Now that the Green Bay Packers are two days removed from moving on from Joe Barry as defensive coordinator, the team is quickly starting its search for Barry’s replacement. Matt LaFleur has been hard at work already interviewing potential replacements, with four names already reported as of Friday afternoon.
These candidates run the gamut in terms of experience, both in quantity and in terms of the level of football they have coached. One is a recent NFL head coach, while another is just 32 years old and has been a position coach in the league for just three years.
Stay tuned here for additional updates on other confirmed interviews as we learn of them.
Most recent position: Los Angeles Chargers head coach (2021 to 2023, fired after week 15)
Staley’s tenure with the Chargers was a tumultuous one and was defined by high-powered offenses and struggling defenses, not what one would expect from a head coach that calls the defensive plays. The Chargers went .500 under his watch (24-24) and he was fired late this season.
However, Staley did coordinate the Los Angeles Rams’ #1-ranked defense in 2020, his only year as a defensive coordinator. Staley comes from the Vic Fangio tree, having served as Fangio’s outside linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears (2017-18) and Denver Broncos (2019).
Current position: Buffalo Bills linebackers coach (2022-present)
Babich is the son of Bob Babich, the former head coach at North Dakota State University and an NFL position coach and defensive coordinator from 2003 to 2021. The younger Babich actually worked with his father in Buffalo, first as assistant DB coach (2017), then as safeties coach (2018-21), and finally succeeding his dad as LBs coach.
Babich’s tenure with Buffalo coincided with Leslie Frazier’s stint as that team’s DC, which also began in 2017. Frazier was formerly the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings for three-plus seasons from 2010 to 2013. Babich has also interviewed for the New York Giants’ DC position, which Wink Martindale held prior to resigning from that post.
UPDATE: The Bills have elected to promote Babich to defensive coordinator, taking him off the market. Buffalo did not have a DC in 2023, as head coach Sean McDermott calls defensive plays and handled coordinator duties.
Current position: Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach (2021-present)
Durde, who is from Middlesex, England, played as a linebacker in NFL Europe for a few years in the mid-2000s and had brief stints with the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs. He got into coaching after several years with NFLUK as its head of football development. Durde started as a defensive QC coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, then coached the outside linebackers in 2020 before following fired head coach Dan Quinn to the Cowboys when Quinn took the job as that team’s defensive coordinator.
The current report (from Todd Archer of ESPN) states that the Packers are among three teams that have asked permission to interview Durde for their DC openings.
Current position: Denver Broncos defensive backs coach (2021-present)
Matt LaFleur should be familiar with Parker, who was a defensive QC coach for the Packers in LaFleur’s first two years in Green Bay. He left in 2021 for a move up to his current position in Denver, where he has coached All-Pros Patrick Surtain II and Justin Simmons. Parker played wide receiver for the Richmond Spiders in college and immediately got into coaching after graduating in 2012, starting at Virginia State in Division II before moving on to FCS program Norfolk State after two years.
Current position: Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach (2023-present)
Wilson, a former college DB himself who had a brief stint on an NFL practice squad, has seen his profile rise over the past several years as an excellent defensive backs coach for the past nine seasons. After spending a few years as a scout, he got his coaching career going with the Rams, first as a QC coach and then coaching the DBs from 2015-16 before making a switch to the New York Jets. Wilson spent four years with the Jets, adding defensive passing game coordinator duties to his title for his final two years there. After that, he landed with the Eagles for the 2021 season, and he again had the passing game coordinator title added to his resume for 2022.
With DC Jonathan Gannon departing Philadelphia to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, Wilson took a new job for 2023, this time as the Ravens’ DBs coach. In that role, he helped Baltimore rank first in points allowed, turnovers, and net yards per passing attempt. The Ravens’ safeties were especially impressive this season, as second-year pro Kyle Hamilton earned All-Pro honors and Geno Stone finished second in the NFL in interceptions with seven.
Current position: Baltimore Ravens inside linebackers coach (2022-present)
The youngest candidate (so far) is Orr, a former second-team All-Pro linebacker for Baltimore who retired from football early due to a medical issue with his spine. Orr, whose younger brother Chris played linebacker for the Wisconsin Badgers, immediately jumped into coaching after retirement, starting as a defensive analyst for the Ravens. He has been a position coach for just three seasons, spending one year with the Jacksonville Jaguars as outside linebackers coach before returning to Baltimore to coach the position he played.
Like Wilson, Orr helped the Ravens defense to an exceptional 2023 season, and both of his unit’s starters earned major accolades. Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith were both named to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams this year, with Smith being a first-team All-Pro and Queen ending upon the second team.