I know. No one wants to read this right now. But, I’m a perpetual contrarian. When the team was in the dumps early last season, I was unnaturally optimistic and started my Packers Positives series. Now that everyone is optimistic about new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, I can’t help but have a few niggling thoughts in my mind about his (potential) defense. Let’s go over a few reasons why Hafley could fail and talk about how damning they are.

There’s a reason no one runs the Pete Carroll scheme or spot drop zone

Hafley’s background is a combo of cover-1 centric blitzers and a few years with Robert Saleh running the famous Seattle scheme. The Seattle defense is basically gone from the NFL. Hafley has also talked about using “Vision Break” zone defense, which you may have heard of as spot drop zone. Barely anyone uses spot drop zone.

In both instances, that is with the Seattle defense and spot drop zone, they aren’t used in the NFL anymore because every offensive coordinator, QB coach, QA, and assistant to the head trainer knows how to defeat them now. You run wide zone and deep crossing routes all day and flood one side of the field.

The argument to not be worried is that we really don’t know if Hafley is going to be using a lot of the Seattle scheme in addition to spot drop zone. And the Seattle scheme uses match zone anyway, so how could he be using both? The problem will be if he uses cover-3 and cover-1 and nothing else and just relies on four guys to get pressure. That’s the same problem we had with Barry, just different coverage schemes. From what we’ve heard so far, it seems like he won’t be doing that.

The defense is still missing guys

You can say this is a short-term problem, but if you’ve used as much draft and salary cap capital on defense as we have, you want to have plenty of plus players.

Right now, we have Rashan Gary (who had a down second half of the year), Kenny Clark, and Jaire Alexander who are blue chippers on defense. Preston Smith is a solid vet and guys like Quay, Wyatt, and Brooks are young with untapped potential.

If Hafley is going to succeed, he needs to get more out of the players who are already on the team but also help communicate better what he needs for his defense so that better players can be acquired.

Mike Pettine was going to run a blitz/man coverage heavy scheme too

Really going for the long H3s on this one. When Pettine was hired his history was all in the Rex Ryan scheme. That means a lot of man coverage and a lot of unique blitzes and always stopping the run. When he ran the defense in Green Bay he used a lot of soft zone coverage, rarely blitzed, and was horrific against the run. Sound familiar?

The common thread between Pettine and Barry is Matt LaFleur. LaFleur wanted Pettine to stop the explosive pass game and not take risks, so he didn’t. When he was let go, LaFleur went and found the guy who would do that – even if he was running a scheme that he had just one year experience running.

Obviously, there’s more to it than that, neither of those guys were good at adapting mid-game, for example, but for Hafley to succeed, LaFleur needs to let him own the defense.  

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