NFC Notes: Matt LaFleur, Eric Washington, Bears, Lions, Packers


Bears DC Eric Washington was brought in this offseason from the Buffalo Bills where he served as a defensive line coach. Before spending almost a decade in Carolina, including his first two years as a defensive coordinator in 2018-2019, Washington worked with the Bears as an assistant defensive line coach under coach Rod Marinelli.

“He’s really got a presence to him,” Marinelli said about Washington, via an interview with The Athletic. “He’s very, very, very detailed. And he’s just got a nice way of dealing with people, but he’s strong. And he just did a really nice job. He was really a sponge learning pass rush, coming up from college into the NFL. And just the thing I always admired was his work habits. (He was) in early and worked smart on the details. So you knew he had a chance to be really good.”

Washington said the team will generate a pass rush on most downs using just the four defensive linemen.

We’re going to be a team that generates pressure with our front four,” Washington said, via PFT. “We’re going to build the best pass rush in football that happens to be an area – fortunately an area that I’ve had tremendous success with – and we have the personnel to get that done.


  • Adam Caplan of ProFootballNetwork writes Lions’ impending free agent G Jonah Jackson is the team’s “key player” to re-sign this offseason.
  • Caplan, citing a league source, reports the two sides were “not close to an agreement” last year, but that doesn’t preclude Detroit from pursuing an extension this offseason.
  • Even if the Lions re-sign WR Josh Reynolds, Caplan writes Reynolds is expected to be replaced as a full-time starter by WR Jameson Williams.
  • Caplan also expects Detroit to “significantly address” the cornerback position through free agency or the 2024 NFL Draft.
  • Aaron Wilson reports the Lions will host Toronto Argonauts CB Qwan’tez Stiggers for a top-30 visit.
  • Stiggers signed with the Argonauts after not playing any collegiate football and won the CFL’s 2023 Most Outstanding Rookie Award.


  • Packers HC Matt LaFleur talked about parting ways with former DC Joe Barry and said: “Those are tough decisions,” via Bill Huber. After interviewing plenty of replacement candidates, LaFleur said he “felt really good about what Jeff Hafley is going to bring.”
  • LaFleur talked about how new DC Jeff Hafley’s experience coaching DBs stood out in the interview process: “That was one of the most appealing things to me, was his ability to lead from the back end.” (Matt Schneidman)
  • Hafley talked about his decision to leave Boston College and noted: “It has more to do with this place, more than anything else and a big part of that is Matt. I’ve known of Matt and respected what he’s done; great coach, great leader.” (Wes Hodkiewicz)
  • Hafley mentioned numerous times how much he enjoys press-man coverage. (Schneidman)
  • LaFleur noted scheme wasn’t a huge factor in hiring Hafley. He mentioned the “style of play” was more important because his defenses are known to be “physical and relentless.” (Tom Silverstein)
  • Hafley said he wants a basic scheme so players can play “with their hair on fire.” (Huber)
  • When he was asked about switching to a 4-3 defensive front, LaFleur replied: “It will be a different scheme but it’s one I think will be easy to adjust to with the personnel we have. That’s something that was at the forefront of my mind when we went through this.” (Hodkiewicz)
  • On hiring new offensive assistant and former NFL QB Sean Mannion, LaFleur praised the first-time coach: “I love his past experience. I’ve always respected how he went about his process.” (Huber)

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