Packers worst offseason moves No. 1: Sticking with Joe Barry
Based on talent alone, the Packers easily have a top-10 defense. With Pro Bowlers and first-rounders at every level, many projected Green Bay's defense to rank inside the top five last season.
In reality, they were nowhere near. The Packers were 17th in the league for yards allowed. Their run defense was a major issue all season, ranking 26th.
A lot of the blame falls on defensive coordinator Joe Barry. In Week 1, he surprisingly didn't allow Jaire Alexander to follow Justin Jefferson. The outcome? Jefferson made nine catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns.
Green Bay often played with soft coverages and regularly paid the price by giving up easy completions. Defensive backs would often sit deep, well past the first-down line, even in crucial third-down situations.
The defense did show significant improvements later in the season. They were more aggressive, forced turnovers, and limited opposing offenses. Having allowed 23.58 points per game in the Packers' 4-8 start, they allowed just 17.6 points per game in their 4-1 finish to the year.
Barry learned his lesson from the Week 1 matchup, allowing Alexander to shadow Jefferson regularly in the second game versus Minnesota. Jefferson only made one catch in the game and was shut down by Alexander.
However, when the pressure was on, Barry's defense went back to its old ways. The Packers had to stop the Lions from picking up a yard on fourth down to save their season, but instead played soft coverage. The result was an easy first-down catch to end the game.
Barry's defense underachieved, and the defense kept making the same mistakes. Even after weeks of improved play, they returned to the frustrating soft coverages in Week 18, and their season ended as a result.
Brian Flores and Vic Fangio were available. They took defensive coordinator jobs this offseason. Matt LaFleur's decision to stick with Barry is a huge mistake.