Ten Things You May Not Know About New Packers Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

The Packers announced the hiring of a new defensive coordinator this weekend as they selected Joe Barry to take over the position held for the last three years by Mike Pettine.

Barry has the task of improving the Packers defense which ranked 13th in the NFL in points allowed and ninth overall in yards allowed in the NFL.

Here are 10 things you may not know about Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry:

  1. Barry Has 20 Years of NFL Coaching Experience

Barry has been coaching in the NFL since 2000 although he took one season since then to return to the college coaching ranks when he coached linebackers at USC in 2010. Thus far, Barry has worked for the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, the Washington Football Team (then known as the Redskins) the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams.

  1. His Father Also Coached in the NFL

Barry’s father, Mike Barry, was the Detroit Lions offensive line coach from 2006-2008. He also served as the offensive coordinator of the San Antonio Gunslingers of the USFL in 1984 and 1985. Mike Barry spent more than two decades as a college coach including stints at Arizona, Iowa State, Colorado, USC, Tennessee and NC State.

  1. Barry and His Father Worked Together

Barry and his father worked together in Detroit in 2007 and 2008. The senior Barry was the team’s offensive line coach while Joe Barry served as their defensive coordinator. The Lions finished 7-9 in 2007 and 0-16 in 2008.

  1. Barry Has Experience as a Defensive Coordinator

Barry has four years of experience in the NFL as a defensive coordinator. In 2007 and 2008, he held that position with the Lions and in 2015 and 2016, he was the defensive coordinator in Washington.

The numbers weren’t necessarily encouraging. In 2007, the Lions ranked last in the league in points allowed, 23rd in rushing yards, 31st in passing yards and last in total yards allowed.

The following season, Barry’s Lions defense again allowed more points than any unit in the league. The Lions were last in total yards allowed after ranking last against the run and 27th against the pass.

In Washington in 2015, his team ranked 17th in points allowed while ranking 28th in total yards allowed. The run defense ranked 26th and the pass defense 25th. The following season, Washington’s defense ranked 19th in points allowed and 28th in total yards. The run defense finished 24th in the league, the pass defense 25th.

  1. Barry’s Teams Went 1-5-0 Against the Packers When He Was Defensive Coordinator

The Packers had good success against Barry’s teams when he served as defensive coordinator. The Packers went 4-0 against the Lions in 2007 and 2008.

Green Bay faced Washington in the wild card round of the 2015 with Green Bay winning the game 35-18. The following season, Washington beat the Packers 42-24 on Monday Night Football.

  1. Barry Has Worked With Packers and Former Packers

During his time in Washington, Barry worked with Packers OLB Preston Smith. That means that Preston will certainly be familiar with the philosophy of the Packers new defensive coordinator and what he expects from his players.

Barry also worked with several former Packers players in Washington and Detroit including defensive backs Bashaud Breeland and Will Blackmon, defensive end Cullen Jenkins and linebacker Paris Lenon.  In Los Angeles, Barry worked with Clay Matthews in 2019.

Blackmon tweeted the following after the announcement of Barry’s hiring and indicated:

  1. Barry Has Worked with Matt LaFleur Before

Barry and LaFleur were both on Sean McVay’s staff with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. LaFleur was the offensive coordinator that season while Barry was the assistant head coach/linebackers coach. The Rams finished the season 11-5-0 and qualified for the playoffs that year.

The familiarity between LaFleur and Barry plus his experience as a defensive coordinator clearly worked in Barry’s favor during the search for the Packers new defensive coordinator.

  1. Barry Has Showed Flexibility

Barry broke into the NFL with Tampa Bay and played the classic Tampa-2 defense. Overtime, offenses caught up to that system and so Barry adjusted.

He later ran 3-4 defenses and used a variety of coverage formations and systems while he was defensive coordinator in Detroit and Washington.

He will need to make more adjustments coming into Green Bay, a team with obvious talent on the defensive side of the ball but also a team with some question marks as well. How he will try to stop the run is another question facing Barry and the Packers defense after Pettine de-emphasized it in Green Bay during his tenure here.

The Packers should be confident that Barry will adjust his defense to the talent of the players he has on his roster.

  1. Barry Has a USC Trojans Tattoo

Barry finished his college football career at USC and started his coaching career there in 1994 and 1995 when he was hired as a graduate assistant.

He got the tattoo while he was still a player at USC.

“It was like six or seven o’clock in the evening. I was stone cold sober. A couple guys got like block S-C’s,” Barry recalled, I wanted the Trojan.”

Barry also wanted the tattoo lower on his leg, beneath the sock line, but it didn’t quite work out that way. “I was actually pissed because I wanted it down, underneath my sock line so when I wore socks, I could actually hide it,” Barry said.

  1. He Has the Respect of His Former Boss and Players

Rams head coach Sean McVay had this to say about Barry. “[I’m] able to lean on him and [he helps make] a lot of the decisions that are important,” McVay said. “You truly do lean on him as an assistant head coach and I feel very fortunate to work with Joe. He brings it every single day.”

Meanwhile, Rams linebacker Micah Kiser added, “He’s a huge part of the fabric of the team and the culture of the team,” linebacker Micah Kiser said. “In the NFL, with the way rosters are always moving, he is a person that values knowing every guy on the team’s name. Whether you’re Jared Goff to the last guy on the practice squad, he’s able to call you by your name.”

In Green Bay, it’s the future that matters for Barry. The Packers organization is counting on him to help the defense take the next step forward. If the defense can improve and the offense continues to play at a high level next season, the Packers are confident they can play in the Super Bowl next season instead of watching it on TV with the rest of the league.

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