Three coordinators in three years is not an ideal outlook for the Green Bay Packers defense. Though Matt LaFleur revealed during his introductory press conference he hadn’t met with Mike Pettine directly, he is expected to remain on as the Packers defensive coordinator in 2019. As we learn more, it is becoming clear that one of the main reasons Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst were drawn to LaFleur was his willingness to retain Pettine and some of his staff.
Per Rob Demovsky of ESPN, Pettine has agreed to remain in Green Bay after originally being hired by former head coach Mike McCarthy last January. This should come as a sigh of relief for fans and players who saw a lot of progress from the Packers defense in 2018.
While they didn’t stand out in the rankings, finishing 18th in total yards and 22nd in points allowed, a defense that mostly consists of young developing players will benefit from not having to learn a new scheme this offseason. These numbers don’t tell the whole story, though, as there were a number of injuries to key players including linebacker Jake Ryan, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, and cornerback Kevin King. And to Pettine’s credit, Green Bay finished eighth in sacks without a Pro-Bowl edge rusher.
It sounds like Pettine won’t be the only member of the defensive coaching staff sticking around for at least another year either.
Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery is among those expected to remain under Pettine as a result of the success his group had this past season. The productivity from Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, and even undrafted free agent Tyler Lancaster was a good endorsement for Montgomery’s coaching ability.
More than likely, Pettine will consider vouching for defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr who has been with the organization since 2008 and has become a locker room favorite.
And while Pettine is tasked with building a stronger defense, LaFleur will take hold of an offense that is expected to take on an entirely new persona next season. Pettine’s previous head coaching experience should allow LaFleur to take a hands-off approach on that side of the ball while he develops a scheme that maximizes the potential of his playmakers within the offense.
LaFleur will also be busy building a relationship and getting on the same page as 14-year veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers who has only been a part of one offensive system (McCarthy’s) outside of his rookie season under Mike Sherman.
Not many candidates could have competed with Pettine’s credentials so it’s probably the right call he stays put.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.