Jim Leonhard passes on chance to become Packers’ defensive coordinator

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Northwestern at Wisconsin
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The Packers will have plenty of changes in 2021. One of them will not entail adding Jim Leonhard to Matt LaFleur’s coaching staff.

Per multiple reports, Leonhard turned down a chance to become the next defensive coordinator in Green Bay. Instead, he’ll continue to serve as defensive coordinator at Wisconsin.

It was me choosing UW,” Leonhard told Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal. “I want to stay at UW. I want to be at this level right now. Extremely flattered. Awesome opportunity. But it was not the right time for me to go back to the NFL.”

Leonard, 38, spent 10 seasons in the NFL as an undersized defensive back. He became defensive backs coach at Wisconsin in 2016, and he added the defensive coordinator title in 2017.

69 responses to “Jim Leonhard passes on chance to become Packers’ defensive coordinator

  1. He wanted to stay at UW making millions less…..oooorrrrrr…….he knows Green Bay is where DCs go to die!

  2. Can’t really blame him. It doesn’t make sense to leave just to coach less talented players and inevitably become the next scapegoat for our incompetent head coach.

  3. Stupid he aint. Ya his heart might be at Wisconsin but he’s not taking on the task of trying to make the pack defense better with all the lack of talent they have.
    No one is going to make slow safeties and corners faster. No one is going to get the corners to play better even though all have had at least 3 seasons of learning.
    They have no real linebackers you ever heard of and the pass rush got old very fast this year with the Smiths gasping for air all season long.
    No this is a multi year project and only if the GM drafts some talent.

  4. I remember Leonhard when he fist stepped on the field as an undersized rookie at Bills training camp. Always loved his ‘try hard’ but laughed at his utter reliability in always being one step late in making plays and supporting the CBs. It was uncanny how he knew what to do, but didn’t have the ability to do it.

    Translating that into a 10-year career is a testiment to his smarts and character, as he sure didn’t have a lot of natural talent.

    Glad to see that coaching is where he’ll make his real mark.

  5. He didn’t want to be the next fall guy for Rogers failures

    When you D gets you EIGHT turnovers in two conference championship games you should win at least one of them.

  6. arealisticpackerfan says:
    February 6, 2021 at 11:41 am
    Can’t really blame him. It doesn’t make sense to leave just to coach less talented players and inevitably become the next scapegoat for our incompetent head coach.

    //////////.

    I know you’re just trolling. We all do it, maybe none better than Packers vs Vikings fans.

    But I do wonder, after you’ve posted and are feeling good about yourself – and maybe text your best buddy a picture of your clever post – what happens when you realize you’re comparing the most iconic team in the game’s history (with a full trophy case) to yours? Is it tough? Do you get it?

    Asking for a friend.

  7. Wow! Leonhard is a great coordinator. Still, lots of work and growth remains for him at the UW. He’ll have his pick of NFL DC and NCAA HC gigs in the next few years.

  8. For those saying he turned down the job because he didn’t want to go to a poor franchise he has turned down other opportunities in the past. His goal is to be head coach of the Badgers.

  9. You know your organization is a dumpster fire when you get passed up for a college gig! No one wants to join that sinking ship.

  10. I’m disappointed, but he’ll be in the NFL when he decides he wants to be. He’ll be great once he gets there. People have been underestimating him since he was a freshman walk-on in Madison.

  11. Not surprising.
    He’s a Wisconsin boy through and through and the heir apparent to take over and lead the Badgers when Paul Chryst finally decides to step down.
    I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but we all get it.

  12. Jim Leonhard was an overlooked and underrated safety, partly due to his size, and partly because he’s white… but it’s awesome to see him flourishing post-playing career, and being in control of his own destiny

  13. Smart choice. Hone your skills and make the leap at a good opportunity. Rodgers wants more money which will cost the D skill players. Back to one and done Rodgers. Get them stats aAron.

  14. It’s a no-lose situation for football fans in Wisconsin. Would have been nice to see what Leonhard could do as an NFL coordinator, but not a bad thing to have him back in the fold of the Wisconsin Badgers.

  15. Part of me is dissapointed but then again Leonhard makes more than most nfl coordinators and is a stallwort on the recruiting trail. Him going to Green Bay would have hurt the Badgers more than it would have helped the Packers. I have heard that Chryst does not want to coach for a long time and I’m pretty confident they have a handshake agreement that Leonhard will take over the Badger program when Chryst decides to retire. I understand his decision.

  16. No salary cap in college football….plus he’s got a good gig in Madison and is the heir apparent to Chryst

  17. Coach free from common sense must be going bonkers! He said it was a guarantee! Silly trolls

  18. Lets see,

    1. Bottom feeder defense, check
    2. Traditionally horrific, check
    3. No pro bowl talent, check

    Rest my case you honor!

  19. Weird, the Badgers head coach isn’t that old, so a succession plan doesn’t appear to be the reason. Maybe he just wants to stick to the college game, or not live in Green Bay.

  20. Leonhard is a UW guy. He has a pretty nice gig and can probably stay there until he retires. Name any NFL job where a coach can go and stay until he retires. I’m sure he makes enough money and probably enjoys his job a much more than trying to coach the spoiled brats in the NFL who only care about money.

  21. edenprairieballer says:
    February 6, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    You know your organization is a dumpster fire when you get passed up for a college gig! No one wants to join that sinking ship.

    ++++++

    It’s better than the DC quitting just because he knows 15 draft picks did nothing to add talent to the defense.

  22. Green Bay gets defensive coordinators fired almost as much as Russell Wilson gets offensive coordinators fired.

  23. Jim’s aware that next year is without a single doubt Super Bowl or Bust for Matt Lafluer . Therefore , just wait until the Green Bay Head Coach position becomes available …next year ! Smart man.

  24. The amount of handwringing interest the Packers DC decision is generating amongst the purple trolls is amusing.
    I just want to dispel a few misnomers I’ve been reading lately.

    Mike Pettine was never anyone’s scapegoat, nor was he fired, his contract simply ran out and was not renewed.
    It’s really as simple as that.
    Though he was a clear upgrade over Dom Capers last few years, it’s time for another fresh approach.
    Packer fans are obviously excited about this prospect.
    If you’re not improving you’re falling behind.

    With Leonhard taking himself out of consideration, I would imagine that Rams’ Safeties Coach, Ejiro Evero, would top their list.
    He’ll be inheriting the NFL’s 9th ranked defense with a lot of young talented pieces to mold.
    He’s part of a coaching staff that was tops in the league.
    If Evero does in fact get the job, it’ll be interesting to see him put his own personal spin on this unit.

  25. I can’t blame him for not wanting to build a good D just to watch the QB choke it all away every time it mattered

  26. Don’t know why any talented DC would go to GB. Their defenses have been far below average ever since Reggie White left. But what do you expect when you have a 43-member “Board of Directors” sticking their collective noses in football operations?

  27. flash1224 says:
    February 6, 2021 at 12:05 pm
    He didn’t want to be the next fall guy for Rogers failures

    When you D gets you EIGHT turnovers in two conference championship games you should win at least one of them.
    ———————————
    In the game a couple weeks ago when the Packers forced 3 turnovers they got a TD off one. The others they went 3 and out both times because their O line got manhandled by the Bucs elite pass rush for easy sacks on Rodgers. Losing Bakhtiari came back to haunt the Packers, I don’t see him letting that happen. Also hard to blame Rodgers for the HC’s conservative play calling in both the 2014 and 2020 NFCCG. The loss in 2014 was also because of a bonehead decision by that Bostick dude, which resulted in a successful onside kick.

  28. and inevitably become the next scapegoat for our incompetent head coach.
    —–
    Possible COY candidate both years and more wins in his first two seasons than any other HC in our history. Try again.

  29. He doesn’t want to be blamed for next season’s premature playoff exit.
    —-
    Final four is premature? Some of you are just dumb.

  30. This could be a blessing in disguise for The Pack.
    Maybe they will do much better with an experienced NFL DC, if they get that, instead of a rookie college one.

  31. The Packers are going to need to trade up in the first round to draft a 4th round QB so Rodgers is motivated for next year. No wonder he passed.

  32. After watching how the previous dc was made the fall guy why would anyone want by that job? They are going to need to settle for an untalented stooge

  33. Wow. A lot of dumb comments. Leonard didn’t want the job because he realized he is not ready to do the job. We can assume he said the job was offered, but that would be a reach. There is no way a college assistant would say “no thanks” if offered a coordinator job at the nfl level. “WHY WOULD I WANT TO MAKE 40 GRAND A WEEK WHEN I CAN MAKE THAT IN A YEAR COACHING COLLEGE BALL?”

  34. slyder1969 says:
    February 6, 2021 at 3:30 pm
    “WHY WOULD I WANT TO MAKE 40 GRAND A WEEK WHEN I CAN MAKE THAT IN A YEAR COACHING COLLEGE BALL?”
    ——————————————-

    Except he also made just under $9.2 million in the NFL _and_ earns just under $470K/year at Wisconsin.

    So while he could earn more in the NFL, he’s making a delibrate decision not to.

  35. He probably sees what I said after that debacle of game management. This is going to snowball on this coach, and he won’t be there much longer. I have no idea how he gets that locker room to trust him after that type of decision making late in a game to go to the Super Bowl. It’s why I would have yanked the Band-Aid off now and fired him now.

  36. No body wants to be the next scapegoat. By the way, yeah you won trophies, good for you. But, what have you done for me lately.

  37. wonderwoman1265 says:
    February 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm
    @PatriotsTim
    Leonard makes 1.1 million with the Badgers.
    ——————————————
    Thanks — I did not realize I was looking at the 2018 payroll data.

  38. This is a disaster! They’ve fired their D coordinator and have no real plan for how to replace him!

    They’re mentioning Joe Barry??!! We’ve seen that train wreak in D.C.!

    Meanwhile, Wade Phillips who won a Super Bowl despite Peyton Manning being 1/2 of him self not 5 years ago is out there begging for a job?! Some things just don’t make any sense!

  39. qckappa says:
    February 6, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    No body wants to be the next scapegoat. By the way, yeah you won trophies, good for you. But, what have you done for me lately.
    **********
    Or, another way to look at it, what have you done for me ever?!? 😂

  40. Why leave when you know the coach and coordinators will all be fired after one season after Rodgers retires. Love couldn’t even win the backup QB job.

  41. Not sure if it was mentioned but Leonhard is a Wisconsin alum so it’s understandable he has a strong affinity for his alma mater.

  42. Back to back NFC Championship game appearances. Hall of Fame QB not slowing down. And a 38 year old college coach (at a second rate school no less) turns down the opportunity to be the difference and next year’s hot young NFL head coaching candidate? Yikes!

  43. arealisticpackerfan says:
    February 6, 2021 at 11:41 am
    Can’t really blame him. It doesn’t make sense to leave just to coach less talented players and inevitably become the next scapegoat for our incompetent head coach.
    ————————————————————————————
    Mike Zimmer wanted him?

  44. obesedude says:
    February 6, 2021 at 7:09 pm
    Not sure if it was mentioned but Leonhard is a Wisconsin alum
    -/———
    Also his family are Bears fans, so it’s not like this was some childhood dream to move to Green Bay.

  45. For people claiming he’s the heir apparent at UW, Paul Chryst is 55 years old and doesn’t seem like he’s contemplating retirement. Is Leonhard willing to wait atleast 10 years?

  46. This is a disaster! They’ve fired their D coordinator and have no real plan for how to replace him!

    They’re mentioning Joe Barry??!! We’ve seen that train wreak in D.C.!

    Meanwhile, Wade Phillips who won a Super Bowl despite Peyton Manning being 1/2 of him self not 5 years ago is out there begging for a job?! Some things just don’t make any sense!
    ——————————————————————————————

    The Packers would never consider Wade Phillips. They have to pick someone you never heard of. They are always trying to outsmart everyone else and it backfires. Always picking up someone you never heard of. Otherwise it’s a friend of friend to fill positions.

  47. I’ll say it again for the 3rd year in a row. One and done or just maybe 2 and done. Flower, Gute and Murf all need to go as they are all incompetent!

  48. cant blame him… college coaching is easier on the family than NFL… plus Barry will be retiring in a couple of years and Chryst is the heir apparent for the AD position… making Leonhard our next Head Coach. BY 2024, Book it.

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