Mike McCarthy: Barkeep, could you top off the Lineys please? I’m glad you like the relaxed atmosphere, Mike, it’s one reason I like to do interviews at the 1919 Kitchen and Tap, right here at Lambeau. And thanks for sharing with me all your favorite eating places in NFL cities.
Mike Pettine: No problem, sir – it was two hours well spent.
McCarthy: Before we leave, I wanted you to know the Packers have an opening for defensive coordinator.
Pettine: That’s what I heard – in fact that’s why I’m here in Green Bay.
McCarthy: So, I was just wondering if you have any ideas for improving our defense. And what did you think of the elk stroganoff?
Pettine: How did you know elk meat is my favorite? Yes, I have some ideas. In fact here’s a memo of 75 ways, to start with, that I think I can make the Packers’ defense better.
McCarthy: That’s great, but it’s not necessary. How about just telling me, in 30 seconds or less, something you’d change in our defense.
Pettine: O-O-Okay, like the pre-snap, for instance.
McCarthy: Pre-snap? You mean the warm feeling you get when you’re about to bite into a slab of peanut brittle?
Pettine: Hey, I love the brittle too, but I was thinking of the term as it applies to football.
McCarthy: Ohhh… I’m all ears.
Pettine: When an offense lines up and the quarterback is about to take the snap from center, you don’t want your defense telegraphing what their formation is, whether they are going to drop players back into pass coverage, who might be coming on a blitz, that sort of thing.
McCarthy: What a concept! Thank god we haven’t been tipping off our opponents (Pettine grimaces)… have we?
Pettine: Maybe a little bit, coach. I watched the Lions game, and the Packers failed to disguise the defensive plan 90 percent of the time.
McCarthy: The hell you say. I wonder what’s taking so long on those beer cheese macs?
Pettine: Macaroni is my favorite snack too! If I may be frank sir, it’s a wonder to me that Stafford didn’t put 50 points on the board in that Lions game. I don’t want to say anything bad about Capers, but…
McCarthy: You better not – I love Capers, especially on my grilled salmon. I call them my little flavor friends.
Pettine: You’re absolutely right, there’s nothing like the way capers enhance seafood, but I was referring to Dom Capers.
McCarthy: Oh, that Capers. Hey, what I care about is the offense – you can run the defense however you want, just like Dom. Hey waitress, could you check on our re-order of breaded cheese curds? Tell you what, how would you like to be the Packers defensive coordinator?
Pettine: Only if you think I’d be a good fit, coach. And the curds – you just don’t get curds this good in Cleveland.
McCarthy: Well, we seem to think alike on all the important stuff. Welcome aboard.
Pettine: Works for me, coach. Now about my salary…
McCarthy: No problem there. See Rusty Ball over there chomping on a knockwurst? Go tell him you’ve been hired and how much money you’d like.
Pettine: Just like that? Aren’t you worried about paying your coaches too much?
McCarthy: Hell no, there’s no salary cap on the coaching staff. Murph tells me we’re rolling in dough. He says that snow slide is gonna be a real cash cow. Hey miss, can I get a half-dozen more walleye sandwiches to go?
Pettine: I’ve got to be perfectly honest, coach: those were the best walleye sandwiches I’ve had in months.
McCarthy: Glad you liked ‘em. One word of warning though: if your defense stinks for five or six years in a row, I might start losing faith in you.
Pettine: Sir, I’m willing to take that chance.
McCarthy: I’m so glad you’re joining the Packers, Mike. I’m sure we’re going to have a lot of successful meals – and games – down the road.