Cory's Corner: Joe Barry Is A Solid Fit

Barry's rocket-fuel energy will spice a unit that needs a reboot.

The one thing that was missing from the Packers defense was energy. They lacked a certain juice that is needed to play on that side of the ball. 

If you’re a defensive player, you want a guy that is high energy and is willing to do whatever it takes to stop the ball. And the defensive coordinator needs to be the maestro for that energy. 

Enter new defensive coordinator Joe Barry. He replaced Mike Pettine, who was hired by Mike McCarthy in Jan. 2018 and retained by Matt Lafleur, but after subpar outings and not enough answers, change needed to be made. 

Barry inherits a unit that was ranked ninth in yards and 13th in points last year. He also has top talents in Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander with Rashan Gary on the welcome mat ready for a breakout season and Preston Smith ready to erase any rough memories of last year. 

“I firmly believe, let’s be consistent and let’s bring energy, '' said Barry, who was a linebackers coach for the Rams for the last four years. “And hopefully that translates, from a player standpoint, to great effort.”

The Packers have all the pieces on offense. Generational talents at quarterback, wide receiver and running back along with a tight end that isn’t shy about making a play when needed. 

Nobody wants to hear about the Packers and how they aren’t ready to play a complete game. The time is now for this team. To be honest, the time has been now for a few years now. 

There are two reasons  why Barry appears to be a great fit. The first is because he’s willing to do whatever it takes. He brings a “Star” position to Green Bay, a position that is reserved for a hybrid defensive back that can play the run. It’s a melting pot of linebacker, safety and cornerback and only someone that has excellent processing skills and isn’t afraid to make a big stick when needed.

The second is because of how he can shape the linebackers. As the linebackers coach with the Rams, he transformed Cory Littleton from a seldom-used special teams player into a Pro Bowl inside linebacker. I shouldn’t need to remind anyone that inside linebacker has been a forgettable position since 2014 when A.J. Hawk roamed the middle. I’m not saying that Krys Barnes or De’Vondre Campbell are going to be instantly turned into Pro Bowl linebackers, but it’s nice knowing that there’s a chance. The Packers have turned their backs on inside linebackers for far too long and now that this team has a coordinator that knows how to coach linebackers changes everything. 

What I’m really looking for is that juice to be passed on to the players. I want to see Barry’s rocket-fuel energy make a defensive lineman get a tackle on a screen pass after whiffing on a quarterback sack or watching a cornerback from the “Star” position tackle a running back for a three-yard loss and see the first player to congratulate him be a linebacker. 

I want a defense to stop thinking about the hero play and start thinking about what’s needed to win games. 

And that all starts with Barry and his injection of magic juice. 

 

-------------------

Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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9 points

Comments (67)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
marpag1's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:36 am

Hmm. I'll wait until Joe Barry's defense plays a solid game. I'm not a big believer in "magic juice" (ahem) or "stars." Whoop-de-doo. I mean Dom Capers had himself a "Big Okie" and where did that end up?

20 points
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Coldworld's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:21 am

Exactly, seeing is believing. Lets see how we swarm and the energy before we anoint this D. Let’s also see how aggressive he is against the QB and receivers and the D line personnel etc. it takes a little more than just energy.

8 points
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Guam's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:27 am

Five thumbs up if I could marpag1. If Joe Barry can coach up a top five defense, then I will say he is the right fit for the Packers. Until then the jury is still out for me. I think the Packers have good defensive talent, but the scheme and play calling needs to work too. I have no idea yet if Joe Barry has the right scheme or ability to outguess opposing offensive coordinators in play calling. We will know more by mid season.

9 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:46 am

<<perks up>>

Did someone say "big cookie"?

4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

September 07, 2021 at 05:40 pm

Uh oh, dobber. Most people wait 10 years too long before they have a hearing test. Or, maybe you're just exhibiting classic symptoms of Husband's Ear?

3 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:06 pm

I have an unhealthy fixation on empty carbs and buttery baked goods.

6 points
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Since&#039;61's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:31 pm

Now you’re talking cookie! Thanks, Since ‘61

6 points
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Johnblood27's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:43 pm

I save all of my carb exchanges for alcohol.

3 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:03 am

I've always hated Elliot Wolf's comment about, "obviously you guys think that position is more important than we do". And, then we have to watch teams with outstanding ILB play beat the Packers in the playoffs over and over. I hope the attitude there has changed.

14 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:10 am

More often than not, teams with outstanding ILB play are also getting at least above average play from their DL.

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:19 pm

Devon White makes any D-lineman look good.

1 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:25 pm

It goes both ways. When you can count on your LB to fill the right gap you can attack the OLine with more intensity.

2 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

September 07, 2021 at 05:55 pm

E. Wolf's last GB comment - "obviously you guys think that Gutekunst is more important than I am."

4 points
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NickPerry's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:04 am

Several Packers fans have been concerned ever since this hire was made. I totally get it too, I mean the guy wasn't good in previous stops as DC. BUT...In either previous stop he didn't have the players. at least IMO, that he has here in GB. He also didn't have an great offense, at least one like the Packers who normally score tons of points and have the advantage in TOP. Great defenses or even really good ones almost always have a successful high scoring offense behind them.

I'm really excited to have Barry as our DC. I trust MLF and this was who he wanted to hire. Personally I believe the Packers have excellent coaches at ILB, OLB, and in the secondary. I think Montgomery is solid enough on the D-Line. I was SO tired of watching Pettine play 12 yards off on 3rd and 8, and I was tired of that SAME stupid look on his face. Interception, TFL, QB Sack, or a huge gain over the top, Pettine would have the same stoic look on his face. I'm ready for a man who is PUMPED up. I'm ready for a DC who wears his feelings on his sleeve. Anything but more Pettine or Capers who just sat or stood and stared, unblinking, at the good AND the bad.

Off Topic... I LOVE Jim Leonard and many wanted him to say YES to the Packers. After watching the Badgers on Saturday one thing still and seems to ALWAYS hold true for the Badgers defense. They CAN NOT cover the deep ball. Not last year, the year before, or apparently this year. As much as I love Leonard and everything else his defenses do because they are great defenses for the most part. BUT, if the opposing team has a QB who can throw deep, the Badgers defense is in TROUBLE. I saw all that to say this...Maybe Jim Leonard is exactly where he needs to be. At least until his defenses can stop a deep pass.

9 points
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jurp's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:47 am

Excellent criticism of Jim Leonard's UW defense. I was at that game. Penn St could've had two more long TDs if the QB had been a bit more accurate. There was at least one other play that was blown up by a good pass rush. Always to the same WR, too (#5). Leonhard could apparently do nothing to stop that exact same play FIVE or SIX times! It was frustrating to watch.

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:32 pm

No safeties.

3 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:06 am

NP, your "Off Topic" said exactly what I intended to say, but you probably said it better than I could.

I was really counting on Leonard becoming the Packers DC and was disappointed he turned the job down.

However, the Badgers defensive secondary had no answer for Jahan Dotson Saturday and with a couple of better throws from the Penn State quarterback, Datson would have hauled in two more TD's. Granted, Dotson is a pretty good wide receiver, but he was only third team "All Big Ten" in 2020, but against the Badgers secondary, he looked "All World" and it made me cringe.

6 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:27 am

Datsun (dated automobile reference) was lost presnap on that long TD. That was easy pitch-and-catch.

"Granted, Dotson is a pretty good wide receiver, but he was only third team "All Big Ten" in 2020"

True, but so was Rashod Bateman, and he's a damn good WR. PSU wasn't very good in 2020, and QB/OL play--and who is playing across from you--has a lot to do with productivity at WR. If you look who scored second and first team WR, it's the media being the media.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:20 pm

I just took my 1970 Datsun 240 Z out for a spin and kicked some 2020 Camero's ass, once again.

6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:24 pm

If he goes strong with five and four man fronts, I'll be happy. Playing two D linemen and making believe you have gap control-nyet.

1 points
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blacke00's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:49 am

Don't expect much difference from Pettine. They really haven't added much. The middle of the "D" is still weak (middle of the "D" line and ILB". Gute doesn't get it. That's my #1 complaint with him. They still think they can(will) out score their opponents to win games. As I've said many time, you need to control the "center" squares (on defense). They maybe figuring out on Offense??? We'll see.

-3 points
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Grandfathered's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:24 pm

The Packers pay a few keys players a lot of money, and have to settle for cheaper contracts in other areas. To their credit, the packers tried to hit on the right IL. They tried and are still trying to bring in veterans and are still trying to hit on lower draft picks. Matching the DC scheme with the right skillset player at the right price is hit or miss when the position is devalued or the right player is not available in the draft. Occasionally the GM screws up by not taking TJ Watt, but the packers have tried to get a quality lower price candidate.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:34 pm

What you draft is what you get on the defensive side. They are allergic to bad ass defenders.

1 points
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stockholder's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:12 am

Last Year was last year. The Barry hiring is ideal. For the LBs. But----- As long as the LBs are not valued by management. Barry might not be here long. The Brain Trust never finished building the defense. Dooms day, Steal Curtain, and Lombardi's. It doesn't take a master mind to see whats missing. Barry brings Hope. But he's still short in other areas. Can he reverse what others couldn't? What sticks out is No secret. What this defense lacks isn't coaching. If he wins with 1/2 a Defense. He should be a head coach.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:26 pm

Players, not Plays.

3 points
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Bearmeat's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:11 am

🤔😂🤦🏼‍♂️👉🏻🗑

2 points
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Demon's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:13 am

I don't know how anyone can expect anything other than what we have gotten over the last 10 years.

The offense carries the team while the defense and special teams for the most part are a liability. In games where the offense sputters the outcome is more than likely a loss.

I like the job that MLF has done. I only wish he would not have went shopping at the Dollar General for his Special teams and Defensive coordinator positions. This very well may be another case of getting what you pay for

5 points
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marpag1's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:02 am

In fairness to MLF, it didn't sound like he had very much of a choice when it came to retaining Mike Pettine from the McCarthy staff.

7 points
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PeteK's picture

September 07, 2021 at 12:20 pm

I don't think we were far from being a good D last season. We could be top 5 in the NFL, if we get some positive play from Stokes, Campbell, Slaton, Heflin, and a bit of improved play from Barnes, Keke, P Smith, King. All of these expectations are not outlandish and would not be surprise performances.

3 points
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mnbadger's picture

September 07, 2021 at 12:20 pm

that's a lot of IF's! I'll throw in a "I hope you're right" GPG!

5 points
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PeteK's picture

September 07, 2021 at 12:25 pm

Every season is filled with if's. Now expecting King to stay healthy and P. Smith to reach his 2019 level are real BIG IF's. LOL

2 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

September 07, 2021 at 01:10 pm

“If ifs and buts were candies and nuts we'd all have a very merry Super Bowl."

3 points
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RCPackerFan's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:45 am

I'm looking forward to seeing what the defense looks like under Barry.

As much as its about the scheme, its about putting the players in the best position to succeed. Barry has never had this collection of talent before.
We all know about the key players on our defense. Clark, Z, Alexander would be the top 3. Preston Smith looks like he will bounce back from a down year last year. Amos is probably the most underrated safety in the league. Kevin King returns after an up and down year. Everyone tends to remember the final game which was not pretty. But he has been a good player overall when healthy.

2 guys I think are about to take a major leap are Gary and Savage. Savage really stepped up last year. Gary keeps getting better and he seems like he is about to really bust out this year.
Some other guys to really watch for taking a big step are Barnes, Keke, and Sullivan. Barnes has been impressive as an UDFA. And now he is paired with a Coach who has a history of having good ILB's. Keke offers a lot as a pass rusher. He is someone to really keep an eye on especially if Preston bounces back. Gary takes a major step. We have Clark already. Keke is a guy to really watch. Sullivan is another guy to watch. He possibly will be playing the nickel/star CB role. He could be a very key part of the defense.
I'm looking forward to seeing what Campbell does in this defense. He should help the pass defense out with his speed/range. Also I'm looking forward to seeing how Slaton fits in. He is a big body hard to move. He should get some time at least in short yardage situations.

6 points
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geronamaker's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:26 am

I think the knock against the defense last year is mostly unwarranted. The D was much improved at the end of last season and into the playoffs. In particular, Clark, Gary, Amos and Savage were much more involved in making plays. The defense performed well in the playoffs. Remember, TB scored 14 points off turnovers on short fields.

Everybody forgets the egregious interception Rodgers threw over the middle at the 50 yard line with 35 seconds to go and the Pack trailing 14-10. For a supposedly heady player it was in fact typical of interceptions past in key NFCCG moments....forcing too much to happen against a top defense often backfires. If you are going to take a chance take it deeper down field where a pick doesn't hurt (see Brady, Tom, twice intercepted in the second half).

Pettine's greatest misjudgment by far was not calling time out to align the defense and deciding to play prevent a TD. Don't get me wrong. Pettine was not a great coach. Barry probably isn't either. The overall talent is still average to good not great. I don't anticipate this being much better than a 10-15th rated defense at year end.

However, this defense played well enough last year to make the Super Bowl. The offense's critical turnovers immediately before and after the half coupled with the coaching brainfart before the half were backbreakers. If Barry is simply a better game manager that may be enough.

14 points
15
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Bearmeat's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:06 am

WHYYYY do non die hards not see this. They REFUSE to blame 12. When, in fact, the NFC CG loss rests mostly at his feet.

5 points
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Difer's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:53 am

Which begs the question, how can the Packers defense succeed if they are constantly placed in hopeless defensive situations because of repeated 3 and outs and interceptions?? In short, how can they succeed when 12 is under center? Can't wait until '23 when the Packers are finally rid of that overrated prima dona! GO PACK GO!!!!!

-6 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:40 pm

Ask Cousins.

1 points
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Since&#039;61's picture

September 08, 2021 at 10:18 am

Enjoy the 70s. Thanks, Since ‘61

2 points
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Gee's picture

September 07, 2021 at 06:34 pm

To fair he didn't play well, (the second half ugh )and sure he has to shoulder some of the blame. The total lack of a run game in the second half was crazy. I'm not sure Rodgers had a big part in that, but it wouldn't surprise me either way. For me, I still can get over his career playoff having a defense that gives up around 25 points a game. Still think its all in head, where he has to go god mode to win. Hopefully he can finally realize that, in big game now its not all on him. Just look at his year allowing the game to come to him, dude wins MVP.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:24 pm

pass rush in your face can be a bitch...

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 08, 2021 at 07:19 am

If you think AR isn't good enough in the big games to win them, you should really hate going all-in this year. Certainly AR bears some blame, but also quite a bit of credit as well. Plus it leads to overreactions in favor of unknowns. AR had a 101.6 passer rating against Tampa Bay.

4 points
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Gee's picture

September 08, 2021 at 07:15 pm

Umm if I gave the impression I don't think Aaron can win the big, well i'm sorry that's not what I was trying. That man has dragged this team too many victories, and that's why I give him a pass, even when he plays less then his usually self. I guess I should have worded my response better. I'll on board with the all in, especially with a motivated Rodgers, was hoping for that for years. About the overreactions, I'm not sure where I said anything crazy, but I have been known to do it without knowing... Always respect your comments both here Acme, thanks for keeping me honest.

1 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:17 am

"Barry's rocket-fuel energy will spice a unit that needs a reboot."

I think we were saying the same things a few years ago about Pettine's fire and brimstone...

5 points
8
3
Gee's picture

September 07, 2021 at 06:35 pm

Oh my that a memory I tried drinking away, back to the bottle.

2 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:07 pm

I think this makes me an enabler...

2 points
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PackerAaron's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:28 pm

No one who had ever heard Mike Pettine speak prior to being hired by the Packers ever thought he was bringing "fire and brimstone"

3 points
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Vforrest's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:17 am

Doesn’t it seem the defenses we want to be like are the ones that get to the qb without blitzing? A couple games jump to mind, last year’s super bowl and when SF healthy dline lived in the backfield in the nfc championship game two years ago.

Can we get some of that with what we got or is it all about having the studs?

1 points
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dobber's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:28 am

DOMINANT 5-TECH PLEASE!!!

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 08, 2021 at 07:21 am

LOL.

All caps, too!

1 points
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Grandfathered's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:30 pm

Its all about paying the studs and Packers pay enough studs that they have to cut corners as needed and hope you hit on a late rounder or cheap vet.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:43 pm

Four man fronts

1 points
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Since&#039;61's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:17 am

The Packers defense has needed energy and a sense of urgency since 2010. Hopefully Barry is bringing at least that with him to lead the Packers defense. We also need a sense of nasty and arriving at the ball with bad intent. I'd rather have a solid, nasty tough defense with a sense of energy than a soft defense with a plenty of energy.

The soft defense needs to go. 3 man pass rush needs to go. The Packers need to consistently harass the QB even if they don't get the sack. They need to tackle better and to hold the point of attack against the run. The days of getting pushed all over the field and leaving 8-10 yard cushions in pass coverage need to stop.
We need to deliver the punches in the mouth instead of taking them.

A different scheme is fine but it won't matter if our players don't play with a sense of urgency, nasty and better tackling. Make hits and make them count. Get off the field before giving up TDs. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

8 points
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CheesyTex's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:58 am

Well said, '61. Sure would be nice to see some nasty and better tackling by the D.

Maybe the "nasty and arriving at the ball with bad intent" part is the reason for the Yiadom - Jackson trade? It will be interesting to see how they use him (if they do).

2 points
3
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splitpea1's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:42 am

Arriving at the ball quickly and consistently--that would be nice, as it is the hallmark of a well-prepared, hustling defense. I think that's going to be more of a process than a quick fix.

Too much cushion: It needs to stop, and it should be implemented right away, especially on third down. It's kind of hard to force tipped balls and snag interceptions when you're playing so far off, too.

Tackling: One of the first things we should be looking for in the upcoming game, but once again, this could be more of a process. I think MLF said we missed 11 tackles in the last Saints game, so let's see if we can do better this time.

4 points
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Since&#039;61's picture

September 07, 2021 at 01:57 pm

Agree Splitpea that it will be a process. But reducing the cushions should start immediately and we should see improved tackling and a stronger sense of urgency with each game hopefully until the defense reaches the point where they become the “new normal”.

Starting Sunday we’ll begin to find out. Thanks, Since ‘61

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:45 pm

You're the choir preaching to the choir.

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

September 07, 2021 at 09:55 pm

Those are not very politically correct thoughts.

You naughty boy!

1 points
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lolapaluuza's picture

September 07, 2021 at 10:18 am

Tnx for info!

1 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:25 am

I do think that a defense is a reflection, in part, of the DC. In this way Barry is the anti-Pettine - who I saw as cerebral and impassive. While Barry's resume does not appear to be that impressive - he does bring what I think that MLF thought was most needed - "enthusiasm and energy." Also he has a lot of experience and with it the knowledge of different schemes and formations. Also his homework shouldn't be too difficult as the back of the defense is real good. It's the front 7 that requires remediation.

As a side note - I winced a little when A.J. Hawk was implied as the last memorable ILB. It reminded me on just how low the bar has been set for ILB play in the last 10 years. Not that Hawk was absolutely terrible. Nor was he absolutely good.

10 points
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mnbadger's picture

September 07, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Great point about old reliable AJ Hawk. We could rely on him for 10.5 tackles per game. And 10.3 of them were at least six yards off the LOS. I'm looking for a few splash plays and just plain old 2.5 yards per rush against us once in a while. GPG

3 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

September 07, 2021 at 01:00 pm

So you saw it as well - Hawk's LOS started 5 yards away from the real line. And of 10.5 tackles per game - how many were 2nd contact or last one to the pile? I'm optimistic that Barnes and Campbell can do better than that

2 points
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Packers0808's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:44 am

Just so the players don't tackle air like he did and land on their shoulder and get injured! They will then be hopefully successful!

2 points
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PatrickGB's picture

September 07, 2021 at 11:52 am

I think that the big change on defense will be on the line. More of a two gap mentality with good communication. Also I heard that Matt wants the defensive backs to be more “sticky”. I think that means he wants less of a cushion from DB’s. I see more LB’s instead of DB’s in the defensive formations so I expect an improvement in run defense. Now it’s up to the players to implement it.

6 points
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flackcatcher's picture

September 08, 2021 at 02:36 pm

Matt wants a lot of things on the defensive side. We'll see how long that lasts when the zebras start calling PI on this secondary.

1 points
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MEO73's picture

September 07, 2021 at 03:49 pm

Hard to say whether the Barry hire was good or not. His past work doesnt indicate much success. Maybe its because he had poor players and mediocre offenses, but maybe not. Let's see how he teaches and schemes. I thought it was a weird hire. I hope I am wrong.

5 points
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White92's picture

September 07, 2021 at 07:19 pm

I couldn't agree more. One would think a team at the edge of a SB would attract the best in the business. Maybe Barry is, but I don't recall anyone really raving about the hire at the time. As you said, a bit of a head scratcher in my opinion.

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

September 07, 2021 at 08:53 pm

Belichick is currently not available.

2 points
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