Green Bay Packers Suprise Fans With Hiring Of Jeff Hafley

Former Boston College Head Coach Jeff Hafley Will Replace Joe Barry As Defensive Coordinator. Today, We Will Break Down What It Means.

If you bet on Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley being the Green Bay Packers next defensive coordinator, you probably won big. Last week, head coach Matt LaFleur shocked many by tabbing the now-former Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley to replace Joe Barry. Today, we will break down what the Packers have in Jeff Hafley.

From all reports, it looks like Matt LaFleur did his due diligence when finding a new defensive coordinator. At least five, not including Jeff Hafley, candidates reportedly interviewed for the opening. Those candidates are Brandon Staley, Bobby Babich, Christian Parker, Zach Orr, and Dennard Wilson.


At no point was it reported that Hafely even interviewed for the job. In fact, there was no indication that Hafley was even interested in leaving Boston College for the Packers. That is why when news leaked that Hafley would be the next defensive coordinator, it surprised many.


So, what to expect from Hafley? Until the Green Bay Packers defense takes the field next fall, nobody knows. But what we can do is break down the positives and the negatives that Hafley brings to the position.

While it wasn’t at the NFL level, Hafley brings with him four years of head coaching experience. Having another person on his staff with head coaching experience will only benefit LaFleur. It’s something that LaFleur hasn’t had since Mike Pettine was his defensive coordinator.

College football has changed, and in our opinion, not for the good. NIL is now the driving factor when it comes to recruiting. Because of that, it changes the responsibilities of the head coach. It isn’t about coaching anymore, it’s about fundraising and what a college can pay a player.


It is why, as reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Hafley left Boston College. He wanted to get back to coaching, something that college head coaches don’t have the opportunity to do any longer. Hafley will have the chance to do just that with the Green Bay Packers defense.


This isn’t Hafley’s first time in the NFL. Before his time at Boston College, Hafley served as either an assistant defensive backs coach or head defensive backs coach with three different NFL teams. Those teams are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers.


During his time as an NFL assistant, he worked with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, with the Browns and the 49ers. That connection most likely played a part in him being hired by LaFleur. Hafley also worked under New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh when Saleh was the 49ers defensive coordinator.


His experience in Cleveland, working with former Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and in San Francisco under Saleh, gives Hafley experience in two styles of defenses. Pettine ran a 3-4, while Saleh ran a 4-3 in San Francisco and still runs with the Jets. While it isn’t known which style Hafley will run with the Packers, expect a blend of both. That should mean a lot of press coverage, something Packers fans have been wanting for a long time.


While LaFleur should be happy to have an assistant with head coaching experience on his staff, it isn’t like Hafley was overly successful. Hafley spent four seasons at Boston College, putting together a 22-26 record. His best season came this prior season when Boston College went 7-6.  The unimpressive 22-26 record looks even less impressive when you figure that they play in the weak ACC conference.


Before this past season, Hafley was consistently on lists that named coaches on the hot seat. If Boston College had struggled again in 2023, there is a good chance that he would have been out of a job.


It’s a major plus that Hafley has experience in the NFL. The fact that he brings with him a background in coaching defensive backs is also a big plus for the Green Bay Packers defense. Barry, and previous to him, Pettine both were linebackers coaches. So, Hafley should bring something different to the table than the previous Packers defensive coordinators.


Unfortunately, he has never been an NFL defensive coordinator. He has only been a defensive coordinator at any level just once. That was in 2019 with Ohio State, and he was a co-defensive coordinator. For a team like the Packers that is expecting a lot from their defense in 2024, that is taking a big chance on an inexperienced defensive coordinator.


As we previously wrote, Matt LaFleur has a lot riding on this hire. While he did interview some quality candidates, as well as some not-so-quality (looking at you Brandon Staley), he hired what looks like a boom or bust candidate.


LaFleur has Jordan Love and the rest of the Green Bay Packers offense on the verge of big things. All he needs is for his defense to play solid, not even spectacular, defense. LaFleur is betting that Jeff Hafley is the man to do just this.

Hafley inherits a defense littered with former first-round draft choices. Players like Rashan Gary, Kenny Clark, Quay Walker, and Jaire Alexander. His job will be the same that Pettine and Barry couldn’t get done. That being get those players to reach their potential.


Anthony Richardson’s rookie year was cut short due to injury. However, the Colts quarterback could receive Pro Bowl honors next season.





Gideon Canice

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