When the Green Bay Packers announced that Joe Barry had been hired as their new defensive coordinator, many fans were less than thrilled. After all, Barry reportedly had not even been the Packers’ first choice for the job. Wisconsin’s own Jim Leonhard turned down the position to stay as the defensive coordinator in Madison. In his previous stops, Washington and Detroit, Joe Barry’s defenses were far from great. In fact, they were far from average. However, with the Green Bay Packers, Joe Barry finally has the talent appropriate for his schemes. Under his leadership, several players have had career seasons. Here, we are going to highlight three impressive individual seasons and how Joe Barry helped them reach new levels in their games.
When the Green Bay Packers brought back Kevin King this season, many fans were less than thrilled. Of course, the long touchdown he gave up right before halftime of the NFC Championship Game sticks out in the minds of many. Other critiques of his game include being a poor tackler, an inability to stay healthy, and giving up long pass plays.
Speaking to the injuries, there is not much that can be done by Joe Barry. Sometimes, a player’s body just will not cooperate. This season, Kevin King has been limited to just nine games. In fact, he has never been able to play a full healthy season.
However, one dramatic improvement occurred in King’s game this season: his tackling. Joe Barry has made the Green Bay Packers into the best tackling team in the NFL. A testament to how much of an improvement he has helped them make can be seen in Kevin King’s missed tackle percentage over the course of his career. In 2018, his rookie season, he had a missed tackle percentage of 15.0%. He followed that with missed tackle percentages of 17.5% in 2019 and 17.4% last year. This year, Kevin King has missed tackle percentage of 3.7%!
Now, it should be noted that King is giving up a career high 105.2 passer rating when targeted. Of course, that is less than ideal. However, he has only given up 75 yards after the catch, indicating they are not long competitions. Additionally, his 12.9 yards per completion average is the second-lowest of his career.
Has Joe Barry made Kevin King into a Pro Bowl cornerback? No. However, when the Packers needed Kevin King to step up, he did. From Week Five until November 15, King was the highest graded cornerback in NFL.
The verdict? When Kevin King is healthy, he is an absolute weapon in Joe Barry’s defense.
De’Vondre Campbell was not the most sought after free agent this past offseason. This is evident by the fact that the Packers did not sign him until the first day of mandatory training camp. What a signing he has been, though! Before we get into his insane stats this season, let us first take a look at his career highs entering the season.
In 2019, De’Vondre Campbell set a career high with 129 tackles. Prior to this year, he totaled two sacks in a season three times. Also in 2019, Campbell had two interceptions. These were all his career highs when he signed with the Packers. Now, it should also be noted that last season, Campbell had the worst tackle percentage of his career: 11.6%. When in coverage, Campbell had always given up passer ratings over 100, with his best season being 2019 when he gave up a rating of 101.0.
Then Campbell came to Green Bay to replace Christian Kirksey, and he started working for Joe Barry. This season, through 16 games, Campbell has 146 total tackles. He also leads the NFL with 102 solo tackles. His previous career high in solo tackles: 75. He has totaled two sacks and two interceptions again this year, but has made dramatic improvements in pass coverage. This year, quarterbacks have a rating of just 74.9 when targeting Campbell. Do not make the mistake of thinking he is being targeted less. This year, Campbell has been targeted 73 times, the most in his career.
The verdict: De’Vondre Campbell is the best middle linebacker the Packers have had in years. Even though the salary cap situation does not look great in 2022, Green Bay must find a way to sign him next year. He is just too good to let go. He has always been a solid linebacker. Under Joe Barry, he became a star (with a 2.7% missed tackle percentage).
Another lowkey pickup by GM Brian Gutekunst that may have saved the Packers season was that of Rasul Douglas. A former Super Bowl Champion with the Philadelphia Eagles, Rasul Douglas was on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad when the Packers came calling. Prior to that, he had been cut by both the Las Vegas Raiders and Houston Texans. In short, Douglas could crack an active roster, but the Packers were in need. And Joe Barry knew how to make him successful.
Prior to this season, Douglas had five career interceptions. None of them were returned for touchdowns. This year, in just 11 games, Douglas has five interceptions (doubling his career total). Amazingly, Rasul Douglas had not intercepted a pass since 2018! Not only does have five this year, but he returned two of them for touchdowns.
Now, we would be remiss if we did not mention how hard Douglas has worked on his own. According to Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, Douglas is oftentimes the last one in the building. He is constantly studying film and honing his craft.
The high number of interceptions is not the only career high for Rasul Douglas this season. Over the past two seasons, Douglas had given up a passer rating over 100 when targeted. In 2019, he gave up a rating of 114.2 when targeted. Last year, 108.5. This season, though, opposing quarterbacks have a 44.8 passer rating when targeted. Additionally, Douglas is allowing only a 50.8% completion percentage, by far the lowest of his career.
Verdict: Rasul Douglas is putting in the work. A great deal of credit goes to him, and all of these players, for the work they do to get better. However, Joe Barry has given them the scheme and tutelage they needed to take the next step. Rasul Douglas was named a Pro Bowl alternate this year, a year he started on the practice squad.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Joe Barry Effect.
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @theotherAdams14 and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!