Buffalo Bills hire Mike Pettine, Nathaniel Hackett as coordinators

  • Updated: Jan. 10, 2013 at 08:13 p.m.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Mike Pettine intends to bring his aggressive approach to Buffalo in a bid to transform the Bills' high-priced, yet underachieving defense.

As for providing a spark to Buffalo's sputtering offense, that's now in Nathaniel Hackett's hands.

Pettine is taking over as the Bills defensive coordinator, and Hackett will run the offense after new coach Doug Marrone filled the top two positions Thursday.

The moves were announced three days after Marrone took over in Buffalo, replacing Chan Gailey who was fired after three consecutive losing seasons.

Buffalo is coming off its second straight 6-10 finish, has not enjoyed a winning season since going 9-7 in 2004, and has not made the playoffs in 13 seasons -- the NFL's longest active drought.

Pettine has 12 seasons of NFL experience, having also worked as a defensive coach at Baltimore. He was available after turning down New York's offer to extend his contract last season.

In wishing Pettine well earlier this week, Jets coach Rex Ryan kidded that he hoped his assistant would wind up anywhere but Buffalo, New York's AFC East rival.

"Rex and I are like brothers, brothers that fight a lot," Pettine said, noting he watched Ryan's news conference and heard his comments. And yet Pettine still picked Buffalo.

"I love Rex, and am so thankful for the opportunity I had there," he said.

Under Pettine, New York's defense has not ranked lower than eighth in the NFL in yards allowed. And that includes a top ranking in 2009.

He takes over a Buffalo defense that last season finished 22nd in yards allowed, while giving up 435 points -- the second most in team history.

"We're not going to sit back and let offenses dictate to us," Pettine said. "So if you're going to beat us, it's because you've taken our best punch."

Hackett will be responsible for running Marrone's offense, which will include play-calling duties. That's a familiar position for Hackett, who has worked under Marrone for the past three years.

The Orange offense went with an up-tempo approach in setting numerous school records. Syracuse posted an 8-5 finish, including a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl last month. The offense set records for yards per game (476), yards passing (3,757), first downs (328) and touchdowns passing (26).

Hackett is familiar with the Bills. He previously served as the team's offensive quality control coach from 2008-09, with his final year in Buffalo coinciding with the arrival of starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Hackett inherits an offense that finished 19th in yards gained and 21st in points.

One draft candidate could be former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, who is projected to be a second- or third-round pick.

"Ryan Nassib is a talented player," Hackett said. "I think right now, it is all about evaluating our Buffalo Bills team first."