One of the essential characteristics of a coach is the ability to find good assistants. So far, Matt LaFleur has had significant success in this realm since he became the Green Bay Packers’ head coach in 2019.
Earlier this offseason, the Packers lost multiple offensive coaches to promotions elsewhere. Former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is now leading the Denver Broncos, and he took former tight ends coach Justin Outten as his offensive coordinator. Furthermore, former quarterbacks coach/passing-game coordinator Luke Getsy left for the Windy City to become the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator.
Even so, the Packers still have multiple assistants with the potential to be future NFL head coaches.
Bisaccia, 62, is the new Packers special teams coordinator and has obvious credentials to be a head coach. He’s been a coordinator in the NFL for two decades and had more than 10 years of experience accumulating the assistant head coach role.
After Jon Gruden resigned last season, the Las Vegas Raiders promoted Bisaccia to interim head coach. Even though he inherited a team with so many off-the-field issues – Gruden left, Henry Ruggs got arrested, they released Damon Arnette – he led the Raiders to the playoffs.
After the season, the Raiders interviewed Bisaccia to be their full-time head coach. However, the team preferred to go with a higher-profile pairing. They hired Dave Ziegler as general manager and head coach Josh McDaniels, parting ways with Bisaccia and Mike Mayock.
Bisaccia also interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coaching position and was considered a finalist. But they ended up hiring Doug Pederson because of his offensive roots, believing he would best develop Trevor Lawrence.
After interviewing with Vegas and Jacksonville, the Packers hired Bisaccia to lead the special teams unit, something that has been a cultural problem in Green Bay for years. If Bisaccia can transform a unit that has been so bad for so long, he will probably receive more chances to compete for a head coaching job soon.
Gray is hardly an up-and-coming young coach. The current Packers defensive backs coach and defensive passing-game coordinator is 59 and has been an NFL coach since 1997. He started his career as a quality-control coach for the Tennessee Oilers — during the organization’s transition from Houston Oilers to the Tennessee Titans.
Gray played in the NFL between 1985 and 1993 for the Los Angeles Rams, Oilers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has had two opportunities as a defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills (2001-05) and the Titans (2011-13). After six seasons as the defensive backs coach under Mike Zimmer in Minnesota, the Vikings fired him, and Green Bay moved quickly to hire him into the same role. One season later, the Packers promoted Gray to passing-game coordinator in addition to defensive backs coach.
Gray is considered a good leader who can develop young players. He represented the Packers at the NFL’s inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator, a project created by the league to provide senior women and minority prospects with leadership-development sessions with football operations experts and facilitators. There he spent time networking directly with club owners.
Stenavich is more like a prototypical NFL head coaching candidate. At 39, he’s relatively young and an offensive mind who creates schemes for one of the most efficient offenses in the league. Moreover, he is considered a good teacher and leader, which allowed him to prepare Green Bay’s depth after injuries depleted the offensive line last year.
“He does such a great job for us,” LaFleur said. “From coordinating the run game and getting our guys to go out there and perform on a consistent basis. When you have so much turnover in that room, and you don’t get that continuity with the same five going out there, that is a big-time challenge. It’s a credit to our players but also a credit to him and (assistant line coach Luke) Butkus to allow our offense to still be able to function at a high level and get production.”
The 33rd Team named Stenavich the NFL’s best position coach because of his work with Green Bay’s offensive line last season and because the Packers promoted him to be the new offensive coordinator. If the Packers’ offense can remain productive after losing Davante Adams, especially with a powerful run game, Stenavich might get consideration for a new promotion.
People don’t talk much about Vrable’s role in Green Bay this year, but they probably should. Hackett and Getsy were the primary assistants in regards to the passing offense, and now both are gone. The new offensive coordinator, Stenavich, has his roots as an offensive line coach and run-game coordinator.
The Packers promoted Vrable, the wide receivers coach since 2020, to passing-game coordinator this offseason. Therefore, he will be the most responsible person for Green Bay’s aerial attack behind LaFleur. Vrable is 37 years old and has a lot of experience as an offensive mind.
Vrable coached quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs at the college level. He was also an offensive coordinator at the College of Charleston. He’s coached in the NFL since 2013 and has worked for the Buffalo Bills (quality control, assistant QBs coach, RBs coach), the New York Jets (offensive assistant), and the Packers.
LaFleur hired Vrable to his initial staff as an offensive assistant in 2019. Since then, LaFleur has promoted him twice — to wide receivers coach in 2020 and passing-game coordinator in 2022.
Montgomery is one of the few remnants of Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff. After 12 years as a college coach, including an experience as the North Iowa CC defensive coordinator, the Packers hired him in 2015. Montgomery, 42, was initially a defensive front assistant for three years and then promoted to defensive line coach in 2018. Matt LaFleur kept him in 2019 and promoted him to running game coordinator this offseason.
Montgomery helped develop Kenny Clark into a premium player on the defensive line, but he hasn’t had much talent to work with. Now, with a transition in approach, the Packers decided to sign Jarran Reed in free agency and draft Devonte Wyatt in the first round. Montgomery will get new opportunities if the unit has a leap in production.
The Packers lost important assistants, so new ones will have to fill those voids for the team to remain in contention. If they are successful, new chances will arise for them in the NFL, a league with constant coaching turnover.