GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – While many thought Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry would be on the hot seat this offseason, head coach Matt LaFleur made the decision to bring Barry back for his third season with Green Bay.
The Joe Barry experience has been a roller coaster in Green Bay. The Packers defense in 2022 ranked 17th in yards allowed, 17th in points allowed, and 28th in yards per play, all while having seven first-round draft picks on that side of the football. The unit cleaned things up during the final stretch of the season, but the damage was already done as Green Bay missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
“The inconsistencies were the things that really got us. That’s the thing that we have to do week in and week out. We have to show up and play our best version of football and our best version of defense,” said defensive coordinator Joe Barry.
The Packers will have eight first-round draft picks on the team’s defensive unit in 2023 after selecting edge rusher Lukas Van Ness in this year’s draft. That list includes:
- Rashan Gary (2019)
- Jaire Alexander (2018)
- Darnell Savage Jr. (2019)
- Quay Walker (2022)
- Kenny Clark (2016)
- Devonte Wyatt (2022)
- Eric Stokes (2021)
- Lukas Van Ness (2023)
With Barry in his third season as the defensive coordinator and expectations high for that group going into 2023, Barry explained how there’s always pressure in the NFL, no matter how many first-rounders you have.
“This is the greatest thing about not only the National Football League but being with the Green Bay Packers, expectations are high all of the time. No matter what,” Barry explained. “I’m very aware of our roster. I’m very aware of the draft status of all of our players. Expectations are and should be high all of the time, and this year will be no different.”
As Eric Stokes and Rashan Gary work their way back to the field after suffering season-ending injuries a year ago, this year’s draft class will need to step up. Especially Van Ness.
“It’s scary when you get a young player like that. You kind of close your eyes and think about what those guys will be three, four, five years down the road when they’re 25 or 26 years old,” Barry said.
With a first-year starting quarterback like Jordan Love, growing pains wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for this year’s offense. Barry’s unit has to have more urgency in 2023 if Green Bay wants to even come close to the playoffs.
“We can’t be up one week and down the next. We don’t have time to waste 10 weeks, but we have to be much more consistent than what we were a year ago, week in and week out,” Barry expressed.
The Packers OTAs (organized team activities) will begin Monday, May 22.