Redskins: 30 candidates who could potentially replace Jay Gruden as head coach
Matt LaFleur is going to get a lot of the credit for the Packers’ turnaround in 2019. And deservedly so. Coming into the season, the Packers had the upside of a potential No. 1 seed in the NFC, but they hadn’t played well in the previous two seasons under Mike McCarthy.
That said, the defense deserves some credit for keeping the team afloat during a slow start for the offense. And that credit goes to Mike Pettine.
In his second year as the defensive coordinator for the Packers, Pettine has been able to transform the team’s defense. They have been a top-11 scoring defense and they have been able to generate a ton of pressure with their free-agent acquisitions, including former Redskins edge rusher Preston Smith.
Pettine definitely received some help from the reinforcements the team added in the draft and free agency, but his ability to integrate these pieces and tailor his scheme to them has been a massive asset. That will get him attention on the head coaching market, especially given his success as a defensive coordinator in the earlier part of the decade for the Jets and Bills.
Pettine also does have head coaching experience, so that could make him an intriguing target. He led the Browns to a 7-9 record in 2014, and that was a massive achievement at the time. If he had better quarterbacks than Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel, he may have been able to lead them to a winning record. Ultimately, he didn’t last in Cleveland amid the dysfunction, but he definitely learned at least something about how to run a team during that time.
There are candidates who are better than Pettine, but his experience and defensive prowess could be enough for Washington to consider him. But after he dealt with a dysfunctional Browns franchise, it’s also fair to wonder whether or not he’d be willing to join a Redskins team that is dealing with similar issues from the top down.
Additionally, Pettine’s candidacy has lost a bit of its luster, as the team’s defense has cooled down after a hot start and is mostly employing a bend-but-don’t-break strategy on that side of the ball. If they were a bit stronger at forcing three-and-outs, he could move up, but it’s looking like he’s in the proper role as a coordinator.