Yet again, the Green Bay Packers entered the regular season with high expectations on defense. A starting lineup featuring eight first-round picks and multiple All-Pros shouldn't get embarrassed like the Packers have.
Especially not twice in three weeks.
Green Bay's defense is built to stop the pass, which is fine when you have an Aaron Rodgers-led offense building leads and making opponents one-dimensional.
Teams don't need to throw the ball often against this Packers team. After four games, Green Bay ranks 30th in run defense, allowing 155.3 rushing yards per game. Only the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos are giving up more.
The Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions ran the ball a combined 88 times against the Packers, piling up 422 rushing yards and four touchdowns at an average of 4.8 yards per attempt. Even worse is that the Packers knew they were going to run the ball and still couldn't stop it.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry is under pressure. Something needs to change, and he promised corrections moving forward.
Joe Barry promises Packers defensive improvements, and his job depends on it
Barry spoke to reporters on Monday. It didn't take long for the Packers' struggling run defense to come up, and Barry was asked about the need to make changes.
"We've got to correct it. We will correct it. We're exploring everything right now. When we're in one of those games, we have to put our foot down and stop it," said Barry.
"Every game is different. You're not going to defend 40 runs in every game, but when you're in a situation when you're in a game like that, you've got to be able to have an answer. It's my job to give our players an answer, and we will moving forward."
It's easy to say they need to put their "foot down and stop it," but it's time to prove it. None of this is new for the Packers. We've seen similar run-defense issues ever since Barry took the job. It was a problem last season. It was a problem in Week 2 against Atlanta.
Why only now, after yet another embarrassing display versus Detroit, have the Packers finally realized?
Barry plays soft coverages, and that regularly gets them burned against the run. Green Bay had two defensive linemen on the field with Detroit at the Packers' 2-yard line. Barry's play-call gave the Packers no hope against the run. What did the Lions do? Ran the ball for an easy touchdown.
Matt LaFleur stuck with Barry at the end of last year. An excellent five-game stretch to end the regular season may have saved his job. The Packers went 4-1, restricted their opponents to 17.6 points per game, and forced 12 turnovers.
But LaFleur's patience will quickly run out if the Packers don't make significant improvements on defense. Barry has promised Green Bay will "correct" things defensively.
His job will depend on it.