Packers plan to hire Joe Barry as defensive coordinator

Joe Barry (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Joe Barry (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers‘ search for their new defensive coordinator is over.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Matt LaFleur is turning to a coach he’s worked with in the past, Los Angeles Rams assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Barry.

Not the choice many were expecting, and likely not the most popular hire among Packers fans, but Barry does bring plenty of experience to the role and LaFleur knows him well having worked with him in the past.

The fact Sean McVay promoted him to assistant head coach is another encouraging sign to take away from the hire.

However, it’s hard to look past his track record as a defensive coordinator. Barry was defensive coordinator in Detroit from 2007-’08 and Washington from 2015-’16. It, well, didn’t go all that well.

With the Lions, Barry’s defenses ranked No. 32 both years. His Washington defenses ranked No. 28 both seasons.

Talent does need to be factored in. For example, in 2008 the Lions went 0-16. He wasn’t given much talent to work with as defensive coordinator.

The hope will be that with a young, talented defense in Green Bay, Barry will be able to get the best out of them and help this group improve.

Despite Barry’s record as a defensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur deserves the benefit of the doubt for this hire. LaFleur has given us many reasons to trust his decision-making, including his 26-6 regular season record and the fact he’s taken the Packers to consecutive NFC Championship Games in his first two years as head coach.

LaFleur has already made some good hires to his staff. Take Nathaniel Hackett as an example. As offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, Hackett’s offenses ranked in the bottom 10 twice in three years. But he’s been a home-run hire for the Packers.

LaFleur knows Barry having worked with him and now interviewed him for the job. And the fact McVay made him assistant head coach also says a lot.

On paper, it sure feels like a head-scratching move. But, then, so did hiring LaFleur in 2019 when more popular candidates included Josh McDaniels and, yes, Adam Gase.

Hopefully Barry can be the man to turn this defense into a strength.