Packers: Jerry Gray will play important role in development of secondary

The Green Bay Packers have a talented young secondary, and new coach Jerry Gray will play an important role in the development of the young defensive backs.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Matt LaFleur has hired Jerry Gray to be the new secondary coach. He replaces Jason Simmons, who left this month to join the Carolina Panthers’ coaching staff.

Silverstein had also reported the Packers were looking for a coach with experience in the NFL. Gray will bring plenty of experience to this role having coached in the NFL for over 20 years. He also played cornerback in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl four times with the Los Angeles Rams.

Most recently, Gray worked under Mike Zimmer as the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive backs coach. He’ll now take on an important role helping the development of the Packers’ young secondary.

Green Bay’s defensive backfield features a lot of young talent and high draft picks.

Jaire Alexander (23 years old) was a first-round pick. Kevin King (24) was a second-rounder. Darnell Savage (22) was a first-rounder.

Tramon Williams (36) and Ibraheim Campbell (27) are the only players in the secondary above 26 years old. They are both set to hit free agency this offseason.

The Packers have invested a lot of resources into the secondary in recent years and it’s paid off. There were significant improvements in the pass defense in 2019, and a big part of that was due to the secondary.

Green Bay’s defense was inconsistent and struggled against the run, but it was much better against the pass, ranking 14th in the NFL.

Alexander improved in his second season. King stayed healthy, playing in 15 games. The two combined for 32 pass defenses, seven interceptions and two forced fumbles. Williams contributed with eight passes defended and two picks.

The new safety tandem of Savage and free-agent signing Adrian Amos also made a big difference in the secondary. The two combined for 13 pass defenses and four interceptions.

The Packers also got contributions from Ibraheim Campbell when he returned from injury, while second-year Chandon Sullivan was one of the biggest surprises of the season.

Interestingly, as Silverstein noted, Gray hasn’t worked with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in the past.

Gray has been part of some highly successful defenses in recent years in Minnesota. He’ll be hoping to help the Packers find similar success in the secondary.

They certainly have the young talent to do so.

Alexander continues to improve and will be entering his third season. King his fourth season. Josh Jackson played well down the stretch. Will he see an increased role in his third season?

It’ll also be interesting to see whether the Packers bring Williams back. If not, will they add more young talent to the secondary this offseason?

Green Bay has a lot of young talent at cornerback and safety. Gray will now play an important role in helping the secondary reach the next level.

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