2022 Packers Defensive Coach: Who Is Joe Barry?

October 6, 2022
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Going into the 2022 NFL season, Packers fans expected the Joe Barry-led defense to improve after the up-and-down season the year before. After improving at almost all defensive positions, we are currently tied for 22nd in the league per PFF.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry is loved and hated. The coaching staff still seems to like him enough to keep him on the staff but the fans have not liked his coaching style, play calling, and frankly, his attitude as well. With the lack of chemistry going into this season on offense, the Packers added plenty of depth and skill on defense. Only the Packers have proved that you can have an all-star defense on paper but in-game it looks like everyone is lost. Barry has already been called out by elite cornerback Jaire Alexander after the Packers didn’t cover Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson in game one.

Joe Barry’s Early Career

Before starting his career as a coach, he played linebacker at the University of Michigan for two years before transferring to USC and playing for the Trojans. After graduating from USC, he became a graduate assistant and defensive line coach for his alma mater for one season. After his one-year stint with USC, he became the linebacker and defensive end coach for Northern Arizona. He coached for them from 1996-1998. In 1999, he coached one more year on the collegiate level before moving to the NFL. Barry was the linebacker’s coach at UNLV.

In the year 2000, Joe Barry got his shot in the NFL as a defensive quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers. It sounds like a made-up position to me but maybe it was an actual staff position back then. After his one-year shot with the 49ers, he moved teams once again, this time he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the linebacker’s coach. He was a part of a defense that coached a top-ten defense for five straight seasons, including the number-one defense in 2002 and 2005. Barry stayed with the Buccaneers for six seasons before joining his father with the Detroit Lions.

How Joe Became An NFL Defensive Coordinator

In 2007, Joe Barry got his first shot as a defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions. His father, Mike Barry, was already on the coaching staff, so that probably helped especially after he helped lead the Buccaneers to top-ten finishes. In Joe’s first season as a defensive coordinator with the Lions, he led a defense that was tied for third in the league in takeaways and ninth in the league for sacks. After the 2007 season, the ship sailed as everything fell apart. He was a part of history when the Detroit Lions went winless in 2008, that was also the last year that he got to coach with his father.

After the winless season, Joe went back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the linebacker’s coach before returning to his alma mater for a second stint with the team. After another season with USC, Barry found himself back in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers. He was a linebacker’s coach and helped lead the Chargers to top-ten defenses once again. After his three seasons, he got another shot at defensive coordinator in 2015 when he joined Washington. Similar to Barry’s first year with the Lions, the Washington defense led the league in forced fumbles and fumble recoveries while also being a top-ten defense. He was only with Washington for two seasons before joining the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.

Joe Barry was the linebacker’s coach for the Rams from 2017-2020. Barry helped develop the linebackers into elite defenders and took them to new heights that helped the defense set career highs in interceptions while also posting top-five defenses in sacks and takeaways. During the 2020 season, the Rams led the league in scoring defense and overall defense, which was the first time in team history. They were also the number one team in pass defense as well as second in sacks. There’s no doubt that Joe Barry is great at developing linebackers.

Packers

When Did Joe Join The Packers

After helping lift the Rams’ defense to new heights in 2020, Joe Barry joined the Green Bay Packers as defensive coordinator in 2021. In his first year, he led a defense that was top-ten overall in all categories. He had the help of two all-stars that joined the team during the season. De’Vondre Campbell joined the Packers the same season and accumulated a career-high 145 tackles which made him the first inside linebacker to earn first-team all-pro recognition from The Associated Press since Ray Nitschke in 1966. Cornerback Rasul Douglas joined the team in October and tied the league for two interceptions returned for touchdowns and added five total interceptions for second in the NFL.

The 2022 NFL season is Barry’s second year with the Green Bay Packers. After a top-ten finish last season, added depth and skill, Packers fans expected an elite squad that would not only finally stop the run but also limit the number of points put up by the opposing offense. Well, we haven’t gotten either through the first four games of the season. The Packers currently rank tied for 22nd in defense and allowing 69 points. Even though the team is 3-1, every win was a close game that came down to the end. Let’s hope that it was just a slow start and that the Packers’ defense can start playing well as they should.

Joe’s Best And Worst Moments As A Defensive Coordinator

The 2021 season was his first year being the defensive coordinator for the green and gold. With our offense clicking on all cylinders during the regular season, the defense was able to rest between each possession and finish top ten in overall defense. The 13-4 record that the Packers posted was Joe Barry’s best as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. The offense was the side of the ball that helped negate the points that the defense gave up every game but a winning record is a winning record.

Not everyone knows this but Joe Barry’s worst moment of his career was when he coached with his dad, Mike Barry, for the Detroit Lions in 2008. Joe was the defensive coordinator for the team while his father was the assistant offensive line coach. Ask any Lions fan and they will know exactly what happened in 2008. The Lions became the fourth team in NFL history to go winless in a season since 1944. The Cleveland Browns joined history in 2017 when they also went 0-16. Now the winless season wasn’t purely Joe’s fault because the offense struggled as well but going 0-16 meant that the defense gave up points.


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