Skip to main content
Publish date:

A couple college names of interest in Packers defensive coordinator search

Aaron Rodgers' future in Green Bay remains in limbo, but one thing is certain is the Packers will need a new defensive coordinator and that search has cast a wide net.

According to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, the Packers are set to interview the following candidates to replace Mike Pettine:

-- Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. The 38-year-old is just seven seasons removed from his own playing NFL career and has seen his star rise in four seasons running the Badgers' defense. His hiring would send bittersweet feelings across Cheese Land.

-- Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin. Monte's son and Lane's brother has just two years of NFL experience -- one as a Bucs intern, and one as the Browns' D-line coach.

-- Saints assistant head coach Ryan Nielsen. Nielsen nearly left to become LSU's defensive coordinator before the Saints forced/compelled him to return with an increased role in New Orleans. By promoting him to assistant head coach, the Saints put him on the Dan Campbell track -- a couple years at Sean Payton's right hand, then the keys to his own NFL franchise. This would accelerate that process... if New Orleans lets him leave.

-- Eagles run game coordinator Matt Burke. Burke has been climbing the NFL ladder since 2004 and spent 2017-18 as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator.

-- Packers defensive backs coach Jerry Gray. Easily the most experienced and least disruptive of the bunch, Gray played nine seasons in the 1980s and early 90s and has coached in the league since 1997. He previously coordinated defenses for the Bills (2001-05) and Titans (2011-13).

In addition to those five, the Packers have spoken to Chargers pass game coordinator Joe Barry, WFT defensive backs coach Chris Harris, Rams defensive backs coach Ejiro Evero and Falcons senior assistant Bob Sutton.

Green Bay has reached the NFC championship and owned the NFC's top seed in the past two seasons, so whoever gets this job will arrive with Super Bowl or bust expectations.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.