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Matt LaFleur “comfortable” with Joe Barry as the Packers’ new defensive coordinator

The Packers’ head coach spoke about the Barry hire for the first time Tuesday.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur says he’s “comfortable” with Joe Barry. That much is clear from the head coach’s first remarks after hiring Barry to helm the Packers defense. Speaking to reporters via Zoom on Tuesday, LaFleur said Barry checked all his boxes in what he described as a grueling search process.

“A high character person, then someone who’s a great communicator, knowledgeable, and then the scheme portion.”

LaFleur also made repeated mention of two characteristics that made Barry an attractive candidate: his energy and his experience in the Vic Fangio/Brandon Staley defensive scheme.

Both paint Barry as an interesting contrast to Mike Pettine. Pettine was taciturn to a fault, and his scheme seemed overly rigid at times, not always working to the unique attributes of his players. Barry’s adaptable scheme appealed to LaFleur.

“All great coaches, you’ve got to be able to adapt to your personnel in order to have success,” he said. “[Barry’s scheme] is multiple enough for us to do that.”

LaFleur wasn’t overly specific as to what, specifically, Barry’s scheme could entail, but it does sound like there will be elements of the 3-4 base that Pettine ran, even if the league (and Barry’s scheme, for that matter) tend to be based on sub packages more often than not. Above all, though, LaFleur wants a scheme that will suit his players, and Barry seems to offer that.

“It really comes down to getting your roster defined and trying to put those guys in the right situations. There will be a lot of consistency, especially on early downs, normal ball in terms of what we want to get done and then we’ll spice it up on third down.”

Whatever scheme he’s run, Barry hasn’t achieved much in two stints as a defensive coordinator. LaFleur acknowledged Barry’s failed tenures in Detroit and Washington, while grading on a bit of a curve for the limited personnel available in both of those jobs.

“It’s something that we looked at when going through this process. But I got a chance to work with Joe in LA. I know what type of communicator, what type of energy he brings. And he’s learned a lot from those previous experiences,” said LaFleur “The bottom line is we are gonna get judged on what we do moving forward and not from our past experiences.”