Joe Barry will not return as Packers defensive coordinator after three seasons

LaFleur declined to provide direction on Barry’s future earlier in the week. But given the contrast in definitive statements about the DC last season, it seemed apparent change was afoot.

Barry joined the Packers in 2021, taking over for Mike Pettine, a holdover from the previous regime. Barry was LaFleur’s hire, so the coach went to bat for his DC time and time again despite obvious struggles.

In 2023, the Packers defense finished 17th in yards allowed and 10th in points, giving up the 28th-most rushing yards in the league while holding opponents to the ninth-fewest passing yards.

Barry’s future was a talking point all season in Green Bay as the unit underperformed relative to the talent on that side of the ball — including eight first-round picks. Barry’s eventual departure seemed obvious after his D got ripped apart by Baker Mayfield in an embarrassing home loss in Week 15, then followed it up by almost allowing Bryce Young and the two-win Panthers to come back the next week. But the Packers’ D stepped up in the postseason, smothering the Dallas Cowboys on their fast home track and playing well against San Francisco before surrendering the lead late.

Even a good finish to the season could not save Barry’s job. Ultimately, the questionable calls — particularly on third downs — and lack of cohesion and communication on that side of the ball were too much for LaFleur to ignore.

Given the massive amount of talent Green Bay has stockpiled in recent years, it should be a coveted job for any aspiring defensive coordinator.

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