Cory's Corner: Mike Pettine Deserves Every Ounce Of Praise

He didn't have to stay.

Remember, he has head coaching experience. (Yes, I know it was with the Cleveland Browns. And yes, I know he went 10-22.)

But he has head coaching experience that could easily be translated into another defensive coordinator elsewhere. 

Of course, I'm talking about Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. He was hired in 2018. Little did he know that things would quickly unravel and his head coach would be fired after 12 games. 

He stayed on for the rest of the season and then the Packers hired a guy in Matt LaFLeur that had zero head coaching experience. Pettine had every reason to be upset about suddenly taking orders from a rookie head coach. He understands how hard it is to be a head coach in this league and after that season in Green Bay, he had eight years as an NFL defensive coordinator under his belt. 

The best move the Packers and LaFleur made was to reach out to Pettine. The defense showed flashes in 2018 and with a new offensive scheme assembling around LaFleur, the defensvie side of the ball needed some stability. 

Everyone talks about how important LaFleur has been to this team. Others point to free agent acquisions like Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith or Adrian Amos. Still others point to Aaron Jones taking a leading role in the offense.

All of those elements are very important, but I still say the one person that has held this team together is Mike Pettine. Remember, the team didn't really know what to think of LaFleur in 2019. Many had an idea of what to expect, but the defensive side of the ball really kept this team together.

And as we march to 2020, the defense looks impressive. The only area that I really question is inside linebacker because that position was exposed athletically last year — and many years before that. If Pettine can somehow fill that void, the gap between the 49ers and Packers will be exponentially decreased.

Pettine deserves every ounce of credit for establishing a culture and then staying put in Green Bay to watch it matriculate. 

I love his energy and enthusiasm and I guarantee you that his defense just eats it up. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (14)

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Bure9620's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:14 am

Mmmm, let's wait and see....his red zone defense has been good. But when a QB only has to throw the ball 4 or 5 times because the offense is running the ball up your ass.....and there is really no adjustment from Pettine?? Not a good look......I felt like I was watching Wisconsin vs. Nebraska again in that NFCCG......

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Handsback's picture

July 25, 2020 at 07:15 am

I think Pettine is a very good defensive coordinator. I also don't think he gets enough credit for getting the defense to the playoff caliber position they were in last year.

All that said....he now has to show how he will stop teams from running over them. Because that last 49ers game was a pathetic performance. That was on him and the players.

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Archie's picture

July 25, 2020 at 09:01 am

I agree 100%. I just hope he doesn't overreact i.e., stop the run and the pass D goes to hell.

Keys to upcoming season:

(1) Def front 7 gets effective vs pass & run; and,
(2) OL stays healthy & effective sans Bulaga.

Tough having the ace of both units up for new contracts in same year. Maybe AR will take cash up front to move salary impact down the road. Would be win-win.

Looking forward to seeing what guys like Sternberger, Lazard, Funchess, Dillon & DaGuara can contribute to offense this year. It could be quite a bit. It's the time of year to be optimistic. And we have a rookie francise QB
in the pipeline to boot. Major Q for Pack going forward will be who they can afford to keep and who they are forced to let go.

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Lphill's picture

July 25, 2020 at 08:07 am

The Packers were embarrassed in the championship game , the defense was run all over , remember the safeties staying deep , just in case Jimmy G aired it out? Pettine had no clue what to do in that game.

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ricky's picture

July 25, 2020 at 08:18 am

The Packers have ignored ILB for years. It shows. The Packers have put some effort into adding to the DL the last few years. With the exception of Clark, it doesn't show. You can't make chicken soup without the proper ingredients. Nor can you have a top notch defense without better drafting in defensive areas of need.

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Charvid's picture

July 25, 2020 at 09:16 am

I just feel grateful we even have the chance to say or read a statement like, “ the 49er’s embarrassed us in the NFCCG”. That simply means the Packers once again MADE it to the NFCCG. Something had to go right with the D last year to make that run, because we sure didn’t do it purely on the strength of our high octane offense!

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Tarynfor12's picture

July 25, 2020 at 10:37 am

"Pettine had every reason to be upset about suddenly taking orders from a rookie head coach."

What a crock of bs.

When you fail as a boss, in any field, you can expect to be taking orders from a first timer at some point. The NFL gives too many chances to HC's and coordinators. No other business regurgitates and hires previously failed personnel as the NFL. It's like a huge merry-go-round and everyone who got fired here will be awesome when hired there. Round and round they go, their next stop isn't hard to know, it's one of 32 places with a guarantee to show up in some capacity then promoted again and again and...

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Bure9620's picture

July 25, 2020 at 11:23 am

Well, they typically go to other companies....example, if a sales rep fails at one stop he/she will likely get an opportunity at another company due to experience.....in fact I have seen people fail at one company and have success at a competitor in the same industry....happens every day....some I have hired.....

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ILPackerBacker's picture

July 25, 2020 at 11:40 am

At first glance this seems a really stupid article based on conjecture. Yet after reading it I can change my mind and say Mike P indeed deserves all the praise he gets....mainly because he doesn't get any and he is repeatedly getting called out for being unable to adjust scheme and also unable to adjust players

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Lphill's picture

July 25, 2020 at 11:51 am

So your saying he deserves no praise ? Or being sarcastic?

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stockholder's picture

July 25, 2020 at 12:11 pm

After Capers! Yes, he deserves some praise. But This will be his last year in Green Bay. One, the Defense wasn't fixed by drafting the right players. 2. The DL wasn't fixed in Free Agency. He will play this season Out. Like King ,Clark, and others. The packers have gone all in on this season. Pettine will accept a head coaching job in college football at the end season. $$$$$$$ You read it here first!

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Turophile's picture

July 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Pettine has said that after a stint as HC he doesn't want to be a head coach again.

He prefers to be hands on, interacting directly with the players, but a head coach is much more divorced from that day to day interaction.

Maybe he changes his mind, but as of his last comment, he is not interested in being a HC a second time.

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PhantomII's picture

July 25, 2020 at 12:46 pm

What I have seen these last few years is a hodge podge of aging players and injured underperforming and a mix of camp talent along with a couple future stars. Gute infused the "D" with an influx of talent as well as the draft to give Pettine something to work with. Currently the majority of teams are pass heavy. Our OLB'a showed out in this area and our DB's covered long enough for our pass rush to get there often and resulted in several sacks and picks. We lost a couple games we should have won and won several where everything fell our way when it needed to. We do not have the right DT personnel to go head to head against run heavy teams. Our awesome OLB pass rushers did not practice setting the edge enough against these teams and our DT's could not get a 3 and out when we needed them to. This will not get fixed without enough practice doing it and current personnel stepping up this year or a FA pick up.
If our ILB is healthy he will help stop the leaks. Pettine is very slow making changes when they need to be made. This is either stubbornness/ arrogance or indecisiveness. None of which are good. When you are playing in the post season everyone is good and you don't have half a game to figure out what to do because you will have already lost. He also overplays better players until they are to tired to perform at a high level. Need a better rotation of personnel or manage players better. Offense 3 and out also plays into this issue. Pettine needs another DT next to clark and the "D" improves greatly. I think he does a pretty good job with what he has to work with a majority of the time.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 26, 2020 at 03:11 am

"But, the Packers believe he’ll fit better with outside edge rushers Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and Pettine himself believes that the San Francisco 49ers’ run-it-down-their-throats approach in the Packers’ NFC Championship Game loss is not a harbinger of things to come on defense. Rather, Pettine still thinks most teams will attack the Packers through the air, where they believe Kirksey will fare better than Martinez." Jason Wilde, madison.com 7-24-20 [but I am not sure when Pettine said this - could be an old quote.]

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