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Cheese Curds, 2/5: How should the Packers reshape the secondary for Jeff Hafley?

Hafley brings a more aggressive approach to pass coverage, so the personnel department may need to make some adjustments.

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Perhaps this change of defensive scheme is just what the doctor ordered for Jaire Alexander.

The Green Bay Packers’ star cornerback went through a tumultuous 2023 season, dealing with multiple injuries and playing in just seven regular season games. He also earned a one-game suspension for his antics in Carolina, when he named himself a game captain and called the coin toss, nearly costing the Packers a possession of the football.

But Alexander appears to be in a much better place with the Packers after working through that suspension, as he fought through his injuries to play in both playoff games — and largely play well, for that matter. But in 2024, he may have a better chance to prove that he’s a true shutdown cornerback, with new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley calling the shots.

Hafley’s press-man and single-high safety approach will likely put Alexander out on an island more often, and there may also be opportunities for him to shadow the opponents’ best receiver. That’s something that Alexander, a two-time Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro, would surely love. And he’s not the only one — other members of the cornerback group have the approach and skill set to thrive in that scheme.

But the team will need to find a true post safety sometime this offseason for this approach to work. With just Anthony Johnson, Jr. set to return from that group in 2024, the team needs bodies — and talented ones — in the middle of the secondary for the unit to succeed.

Let’s take a look at the secondary and how it may shape up for Hafley, as well as another set of decisions in the NFL’s coaching carousel.

‘Solid’ draft and free agency classes give Packers opportunity to add to safety | Packers Wire
With only one notable safety under contract for 2024, Gutekunst knows that his safety room will need to add both quality and quantity, and he seems to think this is a good year to do so.

Three Packers Who Will Benefit From Hiring of Jeff Hafley - Sports Illustrated
While Gutekunst needs to get Jeff Hafley some more safeties, there are a couple of cornerbacks already on the roster who would appear eager and capable of transitioning easily to a more aggressive, press-man heavy scheme.

Sean Mannion added to coaching staff but Tom Clements returns for ‘24 | ($)
The addition of Mannion, a 9-year NFL veteran, is fine. But the big news here is Clements’ return, which should give Jordan Love some great stability going into his second year as a starter.

Raiders expected to hire former Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to be their next OC |
The Packers' QB coach prior to Clements is on the move after two years in Chicago, heading out to call plays in Vegas and reuniting with Davante Adams.

Missing monkey trapped by yorkshire pudding in Scotland | The Guardian
Note: the macaque, who escaped from a local zoo, was lured by a yorkshire pudding, not trapped inside one himself.