Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone named at least three of his assistants who’ll likely jump ship to join the Browns and new coach Mike Pettine.
Marrone made the comments today during new Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s introductory news conference. Schwartz is replacing Pettine, who spent the 2013 season as the Bills’ defensive coordinator.
It’s not surprising that Pettine is bringing several familiar faces to Cleveland. He plans to call the defense’s plays this year for the Browns, so he wants to surround himself with coaches who already know his 3-4, hybrid system.
The Browns are expected to hire Bills linebackers coach Jim O’Neil as their defensive coordinator. Marrone said “to the best of my knowledge” that’s exactly what will happen.
Marrone also said he expects defensive assistant Jeff Hafley to become the Browns’ secondary coach and defensive quality control coach Brian Fleury to become an inside linebackers coach.
"Obviously, Jim O’Neil was granted permission [to interview with the Browns]," Marrone said. "He’ll be leaving to go to Cleveland as the defensive coordinator to the best of my knowledge. Brian Fleury, who is a quality control coach, will be leaving to go to Cleveland to the best of my knowledge as an inside linebackers coach. Also Jeff Hafley, who really wasn’t here long, will be leaving for Cleveland to the best of my knowledge, working with the secondary in Cleveland."
The Browns are hiring former Bills linebackers coach Chuck Driesbach, a league source confirmed this afternoon for the Beacon Journal, speaking on condition of anonymity because the team has yet to announce the move. The Bills fired Driesbach on Jan. 13.
Marrone also said he doesn’t “feel good about” defensive line coach Anthony Weaver staying with the Bills, either. Pettine might try to reunite Weaver as well.