Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry is shown during the fourth quarter of their game Monday, September 20, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 35-17.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

Matt LaFleur, the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, faces an imminent need to replace Joe Barry as the team’s defensive coordinator. Despite the presence of several first-round draft picks on the defense, the unit’s performance remains consistently underwhelming. To rejuvenate the team’s defensive strategies, it’s imperative to seek fresh leadership for the Packers’ defense. Today, we explore potential candidates who could step in for Joe Barry.

The concern extends beyond merely finding Joe Barry’s replacement; it compels President Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst to evaluate Matt LaFleur’s aptitude for selecting the right candidate. LaFleur’s track record in hiring assistant coaches since taking over as head coach raises doubts about his decision-making in this regard.

Joe Barry’s tenure as the defensive coordinator stands out as one of LaFleur’s biggest missteps. This hiring mistake isn’t an isolated incident. LaFleur initially retained Mike Pettine as defensive coordinator upon assuming the head coach role in 2019. Dissatisfied with the outcome, LaFleur parted ways with Pettine after the 2020 season.

Moreover, LaFleur’s handling of the special teams coordinator role also proved problematic. His choices of Shawn Mennenga and later Maurice Drayton failed to yield desired results, culminating in a turbulent period for the team’s special teams.

The impending decision regarding Joe Barry’s successor poses a critical moment for LaFleur’s tenure with the Packers. The outcome of this hiring choice could significantly impact his future within the organization.

Here are potential candidates to replace Joe Barry:

1. Ejiro Evero, Defensive Coordinator:
Evero, a former finalist for the Packers’ defensive coordinator position in 2021, demonstrated competence as the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2022 and briefly with the Carolina Panthers. Despite some defensive challenges, Evero’s leadership and experience in NFL defensive play calling make him a strong contender for the position.

2. Chris Hewitt, Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach:
Hewitt, part of the successful Baltimore Ravens coaching staff since 2012, has contributed significantly to their elite defensive performances. His affiliation with Milt Hendrickson, the Packers’ director-football operations and Gutekunst’s right-hand man, could bolster his prospects.

3. Anthony Weaver, Associate Head Coach/Defensive Line:
Another Ravens’ coaching asset, Weaver, has demonstrated prowess in coaching defensive lines and has experience as the Houston Texans’ defensive coordinator in 2020. The Ravens’ defensive success might prompt interest from other teams, potentially opening up opportunities for Weaver.

4. Daniel Bullocks, Safeties Coach:
Bullocks, currently with the San Francisco 49ers, has been under the guidance of Kyle Shanahan and could bring fresh perspectives to the Packers’ defense. While lacking direct experience as a defensive coordinator, his potential as an up-and-coming coach might align with the team’s needs.

5. Joe Whitt Jr., Secondary Coach/Pass Game Coordinator:
A familiar face among Packers fans, Whitt Jr. previously coached under LaFleur. With his prior tenure and experience coaching notable players, Whitt Jr. could offer valuable insights for defensive strategies.

Honorable mentions excluded certain names: Jim Leonhard, previously linked to the Packers and currently at the University of Illinois, might prioritize college coaching aspirations; Brandon Staley, despite his prior association with successful defenses, faces scrutiny due to his recent struggles with the Los Angeles Chargers. No current Packers defensive assistants are considered viable candidates, signaling a need for a complete overhaul in the defensive coaching staff.

In conclusion, LaFleur’s decision on Joe Barry’s successor carries significant weight for the team’s defensive future. It necessitates a careful evaluation of available candidates to rejuvenate and fortify the Packers’ defense.

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