Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur snuffed out any talk about firing embattled defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
“Oh, no, absolutely not,” LaFleur said Monday when asked if he had plans to make a coaching change.
While the Packers’ struggles on offense were somewhat expected after trading Davante Adams this offseason, the defense hasn’t lived up to its billing.
A unit that includes seven first-round picks and several highly paid players has been a middling group, particularly against the run, where it ranks third-worst in the NFL through eight weeks.
Barry has hopscotched around the NFL for years. He famously was the Detroit Lions’ DC during their 0-16 season of 2008. He’s also found jobs as the Washington coordinator (2015-2016) and was with Sean McVay’s Rams as assistant head coach and linebackers coach (2017-2020) before moving to Green Bay with LaFleur.
Rumblings have started to surface of players questioning the play-calling and game plans in Green Bay. LaFleur didn’t exactly deny those feelings exist but deflected their importance.
“Well, first of all, it’s impossible to please everybody,” LaFleur said. “Everybody has their own opinions, their own ideas. It’s like anything else in life. You have to get the staff on the same page, first and foremost, in making sure that everybody is confident in the plan and then you teach it to the players.”
The Packers’ defense has been plagued by execution errors and tackling whiffs. Whether it’s poor game plans or bad execution, the Green Bay defense simply hasn’t been as stingy as expected entering the season.
“I think from a consistency standpoint, way too many explosive gains, some poor tackling,” LaFleur said. “I think we need to be more physical. I think you look at the teams that are toughest to deal with in this league, especially from a defensive standpoint and physicality, it jumps out to you. There were moments where we’re not always getting that.”
The formula for the Packers to remain atop the NFC North was for Barry’s defense to steer the ship while the offense figured out what works. That hasn’t happened and is a significant reason Green Bay sits at 3-5 after four straight losses.
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