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Marrone's Schwartz for Pettine Plot


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#1 TPS

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:43 AM

Put this in the category of thinking too much during the off-season...

Every time I see an article about Marrone wanting to make changes on defense, I wonder about what happened behind the scenes in the D-Co regime change?  I think that once Schwartz was fired, and several coaching jobs became available, Marrone started to work toward the Schwartz hire.  My reasoning...

1. Any time Marrone is asked about Pettine, he says something like "I have nothing but the utmost respect for him," but you can tell there is no emotional attachment.  Pettine was never a Marrone guy, in the sense they had some personal history.  I never sensed any kind of friendship between them, and I think their relationship was just that, professional.  What you see with most coaching relationships is some past connection that is also personal--you typically hire a guy you like and know you can work with.  Marrone went for Pettine as one of the best available options for the type of D he wanted, but they shared no personal history; it was purely a professional relationship between the two.

2.  We know that Marrone was not happy with Pettine's D overall.  Yes, it generated flashy sack numbers and TOs, but did poorly against the run.  I think Marrone is philosophically a "run and stop the run" kind of coach. He said changes were happening regardless, and the change was mainly going to be focused on stopping the run.

3. Pettine credited Marrone for preparing him for the job interviews; not just a general thanks, but DM went above and beyond.  As I believe, getting Pettine hired was the easiest solution for Marrone's change on D, especially knowing Schwartz was available.

4. Firing Driesbach seemed to come out of the blue, and DM's reasoning was cited as "philosophical differences."  Driesbach was a Pettine man who coached up the (almost) DOY in Kiko.  That is a pretty flimsy excuse, unless he was trying to ruffle Pettine's feathers?  Pettine picked Driesbach up once he was hired.

Marrone obviously couldn't fire Pettine without setting off a fire storm, so I believe this was the next best thing--urge Pettine to go for the Browns' opening by both encouraging him to and firing one of his boys.  

Yes, purely conjecture, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some substance to it...

#2 K-9

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:45 AM

Marrone banged hard on the table to hire Pettine in the first place and it was Marrone that put the full court press on him during Pettine's interview process. Sorry, but I can't buy your premise on any level here.

GO BILLS!!!

#3 YoloinOhio

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 10:46 AM

View PostTPS, on 24 February 2014 - 10:43 AM, said:

Put this in the category of thinking too much during the off-season...

Every time I see an article about Marrone wanting to make changes on defense, I wonder about what happened behind the scenes in the D-Co regime change? I think that once Schwartz was fired, and several coaching jobs became available, Marrone started to work toward the Schwartz hire. My reasoning...

1. Any time Marrone is asked about Pettine, he says something like "I have nothing but the utmost respect for him," but you can tell there is no emotional attachment.  Pettine was never a Marrone guy, in the sense they had some personal history.  I never sensed any kind of friendship between them, and I think their relationship was just that, professional.  What you see with most coaching relationships is some past connection that is also personal--you typically hire a guy you like and know you can work with.  Marrone went for Pettine as one of the best available options for the type of D he wanted, but they shared no personal history; it was purely a professional relationship between the two.

2.  We know that Marrone was not happy with Pettine's D overall.  Yes, it generated flashy sack numbers and TOs, but did poorly against the run.  I think Marrone is philosophically a "run and stop the run" kind of coach. He said changes were happening regardless, and the change was mainly going to be focused on stopping the run.

3. Pettine credited Marrone for preparing him for the job interviews; not just a general thanks, but DM went above and beyond.  As I believe, getting Pettine hired was the easiest solution for Marrone's change on D, especially knowing Schwartz was available.

4. Firing Driesbach seemed to come out of the blue, and DM's reasoning was cited as "philosophical differences."  Driesbach was a Pettine man who coached up the (almost) DOY in Kiko.  That is a pretty flimsy excuse, unless he was trying to ruffle Pettine's feathers?  Pettine picked Driesbach up once he was hired.

Marrone obviously couldn't fire Pettine without setting off a fire storm, so I believe this was the next best thing--urge Pettine to go for the Browns' opening by both encouraging him to and firing one of his boys.  

Yes, purely conjecture, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's some substance to it...
Had the same thought and mentioned in a thread weeks ago. It all makes sense to me. I think he wanted him last year, but was very open to change on the defensive side after he saw it. But, I am not a huge fan of Pettine's D so maybe that is why I went there. I think he saw Schwartz get fired, he wanted him, Crossman said they could get him, and he proceeded accordingly. Funny that Pettine didn't get a sniff from anyone but the Browns and they brought him in late in the process. Marrone interviewed with Cleveland last year. Maybe he saw an opportunity for both Pettine, and himself, and made a call.

Edited by YoloinOhio, 24 February 2014 - 10:50 AM.


#4 1stand10

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:16 AM

I think Marrone was happy to have Pettine and he may just be a decent guy that wanted him to do well on a personal level.  #Longoffseason

#5 YoloinOhio

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 11:26 AM

View Post1stand10, on 24 February 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:

I think Marrone was happy to have Pettine and he may just be a decent guy that wanted him to do well on a personal level.  #Longoffseason
:flirt: too rational!

#6 All_Pro_Bills

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

I'm not sure that Marrone was unhappy or had any desire to replace Pettine at the end of the season.  But once it became clear he was going to be hired by Cleveland and the opportunity of bringing in Schwartz presented itself he acted quickly.  It could have been a plan or maybe he just stumbled onto a potential upgrade through a series of unexpected events.

#7 dave mcbride

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:27 PM

The Bills finished 8th in defense this past year. Over the past five years, the Lions D under Schwartz finished 16th, 13th, 23rd, 21st, and 32nd.

#8 stuckinny

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:34 PM

Stats have no place in a message board argument! GTFO!  :nana:

I think it was just a roll with the punches type thing, next man up.

#9 The Real Buffalo Joe

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:38 PM

View PostYoloinOhio, on 24 February 2014 - 10:46 AM, said:

Had the same thought and mentioned in a thread weeks ago. It all makes sense to me. I think he wanted him last year, but was very open to change on the defensive side after he saw it. But, I am not a huge fan of Pettine's D so maybe that is why I went there. I think he saw Schwartz get fired, he wanted him, Crossman said they could get him, and he proceeded accordingly. Funny that Pettine didn't get a sniff from anyone but the Browns and they brought him in late in the process. Marrone interviewed with Cleveland last year. Maybe he saw an opportunity for both Pettine, and himself, and made a call.

This may have been mentioned before, but do you think Schartz's hiring, or potential hiring at the time, had anything to do with why Crossman was kept?

#10 TaskersGhost

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:43 PM

View PostTPS, on 24 February 2014 - 10:43 AM, said:

2.  We know that Marrone was not happy with Pettine's D overall.  Yes, it generated flashy sack numbers and TOs, but did poorly against the run.  I think Marrone is philosophically a "run and stop the run" kind of coach. He said changes were happening regardless, and the change was mainly going to be focused on stopping the run.

Try reconciling why with those sack numbers and to a lesser extent those TOs, the team allowed 28 passing TDs, 3 more than last season, and only 1 Passing TD allowed from a 6-team logjam at 29.

Teams like NO and Atlanta had plenty of sacks on them but it didn't seem to make any difference.  Even the worst rushing teams ran on us easily.

People suggesting that this D was good this season are shortsighted and one-dimensional in their thinking.

#11 Ed_Formerly_of_Roch

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 12:59 PM

I agree, which all the more shocks me that Pettine got the Cleveland job.  But sounds like Cleveland was pretty desperate at that point.


View PostTaskersGhost, on 24 February 2014 - 12:43 PM, said:

Try reconciling why with those sack numbers and to a lesser extent those TOs, the team allowed 28 passing TDs, 3 more than last season, and only 1 Passing TD allowed from a 6-team logjam at 29.

Teams like NO and Atlanta had plenty of sacks on them but it didn't seem to make any difference.  Even the worst rushing teams ran on us easily.

People suggesting that this D was good this season are shortsighted and one-dimensional in their thinking.


#12 TaskersGhost

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:00 PM

Also, while the team's 30 Takeaways may seem impressive, probably based on the 6th ranking or whatever around there it was, it really was a pretty average figure.

The league average was 25.4 but the standard deviation nearly 6, so over 2/3 of the league was between 31.3 and 19.5.

More specifically, and narrowed down a bit, 15 teams were between 26 and 31 Takeaways.  So how impressive was 30 really?  Not all that much except in contrast with other crud seasons.

When we consider that 23 of the 30 were INTs it's even more telling.  When we consider that of those 23 INTs, 5 were against Flacco, 5 against Geno Smith, and 2 against Henne, QBs on the most anemic offenses in the league, how impressive is it really.

#13 John from Hemet

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:00 PM

I will go on record as saying I didnt want to lose Pettine.......but everything Tasker is saying is correct....the defense was fun to watch....it also had holes in it.

To me pressures mean more then sacks......even though sacks are fun to watch.....getting the other team off the field and flipping field posiition and NOT giving up running 1st downs and big plays means much more.

If we go down a little bit in sacks and up on our run defense I could totally live with that....plus if Schwartz does well he will probably be here for a while.

#14 TaskersGhost

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:06 PM

View Postdave mcbride, on 24 February 2014 - 12:27 PM, said:

The Bills finished 8th in defense this past year. Over the past five years, the Lions D under Schwartz finished 16th, 13th, 23rd, 21st, and 32nd.

They didn't finish 8th in passing TDs allowed, they finished 20th, and as I'd mentioned, 6 other teams were logjammed at 21st thru 27th with merely one more pass TD allowed.

Sacks schmacks!  It's all about the points.  This team allowed 21 more points passing this season than last.  Ain't no hiding that.

To me this was just one more shred of evidence at how shortsighted this team is.  For years they've been whining about pass-rushers and sacks, to the extent that they break the bank on so-so overrated inconsistent players like Mario, and  this year they finally get their one-dimensional return of sacks, but oddly it does not result in any more wins.

Imagine that.

One day, after Wilson kicks, maybe, just maybe, we'll have an organization that understands from the FO and coaching levels the entirety of the game.  Clearly this one doesn't nor has since Polian left.  Hell, even prior to Polian altho that was an entirely different era.

I'll be happy if after Wilson croaks the team is still in WNY, or NYS at all for that matter, no thanks to Wilson.

#15 Luka

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:19 PM

Considering the defense we put on the field the year before, Pet's defense was a huge upgrade. You can attempt to marginalize that any way you'd like, but the bottom line is they gave the offense plenty of opportunities last year. 21 more points than last season? So 3 touchdowns? Couldn't have anything to do with playing 2 rookie QBs and one with two starts, turning the ball over a plenty...

#16 John from Hemet

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:23 PM

View PostLuka, on 24 February 2014 - 01:19 PM, said:

Considering the defense we put on the field the year before, Pet's defense was a huge upgrade. You can attempt to marginalize that any way you'd like, but the bottom line is they gave the offense plenty of opportunities last year. 21 more points than last season? So 3 touchdowns? Couldn't have anything to do with playing 2 rookie QBs and one with two starts, turning the ball over a plenty...

I dont think trying to marginalize what Pettine did is the issue....the defense WAS improved....I think its trying to say that the defense could be improved upon even more

#17 4merper4mer

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:27 PM

View Postdave mcbride, on 24 February 2014 - 12:27 PM, said:

The Bills finished 8th in defense this past year. Over the past five years, the Lions D under Schwartz finished 16th, 13th, 23rd, 21st, and 32nd.

True, but Greggo Marrone has already shown a penchant for selecting and keeping underperforming Lions coaches so Schwantz seems to fit.

#18 mattsox

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:35 PM

View Post1stand10, on 24 February 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:

I think Marrone was happy to have Pettine and he may just be a decent guy that wanted him to do well on a personal level.  #Longoffseason

Agreed.  Pettine has been one of the best D-coordinators Buffalo has had in a long time.  I reserve judgement on what Schwartz ends up doing, do to the fact he hasn't proven anything to me or the Bills fans as of yet.  He seems to be legit, so let's see if he can continue to build on what Pettine put in place.

#19 dave mcbride

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 01:40 PM

View PostTaskersGhost, on 24 February 2014 - 01:06 PM, said:

They didn't finish 8th in passing TDs allowed, they finished 20th, and as I'd mentioned, 6 other teams were logjammed at 21st thru 27th with merely one more pass TD allowed.

Sacks schmacks!  It's all about the points.  This team allowed 21 more points passing this season than last.  Ain't no hiding that.

To me this was just one more shred of evidence at how shortsighted this team is.  For years they've been whining about pass-rushers and sacks, to the extent that they break the bank on so-so overrated inconsistent players like Mario, and  this year they finally get their one-dimensional return of sacks, but oddly it does not result in any more wins.

Imagine that.

One day, after Wilson kicks, maybe, just maybe, we'll have an organization that understands from the FO and coaching levels the entirety of the game.  Clearly this one doesn't nor has since Polian left.  Hell, even prior to Polian altho that was an entirely different era.

I'll be happy if after Wilson croaks the team is still in WNY, or NYS at all for that matter, no thanks to Wilson.

Never bought the points argument because it's so dependent on the team's other units (offense and ST)- i.e., picks returned for TDs; offensive turnovers in your own end; bad ST coverage units; etc. Defenses don't have nearly full control over the amount of points allowed, but they do have control over the numbers of yards given up. For instance, the differential between the offenses' drive starts and the defenses' drive starts was negative five yards - that is, our opponents lined up at the 32 yard line when they started their drives and the Bills started at their own 27 on average. That's a substantial difference.

Also, if we're going to look at points, pts given up per drive might be a better measure, and the Bills were 12th out of 32 teams.

In my opinion, the most indicative stats are yards given up and -- most importantly -- the collective pass rating of opposing QBs. That stat in particular has proven to have a robust correlation with defensive dominance (there's a discussion in another thread about it).

For the record, the Bills were a top-tier team this year in collective passer rating for opposing QBs: 74.9 (third in the NFL). Opposing QBs had an 84.4 rating in 2012, 90.4 in 2011, and a catastrophic 92.6 in 2010. Driving this was the fact that the Bills' defense was 3rd in the league in net yards per pass play.

The Bills defense was good last year despite possessing some weaknesses. It was significantly better than in previous seasons - their best defense, really, since 2004.  Arguing otherwise strikes me as contrarianism.

Edited by dave mcbride, 24 February 2014 - 01:57 PM.


#20 over 20 years of fanhood

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Posted 24 February 2014 - 02:05 PM

View Post1stand10, on 24 February 2014 - 11:16 AM, said:

I think Marrone was happy to have Pettine and he may just be a decent guy that wanted him to do well on a personal level.  #Longoffseason
Marrone is no dummy...  Pettine's ONLY reason for coming to Buffalo was to get a head coaching job.