Every several years we get a new Packers defensive coordinator. The last (at least) four have ended their time on the team as failures. Living through each of these can give you a lot of ideas on what a good defensive coordinator should be. Let’s go over some coordinator factors and discuss which we’d choose for the new coach.

Blitz or Rush 4

Joe Barry is firmly in the rush 4 camp and, really, Mike Pettine was as well. Pettine’s experience in Cleveland really seemed to have taken the blitzing wind out of his sails. Capers liked the zone blitz, but he very rarely sent more than 5 guys.

There are a few potential candidates this time around, see Mike Caldwell and Wink Martindale, who will blitz more than anything we’ve seen in decades in Green Bay. The question is whether that’s something we want. Leaving corners out to dry all day while you wear out linebackers can be just as frustrating as mindlessly rushing 4 every snap.

My choice would be someone who isn’t afraid to heat up the QB every once in a while, someone who knows how to bring pressure with four or five using creepers and other concepts, but someone who doesn’t rely on the blitz at the expense of sound coverage.

Young or Old

There’s a lot to be said for pairing an older experienced coordinator with LaFleur, a youngish head coach, but we’ve tried old guys over and over. I think it’s time to get fresh blood and fresh ideas. As much as experience gives you answers to whatever the offense will do – they’re the same answers that the offense has seen thousands of times. Let’s try to get some new answers.

Man or Zone

Aggressive press man coverage is close to extinct at the NFL level, pick any team at random in the league and they prob ran cover 3 or cover 4 at least half the time. I think the true question here isn’t whether the prospective coordinator will run man or zone, it’s how much disguising will he do.

If you can’t make it look like cover 4 and then run man free or sugar a blitz and then drop into a soft zone, you’re going to get picked apart by even the worst QBs in the league. The days of sitting in easily predicted spot drop zones and out executing are gone.

Run or Pass Focus

It seems obvious that you need a coordinator who can stop the pass but more and more, you need someone who at least won’t disregard the run. Looks at a guy like Mike Caldwell, he plays his share of quarters and umbrella type coverages, but when the other team wants to run the ball, he stops it. Jacksonville played with just three defensive backs for prolonged periods in some games this season.

Argue as much as you want about whether a nickel formation has two down linemen or four, the problem is being in nickel when you should be focusing on the run.

College or Pro Background

You could sort of relate this one to the young vs. old. Coaches coming from the college ranks will likely be more open minded and have a more diverse array of solutions to spread offenses while coaches from the pros may not have a great grasp on how to stop a super spread type offense.

But does that really matter? How often are you going to see a spread ‘em and shred ‘em offense in the NFL? How often does a college coordinator face the Shanahan scheme or a QB who can throw the ball 70 yards off his back foot?

I would certainly approve of a Jim Leonhard or Kevin Minter hire – both coaches who has some level of NFL experience and who coached in the Big 10, which is more pro like, but other than those types, I’ll take a random Jets assistant over a guy who has spent the last ten years with five guys in the box.  

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.