Once again, the Green Bay Packers defense failed them. This time, it proved costly for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Pettine won’t be returning to the team in 2021 and that comes on the heels of an embarrassing effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020 NFC title game. With Pettine out, speculation has grown among Packers fans, who received a message from Wade Phillips, one of the candidates being talked about as a potential replacement.
The Packers defense was costly in the NFC title game
The Green Bay Packers defense has been awful in the games that have counted the most. In their last three NFC title games, the Packers have given up 31, 37, and 44 points. In Green Bay’s 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, it was much more than just the 31 points surrendered that proved costly.
The Packers gave up an inexcusable touchdown right before halftime that turned a 14-10 deficit into an 11-point hole. With eight seconds left in the half, Kevin King was beaten by Scotty Miller, who somehow was allowed to get behind King, to put the Buccaneers in front 21-10 at the break.
“It was man coverage, definitely not the right call for the situation,” LaFleur said after the game, according to The Associated Press. “You can’t do stuff like that against a good football team and expect to win.” That play may have decided the fate of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine won’t be returning
A year ago, the Green Bay Packers gave up 285 rushing yards to the San Francisco 49ers in the conference championship. The Packers lost 37-20. Despite the poor defensive effort, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur decided to bring defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back for 2020.
After another dismal defensive performance in this year’s conference title game, Pettine is out. Technically, he wasn’t fired as his contract ended after the season. LaFleur announced the team won’t be bringing him back. The Packers did intercept Tom Brady three times, but they put the Packers in a 28-10 hole with the killer being the Bucs’ touchdown right before the half.
“We want to thank Mike for his commitment to the Packers for the last three seasons,” LaFleur said in a statement. “He was an important part of our success. As a first-time head coach, he was also an invaluable resource for us during our time together. We wish Mike, Megan, and the rest of their family the best moving forward.”
Wade Phillips has a message for Packers fans
Now that the Green Bay Packers are officially looking for a defensive coordinator, there seems to be a clear-cut favorite – at least among Packers fans. There’s been a push on social media to hire Wade Phillips, who’s had a very successful career as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. Phillips is 73 but has said he would love another shot at coaching in the league.
Phillips has been very successful in his 40 years in the NFL. His last stint came as defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-19 and he guided them to a Super Bowl berth. In 2015 and 2016, he was with the Denver Broncos and his defenses were fourth in points allowed in both seasons, according to Sports Illustrated. He’s gotten a big push from Packers fans, so much that he responded to them on Twitter.
“To all the Packers fans on Twitter,” Phillips wrote. “Thank you for overwhelming support from the team owners! But I know Matt and he is an outstanding coach and will make the best decision for your team! Period.” Phillips may not necessarily be the favorite to land the job, but he appears to be No. 1 among the cheeseheads.