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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

New Packers DC Jeff Hafley ‘brings out the perfect of us,’ challenges HC Matt LaFleur, says Inexperienced Bay defender

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Observe for the Inexperienced Bay Packers protection has taken on a considerably completely different tone beneath new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. 

Former Inexperienced Bay DC Joe Barry, who had labored with Packers head coach Matt LaFleur on Sean McVay’s Los Angeles teaching workers in 2017, did not problem LaFleur, who’s the staff’s offensive play caller in almost the identical manner Hafley does now for the protection. In keeping with Inexperienced Bay cornerback and All-Professional returner Keisean Nixon, Hafley’s depth is elevating the Packers’ defensive stage to new heights by doing so. 

“I like Haf. Man, Haf is a cool dude,” Nixon stated smiling on “Up & Adams” with Kay Adams on Monday. “Quick man, so he form of acquired little man syndrome I feel. He’s aggressive as hell. He goes at [head coach] Matt LaFleur, which is one thing new for me. He brings the perfect out of us, and we like taking part in for him. This protection is able to go for certain.”

Hafley spent 4 seasons as Boston School’s head coach (2020-2023) previous to taking the Packers defensive coordinator job, however he returns to the NFL seven seasons of teaching expertise within the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (secondary/safeties coach from 2012-2013), Cleveland Browns (defensive backs coach from 2014-2015) and San Francisco 49ers (defensive backs coach from 2016-2018). Hafley promised to play a extra aggressive, press man protection type of protection in his introductory press convention, a stark distinction to Barry’s zone-based scheme, and thus far he’s making good on that promise in organized staff actions and minicamp. Difficult LaFleur and his offensive scheme is seemingly one thing Barry did not do throughout his three seasons working Inexperienced Bay’s protection from 2021-23. 

“He isn’t fearful of a head coach being an offensive man,” Nixon stated. “Some coaches praise offensive coaches in apply and stuff like that, however Haf got here in instantly blitzing on third down, stuff like that. He was able to go. Jeff is a aggressive man. He’s a defensive again coach additionally, so he brings that. I’ve by no means had that within the league. I’ve by no means had my DC be the DB man too, so it is form of working via the again finish. I feel it is an excellent thought. I feel it is an excellent match for me. I feel it is an excellent resolution.

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“[Hafley] goes at him [LaFleur]. It do not matter what Matt says, we’ll compete for certain,” Nixon continued. “I feel some coaches praise offensive coaches in the event that they’re the pinnacle coach, and I feel Haf got here in not likely caring about that. He cares about, ‘How can I get my guys on protection to play as the perfect protection within the league.’ That is actually what [Hafley] was on.”

Provided that Hafley’s scheme will seemingly put a variety of duty on the Packers’ secondary, it is of the upmost significance that high-priced free agent security Xavier McKinney, who signed a four-year $67 million after 4 seasons with the New York Giants, lives as much as his contract. Professional Soccer Focus graded him because the NFL’s prime cowl security in 2023 (91.2 protection grade) after he snagged three interceptions whereas not surrendering a single passing landing final season. McKinney’s 41.4 passer score as the first defender in protection ranked because the seventh finest in all the NFL among the many 146 gamers with at the very least 50 passes thrown their manner final season. Thus far, McKinney, who turns 26 years previous on Aug. 8, seems very able to sustaining that stage in Inexperienced Bay. 

“I feel X can slot in any protection truthfully,” Nixon stated of the McKinney signing. “He brings vary within the again finish, and he is actually good and communicates. He’s additionally a superb character man. When he got here round, it was straightforward [for him] to gel with me and (cornerback) Jaire (Alexander). He’ll be good. I feel he’s actually going to assist us quite a bit.”

If the additions of Hafley and McKinney could make as large of a distinction as Nixon is observing in June, then the NFL’s youngest staff could also be nearer than many assume to bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy again dwelling to Titletown. 

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