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Mike Pettine is Packers’ Defensive Coordinator

The Green Bay Packers will have a defensive coordinator who has coached several top-10 units. He’s just not the guy we expected. The Packers will reportedly hire former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine for the job.

Pettine comes from the Rex Ryan coaching tree and runs a similar 3-4 scheme to that of departed defensive coordinator Dom Capers. With the Jets from 2009 to 2012, Pettine’s defenses ranked first, third, fifth and eighth. With the Buffalo Bills in 2013, his defense ranked 10th. Pettine was coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2014-15, where he had a record of 10-22.

The Packers had also shown interest in former Chicago Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for the job. He appeared to be the frontrunner. They were also attached to Los Angeles Chargers’ defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. However, Bradley signed a new deal to remain in Los Angeles.

Coach Mike McCarthy also interviewed three in-house candidates for the job: linebackers coach Winston Moss, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt and safeties coach Darren Perry.

The Packers still have an opening for a defensive line coach and quarterbacks coach.

Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.



  1. Kato January 10, 2018

    The problem is Pettine’s defenses are predicted on having speed rushers and physical press corners. The packers do not possess any speed rushers. The packers will probably have to resign Davon House, he can function in this defense, however I don’t see Damarious Randall or Quinten Rollins fitting well, Rollins is in danger of being cut. I see see Josh Jones skills being brought out in this defense

    1. Howard January 10, 2018

      I think Pettine will bring out the best in Pipkins. How high of a ladder Pipkins can climb will be seen with more playing time and an off season. Pipkins is willing to tackle and can tackle well in space. Pipkins may be a lot better in press coverage than off coverage. Do not forget about Pipkins as a corner that earned more playing time and did well when he received the additional time on the field.

  2. Kato January 10, 2018

    Rex Ryan loves the guy. I actually do remember that bills defense in 2013, Mario Williams had one of his best years that year.

    1. icebowl January 10, 2018

      I’m not a fan of Rex.

      By virtue of the fact that he’s not coaching anymore I think the owners are also not fans.

      Sat behind him on a flight to San Diego (when he was interviewing her HC here) – he first a first-class ass sitting in economy (it was a flight that had no business class).

      1. Kato January 10, 2018

        He is brash, and pretty annoying. But the guy is very intelligent when it comes to football, I say begrudgingly. He has coordinated some incredible defenses, and I hope he is right with Pettine.

  3. Deepsky January 10, 2018

    I’m not sold on Pettine.

    As a defensive coordinator with the Jets, this guy produced top 10 defenses every year including a #1 defense, HOWEVER Rex Ryan actually called the defensive plays. With the Bills and Browns, his defenses were not that great, no better than what Capers produced on average. With the Browns, his defense was horrible at the end of his tenure as head coach, almost the worst in the league. Also, as far as I can tell, it was only with the Bills for one season that Pettine actually called the defensive plays and that defense was only marginally better than the Packers. He acted as a consultant to the Seahawks and they had their worst defensive season in 7 years.

    I think this is more of a “fit” hire like McCarthy wanted. Both McCarthy and Pettine are from Pennsylvania.

    1. icebowl January 10, 2018

      That’s what I had read Deep. I too am concerned if this isn’t just someone MM can more easily keep under his control.

      I think Cleveland has only won like 1 game since he left the HC spot there. I guess that only indicates the replacement is worse.

      The real question I have : Does this guy’s name sound like some French-Fries/Cheese Curd slop that’s the go-to meal of eastern Kanuckistans ?

      1. KILLER January 10, 2018

        Pretty sure a “pettine” is a sort of cloth doily common to the Ottoman Empire.

        1. Icebowl January 11, 2018

          Why am I not surprised You would know that K. ?

    2. Empacador January 10, 2018

      That’s not the information I read, about him being a consultant in Seattle. He was supposedly in Seattle learning their defense. That’s a big distinction learning vs. advising. They could have hired from within. I’ll take this.

      1. Kato January 10, 2018

        This is probably a win in my eyes

      2. Deepsky January 10, 2018

        Yeah, no question, this is much better than an internal hire.

      3. KILLER January 10, 2018

        Michael Lombardi in November was messaging about Pettine being a consultant to Seattle’s D. But that is weird given they are a 4-3 and he is a 3-4 guy. They did worse this year but they did lose Sherman, Thomas some of the time, etc. I’d hardly attribute the lesser ranking to Pettine.

        But I’m not sure how much actual consulting he did and how much this was a favor to make him look involved in football so he’d be more hire-able. I’d like to have his flight records. Did he fly to Seattle one or two times, just call them, or did he rent an apartment there? Was he totally unpaid? Then it is a pretend deal and just done as a favor to help him.

        I’d take the “consultant” in Seattle thing with a grain of salt and as a wash. He likely neither hurt them nor learned from them. If the Packers go all 4-3 and Cover Three I’ll take it back.

        It is interesting the apparent Pettine track record vs. the “dig down to it reality” though. Time with the Browns is meaningless of course. Unless you obtain a 7-9 or better record. The you are accorded demi-God status with a bronze bust and numerous small shrines erected throughout Cleveland.

  4. FTS January 10, 2018

    I didn’t know Rex Ryan’s defense was still being used. I remember the Bills players complaining it was to complex and it sure as hell didn’t help in New Orleans or Dallas. I’ll take the wait and see approach.

  5. Empacador January 10, 2018

    I found this a rather interesting article on Pettine.


    It doesn’t seem like the defense is overly complex, at least compared to what Capers ran. I like this hire better than Fangio except for one fact. Everyone bitches about how the Packers draft from the PAC-12, yet except for a few people here and on Reddit, nobody seems to ever notice McCarthy does much of his hiring based out of Pittsburgh or Pennsylvania ties. It’s like some sort of weird, reverse nepotism.

    That being said, he was 7-4 before losing his QB and was forced to play his version of Hundley, Johnny Manziel. It CAN’T be worse than Capers, can it? Has to be an improvement from hiring within. At least we should hope so.

    1. FTS January 10, 2018

      I remember Marcell Dareus commenting how Rex Ryan ruined their defense in Buffalo with over complex schemes that turned guys against him. Appreciate the link, it was interesting.

  6. Howard January 10, 2018

    Some guys just aren’t head coach material on their first or second try, but can be great coordinators. Pettine may be one. Bradley may be one. Rex Ryan is probably one. Wade Phillips for sure is one. I would take Wade Phillips as a defensive coordinator any day and he was shit as a head coach. Give Pettine a chance. I would have rather had Bradley. I also prefer Pettine over Fangio. Would take Fangio over any of the internal candidates.

    I do recall the the Jets and Bills had a pressure based D. Those teams were aggressive and that is something the Packers D lacks. It did help that the Jets in the first couple of years had Revis in his prime. I think the philosophy of the Jets and Bills was attack the QB and tackle any running backs who may get the ball on the way to the QB.

    I also read that article Empacador. It looks like Pettine understands he has to be flexible to change his defense to fit players skills and understanding of the defense. Pettine also looks like he will change his defensive strategy and alignments to best take advantage of the offense he plays each week.

    1. Empacador January 10, 2018

      Absolutely I agree I would have liked Bradley, but it kind of seemed like he wasn’t really gonna be in play being torn between Seattle and LA. After learning a bit more about Pettine I was more enthused about him than Fangio. As you said, any of them over internal.

      The only one internally was Whitt because Woodson was so strong on him. I remember Whitt saying he chickened out on recommending Gunter receiving more playing time though, and I don’t think that is a good trait to have second guess your instincts like that.