Safeties coach Darren Perry parts ways with Packers
GREEN BAY - Darren Perry will not remain on the Green Bay Packers' coaching staff, choosing instead to “pursue other opportunities,” the team announced Monday.
Perry has been the Packers' safeties coach since 2009. He was one of three internal candidates to replace Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, a job that ultimately was given to Mike Pettine. While fellow internal candidates Joe Whitt Jr. and Winston Moss remain on the Packers' coaching staff, Perry was granted permission to leave despite still being under contract.
“I want to thank Darren and his wife Errika for their dedication to the Packers over the last nine years,” coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement. “We wish Darren and his family all the best moving forward.”
In Green Bay, Perry oversaw 2014 first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s development into an All-Pro two seasons ago, as well as veteran Morgan Burnett’s ascension into a team leader on the back end. It’s unclear whether Burnett, a free agent this spring, will remain with the team. The combination of Perry and Burnett departing would present an even bigger leadership role for Clinton-Dix, something McCarthy called for in his season-ending news conference.
Perry reportedly was a candidate to join new Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel’s staff, potentially as defensive coordinator. He is the third position coach the Packers won’t retain from last season, joining quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. The Packers also will have new coordinators in Pettine and offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.
The Packers hired Frank Cignetti Jr. to replace Van Pelt, while Jerry Montgomery was promoted from defensive front assistant to replace Trgovac.
It’s unlikely the Packers will have a direct replacement for Perry. Whitt was promoted to defensive pass-game coordinator, while Jason Simmons was moved from assistant special teams coordinator to secondary coach. Ryan Downard, a safeties coach at Bowling Green last season, will work extensively with the Packers' secondary as a defensive quality control coach.
“There will be very few times,” Whitt said last week, “that the corners and the nickels and the safeties aren’t meeting in the same room, hearing the exact same thing all the time. Then when we work on the field, there’s going to be times where Jason might take the strong safety and one corner, I might take a free safety and one corner. Ryan might take the stars (nickel corner position), and then the next day I might just take the corners, and I might just take the safeties. The next day, I might take the safeties, and Jason – we’re going to work in a group mindset that everybody’s going to hear and understand what everybody is doing.”