Former Packers coach to interview for vacant Bears DC position
Mark Hoffman - USA Today Sports

Former Packers coach to interview for vacant Bears DC position

by - Senior Writer -

There is an old saying that one person's trash is another person's treasure, which could be the case for Joe Barry. After three up-and-down seasons as the Packers defensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur didn't waste any time letting him go following their loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional round.

That came after a strong final month of the season where the defense was playing at a top-five level and played a massive role in the Packers making the playoffs. Although the NFL is primarily a what have you done for me lately type of game, Barry had far more failures than successes, which is the main reason why he was let go by the Packers.

He expected to receive some interest across the league; it is surprising to see the Bears have interest in him as he is set to interview for the team's defensive coordinator gig in the coming days. That may not sit well with most Bears fans, especially when you look at how poorly the Packer's defense played at times, but at the very least, he may have some insight into what it takes to go against that offense.

This comes after Barry interviewed for the Eagles job a few days earlier, only to have Vic Fangio take that position. When you look at the direction the Bears are trying to get to, hiring Barry could be viewed as a step back, but you never know how he will perform with a new team. This could also be one of those moves where a team is fishing for rival information so even if Chicago ends up passing on him it could work in the Bears favor to at least bring him in to talk.

You then have the failed Luke Getsy experiment as an offensive coordinator that makes looking at any former Packers assistant a bit of an uneasy feeling in Chicago. Despite the struggles and inconsistency that Barry and his defense had, there are moments when his defense plays at an elite level, and when that happens, they are as good if not better than anyone in the game.

Prior to his three-year run with the Packers from 2021-23, Barry bounced around the NFL coaching ranks, landing in several places and filling different roles along the way. he was with the Los Angeles Rams (2017-20, Assistant Head Coach and Linebackers Coach) and had prior stops in Washington (Defensive Coordinator, 2015-16) and San Diego (Linebackers Coach (2012-14). Barry also has previous pro coaching experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Linebackers Coach, 2001-06, 2009), Detroit Lions (Defensive Coordinator, 2007-08), and San Francisco 49ers (2000).

Two things to note when looking at that past experience would be that Barry loves to work with LBs, and given the amount of talent the Bears have in their LB room, his ability to coach LBs could come in handy. You then look at the overall success he has had as a defensive coordinator, and it isn't at the level anyone would want.

Barry has also shown flashes of brilliance on defense, but when you have five bad games followed by three good games, there isn't enough consistency to go around. That is hard to believe when you consider that his father-in-law is former Bears DC and long-time NFL DC Rod Marinelli, who is viewed as one of the best to ever do it.

Those two coached together for a few seasons at Detroit, and Matt Eberflus has some ties to Marinelli going back to his days with the Cowboys. In an era where forming connections is very important, connecting dots along the way is crucial, and Barry does have some distant ties with the Bears and Eberflus due to Marinelli.

Another thing to point out about this situation is that Barry is reportedly interviewing for a staff position. While many feel that will end up being the DC, you have to consider the LB position, which is the one role that Barry has performed historically well with. Most Bears fans would rather have him in that role than as the DC, but when you look at his DC numbers, they are not terrible.

For all the criticism that Barry took, his defense wasn't awful as they were 17th in yards allowed, but most importantly, 10th in points allowed. Those numbers aren't the worst in the league, as you can live with a middle-of-the-pack defense. However, for Barry to have the most success he can have, perhaps leaving him as a position coach would be the best bet, as he seems to get the most out of his LB groups.

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