Joe Barry continues to take heat from the Green Bay Packers fanbase, which is understandable when his defense allowed over 200 rushing yards for the third time this season.
But this is year three for Barry. As much as he deserves the blame for many of the defense's shortcomings, head coach Matt LaFleur is equally responsible. He hired Barry, retained him after two disappointing seasons, and still isn't making the necessary changes.
What does that tell us? Barry's scheme is what LaFleur wants. There's no other explanation. The Packers continuing to roll out soft coverages and light boxes to predictably bad results on a weekly basis is a bad look for LaFleur, even if it's Barry calling the plays in the booth.
And LaFleur's recent comments seem to back that up.
Matt LaFleur fires back at criticism over Packers defensive scheme
One of the main criticisms from the Week 10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was the light boxes the Packers played with, even in obvious running situations.
That included a first-and-goal from the four-yard line. The Packers had two "down linemen" on the field. It was an incredibly light box, and Steelers running back Najee Harris could've walked into the end zone.
Just don't tell LaFleur that.
"That is baffling to me, when people talk nickel defense, and they talk about two down linemen because I don't know what that means," said LaFleur.
LaFleur stressed that they didn't play with two defensive linemen because they consider outside linebackers to be defensive linemen when they are in nickel.
"When you go nickel defense, those outside linebackers become defensive ends. And the way we always judge it, would you want a running back blocking that guy? Would you want a running back blocking Preston Smith? Would you want a running back blocking Rashan Gary? The answer is usually no. So they are defensive linemen," LaFleur added.
"I think it's comical when I hear talk about, 'Oh, they have two down linemen.' To me, people are exposing themselves when they say that. There are four defensive linemen on the field."
LaFleur gave a good explanation, and what he said makes sense. However, it doesn't matter if they are called outside linebackers or defensive ends. The fact still remains. The Packers are playing light boxes, even in obvious running situations, and they are getting burned.
Go back to the first-and-goal example from the four-yard line. Green Bay couldn't have made life any easier for a Pittsburgh offense wanting to run the football. Harris was untouched as he ran into the end zone. It doesn't get any easier than that in the NFL.
Unfortunately, it's a regular pattern for this Packers team. In games against the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Steelers, Green Bay has given up 627 yards and six touchdowns on 124 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per attempt.
Teams that are willing to go run-heavy against the Packers find success. Those three opponents averaged 41.3 attempts against the Packers. They kept running the ball until Green Bay proved it could stop it. Spoiler: They couldn't.
LaFleur provided some interesting insight into the Packers' defensive scheme, but the plan clearly isn't working. The outcome remains the same whether you believe it's two down linemen or four. But they continue to make the same mistakes.