NFL Hot Reads: Mike Pettine's fresh start
Good move for Mike Pettine to get out from the shadow of Rex Ryan and strike out on his own as the Bills' new defensive coordinator. Pettine needs to prove he can succeed without having Ryan to lean on.
There's plenty of talent on the Bills' defense, even if the unit vastly underachieved under Dave Wannstedt despite the arrival of defensive end Mario Williams last season. Pettine promises a vast array of looks, even though he comes from a system that stresses the 3-4 defense.
"I think people try to compartmentalize too much and just broadstroke it; 3-4, 4-3, what are you?" Pettine said. "My answer to that question is yes to all of the above. We are a multiple-front, attacking, pressure-style defense. We're going to play man coverage, we're going to play zone coverage. What we're going to do defensively is take advantage of what our players do well."
Cowher says he's staying put
But Cowher now says he's staying in the studio. He said on yesterday's "NFL Today" broadcast that he plans on "being with one team, and that is this team here at CBS. I know we are going to the Super Bowl."
Cowher told Best he didn't think he'd have any problem keeping up with the game if he did go back to coaching. And when Best asked if he probably would return at some point, Cowher responded, "Yeah."
Stay tuned on this one. He has been approached a handful of times about coaching since he left the Steelers after the 2006 season. Among those teams: the Jets, who inquired about his availability before hiring Rex Ryan in 2009.
From Dawg Pound to Top Dog
How do you not feel good for newly named Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, who grew up in Toledo and rooted for the Browns his whole life. As a kid, Chudzinski would play outside in the snow with his brother and turn the television around to face outside so they could pretend they were sitting in the "Dawg Pound" section of seats at venerable Municipal Stadium.
"I have to admit," he said at his introductory news conference Friday, "I might have eaten a dog biscuit or two in my day.
" . . . It is a dream come true. It's almost unbelievable in a lot of ways, this kid from Toledo, Ohio growing up as a Browns fan, loving the Browns, understanding how important this team is to this region, this area, this city. I've been on cloud nine."
Can't say we blame new Jaguars general manager David Caldwell for wanting to start with a clean slate after being hired by team owner Shad Khan. Caldwell fired coach Mike Mularkey, who had only one season to turn things around. He finished 2-14 and failed to show meaningful progress on offense.
It looks as if Caldwell already has had significant influence on Khan, who purchased the team from Wayne Weaver last year. While it was believed that Khan was sold on the idea of acquiring Tim Tebow from the Jets to compete for the starting quarterback job, Caldwell made it clear he wants no part of Tebowmania.
But that doesn't mean Caldwell won't tinker at the quarterback position. He plans to bring in more quarterbacks through free agency and/or the draft to compete with Blaine Gabbert, the starter last season until he injured his right elbow in November.
"Blaine is the second-youngest quarterback in the NFL, but we're going to have open competition," Caldwell said. "We're going to let the best player win that position."
The best player won't be Tebow.
Not crazy about Andy Reid's move to hire former Jets linebackers coach Bob Sutton as defensive coordinator. Sutton's defenses were generally pedestrian in his days as defensive coordinator under Eric Mangini. A very conservative approach. Too conservative.
The Bills have hired Nathaniel Hackett, son of former Jets offensive coordinator Paul Hackett, to run the Buffalo offense. Big jump up for Nathaniel, who was the Syracuse play-caller for newly named Bills coach Doug Marrone. Paul Hackett made more than a few curious calls during his NFL days.
Great to see Monte Kiffin back in the league. The longtime defensive coordinator for the Bucs, who helped Warren Sapp produce a brilliant NFL career, has replaced Rob Ryan as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator. A steady hand for an important job. Now, about Jason Garrett's play-calling . . .
Matt Ryan is 33-6 at home, but he has played better on the road of late. During the regular season, he threw for 2,566 yards, 21 touchdowns and only five interceptions. At home, he threw for 2,153 yards, 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Ryan is trying to earn his first playoff victory after losing three previous times in the postseason. The Falcons host the red-hot Seahawks in today's NFC divisional round.