The Green Bay Packers didn’t announce any firings on their coaching staff following a disappointing 2022 season, but head coach Matt LaFleur will still have to fill at least one vacancy this offseason.
After losing veteran defensive coordinator Dean Pees to retirement, the Atlanta Falcons hired Ryan Nielsen this offseason to replace him. Packers defensive backs coach Jerry Gray was also a candidate for the coordinator position, but even though he didn’t get the role, the Falcons didn’t stop pursuing the established DB coach.
Mike Garafolo with NFL Network tweeted on Saturday, January 28 that the Falcons were finalizing a deal that would bring Gray onto their defensive staff for the 2023 season. Gray had previously coached with Falcons head coach Arthur Smith while the two coached with Washington in 2007 and 2008.
Gray has been coaching defenses and defensive backs for nearly 30 years after an illustrious playing career that included four Pro Bowls and a pair of second-team All-Pro selections. Now, he’ll have an opportunity to help turn around a struggling Falcons franchise.
Latest Packers Coaching News
Despite Packers fans calling for the firing of defensive coordinator Joe Barry, it was Gray who ended up leaving for an opportunity with a new team. Still, just because there’s been limited movement on Green Bay’s coaching staff doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been plenty to talk about with Matt LaFleur’s assistants.
Following the team’s Week 18 defeat to the Detroit Lions, LaFleur was asked about any potential changes to the coaching staff for next season. The Packers head coach made it clear that he didn’t anticipate any coaching changes, which included retaining his defensive coordinator, meaning that Barry will return for at least one more season.
Still, there had been some buzz surrounding Green Bay adding another coach to their offensive staff. Former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett had drawn some interest from LaFleur, who was open to a reunion with the former Broncos head coach. However, Hackett quickly found another opportunity, accepting a role with the New York Jets as their offensive coordinator.
Additional speculation was created when LaFleur’s brother Mike LaFleur parted ways with the Jets. There was even speculation that the younger LaFleur could replace current offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich. Instead, he is heading to Los Angeles to coach with Sean McVay and the Rams.
There haven’t been many changes to the coaching staff this offseason, but now LaFleur will need to figure out how to replace Gray on defense.
Who Will Be Green Bay’s QB in 2023?
While there haven’t been a lot of changes on Green Bay’s coaching staff, the face of the franchise could be someone else in 2023.
Aaron Rodgers will be 40 years old next year, and after a disappointing end to the 2022 season, there’s plenty of uncertainty as to what his future holds. The Packers have reportedly indicated their intention to trade the four-time MVP, ushering in the next era in Packers history with Jordan Love under center.
Multiple teams have been linked to Rodgers in a potential trade, most notably the New York Jets, who just hired his old offensive coordinator in Hackett. However, considering other teams will likely present offers to the Packers, the Jets may have to give up more than they’d like to acquire the future Hall of Famer.
Regardless of where Rodgers ends up, it’s looking more and more likely that Love will finally get his opportunity to be the starter in 2023.