On Friday afternoon, new Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur spoke to the media for the first time since his introductory press conference on Wednesday. LaFleur made an appearance with Adam Schein of CBS Sports, and he provided Packers fans with a few notable bits of news.
Most significant is LaFleur’s confirmation that Mike Pettine will indeed return to the Packers as defensive coordinator in 2019. Pettine assumed that position in early 2018, following the firing of Dom Capers. In his first season as DC, Pettine’s unit struggled to finish 22nd in points allowed and 18th in yards allowed while ranking an abysmal 29th in DVOA and turnovers. However, the Packers did finish 8th in the NFL in sacks, led by Kyler Fackrell (10.5) and Kenny Clark (6.0), and they ranked 13th in opponents’ third-down conversion rate at 37.3%.
Of course, the Packers dealt with a massive quantity of injuries to defensive starters in 2018, plus consistent personnel changes throughout the year. The team entered week 17 with just three of its pre-training camp starters still on the 53-man roster. Still, Green Bay will need to see improvement from its defense in Pettine’s second year on the job if he is to get an opportunity to coach for a third season.
In addition to confirming Pettine’s return, LaFleur also noted that Nathaniel Hackett is “on the radar” as an offensive coordinator candidate. Earlier on Friday, a report indicated that Hackett is interviewing in Green Bay, likely for that position.
In addition, Alex Marvez of FOX Sports had reported that the Packers were set to hire Brayden Coombs as the team’s new special teams coordinator. However, that report was premature, and Coombs, who was with the Cincinnati Bengals, is no longer expected to come to Green Bay.
Stay tuned for more news on the assembly of LaFleur’s assistant coaching staff in the coming hours and days.