With so much focus on Aaron Rodgers and the quarterback situation, Green Bay’s second most most polarizing figure has gone relatively undiscussed during the off-season. Despite a shakey 2022 Joe Barry remains the defensive coordinator of the Packers.
On ESPN’s NFL Live, Mina Kimes made no bones about her expectations for the Packers coordinator. The popular analyst diverted from a question about Jordan Love and the offense to put Barry squarely on the hot seat.
“I totally agree with the offense being able to take pressure off of Love. I also think that Love should be under significantly less pressure than the defense, which deserves far more scrutiny, consuming far more of the cap as Rodgers is off the books. Also WAY more draft capital, obviously, as we saw that theme continue with that first round pick.
I want you to look at the investment of first round picks in Green Bay. On the offense, it’s Jordan Love. On the defense, it’s eight players, of course the most recent being Van Ness. And despite that investment, which again is financial as well, this is a defense that finished last year 26th in EPA per play, 28th in in yards per play.
Telling it like it is, the loss of Rashan Gary really hurt the pass rush. But a ton of it was execution, bad situational football, playing that soft zone coverage that infuriated me in the first half of the season.
I think that, while they did clean up some of that as the year went on, I think that’s why defensive coordinator Joe Barry still has his job, but he’s on the hot seat and I would argue that the entire defense is under more pressure than the quarterback to live up to all that expenditure.”
Kimes summarized her thoughts and once again pointed them directly at Barry by sharing her take on Twitter with the caption “The Packers defense has eight first round picks on it compared to one on offense: Jordan Love. The young QB isn’t under the most pressure next year – their DC is.”
Kimes is one of the few in the National media willing to take a break from the Aaron Rodgers’ dramatics and actually address what’s really happening in Green Bay. Booger McFarland shared nearly the exact same sentiment midseason.
“For a team to spend 8 first or second round picks on your starting 11, 6 of those are first-rounders, that defense is underperforming.” McFarland said. “Joe Barry, the defensive coordinator, has to get that defense to play better because they have a lot of draft capital invested in that defense. We expected that offense to be slow…it’s going to take a minute but you expected that defense to be dominant and it hasn’t been.”
Kimes’ and Mcfarlands’ words echo the feelings of most Cheeseheads. Barry, who was the emergency back up option after Jim Leohnard passed on the job, has never had true success anywhere as a coordinator. With Vic Fangio, Ejiro Evero, and Brian Flores all available this past offseason, Packers fans watched in frustration as Matt Lafluer opted to stay with Barry using a mediocre late season run as his reasoning.
With the Rogers trade finally in the rearview and everyone including the media focused on the future. If Barry doesn’t make good on the outrageous amount of draft capital spent on this defense the conversation will grow louder. The reality is either the coach can’t coach or the general manager can’t draft. When criticism reaches a boiling point it’s easy to assume Barry will receive the heat first.