Following Joe Barry's departure, the Green Bay Packers have an opportunity to create a new defensive identity.
Head coach Matt LaFleur wanted to run a Vic Fangio-style defense in 2021, which led him to hire Joe Barry three years ago. It didn't work. The Packers must go in another direction and not settle for more of the same.
However, the first reported interview for the vacant defensive coordinator job is underwhelming.
According to The Athletic's Matt Schneidman and Dianna Russini, the Packers are interviewing former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley for the role.
Staley ran a system similar to Barry's in Los Angeles. Barry also worked as part of Staley's defensive staff with the Los Angeles Rams.
It would be an underwhelming move for the Packers and one they must avoid.
Hiring Brandon Staley would show Packers coach Matt LaFleur hasn't learned
The Packers don't need more of the same. Staley wouldn't give this defense the change in philosophy it needs, and his system would likely ensure many of Green Bay's defensive issues don't improve.
Barry received criticism for playing too many soft coverages, giving wide receivers too much cushion on third downs, and making quarterbacks' lives comfortable. The Packers also couldn't stop the run.
That perfectly describes Staley's defense.
Los Angeles ranked 28th in yards allowed per game, 30th against the pass, and 17th against the run this year. They also finished 24th in scoring defense. The Packers ranked 27th in defensive DVOA. The Chargers were only slightly better, finishing 26th.
Staley has previous success as a defensive coordinator, leading the Rams' No. 1-ranked defense in 2020. It's what helped him land the Chargers' head coach gig in 2021. However, that's Staley's only NFL experience as a defensive coordinator, and he led a defense filled with superstars, including Aaron Donald.
His Chargers defenses featured talented players like Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Khalil Mack. But, like the Packers, the group significantly underperformed.
LaFleur has an opportunity to completely transform the Packers' defense. Hiring Staley would prove he learned nothing from the Barry era.