Cory's Corner: Joe Barry 2.0

A new active philosophy has replaced the stale passive one. Playmakers are the key to unlocking this defense's potential. 

Is this Joe Barry 2.0?

The knock on the Packers defensive coordinator has always been that his defenses are of the bend but don’t break philosophy. He will give up six or seven yards but will do everything in his power to prevent the 20-yard play. 

Last week in Chicago we saw something else. With eight first round draft picks at his disposal, Barry decided to employ the hair on fire philosophy. According to ProFootballReference.com, the Packers blitzed 31.3 percent of the time, which accounted for 12 pressures and four sacks. 

This is what I’ve been screaming about for how long. (And yes, this also dovetails in with playing six yards off wideouts — especially on third-and-5).

The NFC showed off some pretty impressive defenses. The Dallas Cowboys obliterated the Giants in a shutout and the 49ers might be the deepest defensive unit in the NFL. But the Packers can be that next tier of defensive units. 

They are that good. Now, I know a lot of you are probably shaking your head and thinking that there’s no way that the Packers can compete with Dallas or San Francisco. Why not? The Packers have elite playmakers at every level on defense with veterans and young upstarts sprinkled throughout. 

The X-factor is Barry. With a young quarterback figuring things out on the fly this year, he cannot afford to sit back and be passive. He needs to trust his defense to make the opposition uncomfortable and make plays. 

And as his third season as Packers defensive coordinator kicked off last week, the Packers defense looked like a sleek hunting machine — and they did all their hard with Rashan Gary only tallying 12 defensive plays. 

Now Barry just needs to keep the fire stoked up hot. Continue pressuring the quarterback and force third and obvious passing situations. There are so many athletes on the field for the Packers, No. 13 pick Lukas Van Ness ran down the shifty Justin Fields from behind — something that a small fraction of people on this earth can actually do.

The Falcons will present a decent challenge because they want to run the football as often as possible. But deep down Atlanta is nothing more than a high school team running the veer as it hopes for the play-action to hit paydirt. 

It will be key to keep the pressure up on sophomore Desmond Ridder because he still looks timid with happy feet in the pocket, which is why the Falcons are leaning so heavily on the run. 

I’m not confident that Ridder can convert consistent long third downs as long as the defensive line wins the line of scrimmage. And as long as Barry continues to keep relying on his playmakers to win on defense, it should be a long day for an unproven Falcons team. 

Barry just needs to keep trusting his guys and they will reward him with amazing results. Now is not the time to put the leash on. 

Release the hounds. 
 

 

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__________________________

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

__________________________

9 points
 

Comments (30)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Savage57's picture

September 16, 2023 at 06:15 am

Barry needs to trust his players.

He's got the horses; now just loosen up on the reins. give 'em their head and let 'em run.

10 points
10
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GregC's picture

September 16, 2023 at 06:35 am

One of the most encouraging things about last Sunday was that even when the Packer defense got burned a few times, like on that one Bears TD drive, they did not back off. And something you didn't mention was the huge number of stunts they ran: 28, which was easily the most in the NFL. It was so much fun to watch...AND so effective!

Will they dial the aggression down a notch against a run-heavy Falcons team? Maybe. These RBs can go the distance if you lose containment. But the Packers still need to have an aggressive mind-set, especially when the Falcons are throwing the ball. They need to rattle that inexperienced QB and trust Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas to maintain coverage downfield.

12 points
12
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

September 16, 2023 at 07:20 am

Exactly!
This game may be a good indicator of how good the 2023 Packers defense is going to be.
If they can force THIS running offense to pass, we've really got something going.

I expect to see some big runs (and RB receptions) tomorrow, but if we can also get some TFLs by being aggressive, we can begin to believe in this defense.

8 points
8
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:45 am

As Cory mentioned, Barry did call for blitzes, which was a departure from his norm. But what you mention about the stunts was even a more welcome departure from last year's Barry Ball. And I believe the stunts greatly disrupted the Bears OL and opened up lanes for the Edge guys.

I think Montgomery is having a blast coaching up probably his most talented and athletic DTs. And a young group! Kenny, the grizzled vet is only 27 years old!

Montgomery seems to be a very good coach (Pettine called him the best D assist. coach he had ever worked with...quite a compliment). Jerry is also run game coordinator so he prepares the battle plan to stop it with all 11. Maybe he is finally being allowed to be creative and aggressive. Hope so!

Montgomery has quite a DL squad to attack and wear down the Falcons OL. The continuous rotations of Kenny, Slaton, Wyatt, Reed, Wooden, RG, Preston, Enagbare, Hollins, LVN.

I agree, Greg. 10 men in rotation to use vs the 5 on the Falcons OL. Their infantry will gain some yards with those stud RBs. But force Ridder to do what Fields had to do...pass into the Packers' air defense system.

4 points
4
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greengold's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:17 am

I think the players on D made it perfectly clear that they want to play aggressively, 100%. I don't see them dialing that down for ATL, nor for anybody.

They'll have to maintain their EDGE discipline, but, the Falcons strength is clearing the running game, which GB can neutralize in 2 ways. One, is to play that aggressive, disciplined, hard tackling style you speak of on D. All hats to the ball.

The other is to firmly establish our own rushing attack, pounding ATL's DL and LBs incessantly, while mixing in a good amount of play action to take advantages of mismatches, and keep the chains moving to score. Keep our own drives alive with smart, sound, punishing play. This will prove to be a great test of our own run blocking, and neutralizing Calais Campbell and Grady Jarrett, along with their EDGE players if we utilize Wilson, will help keep Robinson and Allgeier pinned to their own sidelines.

Another opportunity for the Packers to dominate their opponent. A fast start by our own O scoring TDs in Q1-while keeping their foot on the gas - will certainly help as well, forcing ATL into passing situations in a game of catch up.

The Packers need their Safeties to deliver Sunday. Big time. LBs and a white hot pass rush too. Bijon Robinson can hurt us as a receiver out of the backfield. Pressure, PDs and sure tackling.

3 points
3
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

September 16, 2023 at 07:15 am

The big moment for me, relative to "believing Joe Barry was going to actually change his stripes" was day three of the draft. It started with the selection of Wyatt in '22 but became obvious with the selections of Brooks and Wooden in '23. Those are all penetrating, agile, stunt-style players, not the plodding big guys of former drafts.

We'll see if it's successful long-term, but I don't see the approach changing in the near future--their money is on the table with those three guys.

I'm excited, because even though we're certain to get burned, big defensive plays are not only more fun to watch, in today's offense-driven NFL, a passive, patient, defense is a losing defense. Turnovers and sacks/TFLs, in other words, changes-of-possession, are the key to success.

7 points
7
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Guam's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:12 am

Could not have said it better PEO! The big change is in the D-line and Edge groups. They finally have the talent and depth to keep fresh, high quality players charging at the offense. What a refreshing change from the "contain" philosophy they had previously. I just hope Barry doesn't revert.

2 points
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4thand10's picture

September 16, 2023 at 11:45 am

This PEO!!! you hit it right on the head.

1 points
1
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Since'61's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:06 am

This game is another opportunity for the Packers defense to stack success and build up their confidence. Winning the LOS will be the key for the Packers to stop the Falcons run game and make them a one dimensional team. Good solid tackling will be another key to containing the Falcons RBs. Force them to try to win with the pass.

The level of play by opposing QBs will increase in the next 2 games against Carr for New Orleans and Goff for Detroit. Neither are elite but they are better QBs than Fields or Ridder. It will be important for the Packers defense to face those QBs with a high level of confidence which they can achieve with another strong performance in Atlanta.

Atlanta is a baseball town right now with the Braves holding the best record in MLB. Hopefully plenty of our fellow Packers fans will be in the stands in Atlanta while the Atlanta fans are watching their baseball team rather than the rebuilding Falcons. If that is the case and the Packers can build an early lead they can silence the home crowd quickly and build from there. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

6 points
6
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:04 am

I again give the match up nod to the Pack on both lines vs the Falcons. Packers now have a DL (DTs and Edge) to play complimentary football with the solid OL.

I can only wonder what the OL could be if Myers was replaced by Tom with Yosh or Walker at RT. I watched the first quarter vs the Bears where MLF was attempting to establish the run. I could not believe how incompetent Myers was at it. In virtually every run play, either Myers missed his block or wrecked the play!

Just two examples. AJD's first run, a sweep left was sublimely blocked except for Myers being blown backward into the run lane so quickly he TRIPPED AJD who had a clear path for a first down. Another was the clever inside screen pass to Jonesy where Myers didn't block his man. His man pushed him into the screen lane, lunged at the pass, just missed it, but caused a trash pile. Still, Jordan tried to zip the ball to Jones. AJ couldn't see the ball because Myers was in his way, nearly on top of him due to his whiff! It was so well blocked downfield it would have been a TD.

Myers is OK in pass blocking. What I see in the run game is a guy who is timid and does not seek contact. It is like blocking with only 4 OL.

6 points
6
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 17, 2023 at 02:40 am

Exactly. We saw this last year too. No excuse not to have Zach Tom at C, it's like using Amari Rosh as a returner.

1 points
1
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CoachJV's picture

September 16, 2023 at 10:12 am

Exactly... One way to stop the run is build an early lead and make them have to throw the ball.

4 points
4
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TxFred's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:27 am

Like an addage in business, applies to sports.

"Surround yourself with talented people and LET them work."

1 points
2
1
Coldworld's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:27 am

It’s one game against a Bears team expected to have offensive limitations. It could well be that the Falcons are similarly limited, however, their whole O is premised on running the ball to set up freakish athletes in space. That includes their RBs and Patterson as well as London and Pitts (a WR in TE clothing).

They don’t have a Fields to run from QB, but their skill players are elite athletes they try to get open in space and hope they can do it from there. The Bears had Moore and not much. Last week the Falcons tried to create space almost exclusively horizontally. If they do that, then the tactics versus the Bears may work, but the tackling needs to be excellent and we need to accept that the challenge between the tackles will be much greater.

I really don’t know what Ridder can do. But if he is to be an NFL QB, this is a game where I would expect them to go vertical at times, especially up the middle. Gray knows very well what the weaknesses of our safeties are and Nixon is also likely to get challenged. Pitts in particular could be a big part of their plan, but don’t discount Robinson and Patterson (out last week) on plays over the middle.

Last week their opposing QB was having a very tough debut. He stared down receivers and just was not good or able to stretch the field vertically. That made playing D very much easier. They could keep their ILBs out there and not expose weakness at CB as well as letting their S play robber a lot. We should pose a lot more questions for their secondary in terms of matchups regardless of who plays.

5 points
5
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:19 am

Enjoyed the aggressive line of attack by the D. Quite a departure from passive Barry Ball, designed to play with a lead...to last week designed to attack and provide complimentary help to create a lead.

One part of Barry Ball was still on display...some very poor tackling. They just are not good at it as a whole. I wish they were. Solid tackling is an important key to winning football. Watch the Eagles, who take great angles and when they arrive, run through the ball carrier while wrapping up. Going to need great tackling on Sunday...especially against Robinson who will make you look silly if you do not.

However....I could barely believe my eyes last week seeing "Savage tackling"! Darnell's best game in a long time!

2 points
2
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The_Baloney_Stops_Here's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:33 am

Were gonna be the Falcons by 30. Those dirty birds are about to meet the buzzsaw.

1 points
2
1
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:34 am

The Packers need to have Jenkins and Runyan find their form and to hide Josh Myers. Grady Jarrett, Onyemata and Calais Campbell are all better than Chicago's best defensive lineman or edge rusher. I don't think much of Atlanta's outside linebackers - they aren't terrible, but Bakh and Tom should be up to those challenges.

The Falcons have some good offensive linemen. I suppose the Packers will try to take advantage of rookie LG Bergeron and perhaps the young center, Dalman, who has been okay for the last two years. They have great running backs, fine tight ends and some good WRs. Their offense depends on whether and when Ridder can be a good triggerman.

This is a stiffer test than Chicago.

7 points
7
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Coldworld's picture

September 16, 2023 at 08:52 am

Watching and rewatching the last game, it becomes relatively easy to sympathize with the two Gs. On run plays Myers is just an open door to their inside, typically being pushed aside. If you watch the early stuffs of Jones and then Dillon, it is painfully obvious that the Bears are coming inside the G on either side of Myers repeatedly. That’s causing the Gs to try to shade, which causes other issues.

This week, I think the Falcons IDL is going to be a much more challenging proposition, both because they will stunt and blitz and on basic matchups. Teams had figured out that the weakest point on our line late last year was the right C, and stuffed us there repeatedly. Chicago hadn’t forgotten and I doubt the Falcons with Gray have.

On the plus side, their DL does look vulnerable setting the edge. That thought is not something we can exploit fully unless we have speed at RB. This game appears set up to get Wilson his first snaps or to be a big day for Jones if he’s healthy.

4 points
4
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LambeauPlain's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:22 am

I saw Jenks and JRJ blocking very well last Sunday, especially in the run. I think the duo has found their "form". Myers has not...in fact, during run blocking he has no form except to be a non factor in it...or a total liability.

4 points
4
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 17, 2023 at 02:45 am

The pain is, how long will it take to make the necessary adjustment to our O line? Last season it took what, 8 weeks?

1 points
1
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Rebelgb's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:49 am

The Packers Defense played well last Sunday and it was fun to watch. That being said I am concerned. I was not aware of the 31% blitz statistic and im surprised as I though the opposite happened, I had thought we were getting home NOT blitzing.

The truth is elite defenses like Dallas and the 49ers (I puked up a bit having to type that) are elite because they can pressure the QB WITHOUT blitzing. Its also a winning formula for teams that go deep into the playoffs.

If the Packers want to be a top defense they need to get home with their starters up front.

6 points
6
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Coldworld's picture

September 16, 2023 at 10:33 am

I think you need to bear in mind the definition of a blitz. PFF for example, regards it as when a player not at a typical rushing position gets in the backfield (on a run or pass behind the line too). That is true even if an expected passer doesn’t blitz. So let’s say a OLB holds the edge and an ILB rushes instead. That’s a rush as defined.

Others see it as 5 or more in the backfield (an older view). Against a team that doesn’t seem able or inclined to defend, that’s also not that rare, especially if they are running or passing essentially laterally a lot and backfield presence counts wherever it occurs.

Finally, teams that stunt often do so to open a lane for another defender to come through. That could be a lineman looping or a player behind. That again is a blitz as defined by PFF if it’s an ILB, slot or S.

If you have a team with two elite rushers and the opponent is a vertical pass heavy team, then the blitz rate may be low, but it’s quite common these days to see scores like this one, which certainly wasn’t against a team with that kind of threat or intention.

0 points
0
0
4thand10's picture

September 16, 2023 at 12:04 pm

GB has 3 additional true DL now, along with another in Ford on the PS. They’re young ,fast and aggressive. This isn’t even including Preston, Gary and VanNess. Johnson from Chicago was no joke, he trucked over Rudy Ford like he wasn’t even there… and people knock Rudy Ford, but the dude can tackle. Tackling used to be a huge issue for GB. I think that issue is resolved now. If Gary is not on a pitch count…expect a back up playing for the Falcons by second quarter. When I had seen Love responding to the pressure that the Eagles provided last year and still performed…I’m not concerned. The Eagles have arguably the best D line in the game next to probably SF. Dallas DL looked good, but I’ll wait for the inevitable implosion in Jerry world that happens every year. Patterson is strong, but he is not as fast as he was 5 yrs ago and still has issues with the dropsies which is why he has bounced around the NFL for so long.

2 points
2
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Rossonero's picture

September 16, 2023 at 09:54 am

I'm glad Barry had the defense ready to play with a solid gameplan and execution in week 1. He put his players in positions to succeed and was aggressive. Kudos to him. At this point we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground. In other words, I want to see a larger sample size than against a trash team like the Bears.

Desmond Ridder is the very definition of a game manager. The Falcons O-line is far better at run blocking than at pass blocking, so it's no surprise that we'll get a heavy dose of Bijan Robinson + Tyler Allghier.

I'll curious to see:
- Will Barry load the box to stop the run, daring Ridder to throw?
- Will Barry call for more stunts like he did last week?
- Will Savage or Ford be coming up in run support more?
- How will Isiah McDuffie play if Quay Walker can't go? That's a serious downgrade.

Packers 27, Falcons 24

3 points
3
0
CoachJV's picture

September 16, 2023 at 10:09 am

I think Walker and Campbell are going to have a huge day in tackles. Walker is gonna be pumped after his Pick 6 and is still aching to amend for his mistakes last year. Campbell will be effective because he doesn't have to handle the inside by himself. If they can shut down the run along with the front 3 or 4, OLB's contain the edge, and the Secondary will handle it's business easy.

3 points
3
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Lphill's picture

September 16, 2023 at 10:41 am

The few snaps Wyatt got last season he made some noise , I’m not sure if Barry trusts rookies , I hope he doesn’t hold back Van Ness .

3 points
3
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CoachJV's picture

September 16, 2023 at 06:47 pm

He didn't last week... kid got his first sack running down the QB from behind.

1 points
1
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SpikeHyzer's picture

September 16, 2023 at 03:04 pm

Good thoughts, Cory.

I think the Pack will focus on stopping the run with ATL to start. Let's hope they can get ahead and force them to throw later and adapt to putting the pressure on them. At least that's how I see it playing out.

I'm now wondering about Barry's previous failed stints and if he just didn't have the talent (bend and don't break is fundamental football for the mediocre athletes). He certainly didn't have the talent with the Pack until the last two drafts (and didn't throw a lot of those guys into the fire because even someone who had as good a rookie year as any Packer defender in the last couple of decades, like Walker, still made a lot of mistakes). And Wyatt was developing and not good through the first 10 games.

I think he's a better coach than people realize and finally has elite pieces to work with and this could be a devastatingly good defense. In the same breath as the Cowboys and Niners.

1 points
2
1
jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 16, 2023 at 10:05 pm

Not just Blitzes but also stunts. They ran almost no stunts last season. This year so far more stunts. Let's hope it continues.

1 points
1
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

September 17, 2023 at 02:51 am

As long as they meet at the QB!

1 points
1
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