The Green Bay Packers are searching for a new defensive coordinator. Earlier on Wednesday morning, head coach Matt LaFleur made the decision to fire Joe Barry, the unpopular defensive coordinator, after three seasons. During Barry’s tenure in Green Bay, the Packers’ defense woefully underperformed for a unit that boasts eight former first round picks and the majority of the team’s salary cap.
Of course, Barry was not LaFleur’s first choice for defensive coordinator in 2021. That would have been former Wisconsin Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, who turned to the job down to stay in Madison. What followed were three frustrating seasons that saw fans constantly calling for Barry’s job.
Well, it finally happened. LaFleur will be searching for his third defensive coordinator in six seasons after having Mike Pettine on staff when he first took over. Unfortunately, neither Pettine nor Barry left the team because they were offered jobs on other teams. Both were let go because their defenses under performed.
It is imperative, therefore, that LaFleur gets this next hire right. He has already come under fire among fans for his poor hiring decisions. Failing to lock in a strong candidate this time around would only fuel those sentiments. Fortunately, there are plenty of good candidates available.
NFL Insider Names 2 Defensive Coordinator Candidates with Previous Ties to the Green Bay Packers
Many Packers fans have already expressed their interest in former Green Bay cornerback Al Harris, who is in the team’s Hall of Fame. He is currently the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys, but could be on the market if Dan Quinn gets hired elsewhere.
However, Harris is not the only potential candidate with ties to the Packers organization. NFL insider Jeremy Fowler posted two other candidates that are familiar to the Packers:
On #Packers DC search, a few names with ties to the team:
*Jerry Gray: #Falcons AHC w/ G.B. from 2020-22, still has many fans in the building. Could go to Jax with Ryan Nielsen.
*Chris Harris: #Titans PGC interviewed well with G.B. in 2021, in mix for DC positions this cycle
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) January 24, 2024
Gray, of course, was the Packers’ previous cornerbacks coach and passing game coordinator. He interviewed for the defensive coordinator job in 2021, but was passed over. His disdain for Barry led him to leave the team for a position with the Atlanta Falcons.
As Fowler notes, Chris Harris also interviewed for the opening in 2021. By all accounts, he interviewed very well. The Chicago Bears have recently interviewed him for their defensive coordinator opening as well.