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Mike Pettine expecting "big jump" from Packers' defense in year two

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Mike Pettine expecting "big jump" from Packers' defense in year two

-- First to come, one of the last to leave.

Last January, the hiring of Mike Pettine as the Green Bay Packers' new defensive coordinator was one of the first personnel moves Mike McCarthy made in order to replace Dom Capers, who was fired shortly after the 2017 campaign reached its end.

Now, Pettine is one of the last remaining pieces of McCarthy's final coaching staff in Green Bay. He was relieved of his duties after a stunning home loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 2, paving the way for Matt LaFleur to take the reins just over a month later.

And, according to Pettine, that was a major selling point in his return to Green Bay for a second season.

"It was an easy decision," Pettine said on Monday at a press conference introducing LaFleur's finalized staff. "I talked to him before he got hired, and I got the sense there was a lot of common ground."

Much of Pettine's unit is remaining intact, sans the exception of Patrick Graham exiting as the team's linebackers coach and instead pursuing a defensive coordinator job with the Miami Dolphins. Former cornerbacks coach and defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. also no longer remains on the staff, and instead landed with the Browns as a secondary coach.

Pettine is at the helm of a young defense with several examples of talent you can either deem rising or promising, but regardless, he anticipates a "big jump" in the second year of his system.

"We spent so much time last year on coaching players what to do and not how to do it," Pettine said. "We look forward to having a lot of guys who are experienced in the system. We have a much better sense of who we are.

"You have a little bit of momentum but you've built a pretty solid foundation with the guys you're going to have back."

The "common ground" for Pettine is cemented in his years working with LaFleur's brother, Mike, when he was a coaching intern with the Cleveland Browns in 2014. That was also the first of two seasons Pettine spent as the Browns' head coach.

That head-coaching experience, albeit netting a 10-22 record, is invaluable to Pettine in the sense that he essentially knows what to avoid as a first-year head coach -- another reason why his input could be so critical to LaFleur and the rest of his youthful coaching staff.

"The good thing is what I bring from my experience in Cleveland. I have a real thick book on what not to do, so I can steer him clear of the pitfalls of being a first-year head coach.

"If the staff isn’t all united and on the same front, it’s going to be hard for the players to be."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Pettine on the Ritz

The TKstinator's picture

¡One big upvote from El TKstiñador!

Samson's picture

More talent at OLB & safety will make Pettine's prediction a reality. -- By season 2020, the "D" may be the strength of the Pack.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Retaining Pettine was more crucial than the LaFleur hire IMPO. We have a fighting chance with Pettine. We desperately need a top 10 defense and I think we are headed there this season. So glad he stayed.


BoCallahan's picture

IMPO - I had to look that one up. It could be, IN MY PERSONAL OPINION, or it could be,
IN MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION. Dash, I’m guessing you meant it as the latter.

Skip greenBayless's picture

It's supposed to mean IN MY PROFESSIONAL OPINION just for the record.


sam1's picture

I hope the WHOLE team makes that big jump. Gotta get back to the winning ways we have become used to!

Old School's picture

If the offense improves by 60 points, it'll be one of the very best in the league.

If the defense improves by 60 points, it'll be a Top 10 defense.

That combination would almost certainly result in us being in the playoffs.

Old School's picture

Well, we've got some stuff to work with. There's a lot of good players on that defense if they're healthy enough to line up.

Additionally, we have about $30 million in FA money we can use. If we used HALF we could probably get a top safety AND a mid-tier guy.

That would fix the safety spot and allow Tramon to be a corner, which would give us King, Alexander, Jackson and Tramon.

All before the draft, and we could end up with 8 picks in the Top 112. Add that to Daniels, Clark, Lowry, Perry, Fackrell, Martinez, Burks, etc. and we could have a pretty good gameday 21.

Coach JV's picture

I'd keep Breeland over Jackson any day and twice on Sundays.

The TKstinator's picture


MarkinMadison's picture

Jackson's under his rookie contract so that's not really a choice anyone has to make.

LeotisHarris's picture

"...the hiring of Mike Pettine as the Green Bay Packers' new defensive coordinator was one of the first personnel moves Mike McCarthy made in order to replace Dom Capers."

I know Dom had giant feet, so there was a pair of size 17 shoes to fill. What were the other personnel moves McCarthy made to replace Capers?

Lare's picture

He brought in Philbin. That didn't improve the offense at all so it must have been for the defense.

The TKstinator's picture

Reminds me of the old report that during a bank robbery, a thief was shot in the fracas.
The doctors didn’t know where to look for the bullet.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Friggin funny TK!

MarkinMadison's picture

He went with LIFO when he should have gone with FIFO.

If you get that joke you're probably an accountant.

porupack's picture

Got it, but not an accountant; just that I'm simply out most of the time so I don't qualify.

fthisJack's picture

if the Packers could add Thomas and Barr and then Devin White in the draft this defense could be scary good. the middle of the field has been a big weakness for years. they need to address that.

D Ernie's picture

Had to laugh. Petine are the corners getting taller, linebackers faster, pass rushers stronger. Hard to get better with same guys, different year. Hope they get some skill on d and get rid of the old guysl

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