After being turned down by University of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonard on Friday, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur is turning to Joe Barry as the Packers new Defensive Coordinator. The deal is expected to be finalized this weekend. The hiring was first reported by ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky.
The 50-year-old Barry replaces Mike Pettine, who LaFleur decided not to retain after the Packers season came to an end.
Barry was the Rams assistant head coach/linebackers coach when LaFleur was coaching quarterbacks in Los Angeles in 2017. Barry since then, was working as linebackers coach and defensive passing game coordinator with the Chargers under Brandon Staley before Staley left for the Rams defensive coordinator position this past season.
Barry has previous defensive coordinator experience with the Detroit Lions in 2007-09 and Washington 2015-16.
The Packers defense ranked ninth during the 2020 season, but the Packers still fell short of the Super Bowl, in part because of a defensive miscue that allowed Tampa Bay to score a last-second touchdown at the end of the first half in the NFC Championship game. Pettine’s contract was up at the end of the season.
Barry becomes the second new coordinator hired by LaFleur since the end of the season. He also promoted Maurice Drayton to Special Teams Coordinator after firing Shawn Mennenga.