How Jaire Alexander can get even better under Jeff Hafley’s system

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How Jaire Alexander can get even better under Jeff Hafley’s system

Nobody on the Green Bay Packers‘ roster has had higher highs than cornerback Jaire Alexander. But for multiple reasons, there is still a bittersweet feeling about his past four years. Two of them (2021 and 2023) have been affected by a sequence of injuries, and while he was an All-Pro in 2020 and 2022, there was a sense that Alexander was misused by defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

Great at challenging wide receivers at the line of scrimmage, Jaire was frequently asked to play off. And so many other times, it was easy for opposing offensive coordinators to avoid Alexander moving receivers around. The most obvious example was in 2022, when Justin Jefferson had a killer game against the Packers early in the season (169 yards, two touchdowns), while Alexander was covering depth pieces. They changed the approach in the second Minnesota Vikings game, and Jefferson barely appeared (58 yards).

The expectation now is that, under new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, it will be possible to see the best version of Alexander more frequently and consistently.

“I want a defense that’s going to be confident and that’s not going to be nervous about making mistakes,” Hafley said earlier this offseason. “Play style is important to me, and how fast we play and physical and attacking the ball and all that stuff. But the only way to do that is they’ve got to know what they’re doing. Our philosophy is get really good at what we do and do it over and over again so we’re playing 100 miles an hour.”

Jaire Alexander himself is excited with what’s ahead. After a late-season one-game suspension in 2023, he has had a better team-oriented approach. And his relationship with Hafley is in a good place.

“He’s been great since Day 1,” Alexander said of Hafley. “Preaches aggression, getting after everything. He’s a cool guy. I feel like I have so much more to put out there and display consistently, and I’m just ready to attack that. I’m super motivated. That’s why I’m here.”


Football pundits frequently talk about how running back careers are short. But cornerbacks follow a similar trend, and they regularly start to regress in year 7. That’s exactly the timeline of his career Jaire Alexander is approaching. However, the All-Pro player wants to use his advantage to make a different kind of impact.

“Just going into Year 7, at this point, I’m trying not to make it as much about myself and just do what’s best for the team,” he added.

And the results of this approach are clear.

“Ja’s been outstanding,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “He’s been here every day, shows up, great attitude, eager to learn, is out there competing with the guys, talking trash, which I love because I love just amping up that level of competition in a fun way. I think he’s been a great teammate and been a great leader for us.”

The Packers decided not to invest heavily in the cornerback position, indicating a strong belief in what Alexander can still do. Playing freely and aggressively, Alexander can go back to his best days, and Green Bay needs that version to be what they want to be on defense.