Missing the playoffs puts a lot of pressure on NFL coaches. The Green Bay Packers coaching staff will feel the heat during the 2023 season after a disappointing 8-9 record last year. The Packers went into the season expecting to be a Super Bowl contender. They finished the season being knocked out of a playoff spot with a loss to the Detroit Lions at home in week 18. A Packers insider thinks defensive coordinator Joe Barry is on the hot seat heading into next season.
The Packers’ defense underperformed to expectations in 2022. Head coach Matt LaFleur repeatedly defended Barry to the press. LaFleur felt players weren’t executing the plays properly after being clearly communicated to by Barry and his staff. Many Packers fans wanted Barry fired, if not before the end of last season, but certainly after. But LaFleur chose not to make any major staff changes.
Insider thinks the Green Bay Packers’ defense must improve
Matt Schneidman with The Athletic recently wrote a response to a fan asking about Barry’s job security heading into the 2023 season. Schneidman thinks Barry could be fired if the defense doesn’t play better:
“Whether the Packers use a first-round pick on a defensive player or not, this has to be Barry’s last chance to save his job. Over the last two seasons, the Packers are 18th in the NFL in defensive expected points added per snap and 13th in points allowed per game. Those aren’t awful. However, they also rank 32nd in defensive rush EPA per snap, which is atrocious. Their pass defense is better, ranking ninth in defensive pass EPA per dropback in that span, and they are tied for the fourth-most interceptions over the last two seasons.
The numbers across the board should be far more consistent — and in most cases better — considering the individual talent on that side of the ball. Yes, it has been Rodgers and the offense who have faltered more in the biggest games, but Barry’s defense has been far too hot and cold over the last two seasons for Barry’s leash to extend beyond 2023 if the trend continues this year.”
Keeping Barry on this team makes sense to me. The Packers are rebuilding this offseason, and the defense could be without significant contributors on the defensive line and at safety this season. Firing Barry this offseason would have been unfair to the incoming defensive coordinator. They wouldn’t have had enough talent to make the defense a force next season. The move could potentially backfire on LaFleur if not enough progress were made on defense.
Giving Barry another year on this team won’t hurt a Packers Super Bowl run. This season can give LaFleur more probable cause to terminate Barry next offseason when the team can add more talented pieces to create a better unit with a better defensive coordinator. LaFleur will then have a patsy after a 2023 transition year. After missing the playoffs in January and losing Aaron Rodgers in March, LaFleur needs to buy all the time he can at the start of the Love era.
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