Have the Green Bay Packers finally found the right defensive coordinator?

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley speaks during a press conference Thursday,
Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley speaks during a press conference Thursday, / Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin /

Four seasons as the head coach of the Boston College Eagles netted a combined 22-26 record. Now Jeff Hafley returns to the National Football League for the first time since 2018, his final year as a defensive backs coach in a three-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers.

A year later, he joined Ohio State University, where he was the Buckeyes’ secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator. Five seasons removed from professional football, why the return to the NFL?

“It’s the Green Bay Packers” said Hafley earlier this week at his introductory press conference. “This is like the mecca of the football world to me and probably to most people who grew up loving football. Just being here and driving into Lambeau every day, it still feels surreal.

“The community, maybe the best fans in all of the world, as well, that made a really, really hard decision – leaving Boston College, players that I loved, staff that I loved, the leadership at the school – it made a really hard decision a lot easier and ultimately that’s why I decided to come.”

There’s plenty of work ahead for Hafley, who takes over for Joe Barry and will implement the 4-3. That’s something LaFleur is very much on board with. “I wanted to get who I thought was the best for u, Every situation’s a little bit different. I equate putting a coaching staff together to, it’s like putting a puzzle together. And how does each piece fit? And that’s an important part of it, the fit, and he just happens to run more of a 4-3 and that’s…but I felt comfortable with what we had.”

The Packers have plenty of talent on the front seven, led by Kenny Clark, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary and De’Vondre Campbell and youngsters such as 2022 first-round picks Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. Hence why it’s been somewhat inexplicable that the team continues to have its issues against the run. Green Bay allowed 128.3 yards per game rushing, the fifth-worst mark in the league. The Pack finished with a mediocre 18 takeaways in 17 regular-season games.

Things are heading in the right direction when it comes to Jordan Love and the Packers’ offense. If the team can reverse its fortunes on the other side of the ball with Hafley and the switch to the 4-3, big things could be ahead for this franchise once again.