Packers legend names 2 potential replacements for Joe Barry following divisional-round loss

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The Green Bay Packers made a string of coaching staff changes following a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional round, including the dismissal of defensive coordinator Joey Barry. 

Barry, in his third year with the Packers, was fired last week after facing mounting criticism during the regular season following losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Giants, and a narrow victory over the Carolina Panthers, who rallied back from a 14-point deficit. 

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry looks on during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Jan. 9, 2022 in Detroit. (Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

“We want to thank Joe for his commitment and contributions to our success the past three seasons,” head coach Matt LaFleur said. “These decisions are extremely difficult and Joe is one of the best men I’ve had the opportunity to work with in this league.”

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The Packers ranked 10th in points allowed per game (20.6), 17th in yards allowed per game (335.1) and 23rd in yards allowed per play (5.4) this past season. However, the Packers’ defense had a late resurgence, and quarterback Jordan Love closed out the season with three straight victories. 

The defense allowed just one touchdown in their final two games. 

Barry’s defense then helped limit the Dallas Cowboys to four touchdowns in Green Bay’s 48-32 victory in the Wild Card round. However, a loss in the divisional round after failing to protect a fourth-quarter lead sealed his fate. 

Joe Barry stands in the tunnel

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry takes the field before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 27, 2022 in Philadelphia. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Packers legend LeRoy Butler told Fox News Digital that he was not “surprised” by Barry’s firing after the team’s losses to struggling teams and inexperienced quarterbacks.

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“It’s not all Joe Barry’s fault, though, to be honest,” Butler added. “Players got to play better. It ain’t Joe Barry’s fault if a ball hits you in the hand, and you drop it. It ain’t Joe Barry’s fault if he tells you to keep contained, and you get hooked. It ain’t Joe Barry’s fault if he tells you to line up in the A-gap, but you go in the C-gap. That’s just normal player stuff.” 

The Packers have not named a replacement, but Butler floated names like former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer or Ron Rivera, who was fired this season, as a potential replacement. 

Ron Rivera vs 49ers

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera takes the field before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at FedExField on Dec. 31, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

“All those guys do is want to coach defense. They pay attention to detail. And if you don’t fly around the ball, they’re going to play somebody else.” 

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Barry finished up his 22nd season coaching in the NFL. He previously served as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions and the Washington Commanders. Chris Gizzi was also fired from his position as the strength and conditioning coordinator just a day after Barry’s dismissal. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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