Why hiring Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator was a great move by the Green Bay Packers.
Out with the old and in with the new.
The move may be met with skepticism, mainly because the last time Pettine had a job in the NFL, he was the head coach of a 3-13 Cleveland Browns team.
However, I’m here to tell you that Pettine’s inability to fix the litany of problems in Cleveland does not in any way make him a bad hire.
Take a look at the DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) ratings of Pettine-coached defenses prior to his head coaching stint in Cleveland.
Those numbers are absolutely staggering, considering the type of Packers defenses we’ve grown accustomed to.
Even after leaving Buffalo in 2014 for Cleveland, the Browns defenses under Pettine’s leadership weren’t absolutely abysmal. The Pettine-led Browns teams as a whole were actually not that bad, considering how they couldn’t win a game this past season, and in Pettine’s first season they finished 7-9.
But I’m not here to talk about the Browns.
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Months from now, when training camp and the preseason begin, one storyline to watch for is how Packers veterans will be able to adjust to this new defense.
In all likelihood, Pettine will not stick to the 3-4 front the same way Capers has. We may see a variety of hybrid looks on the defensive side of the ball, or maybe even a full transition to a 4-3. Whichever way he decides to run the defense, there will be change of some sort.
Even though a change-up in defensive schemes may limit a couple of veterans from being comfortable, this move came at just the right time for the young defensive playmakers on the Packers.
Blake Martinez, Kenny Clark, and Damarious Randall were some of the young standout players this past season. Defensive lineman Dean Lowry along with defensive backs Josh Jones and Kevin King also showed some strong potential this season.
The Packers defense is chock-full of young players that aren’t so used to Capers’ defense that a switch would be problematic.
Talented defensive players have shown a tendency to have career years under Pettine-led defenses. The Packers will have a coach who helped bring out the best in players like Kyle Williams, Bart Scott, Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.
While people may still claim they wanted Vic Fangio instead of Pettine, there’s no debating this: It was high time for a change to be made on the defensive side of the ball.
Pettine will bring that change.
In doing so, he will be tasked with creating something we really haven’t seen since the 2010 season: a dominant Green Bay Packers defense.
Pettine’s track record shows he may very well be up to the task.