Certain Green Bay Packers Assistants on their Way to Earning Promotions

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As of today, the Green Bay Packers have a very impressive 8-2 record. Head coach Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Joe Barry are being given a lot of credit for the team’s success. The credit is both well earned for the head coach and first-year defensive coordinator. However, both have had some help. The players have played a very big role in the Packers resurgence. But certain Green Bay Packers assistants have also been a major reason for the Packers 2021 record.

Green Bay Packers Assistants are leading them to success

When LaFleur was hired prior to the 2019 season, there were a lot of questions. Of course, the most glaring question was LaFleur’s lack of head coaching experience. But another major question was what type of staff he would assemble to get the Packers back on track.

Fast forward to 2021, it seems that both of those questions have been answered. Since taking over, LaFleur has led the Packers to a very impressive 34-8 regular-season record. That record, which includes two NFC North titles, should answer any questions about his lack of head coaching experience.

The coaches he has hired as assistants are major reasons the Packers have had so much success under LaFleur. The group that LaFleur has assembled aren’t just great coaches. But they are also great teachers. Because LaFleur’s success, several of the Packers assistants are starting to hear their names for possible openings around the NFL. Here is a list of Green Bay assistants who might be headed for coordinator or even NFL head coaching positions.

Nathaniel Hackett, Offensive Coordinator

Recently, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero assembled a list of NFL assistants who are candidates to be hired as head coaches. One of the names on top of that list is Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

While Hackett doesn’t call the Packers offense, he is a major part of the game plan implemented every week by the Packers. When LaFleur hired Hackett, neither had worked with the other prior. But it didn’t take long for them to get on the same page. Since joining the Packers, the team’s offense has been one of the best in the NFL. Hackett has earned LaFleur’s trust, but he has also earned the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers speaks very highly of Hackett, something that shouldn’t go unnoticed for NFL teams who might have a head coach opening and that have a veteran quarterback.

Before joining the Packers, Hackett was an offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars. While with the Jaguars, Hackett was able to get the most out of quarterback Blake Bortles. Hackett’s leadership on offense also helped former Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone actually look like an NFL-caliber head coach. That alone says a lot about Hackett’s coaching ability.

Not only does he have the experience to be a head coach, but he has the bloodlines. Hackett is the son of Paul Hackett. The elder Hackett was one of the founders of the west coast offense that is still run by many NFL offenses today.

Adam Stenavich, Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator

This isn’t the first time Adam Stenavich has been highlighted for the work he has done. The Green Bay offensive line has been decimated by injuries the past several seasons. But even with the injuries, the Packers offensive line has still played at a high level. A lot of that has to do with the work Stenavich has done with this group.

Even with losing standout left tackle David Bakhtiari for the start of this season, the Packers offensive line has still enjoyed success. Stenavich cross-trains his linemen, making sure several of them are able to play at several different positions. His star pupil has been Elgton Jenkins. With Bakhtiari out, Jenkins has stepped in at left tackle and performed exceptionally. Jenkins and his ability should be given credit for this. But so should Stenavich.

Stenavich earned a promotion this off-season to run game coordinator. If another team hires Hackett as head coach, Stenavich could earn another promotion. If another Green Bay assistant replaces Hackett, another team could come calling for Stenavich’s services as an offensive coordinator.

Jerry Gray, Defensive Backs Coach/Pass Game Coordinator

Jerry Gray is another Green Bay Packers assistant that was highlighted earlier this season. Since being hired in 2020 by the Packers, Gray has helped make the Packers secondary one of the best in the NFL. Similar to Stenavich, Gray has had to deal with many injuries to the position he oversees. But even without the services of star cornerback Jaire Alexander, Gray has been able to get the most out of the Packers secondary.

Rookie Eric Stokes entered the NFL as a very raw prospect. But when forced into the starting lineup because of injuries, he has played very well. Rasul Douglas, who was signed off the Cardinals practice squad, has been a major contributor to the defense. It can be argued both players’ success has a lot to do with Gray’s coaching.

Gray’s experience as a defensive coordinator and for what he has done with the Packers secondary, he looks to be a prime candidate for an open defensive coordinator position.

Mike Smith, Outside Linebackers Coach

Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith doesn’t get as much attention as the other three Green Bay Packers assistants on this list.┬áSmith has been with the Packers since 2019. He held that position under former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and now under Barry. The Packers outside linebackers group has been one of the best in recent history. Even with having standout outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith for just one game this season, the Packers outside linebackers have still been able to create pressure.

Rashan Gary is the top pass rusher for the Packers. So far Gary has registered five and a half sacks. He has come a long way since the Packers drafted him in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. When he was selected, Gary was an uber-talented hand in dirt lineman who never reached his potential at the University of Michigan. But under Smith’s guidance, Gary has been a very productive standup outside linebacker.

While Gary is Smith’s star pupil, Smith has also been able to get more out of the others. Preston Smith had a horrid 2020. But this season, he has two and a half sacks and has played a lot better. Jonathan Garvin, a former seventh-round draft pick of the Packers, has become a major part of the outside linebacker rotation. He has posted one and a half sacks this season.

With the success of the Packers outside linebackers, Smith should start to get some attention from other NFL teams. With coaching under Pettine and now Barry, Smith has displayed that he can get the most out of his group in two different defensive schemes. That should help get him some interviews as a defensive coordinator.

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