Back in 2009, the Green Bay Packers made a change at defensive coordinator and brought in one of the better minds in the game. Dom Capers had not only made the rounds when it came to his craft, but also had NFL head coaching experience. During his first season with the organization, the club finished second in the league in total defense, first in the NFL against the run, and fifth vs. the pass. The Pack gave up the fifth-fewest yards in 2010, and, thanks to some opportunistic moments in the postseason, the team went on to win Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And then it all came apart on this side of the ball. In 2011, Green Bay defenders allowed the most passing yards in a season in NFL history. A year later, the team’s play against the run failed them in the postseason – most notably against the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick. There was that 16-point lead that was blown in the 2014 NFC title game at Seattle, to name a few. So, after nine seasons on the job, Capers was given the pink slip, and now, head coach Mike McCarthy and company will turn to newly-hired Mike Pettine.

What went wrong as of late?

The 2017 season proved to be the final straw when it came to Capers. The Green Bay Packers finished 22nd in the league in total yards allowed per game – surrendering 348.9 yards per contest.

The team allowed 40 offensive touchdowns, including 30 through the air for a total of 384 points. A season ago, McCarthy’s club allowed 44 offensive TDs – 12 rushing and 32 passing, and Green Bay gave up a disappointing 388 points. All told, little progress has been made under Capers, hence, the decision to bring in Pettine.

What to expect

For those just focusing on Pettine’s days as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, think again. That’s a different situation entirely. You may recall that he worked for Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, serving as the club’s defensive coordinator for four seasons from 2009-12. Those first two seasons saw the Green and White reach the AFC Championship Game only to fall short of the Super Bowl each time.

The Jets were ranked first and third in the NFL in total defense over those two seasons. The next two years saw the club give up the fifth-fewest yards in the league, followed by finishing eighth in the NFL in that same category. One year in Buffalo (2013) saw the Bills finish 10th in fewest yards allowed per contest under his guidance.

All told, it’s safe to say that the Green Bay Packers have seemingly made a solid investment in Pettine, but, will it pay off down the road?