Jeff Hafley Makes Changes To The Green Bay Packers Defensive Coaching Staff

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Surprised Many With His Choice For The Next Packers Defensive Coordinator. While Jeff Hafley Came Out Of Nowhere To Land The Position, He Is Getting The Opportunity To Shape The Staff The Way He Sees Fit. The Green Bay Packers Defensive Coaching Staff Will Look A Lot Different Than It Did Last Season.

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur surprised many with his choice for the next Packers defensive coordinator. While Jeff Hafley came out of nowhere to land the position, he is getting the opportunity to shape the staff the way he sees fit. The Green Bay Packers defensive coaching staff will look a lot different than it did last season.

It appears that LaFleur learned something from the last time he hired a new defensive coordinator. In 2019, LaFleur pegged Joe Barry to replace Mike Pettine as the defensive coordinator. But that was the only change that LaFleur made to the Packers defensive coaching staff.

Barry inherited the staff that Pettine had put together. Out of those assistants, none of them had ever worked with Barry previously. By no means are we making excuses for Barry, but it could have played a part in the results of Barry’s early tenure in Green Bay.

As stated earlier, it appears LaFleur learned from his mistake. LaFleuer and Hafley made some pretty big changes to the Packers defensive coaching staff. Hafley is bringing in three new faces, hoping the new voices can help bring success to the Packers defense in 2024 and beyond. Here are the new coaches and the two coaches that have been retained from Joe Barry’s staff.

While it isn’t official, it has been reported that Vince Oghobaase will be the Packers new assistant defensive line coach. Oghobaase comes from Boston College, where he worked under Hafley as his defensive line coach from 2020-2023. He does have some NFL coaching experience, serving as the San Francisco 49ers assistant defensive line coach from 2016-2017.

It has been speculated that Oghobaase will be responsible for the interior of the defensive line. He will have the luxury of working with veteran defensive lineman Kenny Clark. Oghobaase will also be working with young players such as TJ Slaton, Colby Wooden, and Devonte Wyatt. His work with Wyatt will be crucial. Wyatt had a solid season in 2023 and the Packers will need to get even more out of him in 2024.

Oghobaase will replace former defensive line coach/run game coordinator Jerry Montgomery. The time had long passed for Montgomery, who was hired by the New England Patriots this off-season, to move on. The run defense under Montgomery was vastly underwhelming during his tenure.

If you are a fan of high school football like pep talks and over-the-top machismo, then you will love the hire of Anthony Campanile. He’s the type of coach who will draw comparisons to the coaches in the movie Dazed and Confused.

But if you can get over him throwing up his four fingers at the start of the fourth quarter and the rest of his theatrics, the Packers have a solid coach in Campanile. He served as the Miami Dolphins linebackers coach from 2020-2023. He interviewed twice to be the Dolphins defensive coordinator during that span and was passed over both times. Reports had him in high demand this off-season, because of his success coaching linebackers.

Campanile takes over for Kirk Olivadotti, who coached inside linebackers from 2019-2023. There wasn’t a more underwhelming, besides Joe Barry, coach who served on the Packers defensive coaching staff than Olivadotti. Comparing his personality to Campanile is like comparing day to night. It should be pointed out that Campanile isn’t the “inside linebackers” coach, but just the linebackers coach. This gives a hint that the Packers will be running a 4-3 defensive alignment under Jeff Hafley.

Derrick Ansley will be replacing Greg Williams as the Packers pass game coordinator. Williams lasted just one season and really, it was a pretty underwhelming one at that.

Similar to Hafley, Ansley brings with him a defensive back experience. He was a successful defensive backs coach at the college level at Alabama and Tennessee. In the NFL,  he was the defensive backs coach for the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers. While he did hold the title of defensive coordinator for the Chargers, it was then head coach Brandon Staley who oversaw that dumpster fire.

The Packers defensive backs, especially the safeties, struggled in 2023. Ansley was no doubt brought in to help with that area.

Hafley and LaFleur decided to bring back just two assistants from the previous Packers defensive coaching staff. Jason Rebrovich, who served as the Packers pass rush specialist coach in 2023, will return as the Packers defensive line coach. With the Oghobaase expected to oversee the interior of the Packers defensive line, Rebrovich will oversee the defensive ends.

Rebrovich was hired in 2022 as the Packers outside linebacker coach. He was unemployed in 2021, but previous to that, he was the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach in 2020. He has done an excellent job since joining the Packers defensive coaching staff. Bringing him back appears to be the right decision.

While bringing Rebrovich back seems like the right call, we can’t say the same for defensive backs coach Ryan Downard. He has been a part of the Packers defensive coaching staff since 2018. He has worked his way up from defensive quality control coach to assistant defensive backs coach, to safeties coach, and finally to defensive backs coach. None of the positions he has coached have thrived under him, which is why we wouldn’t have brought him back.

Hopefully the additions of Jeff Hafley and Derrick Ansley, both having defensive backs coaching experience, will help overcome the issues the defensive backs have had under Downard’s tutelage.

Gideon Canice

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