Future DC Thread


Carpe Diem
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People keep asking what if.....so I'll start one here. I may add to this post over time but right off hand:

Chris Hewitt:

Hewitt is the pass game coordinator and secondary coach for the Ravens, and was their DB coach from 2012-2019, meaning he would have played in integral role in the seemingly endless pipeline of great defensive backs from Baltimore. He spent most of his coaching career on the staff of Wink Martindale, who considers anything that isn't covered 0 to be too conservative. Now he's spent 2 years under Mike MacDonald, who still dials up plenty of blitzes, but in a more balanced way, with more 2-high coverages than Martindale. Both have operated with 3-4 fronts, but they tend to be pretty multiple.

Cory Undlin:

Undlin is the pass game coordinator for the Texans, and he followed Ryans from the 49ers. He has experience as an NFL DC, albeit for one season in Detroit in 2020. Before that, he worked on Jim Schartz's staff in Philadelphia. Both Schwartz and Ryans run 4-3 base defenses that rely heavily on stunts and blitzes up front. The talent up front is critical for these schemes, and maybe it's a hot take, but I'll put Gary, Clark, Wyatt, and Van Ness up there with any front 4 in football. In terms of coverage, Schwartz is more cover 3, while Ryans is a bit more varied with more 2-high looks. I honestly think the Packers could maybe make a 4-3 work, and having a DC that would maximize the great players and elite athletes we have upfront makes a ton of sense.

Sam Madison:

Currently the pass game specialist with the Miami Dolphins, as well as the CB coach. Madison is a 4-time All-Pro corner from 1997-2008, but only got his first NFL coaching job in 2019 as the secondary coach for the Chiefs. He spent 3 years with the Chiefs under Steve Spagnuolo, one of the most creative blitz schemers in the NFL; before joining Miami in 2022, where now he is working under Vic Fangio. He played a good chunk of his career under Spagnuolo, who uses a 4-3 base with lots of blitzes and fairly diverse coverages on the back end. That being said, the year in Fangio's 2-high conservative zone coverage scheme from a 3-4 base would be a useful learning experience towards becoming a DC.

Jim Leonhard:

Supposedly, he was the first choice when they hired Barry, but he decided to turn the job down to stay at Wisconsin. Schematically, it's hard to say exactly what he'd look like, since you'd imagine he'd be making significant changes from his very BIG-10 defense he ran with Wisconsin. He played in effectively every scheme known to the NFL, from the 2-high conservative coverage system in Buffalo to the cover-1 and blitz-heavy Jets. He dialed up cover-3 match as his base coverage at Wisconsin, without a whole lot of man coverage; however, when faced with vertical passing offenses he ran more cover 4. Either way, it's very zone match-heavy on the back end. Up front is where things were very collegiate, and while he was creative with his groupings and fronts, a lot of it revolved around Wisconsin's 220-pound outside linebackers that simply don't exist in the NFL. He's never held an NFL job before, so there's a ton of risk involved.

Will add more later.........
I'm hesitant about it, but maybe it's time to give the job to Leonhard. At least he's played the game, and was always considered a knowledgeable player.

Yes, it's a big risk, because he lacks NFL experience. But I'm not exactly fond of the idea of running out another coach who has been part of systems that haven't shown that much innovation anyhow. Maybe.... just maybe, Jim can bring something refreshingly new to the job, to make it his own.

At this point, the Packers are going to do a lot of major retooling, and maybe it's time they do it with a fresh set of eyes that sees things from a completely different perspective.

Why not? LeFleur is only going to have two years after this year to get this team into the upper echelon or he's gone. Putting another retread in at DC won't do much to change what's happened at this point.
I don't think Leonhard is going to leave college.

My bet is LaFleur makes a safe hire that won't come in and turn things around and potentially make LaFleur look over his shoulder
PERSONALLY, I want a scheme that fits our personnel--specifically our CBs. This is less true now that Rasul has left, but we have CB talent--even if its still a bit of an unknown, like Stokes and Valentine. But both of those guys are man guys. Jaire is a better man guy. You can still play a 2-high safety, anti-big-play scheme with more man underneath. And that's what we have the players to do.

What drives me nuts is that Gutey and Barry are clearly not on the same page. When this scheme was the thing with the Rams, they had a bunch of low-budget CBs who were scheme fits. They invested more in other positions than CB because if you just want guys to play a zone, read, react, and make the tackle, you don't need to spend mega-bucks and first round picks on them. Day Two picks and rookie contracts will do. And that's the issue I need to see smoothed out. If MLF wants this type of scheme, he needs to work with Gutey to get the defensive personnel to match it.
Safe to say that ML has taken the chickens!t way out and will let Barry goof up the rest of the year before quietly doing nothing at all, not affirmatively firing him, just letting the contract expire and acting like it never happened.