The Green Bay Packers, specifically head coach Matt LaFleur, have made the decision to fire embattled and unpopular defensive coordinator Joe Barry. According to earlier reports, Barry was still under contract, so the Packers could not simply let him walk away. Seeing that a change was needed, LaFleur made the decision to fire the man he hired in 2021 after then Wisconsin Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, turned the job down.
With Barry gone, the next order of business is to find a new defensive coordinator. While the Packers are late to participating in this year’s hiring cycle, there are still plenty of quality names available. It is also worth noting that the defensive coordinator position for the Green Bay Packers is a highly coveted position among NFL coaching circles.
Of course, Coach LaFleur will [hopefully] do his due diligence and look into all qualified candidates. That being said, a decision should be made sooner rather than later so that they do not lose out on any candidates that may not be willing to wait.
One coach that is being named as a defensive coordinator candidate for several teams is former Packers cornerback Al Harris, and he is now on Green Bay fans’ radar as well.
Green Bay Packers Fans Want Al Harris to Take Over for Joe Barry as Defensive Coordinator
Al Harris is currently the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys, a position he has held since 2020. According to the Cowboys’ website:
“The Cowboys hired Al Harris to assist in coaching the defensive backs in 2020. Harris brings a wealth of knowledge to the Cowboys, spending the last 11 years in coaching at both the collegiate and professional levels after finishing a 15-year NFL career as a prolific secondary player, earning two Pro Bowl nods and an All-Pro selection.
“Under Harris’ watch, second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs experienced a meteoric rise during the 2021 season, becoming one of the best players at his position as he led the NFL with a franchise-high tying 11 interceptions.”
Harris’ work with the Dallas defensive backs, plus his status as a Packers Hall of Famer, have made him a popular name among fans when it comes to who the next defensive coordinator should be:
Hire the coach, not the scheme. Al Harris played for Jim Johnson and Steve Spagnuolo.
He has a diverse background in the NFL. I love when coaches have that. https://t.co/mUKLpOYsOz
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) January 24, 2024
Al Harris https://t.co/Y7mqB8zrTx
— KMK (@nbdyfllwsakilla) January 24, 2024
It’s time to bring Al Harris home for his first DC job 💚💛 pic.twitter.com/gqiorc9vFP
— Trenten Scheidegger (@TrentScheids) January 24, 2024
Packers should get Al Harris for sure
— Petty Hardaway ♐️ (@JR_vs_Kelvin) January 24, 2024
AL HARRIS YOU ARE A GREEN BAY PACKER
— mase (@ReedForSix) January 24, 2024
Should the Green Bay Packers Bring in Al Harris to Replace Joe Barry?
There is no denying the fact that Harris has been a very good defensive backs coach for the Cowboys. It also cannot be denied that he was an excellent cornerback when he played. However, the Packers should be cautious about hiring a first-time coordinator this time around.
The fact of the matter is the Matt LaFleur botched his defensive coordinator hiring in 2021 when he chose Barry over Ejiro Evero and Chris Harris. Sure, Jim Leonhard turned him down, but LaFleur then went with a coach that he knew and was friendly with.
The Packers went 9-8 and were minutes away from the NFC Championship with a young offense that did not figure out how to play together until Thanksgiving and with a defense that woefully lacked leadership and intensity. In other words, their Super Bowl window is open again.
Furthermore, LaFleur was able to make up for his failure of picking a good defensive coordinator by developing Jordan Love into the next franchise quarterback. Now that Love is established, the rest of the team’s future, at least for the next few years, is going to rely on LaFleur getting this hire right.
Whoever it is will be his third defensive coordinator in six years. It’s time to find the right one.