Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur can design and scheme as well as anyone in the National Football League. He’s done a good job developing quarterback Jordan Love and setting up the Packers for continued success at the game’s most important position. He’s a very smart coach and person.
He’s also a total idiot.
There’s enough evidence to convince even the most stubborn jury in the world that a crime has been committed, yet LaFleur turns the other cheek or hides behind the curtain of loyalty when it’s clear to everyone else that something has to change on defense.
Maybe this will wake him up. He talked years ago about making sure your guys “carry the G” in terms of on and off-the-field behavior. It’s a catchphrase that’s taken off among the fans and something your teams have rallied behind.
Well, his refusal to fire defensive coordinator Joe Barry is sending a different message.
In keeping Barry employed, LaFleur isn’t carrying the G. He’s fumbling it.
The defense just gave up a perfect passer rating to an opponent at home for the first time in the Packers’ 100-plus-year history. They made a journeyman look like Tom Brady, the quarterback he just replaced. They can’t stop the run and they apparently can’t get in the same zip code as an opposing wide receiver.
This isn’t new behavior, either. These issues have been going on since Barry was hired in 2021, a hire that even members of the Packers beat are admitting should never have been made. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times? That’s enough to make an argument that the person getting fooled is clinically insane.
LaFleur is probably waiting until the end of the year to fire Barry under the guise of wanting to let him go “the right way.” He’s famously known Barry for years and gave him a chance when Jim Leonhard rebuffed the Packers’ attempt to lure him from Madison to replace Mike Pettine.
The Packers could have hired Ejiro Evero, who went on to do great work in Denver but they instead hired Barry who never got a third season as a defensive coordinator during stops in Detroit and Washington.
Until LaFleur brought him back this year. LaFleur screwed around and now he’s finding out.
Maybe LaFleur thought it would click this year. Maybe after the Packers dumped an insane amount of draft capital into the defense things would suddenly click and they would be fine. The third time’s the charm, right? RIGHT?
More like the third time was the harm.
We all knew the defense would have to carry the team while the offense found its way in the first year with Love starting. That’s the best thing a team can do for a young and raw starting quarterback: play solid defense.
Well, they couldn’t do it consistently. The Jekyll and Hyde routine has resulted in the Packers mostly being Hyde on defense and now that Love has shown growth and the offense is starting to gel, the defense has collapsed. In fact, it’s cratering the Packers’ playoff chances this season.
In a place named Titletown, that should be the final straw.
Yet LaFleur hangs in. Maybe he thinks he’s doing “The Packer Way” by keeping Barry around.
If he is, he’s delusional. He’s trading competence for convenience and placing loyalty above competitiveness. In Green Bay, such acts are basically crimes against humanity. It’s something that would probably make Vince Lombardi irate.
Matt LaFleur is fumbling the G by keeping Joe Barry.
He also might be fumbling his own future in Green Bay if he’s not careful.