The Green Bay Packers made a bold move in hiring Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator this offseason. Specifically, the now-dispatched Mike McCarthy made a bold move in doing so after firing Dom Capers.
Pettine had been largely out of football since being fired as coach of the Cleveland Browns following the 2015 season. McCarthy had never coached with Pettine before. Their only commonality is they’re both from Pennsylvania and both had early coaching stints at Pitt, although those did not overlap.
Pettine acknowledged that this week.
#Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has very kind words for ex-#Packers coach Mike McCarthy. Says he has "respect and gratitude. … "He hired me. I'd been out of the league, and he took a leap of faith on someone who he hadn't worked with before."
— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 6, 2018
The players have seemingly loved Pettine since he showed up. The Packers defense hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut this season, particularly in the turnover department, but they are playing a lot of young guys. Linebacker Clay Matthews has mentioned that the accountability is back, something that supposedly wasn’t there under Capers.
Two questions have come up in terms of Pettine.
Since he has head coaching experience, would he be considered as a McCarthy replacement? Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who is in the same boat after coaching the Dolphins, apparently will.
Team president Mark Murphy seemed fairly cold to the idea when asked. Or at least non-committal, which means he’s not high on the notion. However, it probably doesn’t matter.
Pettine has previously said he never wants to be a head coach again. He seemed to reiterate that this week.
Pettine on whether he'd be interested in being #Packers head coach said he doesn't think his feelings have changed about not wanting to be a head coach right now. But he said he has had the most fun he's had in a long time being here and hasn't made that decision.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) December 6, 2018
The next question, then, is would the Packers keep Pettine on as defensive coordinator with whoever they bring in to coach the team? That doesn’t seem to be an unquestionable idea. The Bears did it just last year when they hired Matt Nagy as coach and kept veteran DC Vic Fangio in place. That’s worked pretty well.
Still, most new coaches want to hire their own staff, so who knows?