Packers staff changes not met with universal approval and more intel from Super Bowl week
Fans rejoiced at the news the Green Bay Packers planned to move on from Joe Barry as defensive coordinator. They met the announcement of Jeff Hafley as Barry’s replacement with a much more quizzical tone, but the narrative came around eventually. But how do the players feel about it? After talking to people in and around the NFL during Super Bowl week as well as working our sources, here’s the latest on that and a lot more in our notebook dump from Las Vegas.
Coaching changes not a panacea for culture
Multiple sources tell The Leap that some of the position-coach changes were not met with glee from all the key stakeholders on defense. It wasn’t just who left either. In at least one case, the retained coach in question played a major role in a perceived lack of in-game adjustments and situational coaching. He was seen more as a motivator than a technical guru which raises the question of who will handle those nuances on the new staff.
The initial response on Twitter from Packers fans to our report over player discontent was essentially “good, whatever was happening wasn’t working.” Clearly, Green Bay agrees. Surely, they knew assistant coaches like Jerry Montgomery and Kirk Olivadotti were well-liked in their respective rooms. There’s a reason each quickly found new employment. But they were also the last vestiges of a pre-Barry regime. Remember, Barry inherited Pettine’s staff with very few initial changes. Green Bay took a more butcher-like approach to this regime change, cleaving off large chunks.
Previous clashes with Barry may have played a role as well. Defensive-backs coach Jerry Gray’s exit from Green Bay appeared, even at the time, to be a direct response to Barry’s coaching. In at least one game, one of the outgoing coaches vehemently disagreed with a specific way Barry wanted the front to handle the run game, according to a source with knowledge of the game planning.
It ended up being a game in which the run defense got gashed … one of the many. But being right clearly wasn’t enough. The Packers wanted to go younger with Anthony Campanile as the linebackers coach and the promotion of Jason Rebrovich (first reported by The Leap), an approach that worked wonders with the players last season.