The Green Bay Packers will not renew defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s contract, the team announced Friday. The news comes less than a week after Green Bay’s 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. The loss marked the Packers’ second consecutive NFC title game loss.
Pettine, 54, had served as the Packers’ defensive coordinator since the 2018 season. Over that span, the Packers finished 22nd, ninth, and 13th in the NFL in scoring defense, respectively. In 2020, Green Bay’s defense finished seventh in the NFL in passing, 13th in rushing, tied for eighth in sacks, tied for 26th in turnovers forced, 10th in third down efficiency and eighth in red zone efficiency. Pro Bowl linebacker Za’Darius Smith had 7.5 more sacks than the next closest Packer, Rashan Gary. The Packers’ other Pro Bowler on the defensive side was cornerback Jaire Alexander, who broke up a team-high 13 passes.
Green Bay’s defense had its struggles against the Buccaneers. While they held Tampa Bay to 19 first downs and 2-of-8 on third down, the Packers could not over Tom Brady’s three touchdown passes in the game’s first 31 minutes. Green Bay’s defense also allowed a 20-yard touchdown run by Leonard Fournette, as the Buccaneers stormed out to a 28-10 lead.
With their deficit cut to five points, the Packers’ defensed needed to get a stop with 2:05 remaining. But two costly penalties enabled the Buccaneers to keep the ball for the remainder of the game.
A 19-year coaching veteran at the NFL level, Pettine served as the Jets‘ defensive coordinator when New York made consecutive AFC title game appearances in 2009-10. He spent one year as the Bills‘ defensive coordinator before going 10-22 as the Browns‘ head coach from 2014-15.