The Green Bay Packers made the decision late last week to not renew the contract of defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
The move to let Pettine go after a season where Green Bay’s defense finished ranked ninth in the NFL and helped the Packers advance to the NFC Championship Game caused some minor interest in Cleveland, given that Pettine had served as head coach of the Browns from 2014 through 2015.
The vacancy may have a bigger impact on the Browns, however, as defensive line coach Chris Kiffin will reportedly be interviewing with the Packers for the vacant defensive coordinator position, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
Big couple days of interviews set in the Packers’ search for a new defensive coordinator: https://t.co/KgV645RcaG pic.twitter.com/yD6uY43Fi2— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) February 2, 2021
An interview does not mean that Kiffin is out the door, of course, but the interest in Green Bay shows that the success the Browns had in 2020 has caught the eye of the rest of the league’s teams.
This past season was Kiffin’s fourth as an NFL coach and first with the Browns. He followed defensive coordinator Joe Woods to town after the two worked together for two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Cleveland’s defensive line was one of the few bright spots for the defense this season despite dealing with injuries and COVID-19.
Defensive end Myles Garrett earned All-Pro honors after leading the team with 12 sacks, defensive end Olivier Vernon regained his mojo with nine sacks, and Sheldon Richardson added six sacks while being the line’s best defender against the run.
Overall, the Browns finished the year with 38 sacks, down from the 2019 season, but improved against the run by allowing 4.3 yards per rush after allowing five yards per carry the previous season.