New Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has already had his presence felt at Packers training camp.
Mike Pettine had practically won over the Green Bay Packers fan base before he was even introduced. With Dom Capers finally out of the picture, everyone was going to welcome in the next defensive coordinator with open arms.
Not to take anything away from Pettine’s expertise, but the Packers defense is a large part of why this team only has one Super Bowl with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After ranking toward the bottom of the league last season in opponent passer rating, passing defense and points allowed, it was clear change was inevitable. Only a few days into training camp it feels like they made the right choice.
As a former head coach, Pettine has been quick to breathe life into the defense bringing both energy and attitude into the locker room. Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews noticed a new sense of urgency during offseason workouts that has since carried over into training camp.
During the first official practice, Pettine began doing things no one saw from Capers including having his defense react to pre-snap adjustments from the offense without running a play. His approach is fresh but it’s still taking some getting used to by the players. Players are aware of how much scheme matters, but his emphasis on winning individual battles holds just as much weight.
“What he’s saying is, no matter what he calls, the mindset is to beat the other guy, regardless,” said veteran cornerback Tramon Williams following Friday’s practice. “Now when you throw scheme in, it adds a bonus. But it’s more, no matter what we call, our mindset is to beat the guy ahead of us, no matter what.”
Away from the media, Pettine went on to address the entire team after Thursday’s practice. Not easily won over, Rodgers was impressed by the speech declaring it one of the best he’s heard in 14 years in Green Bay.
“I don’t want to beef it up too much, but it was a near all-timer,” Rodgers said with a grin.
The veteran quarterback has been around a lot of coaches over the years but hasn’t spoken so highly of one in a such a short amount of time. It goes without saying that Pettine has the innate ability to command a room.
“I’ve been around here for 14 years, and that was a really, really good talk to the team. As an offensive player, to hear the defensive coordinator get up there and talk about defense the way he did and goals and mindset, that was pretty impressive. And that gives you a lot of hope.”
The Packers still have a lot to work on before the defense will be ready to help this team win a championship. That said, the coordinator has already done an excellent job getting his players to buy into the system.