New defensive coordinator? Packers head coach Matt LaFleur will get his guy

When the Green Bay Packers announced last week that the organization would not be renewing defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s contract, fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Whether the man deserved so much hate from some angry fans is not my place to say. To me, it seemed the Packers had an average defense, with above-average talent. The job as a coordinator is to maximize your talent and get the most out of them. Too many times, it seemed, Pettine just wasn’t doing that.

Whether it was playing soft coverage on fourth-and-short, an incapability of stopping the run for the better part of a year-and-a-half or putting players in poor positions to make the play – Pettine didn’t have the greatest track record.

Although I never had it out for the guy, many fans did. Apparently head coach Matt LaFleur and the organization thought it was time for a change.

“I think there’s a lot of areas that we want to improve on,” LaFleur said in his end of the season presser. “Just be more consistent.”

When LaFleur was hired in 2019, Pettine wasn’t necessarily his choice. If you can remember the dark seasons, Mike Pettine was brought in by Mike McCarthy in 2018 – replacing Dom Capers as the defensive coordinator.

LaFleur decided to keep Pettine for the next two seasons. After a second-straight NFC Championship exit, the soon-to-be third-year head coach needed to switch things up. Not only Pettine, but special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga was let go.

With two open coordinator spots, LaFleur will be busy for the next few weeks. Most importantly, he gets to choose his defensive coordinator – something he didn’t do when he first got the job.

There’s a long list of potential candidates that are in the process of being interviewed. Only one internal candidate is being interviewed – defensive backs coach Jerry Gray.

Here’s the list:

To say I know all these names and know their track records would be a lie. However, I think Green Bay fans should be excited that the organization is acknowledging the fact that something needed to change if the Packers are to get over the hump and get back to the Super Bowl.

We don’t know if a new defensive coordinator will work out positively or negatively yet. We really don’t.

All I know is Matt LaFleur will have a chance to get his guy. And, so far, his track record is solid.

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Gunnar Davis is a lifelong Packers fan and a recent graduate of Simpson College, where he was a 3-year letterwinner on the offensive line and graduated with a degree in multimedia communications. You can follow him on Twitter at @Gunnar57Davis.

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