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Bills play-callers take different approaches to game-day location

By Mark Gaughan

PITTSFORD -- Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett called plays from upstairs in the coaches' box in Sunday's exhibition opener in Indianapolis. Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine called his signals from the sidelines.

That's the way they plan to work it all season.

Pettine called defenses from up in the box when he was with the New York Jets. Here's his perspective on his perspective: "It was strange. It had been I think 2002, I was video assistant in Baltimore I was doing still prints sitting behind the bench, that was the last time I was on the sideline for an NFL game."

"Part of it was with calling the defense, I always felt it was a problem in New York when I called them and the team was up-tempo, that it had to go through somebody else," Pettine said. "You had that couple seconds where it had to get called twice. Now I had the ability to make the call and also give a couple of reminders. Tell the nose guard to do this. Or make sure the 3-technique does this. To me it’s something I wanted to do and I knew when I made the move here I was going to come down on the field."

 

Hackett, meanwhile, will be in the box despite the fact the Bills offense will try to run an up-tempo style. Hackett says he likes players to feed off his enthusiasm in practice, but he can focus better on calling plays from up in the booth.

"I was brought here to call plays," he said. "That’s the one time, those couple hours, I’m supposed to be calm and I’m supposed to be relaxed. I think when we’re out here practicing, they have to feel that energy. They have to always want to go harder. I always want them to kind of hear me in the back of their minds when they’re out on the field. But up in the box I’m there to call the right play at the right time. I have to be calm, cool and collected and get that in there. That’s what I’m here for. It is hard because you do want to go down there and celebrate and pick them up when bad things happen and get them going. But sometimes you have to pick the right thing you can do to be successful."


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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 | tgraham@buffnews.com


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 | mgaughan@buffnews.com


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 | jskurski@buffnews.com

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