The wait is over. Matt LaFleur has chosen the Green Bay Packers' next defensive coordinator.
ESPN's Pete Thamel reported the Packers are expected to hire Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley to become their new defensive coordinator. He replaces Joe Barry.
It's a hire nobody saw coming, and many Packers fans are likely puzzled by the move. But that doesn't mean it's a bad decision—far from it. It shows LaFleur got his guy. He knew the type of coach he wanted to take the Packers' defense to the next level.
We could see a change in philosophy. LaFleur hired Barry to run a Vic Fangio-style scheme, but Hafley will bring different ideas to Green Bay. He is a more aggressive coach, which likely means more press-man, blitzes, and far less soft zone coverage.
Hafley has worked with LaFleur's brother Mike in the NFL, as well as Kyle Shanahan, Mike Pettine, and Robert Salah, all of whom are close connections to LaFleur.
Matt LaFleur comments on what Jeff Hafley brings to Packers defense
LaFleur provided some insight into his decision to hire Hafley as Green Bay's new defensive coordinator. Cheesehead TV's Aaron Nagler revealed a text he received from LaFleur shortly after the news broke.
"Super smart guy the guys will love," LaFleur said.
The Packers have officially announced the hiring, with LaFleur welcoming him to Green Bay.
"Jeff has had success at every stop of his coaching career with an impressive track record of developing players at every level. We look forward to him leading our defense," said LaFleur, according to Packers.com.
And that's exactly what the Packers need: a smart coach who can adapt his defense to LaFleur's vision and lead the defense. He needs the players to buy into his ideas.
It sounds like LaFleur is investing in Hafley for his qualities as a coach. He didn't make a hire based solely on scheme. Hafley's head coach experience will help him lead the defense. Hopefully, that will take pressure off LaFleur and allow him to put energy into working alongside Jordan Love and the offense.
LaFleur has his defensive coordinator. Hopefully, the two will form an excellent partnership and help this defense reach its potential.