The Cleveland Browns have found their man. Former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has been hired to take the reins after the firing of Rob Chudzinski.
In his five seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator (he held the job with the Jets from 2009-12), Pettine’s defenses have been in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed. That includes this year with the Bills, a defense he took from 22nd in 2012 to 10th in 2013. Now he takes over a Browns defense that has plenty of talent but finished ranked 23rd in the NFL. Look for Pettine to help improve that standing.
From a fantasy standpoint, there’s much to like on the defensive side as well. Pettine’s defenses have excelled when it comes to takeaways, ranking eighth or better in four of his five seasons as a coordinator. During that same stretch, those units have been top 10 fantasy options.
The bigger task will come on the offensive side of the football. The Browns are going to be in the market for a new starting quarterback, likely focusing their energy on Johnny Manziel. Similarly, Cleveland’s backfield is a mess. Willis McGahee finished 2013 as the team’s leading rusher, but the 32-year old back was merely a stopgap after the Trent Richardson trade and a number of injuries. The only sure thing for next season is Josh Gordon, who was a playmaker regardless of who was under center. Once Pettine has filled out his staff and the team makes a couple of personnel moves, we’ll start to have a better idea of what Cleveland’s overall draft value will look like.
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