Green Bay Packers Will Have “Fast” Defense

Jeff Hafley, Green Bay Packers

A big focus for the Green Bay Packers this offseason has been the defensive side of the ball. The team underwent a massive change before player personnel moves got underway, firing Joe Barry and hiring Jeff Hafley to take over as defensive coordinator.

Barry used a 3-4 base defense and Hafley will be deploying a 4-3 defense. That is a huge change, and the moves Brian Gutekunst and the front office have made this offseason have reflected that.

The players who were outside linebackers last season, such as Rashan Gary, Lukas Van Ness and Preston Smith, the team’s edge rushers, are now defensive ends. It means a change in the kind of player the team needs at the second level of their defense.

With De’Vondre Campbell being released this offseason, linebacker was a focus in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Packers have Quay Walker as a locked-in starter, with Isaiah McDuffie possibly having one spot in the base defense. They will be joined by second-round pick Edgerrin Cooper and third-round pick Ty’Ron Hooper will push for playing time on early downs.

The combination of Walker and Cooper is one that the Packers are very excited about, and believe the two will mesh very well. There is one overarching theme for the defense in 2024, which was pointed out by the Green Bay Packers vice president of player personnel, Jon-Eric Sullivan; speed.

“I think our defense will be fast,” said Sullivan. “Quay can run. Cooper, that’s one of the main things that attracted us to him is his speed is different. When he hits the gas and he’s running things down, there’s a ‘whoa’ factor to that.”

Given the direction the NFL is heading offensively, with so many teams playing spread-out offenses leaning toward passing the ball, you need players on the field who can play sideline-to-sideline. Guys who can cover ground in the blink of an eye, are capable of playing run defense while dropping into coverage.

The Green Bay Packers look to have those kinds of players at linebacker now with Cooper and Hooper joining Walker and McDuffie atop the depth chart. This will be an interesting positional group to watch during the offseason not only to see how the depth chart shakes out but see how the holdovers from last season adjust to the new scheme.

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