The Green Bay Packers have lost two games in a row to teams that they, in reality, should have beaten. Despite all three phases of the team playing poorly against the New York Giants for most of the game, Jordan Love and the offense gave the Packers the lead with less than two minutes remaining, Joe Barry’s defense, however, allowed Tommy DeVito and the Giants offense to march down the field to kick the game winning field goal as time expired.
This past Sunday, Barry’s defense put on an embarrassing display, allowing Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield to throw four touchdown passes through their soft coverage. The two losses had Packers fans on social media clamoring for Barry to be fired, but head coach Matt LaFleur stated Monday that he has no current plans to make any changes to his coaching staff.
It appears that it is not just fans that are tired of Barry’s defense. Earlier this week, inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell posted on X (formerly Twitter):
Not going out my way anymore and I’m not playing through injuries anymore cause when shit goes wrong they always use it against you. I’m treating everyone accordingly and giving them the same energy they giving me. Focus on yourself and your mental 59 you owe it to yourself 🤝🏿
— De’Vondre Campbell (@Came_Along_Way) December 19, 2023
Campbell’s post came after both LaFleur and Barry blamed the players and poor communication for the defense’s latest struggles. Some fans also have openly questioned whether Jaire Alexander’s absence from the field on gameday over the past six weeks is due to his displeasure with the embattled defensive coordinator (a notion that both Alexander and LaFleur have denied).
Following practice on Wednesday, both LaFleur and Campbell addressed the buzz surrounding the 2021 First Team All Pro’s post.
Green Bay Packers Inside Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell Will Not Clarify His Comments
When Campbell first made the post, many wondered if it was directed at Packers coaches (specifically Joe Barry) or at fans who were ruthless in their criticism of him and the team after their loss on Sunday. Packers media members had hoped to gain some clarity on his post when he was interviewed following practice on Wednesday, but Campbell would not provide any:
Campbell’s response to this today in the locker room: “I’m not answering no questions about nothing that happened on the internet. You all want to talk about the Panthers, we can. But I ain’t answering no questions about nothing on no internet.” https://t.co/BAT8sKMMMo
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) December 20, 2023
For what it is worth, Campbell’s wife “liked” the following posts on X:
Barry put him in coverage against an impossible mission all day. He should be pissed if Matt’s not gonna make a change it’s time for him to go
— Albert Epstein (@ad608) December 20, 2023
Maybe the ass DC should take some accountability for once
— 💚 💛 🏈 Brooke (fan account) ⌚️🏀🏒 (@_Brooke22) December 20, 2023
Keeping LB on a fast WR is always going to make the LB look bad, plus if a LB is covering a WR the whole damn game he’s going to get gassed….which leads to more mistakes/bad plays by the LB. This is 100% on JB.
— Critical Thinking American (@PatrickGuiett) December 19, 2023
While those “likes” are from his wife and not him, it is reasonable to suppose that these reflect the attitude of Campbell and other players on the the Green Bay defense.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Addresses the De’Vondre Campbell Post
If Packers fans have learned anything about Matt LaFleur during his tenure as the Packers head coach, it is that he does not typically take controversial topics head on during his media availability if he can avoid it. Instead of commenting on the obvious disconnect between the players and Barry insinuated by Campbell’s post, he blamed it on Campbell’s frustration with his recent injuries:
“The first six years of his career he didn’t miss a game, and now the last two years he’s been on and off the injury report and I think that comes with a lot of frustrations when you’re not at your best injury wise,” says Matt LaFleur on #Packers LB De’Vondre Campbell. pic.twitter.com/vWXjJQa5sd
— MJ Hurley (@mjhurleytdt) December 20, 2023
It should be noted that, whatever frustrations Campbell has with Barry, they do not appear to include LaFleur. Campbell did not practice on Wednesday in an effort, as LaFleur stated, to get his body right. Campbell spoke to reporters about the situation as well:
De’Vondre Campbell on time off #Packers coach Matt LaFleur granted this week: “I appreciate Matt, for sure. That’s my guy. I’ve known him for awhile. So I definitely appreciate him.”
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) December 20, 2023
LaFleur also stated that he had an open meeting with defensive players so they could voice their concerns over how the defense was called on Sunday.
Hopefully it works, and hopefully LaFleur being more present in defensive planning will improve that phase of the game.