Packers moving on from Mike Pettine at defensive coordinator

Green Bay Packers, Mike Pettine (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Mike Pettine (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

After an up-and-down season for the Green Bay Packers‘ defense, the million dollar question entering the offseason was whether defensive coordinator Mike Pettine would return.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that the answer is no. Pettine’s contract expired at the end of the season and he won’t be returning to Green Bay.

For the past two seasons, it’s been somewhat surprising to see a defense with stars at key positions such as Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, and Za’Darius Smith, underperform.

And while there were absolutely good things to take away from this season such as Alexander’s All-Pro year, the improvements made on run defense in the second half of the season, as well as the fact the unit ranked ninth overall, there were too many costly mistakes.

The touchdown allowed at the end of the half in the NFC Championship Game is a play Packers fans won’t forget anytime soon. Kevin King’s coverage was nowhere near good enough, but Pettine’s play-call was head-scratching to put it kindly.

Too often, this was true. Packers fans often noticed watching on TV that with defensive backs giving wide receivers a big cushion on third-and-short, it was going to be a piece of cake for opposing offenses to get a completion to move the chains. Yet we saw it repeatedly.

In Pettine’s defense, while there are star players on defense, there are also many areas of concern. Besides Clark, the defensive line needs more help. Outside of Alexander, cornerback looks a major area of need. Krys Barnes had a nice rookie season and Kamal Martin has potential, but inside linebacker is still concerning.

This defense seemed to underperform a little too often. Head coach Matt LaFleur retained Pettine as his defensive coordinator when he took the job but now he’ll get to bring in his own choice.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, LaFleur will put together a “full-on search” to find his new defensive coordinator.

Who eventually takes the job remains to be seen, but there are many reasons why this could be a great landing spot for a defensive coordinator. The Packers have a lot of young talent on defense like Clark, Alexander, Darnell Savage, and Rashan Gary. Za’Darius Smith is a star and Adrian Amos has also been a great addition since signing in 2019.

With another offseason to build on defense, there’s plenty of potential for this group. Not to mention, the Packers will be a Super Bowl contender as long as Aaron Rodgers is in town.

Time will tell who will be the Packers’ next defensive coordinator, but LaFleur finally gets to bring in his own choice.

dark. Next. Three ways Packers can keep Aaron Rodgers happy