Kenny Clark's first impressions of Jeff Hafley will fire up Packers fans

Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark
Green Bay Packers, Kenny Clark / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Will the Green Bay Packers' defense reach its potential after years of underachieving? That's a good question. Only time will tell. One guarantee is that the defense will look completely different under new play-caller Jeff Hafley.

Head coach Matt LaFleur made the correct decision to move on from former defensive coordinator Joe Barry. His conservative, keep-everything-in-front-of-us system wasn't working. It didn't play to the Packers' strengths, and Barry's vision of preventing big plays had the opposite effect, with teams picking up easy yards and burning them after the catch.

Hafley's system isn't guaranteed to fix anything, but the Packers are taking a different approach. Beyond the switch from 3-4 to 4-3, Hafley brings a more aggressive scheme to Green Bay focused on attacking the ball.

Under Barry, the Packers often struggled with communication. How many times were players still trying to get lined up when the ball was snapped? Hafley's scheme aims to solve that with more simplicity.

Hafley won't be all-out attack on every play, but the Packers will likely feature more press-man coverage and single-high looks than in previous years.

It should lead to a more exciting defense with the potential for big plays. Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kenny Clark is one player who is looking forward to the change.

Kenny Clark is excited to get started in new-look Packers defense

Clark is one of Green Bay's most important defensive players. He met his new defensive coordinator during the Packers Tailgate Tour, and the three-time Pro Bowler is excited about the potential of the new-look defense and what Hafley brings to Green Bay.

"Fiery, his energy … he's going to bring it," said Clark, per Mike Spofford of the team website. "He's going to challenge everybody – challenge everybody to be great. That's what you want as a coach. You want them to hold guys accountable."

Clark added that Hafley's system will "allow us to be way more disruptive" along the defensive line.

It's understandable why the players are excited. Barry's scheme was all about keeping everything in front of them, which inevitably led to easy completions with the idea of swarming to the football and limiting big gains. Under Hafley, the Packers will have a more aggressive approach, trying to disrupt the quarterback and get to the football. It increases the possibility of big plays and turnovers, even if it's a riskier system.

Clark is coming off arguably the best season of his career. Spending less time at nose tackle allowed him to make more of an impact as a pass rusher, leading to a career-best 7.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits.

While Clark is entering a contract year, leading to some uncertainty over his future, he remains one of the Packers' most important starters.

Step number one for Hafley is getting players to buy into his scheme and philosophy. So far, so good, as Clark is fully on board.

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