Packers: Matt LaFleur ‘anticipates’ DC Joe Barry returning for 2023

The Green Bay Packers were expecting their defense to be among the best units in the NFL entering 2022. With first-round picks stationed throughout the starting lineup and Pro Bowl talent at all three levels, defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s unit was going to build off a strong close to the 2021 season that included holding San Francisco to just 13 points in a playoff loss.

What fans got this season was not an elite defense. Instead, it was more of the same as the team finished 17th in yards allowed, 18th in points allowed and 28th in yards per play allowed. All of it played a role in a disappointing season that came to an end Sunday night with a 20-16 loss to Detroit when a win would have given the team a playoff berth.

Green Bay’s defensive numbers improved down the stretch of the season as the team won four straight. Barry’s group allowed just 17 points per game and became prolific at creating turnovers, coming up with 12 in that period of time. But after their struggles much of the season, there was an expectation from outside the building, and a desperate want among the fanbase, that Barry’s tenure would end after two seasons. However, that does not appear to be the case.

“That’s what I anticipate, yes,” coach Matt LaFleur said Monday when asked if Barry would be his defensive coordinator in 2023. “We’re still at the initial stages of all the evaluations and quite frankly, I don’t really anticipate a whole lot of, if any, staff changes at all.”

In the season-ending loss, the Packers defense gave the team a chance to win the game. It held the fifth-highest scoring offense in the league to 20 points, which came after giving up 17 to Minnesota the previous week, including 14 in garbage time.

“It’s my intention to try to have everybody back and I think continuity is a big part of having success in this league,” LaFleur said. “When you feel good about the people, then you just got to work to improve.”