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Thursday Cheese Curds: Mike Pettine returns, but he’s on notice

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After flirting with firing his defensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur opted to give Pettine a shot at redemption in 2020

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In a move that would have seemed obvious in September but not so much as the season went on, the Green Bay Packers have decided to retain Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator.

Head coach Matt LaFleur chose continuity over a third defensive coordinator in four years for the team. The move wasn’t a total surprise but given how pointed LaFleur’s comments were about the team and particularly the defense in his season-ending press conference, the possibility of Pettine getting fired seemed very real until the afternoon when ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported Pettine was staying put.

That being said, that uncertainty combined with LaFleur’s sharp criticism indicates Pettine is on notice and can be officially declared on the hot seat for 2020. LaFleur should know not to repeat his predecessor’s mistake of keeping a defensive coordinator around too long despite some obvious failings but the Packers defense did have its moments in 2019 which perhaps earned Pettine a stay of execution.

With Pettine back in the fold, attention now turns to fixing what happened in the NFC Championship and ensuring it never happens again. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan caught Pettine with his pants down and hopefully the defensive coordinator knows what went wrong because it’s very possible Green Bay will have to go through San Francisco again next year if they want to reach Super Bowl LV.

Now for today’s cheese curds.

Packers retaining defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for 2020 season—PackersNews.com

LaFleur’s comments put fans on high alert but it didn’t take long to decide to keep Pettine around for 2020. Again, given how non-committal he was in his press conference, it wouldn’t be surprising to see LaFleur have Pettine squarely on the hot seat next year.

Pros and cons of Packers retaining defensive coordinator Mike Pettine—Packers Wire

Keeping Pettine has both benefits and drawbacks. Continuity is of course a good thing but Green Bay likely had a very strong shot at bringing in Wade Phillips to replace Pettine. I don’t think anyone would argue that would have been an instant upgrade.

Matt LaFleur preparing for ‘new set of challenges’ to come—Packers.com

The only thing harder than getting close to the top is getting back to that same point again the following year. The Packers won’t sneak up on anyone next year and LaFleur knows they have to get better in every facet to not only defend their NFC North crown but also to take that next step and win the NFC.

Daniel Jeremiah’s Top 50: 2020 NFL Draft prospect rankings 1.0–NFL.com

Nine wide receivers are on this list. Everything is coming up Gutekunst!

North Carolina Animal Shelter Seeks Forever Home For ‘World’s Worst Cat’—Huffington Post

This cat makes Grumpy Cat look polite by comparison.