Buffalo Bills have started to fill out head coach Doug Marrone's staff with the men that will be calling the plays on both sides of the ball.
On Thursday the Bills made the hirings official to announce Nathaniel Hackett as the team's next offensive coordinator, and Mike Pettine as the team's defensive coordinator.
Hackett's hiring was originally reported on Tuesday night, just one day after the Bills officially introduced Marrone as head coach. Hackett served as offensive coordinator for Marrone for two seasons at Syracuse University.
The 33-year old is the son of long-time NFL coach Paul Hackett.
"He’s been surrounded by offensive-thinking football all his life and he’s absorbed it. It’s in his DNA," Marrone said of Nathaniel. "Finally, you hear coaches speak of “everyone being on the same page?” Well Nathaniel is on the same page with me when it comes to the offense, and it’s multiple variations, that we are looking to run here in Buffalo.”
He got bumped up to offensive coordinator duties after just one season with the Orange as the team's quarterbacks and tight ends coach. Before joining the Orange, Hackett spent four seasons in the NFL (Tampa Bay 06-07, Buffalo 08-09) as an offensive quality control coach.
While relatively inexperienced in comparison to other offensive coordinators around the league, Hackett believes he's ready for the opportunity.
“Without a doubt. I think my experience in the NFL for those four years as a quality control guy working with a guy like Jon Gruden was really multiple, multiple years for any coach," he remarked. "The amount of projects and the amount of drawings that I did -- I think I summed up almost 20,000 past drawings that I created in working for him and all of those great coaches that were there. The foundation that was started to be built then was just amazing. To learn that much about the NFL in what we did there and then the biggest thing by far is to be with Coach Marrone."
Pettine comes to the Bills by way of the New York Jets where he served as the defensive coordinator for the past four seasons. The Jets have finished in the top-10 in yards allowed each of his four seasons on the job, including having the top overall defense in 2009.
The Jets have operated out of a 3-4 base defensive scheme each of his four seasons. That leads to an obvious question about whether the Bills would switch to that once again, or to stick with the 4-3 scheme of 2012.
“The answer is really yes to both," Pettine said. "We’ll be a multiple front, multiple coverage defense. The trademark of our defense is we’re going to be smart, tough and relentless. How we configure it is more player-driven. I’ve always believed that you don’t fit your players to your scheme, but you fit your scheme to your players. What I see here is a group of explosive athletes and playmakers and we’re going to put them in a position to do just that. We’re going to be in the configuration that gives us the best opportunity to win football games.”
This coming year will be the first time in his NFL career that Pettine is not on the same staff as Rex Ryan. He served as the assistant defensive line coach in Baltimore for Ryan in 2004, before being named the head of that positional group when the latter was named defensive coordinator of the Ravens in 2005.
When Ryan left to become the head coach with the New York Jets, he brought the 46-year old Pettine along as his defensive coordinator.
“His defenses are known for their relentless attacking style," Marrone said in the team's press release. "They can be very difficult for offenses and create all kinds of mismatches. When I accepted the job, that’s exactly how I envisioned our defense and so Mike was the coach I felt was best suited to lead our defense.”
Both Hackett and Pettine will be on The John Murphy Show on Thursday night, which airs every weeknight from 7 to 9 pm on WGR Sports Radio 550.