Orchard Park, NY (WGR 550) -- After an "exhaustive" search for a head coach finished up on Monday, the Buffalo Bills' "thorough" quest to find a defensive coordinator got underway.
First reported by FootballScoop.com, the Bills have requested permission from the AFC East rival New York Jets to interview defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for their vacancy. Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com confirmed the report as well.
Reportedly turning down an offer for a contract extension with New York in December, Pettine is now in the final weeks of his deal before it is set to expire.
When the Bills said they would like to find a defensive coordinator with "thorough NFL experience," a man with Pettine's pedigree certainly fits that mold.
He has been the defensive coordinator with the Jets for each of the past four seasons, coaching that unit to be a top-five defense in yards allowed through the first three seasons. This past year, the Jets were in the top-ten in the same category.
In 2009, Pettine's first season on the job, the Jets were the top defense in both points and yards allowed. Every defense he's been a part of has featured the 3-4 defensive scheme as its base.
Before hooking on with the Jets, the 46-year old served as a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens from 2004 through 2008. In that first season, Pettine was the assistant defensive line coach under Rex Ryan. The next season when Ryan was promoted to defensive coordinator, Pettine was also promoted to outside linebackers coach.
Pettine got his start in the NFL in 2002, when he was hired as a coaches assistant by the Ravens. He's been on the same staff as Rex Ryan every year that he's been in the league.
The Bills have also been granted permission to speak with Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker according to CBSSports.com's Jason LaCanfora.
Tucker, 41, has been the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville since 2009. In four seasons, the Jaguars have had a top-ten defense in yards allowed only once.
Before his time in Jacksonville, Tucker served as the defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2008. He has run a 4-3 base defense in Jacksonville in each of his four seasons.
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