After the Packers lost the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers, it was clear that the defense was going to need some changes. Mike Pettine’s defense was embarrassing, giving up 285 rushing yards and 37 points. Many wondered if Pettine, who is a remnant of Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff, would be shown the door.
What made it all-the-more apparent that Pettine might not be retained were Matt LaFleur’s comments following the game. He said, “We knew exactly what they were gonna try to do. For them to be able to do that was extremely disappointing.” Despite the disappointments, Pettine was retained for 2020. What is to be seen, though, is if he will keep his job if the defense falters.
Despite the obvious struggles and lack of fire by the defense when Pettine has improved Green Bay’s defense dramatically since he arrived in 2018. In his first season as defensive coordinator, the Packers finished eighth in the NFL with sacks with 44. That was the highest number of sacks that Packers had recorded since 2013. In addition, he took a defense that had ranked 27th in pass defense in 2017 and helped them improve to a 12th ranked passing defense.
In 2019, the Packers ranked 14th in pass defense and 23rd in run defense. They were eighth in the league with 25 takeaways and were ninth in points allowed per game.
Mike Pettine was brought back because of the improvements that have been made during his tenure in Green Bay. However, further improvements are needed in order for him to remain with the Packers beyond 2020. This should be a make or break year for Mike Pettine in Green Bay.