Had the Aaron Rodgers saga not dominated the headlines over the past three months, the biggest thing to watch on the Green Bay Packers would be new defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
After two years and a failed attempt to land Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, Mike Pettine is out and Barry is in. Head coach Matt LaFleur upon Barry’s hiring said he wanted a defense more in the mold of what Brandon Staley and Vic Fangio run.
Barry will now aim to implement that defense with many assistants left over from Pettine’s staff and now in the second week of camp, initial reviews from players are starting to pour in.
Stronger disguising of coverages seems to be the main takeaway as both Allen Lazard and Aaron Rodgers both commented how it’s much harder in practice to diagnose what coverage the defense is in and Rodgers particularly singled out Darnell Savage for making him pull back on throw when the safety was not where he thought he’d be when the play developed.
If your defense is tripping up a three-time MVP, that has to be a good sign.
The hiring of Barry as the “second choice” has been and will continue to be debated but at this point there’s nothing we can do except wait for the results.
With any luck, the Packers will be Barry-ing their opponents all the way to the Super Bowl.
Those worried about the same defense Pettine ran with just a fresh coat of paint can relax. If it makes someone like Rodgers think twice, just imagine what it will do to lesser quarterbacks.
Inside linebacker isn’t a position of importance to the Packers but De’Vondre Campbell brings skills they really haven’t had. Matching up against elite tight ends will be crucial given the Packers schedule and Campbell’s ability to play man against them will come in handy.
Rodgers and general manager Brian Gutekunst have been seen chatting during practice and the quarterback seems to acknowledge the GM is at least trying to atone for whatever he did to stoke Rodgers’ ire.
There is football tonight. I repeat: THERE IS FOOTBALL TONIGHT!
Check those dates before you book, folks. A year in an airport sounds like the worst kind of hell.