Generating more takeaways point of emphasis for Packers with Jeff Hafley

If the Green Bay Packers defense is going to improve in 2024, one important element is going to be creating more turnovers, specifically interceptions.

Last season, the Packers generated just seven interceptions, the second-fewest in football. In fact, generally speaking, the secondary didn’t even make many plays on the ball, ranking 23rd in pass breakups.

Getting more on-ball production from the cornerbacks and safeties will be a key priority for new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley.

In part, a more aggressive style of defense – with more Cover-1 and press coverage looks – and a willingness to adapt and adjust should put the defenders in more positions where they have the opportunity to make plays. Under Joe Barry, soft coverages and predictable gameplans at times didn’t do the secondary any favors in this regard.

Under Hafley, the Packers will also use more of a vision-based approach on the back end, which on its own should help the defense generate more takeaways, according to Matt LaFleur.

“I would say more vision based,” said LaFleur, “more visual on the quarterback because he’s ultimately going to take you to where the ball is going to go. So, and it’s hard to do that when you’re playing with your back to the quarterback, or if you’re playing a real matchy, not to say that we won’t be that.

“There’s certainly going to be circumstances when you want to man up and play some match coverage. I would say a big part of what we’re going to do, especially from a coverage standpoint is going have vision on the quarterback.”

Also contributing to a hopeful turnaround when it comes to takeaways is the addition of Xavier McKinney, whose versatile skill set will allow him to be utilized in a variety of ways, depending on who the opponent is each week. McKinney is a force multiplier, meaning his presence makes everyone around him better.

Jaire Alexander also missed time last season dealing with injuries and a one game suspension. Of course, having him on the field is always a good thing, not to mention that Hafley’s defensive scheme should fit Alexander’s skill set quite well.

Pressure can be a defensive backs’ best friend, forcing the quarterback to hurry or make off platform throws which can lead to turnover opportunities. Last season, the Packers’ pass rush ran very hot and cold. More week-to-week consistency will be a key factor in generating more takeaways.

Oftentimes, if you can win the turnover battle, you’ll win the game, especially with an offense that has the potential to be as dynamic as the Packers have the opportunity to be in 2024. Last year, the Packers were 5-1 when winning the turnover battle and 2-6 when they lost it.

“I want us to be fast and physical and attack the ball,” added LaFleur. “We will be a little more vision-based on the back end, and I think that’s a great opportunity to be able to go out there and generate takeaways.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire