Bears News: Former Packers DC Mike Pettine Hired as Senior Defensive Assistant

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2021

FILE - This Oct. 20, 2019 file photo shows Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Green Bay, Wis. Pettine believes his team’s run defense is much better than the way it played in its most recent game.  “When things are right, when things are clicking for us and guys have a good understanding of what they’re doing, we can stop the run as well as anybody else,” Pettine said Friday, May 22, 2020 during a Zoom session with reporters.(AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

Former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is changing sides in the NFC North's oldest rivalry.

The Chicago Bears announced they hired Pettine as a senior defensive assistant. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network first reported the news and suggested the move was done with the hope he will "serve as a veteran sounding board for new DC Sean Desai."

Pettine was the Packers defensive coordinator the last three seasons and led a unit that finished ninth overall in yards allowed during the 2020 campaign. Green Bay reached the NFC Championship Game but ultimately fell short against the eventual champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite a solid showing from the Packers defense, the team did not renew his contract following a meeting with head coach Matt LaFleur.

Moving to the Bears gives him a chance to work with a number of talented defensive playmakers, including Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith. Defense has not been the biggest issue of late for Chicago, which finished 8-8 during the 2020 campaign but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the New Orleans Saints.

Rather, the offense has failed to meet expectations with Mitchell Trubisky under center, putting much of the onus on the defense to keep the team competitive.

Maintaining a strong defense in 2021 will be critical if the Bears plan on challenging the Packers in the NFC North, and Pettine brings plenty of experience. He was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills as well prior to becoming the head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2014 and 2015.

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Cleveland went just 10-22 in those two seasons.