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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Mike Pettine

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Mike Pettine

On Monday the Redskins announced that they had interviewed former Browns head coach Mike Pettine for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Why would they be interested in bringing in Pettine? Let’s take a look at his coaching resume.

Before becoming a coordinator: Pettine traveled an unusual path to the NFL. After playing at Virginia, he was a high school assistant coach and head coach for 12 seasons with two years as a graduate assistant at Pitt sandwiched in there. In 2002 Pettine made the jump to the NFL, joining the Ravens and serving in a variety of roles before becoming the outside linebackers coach in 2005. When Rex Ryan was hired as the Jets head coach in 2009, he took Pettine with him as his defensive coordinator.

Note: If you want more complete stats on Pettine’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2009 Jets (9-7)

Rankings: Yards 4,037 (1st), points 236 (1st), takeaways 31 (8th), 3rd down conversion 31.5% (1st), DVOA -25.5% (1st)
Notable players: CB Darrelle Revis*+, DE Shaun Ellis*, LB Calvin Pace, LB Bart Scott

The Jets had a middle of the pack defense in 2008 and they became a dominant unit. Revis went from being a good player to a great one as the Jets defense carried the team to the AFC championship game.

2010 Jets (11-5)

Rankings: Yards 4,664 (3rd), points 304 (6th), takeaways 30 (8th), 3rd down conversion 37.0% (10th), DVOA -10.9 (5th)
Notable players: CB Revis*+, CB Antonio Cromartie, LB Bart Scott, LB David Harris

The defense took a step back from its dominant 2009 form but it was still a solid top-five unit as the Jets again made the AFC title game, winning in New England along the way.

2011 Jets (8-8)

Rankings: Yards 4,993 (5th), points 363 (20th), takeaways 31 (5th), 3rd down conversions 32.7% (4th), DVOA -16.1% (2nd)
Notable players: CB Revis*+, LB Harris, LB Pace

The team’s record took another step back but the defense remained strong.

2012 Jets (6-10)

Rankings: Yards 5,174 (8th), points 375 (20th), takeaways 23 (18th), 3rd down conversions 37.2% (12th), DVOA -16.1% (2nd)
Notable players: CB Cromartie*, S LaRon Landry*, DE Muhammad Wilkerson

Revis went out with a torn ACL in the second game of the season but the defense held things together reasonably well. After the season Ryan survived but Pettine, whose contract had expired, was not retained.

2013 Bills (6-10)

Rankings: Yards 5,334 (10th), points 388 (20th), takeaways 30 (6th), 3rd down conversions 37.1% (14th), DVOA -13.8% (4th)
Notable players: MLB Kiko Alonso, DT Marcel Dareus*, DT Kyle Williams*, FS Jairus Byrd*, OLB Mario Williams*

The Bills were second in the league with 57 sacks and three members of their front seven were rewarded with trips to the Pro Bowl. Their DVOA improved from 27th in the league in 2012 to 4th. After the season the Browns hired Pettine as their head coach.

2014 Browns (7-9)

Rankings: Yards 5,857 (23rd), points 337 (9th), takeaways 29 (4th), 3rd down conversion 37.7% (11th), DVOA -3.0% (11th)
Notable players: SS Donte Whitner*, FS Tashaun Gipson*, LBC Joe Haden*, MLB Karlos Dansby

This wasn’t exactly a shutdown defense but it was an improvement over the 2013 edition of the Cleveland D. They gave up a lot of yards but they were solid in takeaways, good on third down, and very good in the red zone (5th in NFL). And, as the head coach, Pettine led the Browns to their best record since 2007.

2015 Browns (3-13)

Rankings: Yards 6,067 (27th), points 432 (29th), takeaways 21 (22nd), 3rd down conversions 39.9% (20th), DVOA 10.5% (29th)
Notable players: MLB Dansby, SS Whitner

This is Cleveland, after all, and the success of the previous season melted away. After a second season as head coach, the perpetually impatient Browns organization let him go.

RELATED: Defensive coordinator resume: Gus Bradley

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The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

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AP

The 2005 draft link that bonds the Redskins and Packers ahead of Week 3

Looking back at NFL Drafts can be a frustrating task for Redskins fans. Missed opportunities and botched picks litter the record books, though the organization has made plenty of good picks, too. 

This weekend marks an interesting intersection of past drafts and current reality when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers come to visit the Redskins and Alex Smith.

Way back, in the 2005 NFL Draft, the 49ers selected Smith with the No. 1 overall pick. He was a major prospect and the consensus top pick in the draft coming out of an outrageous year playing under Urban Meyer at the University of Utah. 

Later that same draft, all the way down to the 24th pick, Green Bay took Aaron Rodgers out of the University of California Berkeley. At the time, the selection turned heads, as the Packers had future Hall of Famer Brett Favre at QB. 

The Rodgers pick turned out to be pretty smart, to say the least. Smith’s tenure in San Francisco had high points, but nothing that lived up to his lofty draft position. 

Rodgers and Smith have talked about being from the same draft class, and the two have developed a friendship off the field. 

“You know, he's a decent player,” Smith joked about Rodgers on Wednesday. 

“He and I [have] been around each other a lot of time now, always linked, pretty good buddies. Certainly, kind of I think follow each other's career from afar.”

Fair or not, Smith and Rodgers have been linked ever since that 2005 draft. Those weren’t the only two QBs taken that year though. 

The Redskins selected Jason Campbell out of Auburn with the 25th pick. If Rodgers had slipped just one more spot, maybe the Redskins take Rodgers instead.

Just to make one more connection, albeit an odd one, but Rodgers wasn’t even the only guy with that last name taken in 2005.

The Redskins selected cornerback Carlos Rogers with the ninth overall pick. Imagine if they took the QB with the slightly different last name. 

 

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Washington Redskins, Alex Smith work to balance patience and aggression in pass game

Washington Redskins, Alex Smith work to balance patience and aggression in pass game

Alex Smith finished the Week 2 loss to the Indianapolis Colts by averaging 6.3 yards-per-pass attempt on 33 completions. Those numbers aren't particularly good, and while they're not bad either, it clearly did not produce enough opportunities for points in the home opener. 

The Colts defense had a lot to do with that too. Indianapolis deployed a soft zone coverage system, forcing the Washington Redskins to look underneath for short gains and eschewing many chances at deep shots down the field. 

That's fine when the team is able to run the ball well, like the dominant Week 1 win in Arizona. But when Washington can't run the ball, like the embarassing Week 2, the short passing game looks too conservative. 

"I mean I think every guy on the team, certainly every guy on offense went through the game and what plays could I have done differently to help us," Smith said Wedneday. "Could I have taken a shot here? You know, all week we talked about being patient. The way they play defense, be patient. Let the shots present themselves."

The shots rarely presented themselves. 

Smith did put two passes in positions for chunk gains, but Josh Doctson was unable to bring in a deep ball on the sideline, and later in the game, Paul Richardson could not corral a big gain over the middle. Neither drop was devestating, but a catch in either situation could have turned momentum in the game. 

Prior to 2017, Smith had a reputation as a quarterback that rarely went down the field. Last season, he disproved that with his best ever statistical campaign and a number of highlight reel plays down the field in the Kansas City offense. 

Redskins fans are starting to wonder if they got the 2017 version of Smith, or the earlier version. 

Truth is the sample size is much too small to determine that answer. In Week 1, Smith didn't need to air the ball out. In fact, he still tried, barely missing a deep completion to Richardson on a play flagged because the receiver was held. 

There are other factors too. The offensive line had a poor performance in Week 2, and Richardson played the game dealing with a shoulder injury. 

Still, there were times it seemed Smith had chances down the field he didn't take, instead opting for the safer check-down pass.

Running back Chris Thompson finished the game with 13 catches but for just 92 yards. Much of that production came late in the second half when the Colts had taken a substantial lead.

"In the second half, very apparent, I mean they were not going to let anything get over their head or get behind them. It was so soft. Hence, a lot of the underneath stuff was open," Smith said.

What version of Smith will show up Sunday against Green Bay?

Much of that will have to do with the offensive line and Jay Gruden's game plan. But plenty will be determined by Smith too. 

The veteran QB does not turn the ball over, which is a big bonus. The Redskins need points though if they're going to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. 

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