The Bills acted quickly to replace departed defensive coordinator Mike Pettine (now the Browns head coach) by adding former Lions coach Jim Schwartz.
And while Pettine is taking the next step in his coaching career with the Browns, Schwartz made his first step in Cleveland, as he was part of Bill Belichick's staff back when he was the head coach with the Browns in the early 90s.
"I would say I got a bachelor's degree from Georgetown, but I got a Ph.D. in football-ology from Bill Belichick," he recalled in a recent interview on "The John Murphy Show" on the Bills' official website. "And that's the thing that's probably guided my career the most, is the time I spent with him in Cleveland."
The job was far from glamorous, but it served as a critical launching point.
"Yeah, I worked for free for a full year," he said of the job. "Drive people to the airport. Back when you could still smoke in the building, getting cigarettes for secretaries and everything else. But I was very fortunate to be in a building with Bill Belichick, but not just him. Nick Saban, Kirk Ferentz, I could go on probably for an hour for all the people that were in that building."
Schwartz would rise through the ranks of the NFL, earning notice as the Titans defensive coordinator, a job that catapulted him into the Lions' gig.
"I was a young coach, I had just been in college for four years and it just gave me a great chance to learn so many different things, even though I wasn't responsible for a whole lot of different things back then, I got a chance to learn from some of the best," he said.
Asked what lessons he has taken from his time under Belichick, Schwartz relayed, "Just about everything. Everything that touched the team was important to Bill. Marrying personnel and scheme -- nothing stands on its own in the NFL, whether you're a coach, whether you're a player, whether you're a scout. Bill did a great job of driving that all in the same direction."
He also recalled Belichick's ability to prepare his teams, a hallmark of his coaching career.
"The preparation that goes into it, I think there's only one way to learn that and the ability to adapt from week-to-week, from season-to-season, Coach Belichick has always been one of the best, in my opinion, at doing that, and I was very fortunate to have picked up some things from him," he said.