When you are successful, other people want a part of that success. While the Green Bay Packers failed in the playoffs, they did have a very successful regular season. In response to that, other NFL teams have taken notice. With many NFL teams in search of new head coaches, as well as new assistant coaches, the Packers became prime targets. This off-season, due to departures, the Green Bay Packers coaching staff will go through some major changes.
Green Bay Packers Coaching Staff Will Look Differently Next Season
It should come as a compliment to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, that so many of the members of his Green Bay Packers coaching staff were targeted by other teams already this off-season. It displays that LaFleur put together a very strong coaching staff. While it could be seen as a compliment, it still has to sting for LaFleur. For some of the departures, it means losing some very solid members of the Green Bay Packers coaching staff. It also means that LaFleur needs to recognize and then trust some new assistants that he might never have worked with.
Hiring the right assistant coach isn’t an easy task. If you make the wrong call, it could cost you the season. Want proof, check out the replay of the Packers 13-10 playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. For LaFleur, it’s a mistake he can’t make (again). Here are the comings and goings in regards to the Green Bay Packers coaching staff.
Drayton Shown the Door
It was a very teachable, and painful moment for Matt LaFleur. Don’t promote an assistant coach who worked as an assistant under two failed coordinators. The mistake of promoting Maurice Drayton not only was a mistake, but it also cost the Packers at the most crucial time. Many believed that things couldn’t get any worse under Drayton like they were under former coordinators Ron Zook and Shawn Mennenga. But Drayton told Zook and Menneaga to “hold my beer.”
LaFleur made the decision to part ways with Drayton. It didn’t shock anyone. After the unit’s performance against the 49ers, and finishing 32nd in Rick Gosselin’s special teams rankings, Drayton had earned his walking papers. While Drayton proved he wasn’t ready for the promotion, let’s not forget that it was LaFleur’s decision to give him that promotion. The failures of Drayton and this unit fall directly on LaFleur’s shoulders.
— Last Night's Game (@LastNights_Game) January 23, 2022
The Green Bay Packers coaching staff will have its third new special teams coordinator in less than five years. LaFleur, along with general manager Brian Gutekunst, needs to find the right person to fix the many issues with the special teams. That could mean paying top dollar to lure the best special teams coach candidate on the market. That means not allowing the director of football operations Russ Ball to lowball the right candidate.
Stenavich Moving Up
One person that is reaping the benefits of the Packers offensive regular-season success is Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett, who servesd as LaFleur’s offensive coordinator from 2019-2021, was hired as the Denver Broncos new head coach. While Hackett didn’t call the plays as the offensive coordinator, he was a major part of the Packers offense. Unlike Scott Turner, Adam Zimmer, and Klint Kubiak, Hackett, the son of former NFL coach Paul Hackett, earned his place by working his way up the assistant coaching ladder.
With Hackett now in Denver, LaFleur promoted offensive line coach/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich to offensive coordinator. Stenavich has been the Packers offensive line coach for the past three seasons. Prior to this past season, he was named the Packers run game coordinator. Stenavich did a remarkable job with the Packers offensive line since he has arrived. Even when injuries depleted the offensive line, the Packers still had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
With Stenavich’s promotion to offensive coordinator, assistant offensive line coach Luke Butkus was promoted to oversee the offensive line. Butkus has been Stenavich’s right-hand man the past three seasons. Ryan Mahaffey will replace Butkus as the assistant offensive line coach. Mahaffey spent last season as a quality control coach for the Packers and prior to that was the offensive coordinator for the University of Northern Iowa. It was a little surprising that LaFleur shifted Mahaffey to the offensive line with him having a background in coaching tight ends.
Getsy Doesn’t Have Far To Go
Luke Getsy leaving the Green Bay Packers coaching staff shouldn’t surprise many. Getsy always looked like an assistant that would climb the coaching ranks quickly. From 2016 to 2017, he served as the Packers wide receivers coach. During that span, he earned raving reviews from standout wide receiver Davante Adams. After that, Getsy served as the offensive coordinator for Mississippi State, but that only lasted one season. He returned to Green Bay, this time as the quarterbacks coach as well as the passing game coordinator. Now, he heads over to the Chicago Bears, to be their offensive coordinator for newly hired head coach Matt Eberflus.
Losing Getsy is a big loss for LaFleur and the Packers. Not only was he the passing coordinator, but he was also a favorite of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. With Getsy now gone, the wide receivers coach Jason Vrable will add the duties of passing game coordinator. It seems curious that LaFleur didn’t move Vrable over to quarterbacks, since Vrable has a background in coaching quarterbacks. LaFleur also could have moved Ruvell Martin, a coaching assistant, and former Packers wide receiver, to wide receivers coach.
As it stands now, the Packers are in search of a new quarterbacks coach. While they haven’t hired a quarterbacks coach, they did promote one of their own to an assistant quarterbacks coach. In a bizarre move by LaFleur, Connor Lewis was promoted to this position after serving as a special teams assistant/game management specialist last season. Both special teams and time management were two of the weakest parts of the Packers in 2021. While Maurice Drayton was shown the door, Lewis somehow gains a promotion. Lewis does have a background in analytics, so if any of the Packers quarterbacks need help with a spreadsheet, Lewis is their guy.
Hackett Poaches Outten
In many cases, when an assistant coach leaves to become a head coach with another team, he usually takes with him some of his fellow assistants with him. That is exactly what Nathaniel Hackett did when he was named the Broncos new coach.
It was reported that his first choice to be his offensive coordinator was Stenavich. However, Stenavich chose to stay with the Packers and became Hackett’s replacement as the Packers offensive coordinator. Hackett turned to plan B, that being Packers tight ends coach Justin Outten. Outten had been the Packers tight ends coach since 2019. He did a very solid job in developing Robert Tonyan, the Packers best pass-catching tight end.
With Outten now in Denver, the Packers recently replaced him with John Dunn. Dunn spent last season as a senior analyst for the Packers. Dunn brings with him a very unimpressive resume working under some very unimpressive head coaches. From 2011-2015, Dunn was the tight end coach at the University of Maryland under head coach Randy Edsell. During that span, Maryland had a 22-34 record. After that, Dunn served as an assistant for head coach John Fox and the Bears. During those two seasons, the Bears totaled just 8 wins with 24 losses. Dunn then reunited with Edsall and once again, this time at the University of Connecticut, failed to impress anyone. That season, with Dunn as the associate head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Connecticut posted an underwhelming 1-11 record. After parting ways with Connecticut, Dunn hooked on with the New York Jets and head coach Adam Gase. From 2019-to 2020 he served as the Jets tight ends coach. During that time, the Jets posted a 9-23 record. Here is hoping Dunn’s losing ways don’t rub off on the Packers young tight ends.
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