5. Keeping Mike Pettine at defensive coordinator
With change being the theme of the offseason, it would have been tempting for the Packers to start again on defense by bringing in a new defensive coordinator. But that wouldn’t have been the right call. Defense wasn’t the problem for the Packers last season. Mike Pettine made a good start. The defense was never going to be perfect, but Pettine helped the unit improve.
Pettine inherited a defense that finished No. 23 against the pass in 2017. Last season, they improved to No. 12, which is incredible considering Kyler Fackrell was the only edge rusher to offer any kind of consistent pass rush. Fackrell had a team-leading 10.5 sacks, which was more than every other edge rusher on the roster combined (7.5). Despite that, Pettine was able to scheme pressure, which saw the Packers’ sack totals improve from 37 sacks in 2017 to 44 last year. This season, Pettine will have more talent at the position to work with.
Now he has the chance to build on last year’s work. Returning players don’t have to learn a completely new system, and Pettine already has a good understanding of what worked last year and what needs to improve.
When putting together his coaching staff, head coach Matt LaFleur made the right call to keep Pettine at defensive coordinator.