Much to the fans' frustration, the Green Bay Packers will retain defensive coordinator Joe Barry until the end of the season. Head coach Matt LaFleur made it clear there will not be an in-season change at defensive coordinator.
"Yeah, that is the plan," said LaFleur on Monday.
After another embarrassing performance from the Packers' defense in Sunday's loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many wondered whether LaFleur would move on from Barry.
It's not surprising to hear LaFleur stick with Barry for the remainder of the year. There won't be significant changes to the scheme until next season. Replacing Barry with another assistant coach on the staff won't make a major difference.
What's more concerning is how LaFleur defended Barry during Monday's press conference.
Matt LaFleur defends Joe Barry despite Packers defensive struggles
Why isn't LaFleur making a change at defensive coordinator?
"If I thought that was the best solution today, then we'd make that decision," said LaFleur. "When you're having basic communication problems, and you're supposed to be in a certain coverage or certain rotation, and we're not getting that communication, that's what's so disappointing to me."
"What's disappointing is when you go out there, and it's basic concepts. Doesn't matter what phase, but basic install, like Day 1 install, and we have self-inflicted communication errors, and guys, quite frankly, not in the right spot. That's tough to watch," said LaFleur.
But who's responsible for clear communication? If it's not Barry, then LaFleur is effectively blaming the players.
Why are we seeing the same repeated mistakes on defense? It would be more understandable on offense, considering how many rookies and second-year players are starting. But the defensive leaders are experienced players.
The big question Packers fans are wondering: Why?
Why is LaFleur confident Barry can turn things around?
"I've seen us execute this stuff before," said LaFleur. "It's unfortunate that it happened at this time of the year in such an important game. I've seen us execute it."
"There's a couple of play calls I would like to have back in that game. I know there's some Joe would like to have back. In particular, some of those third-and-3-to-4-yard plays where we're playing soft zone and they can easily get a free completion."
Turn on the tape. This defense has been doing that for three seasons. It's easy to say there are plays Barry "would like to have back."
He'll call them again next week.
Joe Barry is failing despite all of the Packers defensive talent
The Packers have drafted defensive players with six of their past seven first-round picks since 2019.
Despite that, Green Bay ranks 22nd in total yards and 30th in rushing yards allowed per game this season.
The play over the past two games was particularly embarrassing.
In the loss to the New York Giants, the Packers allowed 209 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including 71 to backup quarterback Tommy DeVito. DeVito only had four incompletions all night and led an eight-play, 57-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal. It was too easy.
It went from bad to worse during Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers. No visiting quarterback at Lambeau Field had ever earned a perfect passer rating. Baker Mayfield became the first in Week 15, throwing for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
Tampa Bay matched Chris Godwin on linebacker De'Vondre Campbell throughout the contest, and Barry had no answer. We've seen Preston Smith get stuck in coverage against wide receivers this season, including Davante Adams in the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.
Sure, there are areas the Packers can improve by strengthening the roster. The secondary is worse without Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas.
But this is nothing new from Barry. This is the third season he's underachieved with this group, yet LaFleur still refuses to make a change.