Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Green Bay Packers fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Due to an issue with our polling this week, we only have a single APC-specific poll — our weekly confidence poll — for you. There were plenty of comments on the Joe Barry-related questions, though, which we’ll feature at the end of this article.
Out of the four options given to the national audience, the Packers finished in last place as a potential turnaround candidate. Some of this might come down to the fact that Green Bay had recently lost in a nationally televised game, but you can go ahead and make the claim that non-Packers fans are out on this team.
Surprisingly, the national fans are taking the Packers in their Monday Night Football game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Previously, fans had gone against Green Bay this season, including in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears. At least we have that going for us.
Confidence in the Packers’ organization has completely collapsed after the loss to the Lions last week. While there was a slight dip in confidence after the Week 2 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the fact that fans had to endure the Lions beating the Packers up on both sides of the line of scrimmage has demoralized the fan base.
Many people seem to think that the root issue here is the “culture” that defensive coordinator Joe Barry has installed defensively. Here are a couple of examples of the comments from the survey post from earlier this week:
Just really disappointed in MLF hiring Barry in the first place. Hindsight is 20/20, but with hindsight you could have seen Barry’s history. Yes, he worked as a position coach while the Rams had a good defense, but he’s never been successful as the guy (coordinator). If Barry isn’t gone after this year MLF should be out the door too. Get somebody with a GOOD track record.
Joe Barry has been a part of Wade Phillips’ staff, Tony Dungy’s staff as well as been the head of his own defensive staff on a couple of occaisions. In theory, he should have built some sort of Hybrid Tampa-2/aggressive 3-4 defensive scheme. He continues to not only float in the bottom half of the leagure when it comes to the performance of his defenses but he continues to get hired for NFL coaching jobs. The best a Defensive team has ever finished with Joe Barry as a member of the coaching staff was in 2020 when he coached the linebackers in LA. They finished the season as the #1 Defense for yards given up, the number 1 scoring defense and the #3 rushing defense, while boasting a mere 4 1st round selections and only 1 of those was a Rams original. Barry currently has 8 1st rounders (All GB originals) cast throughout each level of the defense and he can’t put those “stars” in a position to succeed. In 2 1/4 seasons we’ve watched as this defense has got progressively worse each season. Someone from the media should be crushing Barry under the weight of questions alluding to his failure to get players to perform, and his staff to coach up young talent. Lafleur needs to call it what it is and Fire Barry immediately and own up to the fact that he made a terrible error in judgement for hiring that loser to begin with and begin a State of Wisconsin tour apologizing to every single Packer fan for wasting the last 2 1/4 seasons on defense.
Johnny Blood McNally
It’s not lack of old-school smashmouth mentality. It’s not lack having “that dog in you.” It’s that football is a game that requires a lot of technical skill as well as athleticism.
The Packers have paid through the nose in first round draft picks for very specific athletes to fit their system for years. The problem might be that the system is so inflexible that they cannot take players that fall into their laps (Brian Burns, Brian Branch, probably other Brians) because they don’t fit even when they can thrive elsewhere.
If Barry is the one insisting on such a rigid system, than he needs to go. But that’s hitting a pretty sizable reset button and admitting to an awful lot of sunk costs vis-a-vis a half decade of mistakes not only in defensive tactics, but also overall drafting strategy. I doubt the turnaround would be quick.
Clearly, fans are frustrated. The main question I have is if head coach Matt LaFleur is willing to hire his third defensive coordinator in five seasons after already having to move onto his third special teams coordinator during his tenure. LaFleur seems to want to play this quarters-style defense, which has allowed Barry to live in that world since he’s been hired as the team’s coordinator. If players are failing to execute that scheme that LaFleur wants to play, do they just need a different voice reciting the rules on defense? Does the team need to move in a different direction schematically? That’s really what I’d want to know from LaFleur.