clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cheese Curds, 2/1: What will Jeff Hafley bring to the Packers’ defense?

The Packers’ new DC isn’t a household name, but he should at least bring some changes in scheme and attitude to the defense.

NFL: San Franciso 49ers-OTA Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Since news broke that the Green Bay Packers have hired Jeff Hafley to be the team’s new defensive coordinator, the bulk of the analysis about him has consisted of figuring out just who he is and what his approach to defense will be.

Hafley was not even reported as a candidate before news of his hire broke on Wednesday evening, as the former Boston College head coach and Ohio State co-defensive coordinator was way off the radar. Still, there are reasons to be optimistic about what he can bring to the table, in part due to his success coordinating that Buckeyes defense to a #1 ranking in 2019.

A veteran of 4-3 schemes, the biggest difference that Hafley will probably provide schematically from what Joe Barry ran is a heavier reliance on single-high safety alignments. With nickel personnel being the base defense in the NFL these days, the differences between a 4-2-5 or a 2-4-5 nickel aren’t as substantial as how a team deploys its coverage shells in the secondary, and that’s where Hafley will probably bring some changes this season.

Here’s a look at Hafley’s approach to football in his own words, clipped from a recent hour-long interview on Next Up with Adam Brenaman:

Let’s dig a bit deeper into Hafley and the surprising hire.

What to know about Boston College's Jeff Hafley, Packers' new DC |
Here are the absolute basics on who Hafley is - age, family, etc.

5 things to know about new Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley |
Not surprisingly, Hafley does have ties to Matt LaFleur, via Kyle Shanahan from both Cleveland and San Francisco. Hafley also coached current Packers linebacker Isaiah McDuffie at Boston College.

Who is new Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley? | Packers Wire
Scroll down here for a great discussion on Hafley's approach to teaching tackling, which seems like it will be a point of emphasis for him in Green Bay. There may be some schematic changes coming for the defense as well, with more single-high safety looks.

Packers hire Boston College's Jeff Hafley as defensive coordinator - ESPN
Reportedly, Hafley thought the time was right to get back into the NFL in part because of all the challenges of running a college program in the current environment.

Packers Select Boston College’s Jeff Hafley as Defensive Coordinator - Sports Illustrated
Scouts are split on the Hafley hire, with one saying he's a great defensive mind, another saying it was a poor choice, and a third confirming that he should bring a different, aggressive mentality.

Titans expected to hire Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson as defensive coordinator |
Wilson reportedly interviewed with the Packers, but he gets the job in Tennessee instead.

Colorado woman on Minnesota primary ballot, to her surprise |
A Google alert brought the news to the woman's attention, and she said she never agreed to be the candidate for the "Legal Marijuana Now" party.