GREEN BAY, Wis. — Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, one of the few assistant coaches Matt LaFleur has left from the former Green Bay Packers coaching staff, is leaving the team after three years of service and two years under LaFleur, the team announced Friday.
And that’s despite the fact that Pettine brought the Packers back into the top 10 defensively; they finished ninth for the 2020 season.
Pettine, 54, never signed the contract extension offered to him after last season, which means he’s in the final year of his contract, a source told ESPN earlier this week, allowing him to separate cleanly. Most coordinators and post coaches still have a two-year contract with the Packers, but Pettine decided to enter the final year of his contract and see how it goes.
We want to thank Mike for his dedication to the Packers over the past three seasons. He played a key role in our success, LaFleur said in a statement. As our first head coach, he was also an invaluable resource to us during our time together.
That means the Packers will have two new coordinators next season. Earlier this week they fired special teams coordinator, Sean Mennenga, and assistant Maurice Drayton will replace him.
After LaFleur publicly announced the defense’s loss on the 24th. January against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who scored on a 39-yard run one second late in the first half of the NFC championship game, the move seemed inevitable.
LaFleur never explicitly said whether Pettine – who calls defensive plays – called them himself or in coordination with LaFleur.
It was a man-to-man coverage – it’s certainly not the right decision for the situation, and you can’t do something like that against a good football team and expect to win, LaFleur said after the game, saying it was one of many plays that made the difference in the game.
You just can’t do that. I blame us, as coaches, for putting our guys in this situation. This is inexcusable. This shouldn’t have happened. So we have to deal with it, look inward and try to figure out how to avoid it.
Pettine, who was hired by former coach Mike McCarthy in 2018, is the third consecutive defensive coordinator to be fired or dismissed by the Packers without a change of head coach. Among them were McCarthy’s first two defensive coordinators, Bob Sanders and Dom Capers.
Before being hired by McCarthy, Pettine was no longer a coach after two years as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2014-15.
His status was briefly questioned after the 2019 season, when the Packers’ defense allowed 285 yards in the lost NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, but LaFleur ultimately decided to retain him for next season.
The Packers have at least one possible in-house replacement: defensive coach Jerry Gray. The longtime assistant coach joined the Packers last season and has been a defensive coordinator twice – with the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and the Tennessee Titans (2011-13). It was his 24th season as an NFL assistant coach after a player career that included four Pro Bowls.
The Packers also officially announced Mennenga’s resignation Friday, after two seasons.
frequently asked questions
Who will be the next defensive coordinator for the Packers?
Mike Pettine’s defense was good enough to keep the Packers playing in the NFC championship game the past two seasons. He won’t get another chance. GREEN BAY, Wis. – When Matt LaFleur was named coach of the Green Bay Packers in January 2019, he chose Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator.
Why did the Packers break up with Mike Daniels?
On the eve of the start of training camp, the Green Bay Packers announced the surprising release of veteran quarterback Mike Daniels. Daniels had to interrupt his 2018 season with a foot injury that caused him to miss the last six games.
How much does the head coach of the Green Bay Packers earn?
NFL Head Coach Salary – How much do these guys make per year?
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