When Matt LaFleur met with reporters Wednesday morning he would not commit to keeping defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on for the 2020 season.
“We’re still working through everything right now, just trying to evaluate everything,” LaFleur said when asked about Pettine. “I think our defense did a lot of great things (this season). Obviously, the last game was really disappointing in terms of our performance. It just wasn’t good enough, especially when you get to a championship game and know what’s at stake.”
Three hours later, though, a report from ESPN said Pettine is expected back.
Mike Pettine will return as Packers defensive coordinator, sources told https://t.co/LfG3qW2TGU. He met with coach Matt LaFleur after LaFleur’s season wrap-up press conference on Wednesday and they’re moving forward together for Year 2. https://t.co/ZDa7zhLSqG
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) January 22, 2020
Pettine was one of several defensive assistants that LaFleur kept around from former coach Mike McCarthy’s staff. Players appeared more comfortable in the second year of his scheme and made strides statistically, including going from 25.0 points allowed per game (22nd in NFL) to 19.6 (9th).
But the unit looked lost against San Francisco in the NFC title game, allowing 285 yards rushing and 37 points. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and his staff seemed to know exactly what was coming on nearly every play and were a step ahead of the Packers at every turn.
After the game, several players were asked what went wrong, especially against the run. At least one, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, took issue with a lack of adjustments to what the 49ers were doing.
“Perimeter plays, man. That’s something we couldn’t stop,” Smith said. “We should have fixed that on the sideline but we didn’t.”
He was asked a follow up question about whether the inability to stop the run impacted their chances to get after the quarterback.
“No, I’m not going to say that,” Smith said. “We just need to make adjustments. That was probably something we didn’t do but now we know. As we go on to next year, we’ll be able to fix these situations when we’re in them.”
LaFleur said he and President/CEO Mark Murphy will have a conversation soon and then they’ll start making decisions.