Some Browns players are saying plenty of good things about the arrival of coach Mike Pettine. One Bills player is saying nothing about the corresponding departure of his defensive coordinator.
Safety Jairus Byrd, a pending free agent who played under the franchise tag in 2013, declined to answer several questions posed by Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.
Here’s the exchange:
Graham: “What was your gut reaction to hearing Pettine had gotten the Browns job?”
Byrd: “I’d really rather not answer that.”
Graham: “You’re entering your sixth season, and the Bills will have their fifth defensive coordinator. What are your thoughts on that?”
Byrd [laughing]: “Same as the last one. I won’t answer that one.”
Graham: “How will Pettine’s departure impact the likelihood you’ll return to the Bills?”
Byrd [laughing harder]: “You’re oh for three.”
The Pro Bowl safety talked to Graham from Hawaii, where three other Bills defensive players are getting ready for Sunday’s nights game: Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, and Marcell Dareus. And Byrd was willing to talk about the fact that they talked about Pettine leaving.
“We talked among ourselves,” Byrd said regarding Pettine’s departure, “but I’m going to keep it between us the things that we said. . . . He put guys in position to make plays. That’s what it was about on defense.”
It’s still unknown who’ll be in position to put the guys in position to make plays moving forward. Pettine reportedly wants to make linebackers coach Jim O’Neil the defensive coordinator in Cleveland. The Bills could block the move, making O’Neil the coordinator in Buffalo — where he’d necessarily have more autonomy since the head coach has a background in offense.
As for Byrd, maybe he’s not saying anything because he’s hoping to spark a bit of a bidding war between the Browns and Bills for his services. If so, that’s simply smart business by Byrd.