Packers to name former Browns coach Mike Pettine new defensive coordinator


Aaron Nagler took Packers fans’ questions in a Facebook Live chat Tuesday afternoon.
Aaron Nagler/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy’s search to fill his vacant defensive coordinator’s job ended suddenly after nine days when the Green Bay Packers coach chose former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine to succeed Dom Capers.

McCarthy chose Pettine over in-house candidates Darren Perry, Joe Whitt Jr., and Winston Moss.

 McCarthy had interest in Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but it appears Fangio is going to stick with the Bears. He also asked for permission to speak with Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but never got to interview him.

Pettine comes from the Rex Ryan coaching tree, having served with the Baltimore Ravens as a coaching assistant (2002-‘03), assistant defensive line coach (2004), outside linebackers coach (2005-’08) and then defensive coordinator of the New York Jets (2009-12) and Buffalo Bills (2013).

Ryan was on the Ravens staff from 1999-08, including as defensive coordinator his last five seasons. He brought Pettine with him when he became the New York Jets coach (2009-14) and then brought him with him again when he became the Buffalo Bills coach (2015-16).

Pettine accepted the Browns coaching job in 2014 and compiled a 10-22 record before being fired.

The Bears put on a full-court press to bring Fangio back after hiring Kansas City offensive coordinator Matt Nagy instead of Fangio as its head coach. Sources have said Fangio expected to talk with the Packers this week, but that won’t happen.

Fangio, like Bradley, became a free agent at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, according to NFL rules, because he does not have a contract for next season. Besides Green Bay and Chicago, there is a known defensive coordinator position open in Detroit and possible openings in Arizona, Indianapolis and New York (Giants).

 The Baltimore Ravens replaced retiring coordinator Dean Pees with in-house candidate Don Martindale and Oakland officially hired former Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther Tuesday. Also, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin replace Guenther in Cincinnati this week.

In addition to hiring a defensive coordinator, McCarthy has to fill position jobs at defensive line and inside linebacker.

McCarthy may have to replace Perry, Whitt or Moss after rejecting all three as his coordinator. All three have had inquiries from other teams in the past and might take this opportunity to move on.

Perry and Whitt have been denied interview requests several times during their tenures in Green Bay and so they’re likely to have interest around the NFL..       

NOTES: In addition to Eliot Wolf, Russ Ball and Brian Gutekunst, who eventually won Packers’ general manager job, team president and CEO Mark Murphy met with former Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley for the fourth and final interview of a selection process that lasted less than a week.

Whaley, 45, served as general manager of the Bills from May 2013 through the 2017 NFL draft, after which he was relieved of his duties. He first joined the organization in 2010 as an assistant GM/director of pro personnel after 11 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His primary role in Pittsburgh was coordinator of pro scouting.

By interviewing Whaley, an African-American, the Packers complied with the Rooney Rule. 

“Doug Whaley really did a job with the interview,” Murphy said. “I think it was not confirmed, but he was the fourth interview. I knew him a little bit, so I enjoyed having a chance to spend some time with him.”

» Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews last week underwent knee surgery that was described as “a cleanup,” according to an ESPN report.

» Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels has been named to play in the Pro Bowl in place of Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams, who can’t participate due to an injury, the team said. This will be Daniels’ first Pro Bowl trip after being named an alternate in each of the last three seasons. No other Packers have been chosen for the game, set for Jan. 28 in Orlando, Fla.

Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel contributed.


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