Matt LaFleur defended the communication to the defense in Week 11
Joe Barry received a lot of backlash from Green Bay Packers fans Thursday night. The Packers’ defense surrendered 27 points to the Tennessee Titans in the loss in Week 11. That’s the most points the Titans have scored this season. The long drives the Titans could make in the first half against the Packers kept the offense from having more chances to score. The result didn’t make head coach Matt LaFleur happy.
In his Friday press conference, LaFleur discussed the defensive struggles against the Titans. He thought the Packers did well limiting running back Derrick Henry to under 100 yards rushing. He was unhappy with the execution that led to busted plays on defense that kept the Titans’ scoring drives alive. According to Matt Schneidman, LaFleur offered repeated attempts to explain where he thought the defense went wrong against the Titans.
Matt LaFleur on more defensive breakdowns: “The thing that’s disappointing is the busts, when guys don’t play their responsibility.” pic.twitter.com/q3Mg2e9qs6— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 18, 2022
LaFleur isn’t as frustrated with contested catches Titans had, like when Rudy Ford was tight on Austin Hooper on that 9-yard out route on third and 10. It’s instances in which nobody is near the pass-catcher that are irking him most. Far too many of those last night.— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) November 18, 2022
LaFleur thought the problem wasn’t the communication
LaFleur said he was frustrated with the repeated mistakes on defense. He said the Packers would need to look at potentially switching up the lineup to put players on the field, giving the defense a better chance to make a stop.
LaFleur was asked if he knew the right thing was being communicated to players or if freelancing was going on. The fourth-year Packers head coach took the opportunity to defend his coaching staff and criticize the poor outcome on the players.
“Based on what I see, it’s frustrating when I know it’s being communicated the right way and it’s just not executed the right way,” LaFleur said. He gave a pause and then added while shrugging, “So however you interpret that is, I guess, your choice.”
Between the lines: It’s the players, not Joe Barry’s playcalling, that allowed the busted coverages to happen. LaFleur is taking the side of the defensive coordinator, who has failed at that position twice over a secondary that came into the season ranked as one of the best units in the NFL. (Nevermind that players have regressed in Barry’s scheme.)
LaFleur doesn’t want to admit he screwed up with the Barry hire. It will continue to get more interesting in Green Bay for the underwhelming defense. They will prepare for the Philadelphia Eagles for a prime-time game next week. We’ll see how the players respond after this loss and the scrutiny by the coaching staff.