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Packers DC Jeff Hafley wants players to 'play with their hair on fire' 

New Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley plans to unleash ferocity on opponents by freeing up his players.

Hafley, the former Boston College head coach turned NFL coordinator, told reporters on Thursday he believes in system simplicity to allow players to react and make plays without overthinking.

"We try and make it simple for the players so they can play fast," he said, via the team's official website. "So they don't have to think. So they can be confident and not be afraid to make mistakes. So they can go out there and play fearless and play with their hair on fire and run and hit and cover and get off blocks and tackle. That's the beauty of the scheme."

Packers fans who gnashed their teeth at former defensive coordinator Joe Barry's scheme and calls must be on cloud nine hearing Hafley's plan. Green Bay consistently suffered communication breakdowns over the past several years. It's February, so at this point, everything is "coach speak," but cleaning up those breakdowns will immediately boost the Packers' profile.

Hafley plans to employ a 4-3 scheme, something the Packers haven't utilized regularly since 2008 -- in real-life terms. Hopefully, this change means we will no longer see Preston Smith getting lined up 1-on-1 versus Davante Adams.

The base might be different, but Hafley believes the key to any defense is fluidity and the ability to adjust to take away what an opponent does best and utilize the talents at his disposal.

"The things I believe in defense -- whether you're playing 3-4 or 4-3, press man, which I do love … it comes down to can you take your players who you have and put them in the best position to succeed?" Hafley said. "Can you take your players and maximize their ability? Every player wants to get better, and that's our job to do. Our job is to put the players in the best position to succeed and make plays."

The Packers hit the offseason with a solid base on defense, but some holes in the secondary need filling. Adding those pieces will give Hafley flexibility to implement his desired scheme.

Hafley joined Green Bay this offseason after three seasons as the Boston College head coach. The 44-year-old doesn't see it as a step-down, going from running his own program to an NFL coordinator.

"It's the Green Bay Packers," Hafley said. "This is like the mecca of the football world to me and probably to most people who grew up loving football. Just being here and driving into Lambeau every day, it still feels surreal.

"The community, maybe the best fans in all of the world, as well, that made a really, really hard decision -- leaving Boston College, players that I loved, staff that I loved, the leadership at the school -- it made a really hard decision a lot easier, and ultimately that's why I decided to come."

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