In Mike Pettine’s first year as the Packers’ defensive coordinator, the unit improved significantly. He believes that same thing will happen in year two.
“Take a big jump,” Pettine recently said regarding his plans for the coming season, via Ryan Wood of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“We spent a lot of time last year with having to shuffle in a lot of different players,” Pettine added. “In year one of a system, it’s really hard to get into the graduate-level details of the job. So kind of going through the end-of-year cutups, and you come to the realization we spent so much more time last year on coaching players on what to do and not enough time on how to do it, and that’s usually typical of a year one. . . . We’re looking forward to having guys that are experienced in the system. We have a much better sense of who we are and what our skill set is, what we want to get done. . . .
“The nice thing is you don’t reset it back to year one. You have a little bit of momentum, and you’ve built a pretty solid foundation with the guys you’re going to have back.”
New outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, who replaces Winston Moss, believes in what Pettine can do.
“Mike is one of the smartest guys I’ve ever been around,” Smith said. “Mike can break down an offense, and he’s going to put guys in position to be successful. He’s going to give you different looks, different simulators, all kinds of coverages. It might sound like a lot, but it’s simple to learn. That’s why I’ve been very fortunate to be with him from the beginning. . . . Mike, his look at things is pretty freaky, the things that he can come up with and break down an offense.”
With so much focus on improving the offense in Green Bay, the prospect of the defense improving from its 2018 ranking of No. 12 (the unit finished 23rd in 2017) bodes well for a team that could quickly get back in the mix for a playoff berth in 2019.