On Wednesday morning, Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur gave indications that he may have been considering making a change at defensive coordinator. Comments like “we’re evaluating everything” hardly suggest confidence when that is the response to a direct question about a subordinate’s job status.
However, LaFleur evidently has decided that Mike Pettine will remain on board for the 2020 campaign. The news comes from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, whose sources say that Pettine will return for next season after he and LaFleur conducted their season-ending interview on Wednesday.
Mike McCarthy hired Pettine prior to the 2018 season, and his units largely improved from his first year to his second. The team finished 18th in yards allowed both seasons, but improved their points allowed rank from 22nd to 9th and their turnover ranking from 29th to 7th. They also improved in their DVOA rankings, particularly against the pass. The Packers ranked 29th overall, 28th against the pass, and 23rd against the run in 2018, but improved to 15th, 10th, and 23rd respectively this past season.
Questions swirled about Pettine in recent days, however, in large part due to the team’s dismal defensive performances against the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers allowed 37 points in each of two games against the Kyle Shanahan-coached team, as Shanahan — who once worked for Pettine as offensive coordinator when Pettine was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns — ran circles around the Packers.
For now, however, the biggest potential question mark on the coaching staff is answered.