The Green Bay Packers enter the 2024 season with a new defensive coordinator in Jeff Hafley and a new philosophy. That means changes are coming to the Green Bay defense. Here is a look at five things that will be different about the Packers defense in 2024:

Five Things That Will Be Different About the Packers Defense in 2024, Number Five: The Defense Will be Younger

The makeup of the defense will be younger this season than it was a year ago. The team featured only one rookie starter last season and that was cornerback Carrington Valentine. He only became a starter as a result of injuries to Eric Stokes and Jaire Alexander. The Packers were so happy with his play they later traded away Rasul Douglas.

This season, the team will likely have a rookie starter at safety in second-round pick Javon Bullard. They will also add a rookie linebacker in Edgerrin Cooper.

The team also added four other rookies on defense in the draft. They are likely to play some role on the team even if they don’t earn starting jobs right away.

Number Four: The Packers Will Have Interchangeable Safeties

One thing Hafley spoke about was wanting safeties that could both play in the box and drop back deep into coverage. This is designed to give the offense a moment of indecision when trying to determine where each player will line up and what they will do on any given play.

With Bullard and Xavier McKinney entering camp as the potential starters, Hafley now has a duo that can accomplish this. Bullard may also be able to line up in the slot on some plays again to possibly cause some indecision on the part of the opposing quarterback and coaches.

This is all part of Hafley’s new defensive scheme.

Five Things That Will Be Different About the Packers Defense in 2024, Number Three: Expect Less Soft Coverage

One thing Hafley wants to be is aggressive, something his predecessor Joe Barry rarely was. Barry often deployed soft zone coverage where the corners played five or more yards off the receiver at the snap of the ball. As a result, opponents were able to convert too many third-and-long situations.

Hafley wants his defensive backs to be more aggressive off the snap of the ball and to play more press coverage, even if they ultimately play in zone.

This plays more to the strengths of defenders like Stokes, Alexander, and Valentine.

The days of the Packers corners lining up 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage on third and long should be coming to an end.

Number Two: The Packers Will Play a Four-Man Front

This may be the most fundamental change on the defensive side of the ball. Hafley will have the team line up in a four-man defensive front as opposed to a 3-4 that the team has played in recent decades.

This means that edge rushers like Rashan Gary and Preston Smith will now be starting plays with their hands on the ground. This will be an adjustment for Gary, Smith, and the other edge rushers.

It hopefully will also improve the team’s run defense which has struggled in recent seasons. That would be a big step forward for the team.

Five Things That Will Be Different About the Packers Defense in 2024, Number One: The Defense Will Blitz More Often

The Packers defense is also expected to be more aggressive under Hafley. That will include more blitzes. The Packers drafted a pair of linebackers this year on day two in Cooper and Ty’Ron Hopper. Both players have the ability to get after the quarterback. Incumbent starting linebacker Quay Walker also has the speed to rush the quarterback.

This is again designed to keep offenses guessing and to dictate the pace of the game to the offense rather than react to it.

This change in mentality is something many players on the roster wanted under Barry. The hope is that Hafley’s system will give the defense more energy and positivity and of course, more success.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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