The Green Bay Packers introduced two new coordinators to fans and the media on Tuesday, as new DC Joe Barry and STC Maurice Drayton both took their first press conferences via Zoom. The team also made head coach Matt LaFleur, OC Nathaniel Hackett, and general manager Brian Gutekunst available and all were notable, but perhaps the biggest takeaway for this writer was the drastic differences between Barry and Drayton.
Barry’s speaking style is long-winded, meandering, a trip through his stream of consciousness. At one point after being asked who would play the “star” cornerback spot (the term for the slot or nickel corner in the Vic Fangio/Brandon Staley scheme), he opined for nearly five minutes about how modern defenses play mostly sub packages and how important slot corners are.
Honestly, it felt like he was talking down to the reporters, who know the intricacies of sub packages all too well from covering Dom Capers and Mike Pettine.
Then there was Drayton, whose military-influenced background was clearly evident in his responses. Drayton answered the media’s questions and did so respectfully, but he was direct and to the point, often responding in just a few confident, impactful sentences. The differences in personality were drastic, amplified by the fact that the two new coordinators spoke back-to-back.
Of course, different personalities and approaches can work in coaching jobs. Much of that role, regardless of what side of the football you’re in charge of, is about building relationships with players and assistant coaches. In fact, that was perhaps the one common thread between the two men, as both mentioned coaching as being a “relationship business.” It should be fascinating to follow both of these new coordinators moving forward in 2021.
Here’s a look at the coaches’ and the GM’s comments from other sources to get some additional perspectives.
Takeaways from the Packers' first offseason news conferences – The Athletic (subscription)
We addressed many of these items on Tuesday, but there are some detailed comments here from Gutekunst about Preston Smith's status and other items of interest.
Joe Barry ‘hardened’ by past, excited for future as new Packers defensive coordinator | Packers.com
Barry's answers run longer than Jason Wilde's questions in press conferences. One of his long-winded responses took him down the path of discussing his struggles when serving as a DC in the past, and he says "I'm really proud of my scars."
Restructure Aaron Rodgers? Tag Aaron Jones? It's all on the table for Packers | ESPN
The financial flexibility that Brian Gutekunst mentioned all boils down to clearing cap space, and a lot of that will need to come via contract restructures.
Preston Smith Expected to Return to Packers in 2021 | SI.com
The restructure piece will be even more important if the Packers keep Preston Smith on the team in 2021, even at a lower salary.
Why the Packers weren’t the team to sign DL J.J. Watt | Packers Wire
It's very simple: money. The Packers weren't going to go near $15.5 million per year, and they absolutely weren't going to pay Watt $23 million guaranteed.
Steve Vai injured himself and needed surgery after holding a difficult chord and ”meditating on” it for 20 minutes | MusicRadar
Vai is an incredible guitarist -- just give a listen to his Passion & Warfare album if you're into proggy shredding -- but getting trigger finger because he held a single chord for 20 minutes seems very on-brand for him.