Two new candidates have emerged for the Cleveland Browns head coach vacancy, as the search enters its 19th day.
The team clearly isn’t letting wide receiver Davone Bess’s arrest on assault charges hinder the search, and is scheduled to meet with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on Friday, according to Fox Sports Jay Glazer.
Glazer also reported that Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will interview with Browns officials on Saturday. The Browns are still waiting out Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but are covering all their bases with back-up candidates.
Pettine, 47, will be the seventh candidate to sit down with Cleveland, and Bisaccia the eighth. Neither has been a head coach at any level.
A safety at Virginia, Pettine studied as a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh, and then coached at two Pennsylvania high schools for the better part of a decade before moving on to the NFL assistant carousel. He spent six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive assistant, and landed a three-year gig with the New York Jets as defensive coordinator under Rex Ryan.
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In one year under Pettine, the Bills went from 22nd in the league to 10th in total defense. Buffalo was also second in interceptions (23) and sacks (57) with Pettine at the helm.
Clearly Pettine has the experience to improve Cleveland’s young defense, but the Browns are reportedly looking for a more offensive minded coach. The Browns were 27th in the league with 19.3 points per game, and went through three quarterbacks last season. It is believed they are moving on from 2012 first round pick Brandon Weeden, and are looking for a new quarterback in the upcoming draft.
Bisaccia, 53, began his coaching career as a defensive backs assistant at Wayne State 30 years ago, and made long stops at South Carolina and Ole Miss, before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tabbed him for special teams in 2002.
While special teams coordinators rarely, if ever, make the jump to head coach, Bisaccia is widely respected around the league and has the likes of Jon Gruden and Norv Turner in his corner, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The same report indicated that Bisaccia also interviewed with the Washington Redskins for their previously available job, and the Cowboys actually plucked him from Auburn just one month after he was hired to be the assistant head coach last year.