The 2023 Green Bay Packers surpassed most of the expectations set for them by the national media. Predicted by many to finish last in the NFC North, Green Bay put together a 9-8 record thanks to three-consecutive wins to end the the regular season. Not only did these wins give them a winning record, they also propelled them into the NFL Playoffs where they upset the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round.
Much of their success in the regular season was also because Jordan Love exceeded everyone’s expectations in his first year as the starting quarterback. When the decision was made to trade Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, many expected the offense to take a step back. That, however, was not the case.
Love and the offense certainly had their struggles at various points in the season, but the young group of pass catchers’ chemistry with their quarterback eventually led to the kind of exciting plays fans have expected from LaFleur’s offense.
One area of the team that did not meet expectations was the defense. Sure, they finished ninth in points allowed, but they were also one of the worst run defenses in the NFL and gave up numerous game-winning drives throughout the season and in the playoffs. This was supposed to be a unit that carried the team due to the number of veterans and former first round picks on it. That, unfortunately, did not happen.
The Green Bay Packers Fired Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Packers made the decision to fire defensive coordinator Joe Barry this morning:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 24, 2024
Barry’s firing came after his defense allowed Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers offense to march down the field late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional round. The result of the drive was a touchdown that gave the 49ers the lead and, eventually, the win.
After the Packers’ victory in Carolina, a 33-30 embarrassment that saw Barry’s defense give up 30 points to the worst offense in the NFL, head coach Matt LaFleur told the media that he himself would be taking more control of the defense. Barry’s poor defensive schemes hurt the team too often this season, as they have in past seasons, and it was time to make a change.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur Releases a Statement Regarding the Firing of Joe Barry
Coach LaFleur released the following statement via the Packers’ website:
“We want to thank Joe for his commitment and contributions to our success the past three seasons. These decisions are extremely difficult and Joe is one of the best men I’ve had the opportunity to work with in this league.”
It is well-known across the NFL that Barry is one of the best human beings in the game. He is likeable and players love playing for him.
Unfortunately, a winning personality does not always translate to winning on the field, and the Packers will be looking for someone who can bring more intensity to the defense.