GREEN BAY – The first official move Matt LaFleur made as the Packers’ new head coach was keeping Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator.
LaFleur also retained several of Pettine’s assistants – defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, defensive backs coach Jason Simmons and assistant defensive backs coach Ryan Downard – before hiring a new special teams coordinator in Shawn Mennenga.
Here’s a closer look at the new additions on the Packers’ defensive and special teams coaching staffs:
1. Pettine and Mike Smith go way back
Smith, the new outside linebackers coach, cut his teeth in the NFL as both a player and a coach under Pettine.
The two were introduced back in 2005 when Pettine was Smith’s outside linebackers coach with the Baltimore Ravens. After Smith’s retirement in 2008 due to injuries, Rex Ryan and Pettine brought Smith to the New York Jets as a coaching intern in 2010.
A year later, Smith was promoted to the Jets’ outside linebackers coach. He held that position for two seasons before returning to his hometown of Lubbock, Texas, to serve as the co-defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Texas Tech, for three seasons.
Coaching Kansas City’s outside linebackers in 2018, Smith oversaw the development of Dee Ford, who had a career-high 13 sacks and tied for the most forced fumbles (seven) in the NFL.
2. LaFleur met Kirk Olivadotti in Washington
New inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti coached for 16 seasons over two stints in Washington (2000-10, 14-18), with a three-year stretch at the University of Georgia in between.
Prior to leaving to coach the Bulldogs’ linebackers in 2010, Olivadotti worked with LaFleur for one season on Mike Shanahan’s coaching staff in Washington, with Olivadotti serving as a defensive assistant and LaFleur coaching quarterbacks.
Olivadotti, 45, coached eight top 10 defenses during his first 11 seasons in Washington. His father, Tom, was the defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins from 1987-95 and also coached in Cleveland, Minnesota, Houston and New York (Giants).
3. The Packers have two new defensive quality control coaches
New defensive quality control coaches Wendel Davis and Christian Parker have experience working with some of the college football’s top programs.
Davis was a two-year starter at linebacker at the University of Arkansas from 2006-09, recording 164 career tackles in 47 games and serving as team captain as a senior. Prior to briefly serving as a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Incarnate Word, Davis was a graduate assistant at Georgia and a defensive football analyst at the University of Texas.
Parker, a former receiver and cornerback at Richmond, was most recently a defensive analyst at Texas A&M.
4. Green Bay has added a third special teams coach
After retaining Maurice Drayton as assistant defensive backs coach, LaFleur and Mennenga decided to also add a special teams quality control coach, Rayna Stewart.
Stewart, a former fifth-round pick of the Houston Oilers in 1996, most recently worked with Mennenga as a special teams quality control coach at Vanderbilt.
The former safety played in 71 games over five NFL seasons before coaching stints with the Tennessee Titans (2009-11) and Northwestern University (2007-08). Stewart also worked as an athletic director, coach and teacher at high schools in Tennessee and Illinois.