After their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the Green Bay Packers decided that it was time for a change. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s contract was not renewed and he walked free. While many Packer fans were far from fans of Pettine’s inconsistent defense, we were very anxious to see who would take over.
Would it be Wade Phillips, former coach with Matt LaFleur? He is a defensive coordinator with more top-10 seasons than most other coordinators have years in the league. Maybe Kris Ricard? The defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks who was a part of the glory years of the “Legion of Boom?” We got our answer today, and it’s somewhat of a head scratcher. The new defensive coordinator of the Packers is Joe Barry.
Background of Joe Barry
Even though Barry is only 50 years old, he does have ample coaching experience overall. However, it’s mostly as a linebacker coach. Barry was most recently the assistant head coach and linebackers coach with the Los Angeles Rams. The only problem is that Barry has been a defensive coordinator for all of four seasons. Two of those were with the Detroit Lions, and two with the then-Washington Redskins. Barry likes to run a 3-4 defense (three linemen and four linebackers), which is the same as Pettine.
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Struggles in Detroit
While the Detroit Lions were nowhere even near competent in terms of talent and coaching, Barry’s defenses were still pretty shameful. In total defense, the Lions ranked dead last in yards and points against in both 2007 and 2008. While they were third in the league in takeaways in 2007, they tumbled all the way down to 26th the very next season. His defenses were 23rd and dead last in rushing yards, respectively, and 31st and 27th in passing yards given up as well. Again, the Lions didn’t exactly have talent bursting at the seams, but this is still the NFL and these are still NFL players.
Joe Barry in Washington
Barry got a second chance as a defensive coordinator in the NFL with Washington, from 2015-16. His defenses were better than those in Detroit, but not by much. I will again emphasize that much like in Detroit, Washington didn’t have a ton of talent. With that being said, it’s hard to defend his stats as well. His defenses ranked 28th in yards allowed for both seasons and 17th and 19th, respectively, in points against. Not great. His rushing defense was never higher than 24th, and his passing defense was never higher than 25th.
Why Joe Barry?
The Packers had a plethora of options to choose from. This position was unequivocally the most enticing defensive coordinator opening in the NFL. While their first choice, Wisconsin Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, was offered the job and declined, it’s hard to see why resume-wise the Packers couldn’t even hire someone average. I get this decision was up to Matt LaFleur, and Pettine was never his pick, but it seems like he put a lot more emphasis on a personal relationship than actual ability as a defensive coordinator.
As a Packer fan myself, it’s important to give this guy a chance. He’s never truly been in a good system with good players, so maybe that’s all he needs. With that being said, his track record as previously mentioned is questionable at best. While we will have to wait until September to see how this all pans out, it will surely be one of the most talked about hirings of the offseason. If there is one good thing to take away from this my fellow Packer fans, it’s that, looking at his track record, if the trend continues, he’ll only be around for two years before we do this all over again.
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