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Mike Pettine, Nathaniel Hackett comment on joining Bills

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills confirmed they have hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

An announcement from the club contained comments from new head coach Doug Marrone and his top aides.

The remarks from Marrone, as was the case at his introductory news conference, were noncommittal on topics such as the style of offense they'll run or whether their base defense will be a 4-3 or a 3-4.

Marrone on Hackett:

"I have worked closely with Nathaniel the past three years, and the first thing that jumps out at you is his boundless enthusiasm. He has a genuine love and excitement for the game of football, offenses in particular, and that transcends into everything he does.

"Secondly, he has a great knowledge of offenses for someone his age. Having grown up as the son of a coach [former USC Trojans and Pitt Panthers head coach and NFL coordinator Paul Hackett], particularly the son of a good coach, has certainly served him well. He’s been surrounded by offensive-thinking football all his life and he’s absorbed it. It’s in his DNA.

"Finally, you hear coaches speak of everyone being on the same page? Well, Nathaniel is on the same page with me when it comes to the offense and its multiple variations that we are looking to run here in Buffalo."

Marrone on Pettine:

"His defenses are known for their relentless, attacking style. They can be very difficult for offenses and create all kinds of mismatches. When I accepted the job, that's exactly how I envisioned our defense, and so Mike was the coach I felt was best suited to lead our defense."

Marrone on adding defensive players for a 3-4 or a 4-3:

"The personnel we acquire through free agency and the draft will not be locked into a defense that plays one particular front or one particular coverage. We want defensive players who are tough and get after it, and, at the same time, play smart football."

Hackett on his offensive philosophies:

"I think the critical part is to create the foundation, start from the ground and create a nomenclature to have a system and a language that the players believe in. Once you find that out and you create that then you find out what players do well within that foundation.

"From that point you get to change your tempo. You get to change what you do and really work to what they do best. I think right now the biggest part is the foundation and then evaluating the players to see what they can do within that foundation and then from the tempo standpoint, you go from there."

Pettine on his defensive philosophies:

"We'll be a multiple-front, multiple-coverage defense. The trademark of our defense is we're going to be smart, tough and relentless. How we configure it is more player-driven. I've always believed that you don't fit your players to your scheme, but you fit your scheme to your players.

"What I see here is a group of explosive athletes and playmakers, and we're going to put them in a position to do just that. We're going to be in the configuration that gives us the best opportunity to win football games."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |