Joe Barry is anticipated to return as the defensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers, according to head coach Matt LaFleur. This announcement drew mixed reactions from Packers fans and analysts alike. One of these analysts, former Wisconsin Badgers basketball player Brian Butch, believes that the defense’s struggles were more the fault of the players, not Barry. Butch is the co-host of “Nine 2 Noon” with former Packers full back John Kuhn.
The Packers Defensive Struggles Were the Fault of the Players, Not Joe Barry
On Tuesday’s show, John Kuhn said the following:
“What we saw in that four game win streak is what the team is, what this team can be, and what this team should have been all year. But the other, let’s call it 13 games, that we saw, is not what this team is. This team is that small sample size of four games: Bears, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings. “
In response, Butch said:
“But because of that, I think everyone in that building was riding high. Thinking that they were going to make the playoffs. And they will forget about those other games. I never thought this defense was a top five defense. I thought this defense was what they were. Middle of the pack.
“I don’t think it’s a defensive coordinator issue. It’s a player issue. They re-signed Rasul Douglas. He did not play well enough. They re-signed De’Vondre Campbell. He did not play well enough. That is not a Joe Barry issue!
For crying out loud, you can put them in every scheme possible. You can put them out there to make a play. If they miss tackles, which we talked about for the majority of the season with De’Vondre Campbell. De’vondre Campbell had more missed tackles through the first five games than he did all of last year. But that’s a Joe Barry issue?”
Brian Butch Has a Point
There is no denying that the Packers coaching staff did not live up to the expectations set for them this year. From Matt LaFleur on down, no one, aside from perhaps Rich Bisaccia on special teams, did a good enough job. That being said, the coaches are not the ones out on the field. The players are.
Leadership can take many different forms. Sometimes, it is rallying the troops with a motivating speech like we see in movies. Other times, though, leaders lead through their actions. The fact of the matter is that this Packers team said all the right things. From their Week One loss to the Vikings through the rest of the season, all the right words were said. The problem was that no player on the defense consistently stepped up to make the big play on the field to lead that unit.
The big question now is this: how will that change next year?