By Nick Shook
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The sweeping changes are almost complete in Green Bay.
Green Bay hired Joe Philbin as offensive coordinator and Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday.
Philbin returns to Green Bay after spending 10 seasons with the Packers in a variety of assistant roles from 2002-2011. He served as offensive coordinator from 2007-2011 before accepting a head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins in 2012. Philbin went 24-28 with the Dolphins before he was fired after a 1-3 start to the 2015 season.
Philbin’s hiring in Miami came at a time when he was one of the hottest play-calling candidates in the game, and although things didn’t work out in South Florida, he remains a valued offensive mind. The coach spent the last two seasons in Indianapolis, serving as assistant head coach and offensive line coach under Chuck Pagano. He’s reunited with Packers coach Mike McCarthy, under whom Philbin called plays for a team that brought home a Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLV.
For Pettine, it’s his first coaching job since he was fired by the Cleveland Browns after the conclusion of the 2015 season and a 10-22 mark in two years. During his time away, Pettine removed himself from the game, instead building a house on the 300-acre Johnson’s Island, which our own Marc Sessler chronicled in his piece examining how fired coaches occupy their newfound free time. Pettine previously served under Rex Ryan as defensive coordinator of an excellent New York Jets defense from 2009-2012 before moving to Buffalo to coach under Doug Marrone in 2013.
Pettine was also notable for being the head coach of the Browns during the drama-filled Johnny Manziel years, which included in-house strife between he and general manager Ray Farmer and more headaches than a coach should ever have to endure.
He joins a much more stable franchise in Green Bay, which is seeing its most personnel changes in quite some time in both the front office and on the coaching staff. Change is relative, as major change in Green Bay includes keeping the same head coach. Pettine will lead a young defense that could welcome some needed veteran leadership via free agency, if new GM Brian Gutekunst is more aggressive in that department than his predecessor.