Broncos Poach Defensive Assistant From Matt LaFleur’s Staff

Parker Hired Broncos

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers looks on before the game against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on September 22, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

A Green Bay Packers defensive assistant is trading one tundra for another.

The Denver Broncos announced Monday they have hired Christian Parker as their new defensive backs coach after he spent the past two seasons as a defensive quality control coach in Green Bay. Parker will replace Renaldo Hill, who left to become the Los Angeles Chargers’ new defensive coordinator under Brandon Staley.

Parker is making the leap to position coach with just two years of NFL coaching experience under his belt, but he spent that time helping develop some impressive pieces in Green Bay’s secondary, such as All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander or safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. Per the Packers’ website, he also helped former defensive coordinator Mike Pettine with developing the playbook and scouting opposing offensives.

Whether the Packers will fill Parker’s vacancy is anyone’s guess, especially with Joe Barry only being announced as the new defensive coordinator on Monday afternoon. The Packers still have another defensive quality control coach in Wendel Davis, but Barry may be inclined to retool his staff and add at least one of his own guys.

The Packers also officially announced Monday the promotion of Maurice Drayton, who will serve as special teams coordinator in 2021 after spending the past three years as a top assistant under both Shawn Mennenga (2019-20) and Ron Zook (2018). Finding a No. 2 assistant for him now becomes a hiring priority, as the only other member of the special teams personnel is quality control coach Rayna Stewart.

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Will Packers Lose More Assistants?

It is easy to understand why Parker, 29, would leave for a promotion with a defensive-minded head coach. He will have an opportunity to make a name for himself in Denver as he attempts to help resuscitate the Broncos’ struggling secondary, one that will almost certainly add talent through free agency or the 2020 NFL draft. There is also the chance Parker was losing some job security with Green Bay hiring a new defensive boss.

The question now is whether a pair of new coordinators will lead to more Packers assistants leaving this offseason. Barry, the man that Packers head coach Matt LaFleur has trusted to lead his defense in 2021, has a strong background working with linebackers, so it will be interesting to see how he meshes with the Packers’ current two linebackers coaches — Kirk Olivadotti (inside) and Mike Smith (outside).

Smith could also earn some outside hiring interest for his impressive work with the Packers’ pass rushers. While the unit has benefitted from the 2019 free-agent signings of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, Smith had a direct hand in developing 2019 first-rounder Rashan Gary from an underwhelming rookie into a legitimate threat off the edge.

Barry will also have decisions to make on Jerry Gray (defensive backs coach) and Jerry Montgomery (defensive line coach). Gray would seem like a solid lock to return in 2021 given he impressed LaFleur enough to get an interview for the defensive coordinator job, but being passed over for a promotion can always change things. Meanwhile, Montgomery has been with the team since 2015 and has played a big role in developing star nose tackle Kenny Clark.

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