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Some People Really Love Mike Pettine

What do we know about the Green Bay Packers’ new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine?

He’s been the coordinator of some great defenses. Five top-10 units in five years from 2009-13. He wasn’t so great as coach of the Cleveland Browns, going 10-22 in two seasons. But who has been great as a coach with that trash heap?

We’re also starting to hear from people who worked with Pettine and we’re hearing good things.

Here’s former boss Rex Ryan, who is now an analyst with ESPN. Ryan called Pettine the smartest guy in the room, regardless of who is in the room.

“He’ll be the best coordinator in the league; that’s how good he is,” Ryan said. “I think the big thing is, the fan base ought to be super excited about him because this is a good get. There’s other names out there or whatever, but this is the best coach out there that they could’ve got.”

And the defensive system?

“He’s not one of these guys who’s going to play one or two fronts and three coverages,” Ryan said. “This guy is going to give you the gamut. We have a philosophy, and Mike has it, it’s a ‘KILL’ philosophy — keep it likable and learnable — and that’s what we do, and that team is going to play fast and play physical, and I can’t wait to watch them.”

Former Packers and Cleveland Browns cornerback Tramon Williams also speaks highly of Pettine. Williams played one season under Pettine with the Browns.

“I love Mike,” Williams said. “One of the reasons I actually ended up signing with Cleveland. Really great guy, not only as a coach but a great guy in general. As a coach, man, very, very smart. Very smart and articulate. Obviously, his resume shows over the years that he’s done a good job as a defensive coordinator.”

And the system?

“I think it’s going to be a new beginning for him. Obviously, he’s got some good players to insert in that defense. I think the sky’s the limit for what that defense can do. A lot of moving parts to it but, man, it’s limitless. It’s limitless. I think it’s going to be good for Mike.”

The real question that comes to mind is if they system will be too complex for the Packers. The team constantly has a young roster and we’d expect more turnover on the defensive side of the ball to be upcoming.

In the same vein, Pettine’s system isn’t a total departure from Dom Capers’. It’s still a 3-4 and it will still rely on the blitz. Maybe the biggest change is more press-man coverage. And that could be the biggest issue. The Packers’ cornerbacks aren’t really known as physical.

The guy who was good at that role, LaDarius Gunter, was released during the season. The other guy who can work in that role is Davon House, who will be a free agent. So if like me, you hate watching the Packers’ corners line up seven yards off a receiver, well, this will be interesting to watch.

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. Adam January 10, 2018

    I, for one, welcome the Al Harris and C-Woods version of bump-and-run coverage back to the secondary. It’s been gone for far too long.

    Just need the personnel to do it, lol.

  2. FTS January 10, 2018

    I believe K. King can work into it. I just have doubt Rollins or Randall can. If they can play the slot and blitz, that might work for them. Only thing is we NEED rushers. I see a lot of turnover in the defensive roster next year. Offense doesn’t look to pretty either. No TE, Aging or Inexperienced WR and the right side of the OL is trash.

    1. Adam January 10, 2018

      Yeah, I agree. Spot on with everything you said.

      King has the length to suppress routes at the line of scrimmage, but he definitely needs to bulk up a bit to be effective at it. And I absolutely do not see Randall fitting into that style at all. His play and style are no where near physical enough. As frustrating as it is to hear (again), I think the secondary will need to be addressed (again) in the draft. As well as the non-existent pass rush.

      I’m hoping Kendricks will step his game up this year. He didnt exactly inspire confidence when he was thrust into the starting role. Hopefully he can get on a better rapport with Aaron, and Philbin can start utilizing the TE threat in the offensive scheme like he did with J-Mike. Of course, that’s all predicated on the play of the O-line (as you mentioned) and whether or not we end up needing the TE to stay in and support another walking MASH unit.

      1. FTS January 10, 2018

        McCarthy has two years left on his deal and that’s a lot of hole to fill. Right now, I can see us barely making the playoffs if at all period. I wouldn’t be surprised if the new GM picks a QB high in the draft.

    2. TyKo Steamboat January 10, 2018

      Well said.

    3. TyKo Steamboat January 10, 2018

      But I still think Randall has more to prove coming into his prime. I also think Bulaga has a bit left in the tank & Jhari Evans (I know he was a 1-year deal) played well for only 3 Million.

      1. Kato January 11, 2018

        Randall could function well as a FS in this defense, and HHCD can be closer to the LOS where he belongs. Could definitely see him and Jones splitting time at that spot.

  3. Howard January 10, 2018

    This defense will fit Pipkins very well as a corner. Pipkins with an off season and with the limited experience he gained this year (should have had more) can be one of the outside corners next year. None of the corners are as good a tackler as Pipkins. Press coverage is more suited for Pipkins than off coverage. Pipkins just needs to keep improving on his awareness, and ball skills (int) when the ball is in the air. House if healthy will also be a good fit. May the best press cover corners win. It also helps to be able to tackle as a very great Packer head coach once said.

    1. Kato January 10, 2018

      I think Pipkins has the possibility of being decent in this defense as well. I hope he is given the chance to compete next year in camp

  4. PF4L January 10, 2018

    I don’t know a lot, but i know this….this hire is the best i felt about this team in a long, long time. This hire gives me some hope.

    We desperately needed someone from outside, some new blood, new passion, a track record of consistent success.
    I think there will be a new energy on this defense, and a new seriousness on the field. The days of floating by, or just hanging out on the sidelines resting for awhile may be over i think. Shits about to get real on this defense i’m hoping.

    I wanted more outside hires, i’m not talking about Philbin, that didn’t do it for me. I’m no expert, but i hope McCarthy nailed this one. Now we just have to get rid of some heavy salary’s so we can maneuver in player acquisition. .

  5. TyKo Steamboat January 10, 2018

    I’ve talked myself into this hire. I like but don’t love Pettine. This is the type of guy I want as DC. I like the fact he changes his fronts from 3-4 to 4-3 & keeps offenses off balance. I like what people say about him & I like that he has been away from coaching for 2 seasons…He’s not burnt out & he has a fresh energy.

    1. TyKo Steamboat January 10, 2018

      Also, I think it means a lot that Pettine (& Philbin) were both head coaches, albeit failures. They are experienced, bring a different perspective & have learned through failures. It is a good couple of things nobody mentions

    2. PF4L January 10, 2018

      I like the fact he’s consistent, his defense’s don’t go from 5th to 32nd in 1 year. Plus i think he works down on the field.

      1. Kato January 10, 2018

        He does

      2. Cheese January 11, 2018

        Lol, 5th to 32nd. I’m not sure if that’s funnier because it’s true, or downright sad.