Black Monday '24 DC Candidates Preview

A look at which defensive coordinators might be available after that fateful day.

With just one week left in the 2023 regular season, you've typically got three different types of teams. You've got those teams that are playoff-bound, looking to either catch fire or keep the momentum enroute to a Super Bowl berth, teams who just missed the playoffs, who need a few tweaks for better luck next season, and then you have those teams who are in need a fresh approach. The Monday following the regular season, colloquially known as "Black Monday" is where those teams looking to hit the reset button clean house; sometimes it's the coaching staff, sometimes it's the front office, and other times it's both. Typically, those bottom-dweller teams are looking to pick from the staff of the other, more successful teams hoping they'll bring a winning culture with them. But don't be fooled, one man's trash is another man's treasure and those winning teams may pad their staffs with coaches and executives looking for a new home.

While the Packers are locked in with Head Coach Matt LaFleur for the foreseeable future, fans are hoping that embattled Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry isn't. And while, just like all of you I'm hoping for a win against the Bears which sparks an improbable run to the Super Bowl as a 7th Seed, I hope that no such victories are to be presented as evidence to save Barry's hide. I truly believe there are plenty of suitable candidates out there across the league, but in many cases, the early bird gets the worm. In a season where multiple teams have witnessed woeful starts/finishes and overall underwhelming performances down the stretch, NFL owners and executives will be hitting the train quick to find successive coaches who can turn their franchises around.

As that fateful Monday swiftly approaches, I proposed a quick ponder at who might be available. 

 

 

Definitely Available

1. Ron Rivera - HC, Commanders

Ron Rivera has admirably tried to turn the Commanders around, but when you have an owner like Dan Snyder, progression is futile. That's not the case anymore with new owner Josh Harris, but Rivera isn't his choice and he's looking to do a fresh rebuild with the team. While Rivera's going down swinging though, and Harris is allowing him to ride off into the sunset. I don't think Rivera will be in line for another head coaching gig soon, but if you've been watching pro football for a long time you know he's compiled great defenses at all his stops. I don't know if the Packers would be interested, but I'd hope they'd at least kick the tires.

UPDATE - Rivera was fired this afternoon.

2. Ejiro Evero - DC, Panthers

With the Panthers firing Frank Reich during the season, the entire Panthers coaching staff is likely looking for a new beginning this offseason. This SHOULD be a lock for the Packers; LaFleur interviewed him for the job 3 years ago, and he's been successful at overhauling defenses at multiple stops since. Don't let the 2-14 record fool you. The Panthers defense is sneaky good. The only issue is there are whispers of Evero being interviewed as a head coach. Would LaFleur make the same mistake twice? Let's hope not.

UPDATE - Carolina blocked Evero from interviewing with the Jaguars for the DC position. Carolina plans to interview Evero for their HC vacancy. It seems his time as a coordinator may be coming to an end.

 

Possibly Available

1. Matt Eberflus - HC, Bears

About a month ago, we were wondering if the Bears would go ahead and cut loose Eberflus midseason. However, he's made some adjustments and the Bears have been competitive down the stretch. It's a real conundrum for Chicago on who's the problem, is it Justin Fields, Eberflus, both, or neither? Those are questions only the ownership can answer, but with the 1st Overall Pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, plus a likely Top-10 pick of their own, if the Bears want a fresh start they better do it now. Eberflus, a defensive-minded coach who had positive results with the Colts and Cowboys, has the skills to turn this defense into the Top-10 unit it should be.

UPDATE - Chicago has decided to retain Eberflus.

2. Mike Vrabel - HC, Titans

The Titans have probably one of the worst rosters in the NFL, and that's really on their GM, not so much on Vrabel. They've found their quarterback in Will Levis, but outside of that, what else do they have? Derrick Henry is slowing down and can't carry this team any longer. If the Titans fire GM Ron Carthon, the next GM is likely going to want to bring in their coach as well. To make it easier, the Titans will probably just fire both. Vrabel has produced multiple Top-5 defenses in his career, and has a knowledge of defensive schemes from his time as a Patriot that makes him agreeable to any roster. He's a bit removed from his 2021 Coach of the Year honors, but he will bring an air of competence to the DC position. My only concern is he was LaFleur's boss before he left to lead the Packers, so this might be an awkward pairing. Let's hope that doesn't stop them from finding success together again.

UPDATE - Vrabel was fired Tuesday afternoon.

3. Don "Wink" Martindale - DC, Giants

Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll went from hero to zero this season, largely because of quarterback play. The Giants were sellers at the trade deadline, so it may be an indication of an ensuing rebuild. Like the aforementioned Titans, the Giants may elect to clean house, which they should after GM Joe Schoen handed Daniel Jones that massive contract that's going to cripple their roster building for years to come. Martindale, who's already been documented to have a "beef" with Daboll, may be looking for greener pastures in 2024 whether he and Daboll are retained or not. If you remember the Ravens' terror of a defense that featured Hall of Famers like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Terrell Suggs, Wink was the man calling the shots in Baltimore for 10 years. Speaking of that longevity of success, Martindale just hit his age-60 season, and while he has not hinted at retirement, it may be a concern 3-5 seasons from now.

UPDATE - Martindale informed the Giants of his resignation from his position as DC this afternoon.

4. Chris Harris - DB Coach/PGC, Titans

I championed for Harris last year to get an interview but he's still down there in Nashville producing top-flight secondaries, like he did in Washington....like he did in Los Angeles....like he did in Chicago....is he ever gonna get a shot? Should the Titans vanquish their coaching staff I don't expect Harris to last long, and should Vrabel get another head coaching gig I'd be surprised if he didn't get brought along. 

UPDATE - With Mike Vrabel being fired, Chris Harris will likely be searching for a new team this offseason.

 

Longshots

1. Antonio Pierce - Interim HC, Raiders

After the Raiders fired Josh McDaniels it was assumed the Raiders would be left for dead until 2024. Instead, Antonio Pierce has ignited a fire in Vegas that allowed the Raiders to place Top-5 in most points scored in a game in league history. That's pretty darn good for a defensive-minded coach. It's rumored the Raiders are considering Pierce for the top gig, but I'm labeling it as lip service until he gets hired. Pierce, a former Super Bowl winner and Pro Bowler, represents the dreamer in all of us, going from undrafted out of Arizona to world champion and now on the cusp of being a full-time NFL Head Coach. I hope he gets the Raiders job, but if he doesn't I hope the Packers are bold enough to pick up the phone.

UPDATE - Raiders owner Mark Davis has expressed to the media that it is a two-way race between Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Pierce for the Raiders head coaching vacancy.

2. Jerod Mayo - DC, Patriots

What hasn't Mayo done in the league? I won't go into his lengthy accomplishments just yet, but if you look at the Patriots this season, despite their 4-12 record the defense is still top-tier. The only question is will Bill Belichick be retained? Mayo is in his inner circle, and whether Belichick stays or decides to move on (he won't be fired, the Patriots will trade him first), Belichick probably takes Mayo with him. Mayo has had multiple feelers for head coaching gigs already, with very good feedback. It's a situation to monitor for sure, but too much uncertainty in this situation makes Mayo little more than a pipe dream at this point.

 

 

 

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__________________________

Joseph has been an avid fan of the Green Bay Packers since 1997, citing an affinity for dairy products during his childhood and his favorite color, green. Born in Jacksonville, FL, Joseph currently is an Active Duty servicemember in the U.S. Armed Forces. Joseph considers himself a lifelong fan of the game of football, competing since his youth well into adulthood. When it comes to the Pack, Joseph is particularly impassioned about the NFL Draft and collegiate scouting process, and will contribute regularly on CHTV.com leading to that year's upcoming Draft. You can follow him on Twitter at @joeyreyallday.

__________________________

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5 points
 

Comments (77)

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

January 05, 2024 at 03:11 pm

Any College coaches JR?

3 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:35 pm

I'm just examining coaches who'll be free agents in the next 96 hours.

The college racket is hard to predict. I try not to highlight them because you never know who wants to jump to the NFL or just move around the NCAA.

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MooPack's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:49 pm

Ok, Fair enough.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 05, 2024 at 11:56 pm

Al Harris?

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PackAttack4155's picture

January 05, 2024 at 03:50 pm

Interesting list. I'm happy to see Brandon Staley left off it. I think we've all had our fill of questionable, to downright awful, playcalling, and misuse of talent.

4 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:36 pm

I'm terrified that LaFleur gives him an interview.

7 points
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splitpea1's picture

January 05, 2024 at 03:54 pm

Pierce: Probably won't be available, but you never know with Davis, who hasn't exactly been a whiz at picking head coaches. Davante Adams said he would go through a wall for Pierce, so that's a nice endorsement. On the other hand, Pierce doesn't have the lengthy resume that some of the other candidates mentioned do.

Evero: A more realistic possibility. He does have a Packers connection and did help the Rams win a Super Bowl. He's young and almost guaranteed to have more credibility in the locker room.

Vrabel: An intriguing possibility. A very smart guy who also should also have quite a bit of credibility and someone who is not afraid to push the boundaries. I would love to see him paired with MLF.

No mention of Zimmer? He wants to get back in. Most importantly, he's produced consistently good defenses that rank in the top third.

6 points
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PackAttack4155's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:05 pm

Zimmer might be looking for a HC gig, but he'd be a solid option for DC. He has the fire and fury to lead an aggressive defense.

3 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:04 pm

He's 67 years old. I'm not so sure that fits with this team. I doubt LaFleur would be a natural boss for a guy with that kind of resume.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:15 pm

Agree; with a team this young and a young coaching staff, I don't think they hire someone who would be 70 when their contract expires.

-1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:06 am

I'd rather see somebody come in as HC and MLF go to OC. Bill Belichick might be able to do both HC and DC.

-1 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:42 pm

While Zimmer hasn't been coaching in the league since 2021, he may not be ready to return since his son Adam died unexpectedly in 2022.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:26 am

If Pierce doesn't get the Raiders gig the Packers should do everything short of give him a blank check. That guy is a players coach that holds the players accountable. You'd get maximum effort from the players with him and quickly find who can turn potential into production.

0 points
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4thand10's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:54 am

The game has passed Zimmer by…. different offenses that he has never seen before. Why did MN let him go? He seemed to get em close but not cigaro

1 points
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Stinky Cheese's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:02 pm

Unfortunately, any good DCs will want to go to a city that does not close at 7 PM. At least we have a Walmart.

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PackAttack4155's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:05 pm

Maybe Wade Phillips? He probably goes to sleep around then, so no biggy.

1 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:43 pm

If Phillips returned to coaching in 2024, he'd be 77 years old before the season starts. I'm not looking to see a coach croak on national television.

2 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:56 pm

Easy, kiddo, We're all day-to-day.

11 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 07:10 pm

Some of us are on the questionable list.

4 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:09 am

Especially those of you foolish enough to take the Jim Jones juice.

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:18 pm

GB has had some very good coaches; they won't avoid the job because of the city. Most coached would love the chance to work with a franchise as successful as GB and a team that has a franchise QB already. That always takes a little heat off the defense, if they don't have to carry the team for a game manager. Coaches work too much to be too concerned with the night life in GB.

8 points
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Stinky Cheese's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:52 pm

Franchise QB?...Maybe a little early for that declaration.

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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:43 pm

The Oval Office is open til 2am....

3 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:08 am

Is your Walmart still open 24 hours?

1 points
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BruceC1960's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:02 pm

Good stuff as always Joseph….thanks

4 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:13 pm

I'll enjoy watching the joy of getting rid of Barry turn into the disappointment that it didn't make a difference any more than all the other DCs we've changed in the last 20 years. By the end of his first season, there'll be people who think he should be replaced. Guaranteed.

0 points
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lou's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:48 pm

You are assuming that they will replace Barry with a candidate like him that had no success in a similar role on their NFL resume. The Packers like other organizations will fail to do proper due diligence even at high levels at times, but based on Barry's hire and the direct results the chances they do it again are slim and none.

4 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:19 pm

As I remember, the timing was really poor and there were not a lot of great candidates at the time Barry was hired. And Barry wasn't the first choice. The first choice turned it down. Barry was probably the best of the rest at the time.

-2 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

January 06, 2024 at 10:54 am

Barry was the worst of the rest. I was shocked MLF decided to go with perennial DC failure Barry. Why, I do not know. After just missing out on the inspired attempt to land Leonard, MLF did a 180 and went to the salvage yard. Was it panic? Small NFL network? Cronyism? Lack of confidence, courage? SMH.

If Gutey was in fact the real GM, there little chance he would have approved Barry...and he certainly would have nixed MLF's silly "continuity", cowardly rationale to retain the ineffective DC last year.

Barry is probably a very nice man and a good MLF friend. He just does not have the talent, judgement, or creativity to run an NFL D. He is married to his stubborn prevent (the win) defense.

He is unable to identify the talents of individual players to build a team with a scheme to create synergies to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Barry does just the opposite...makes the whole far diminished from the sum of the talents of his players.

When his K is allowed to expire, does anyone believe he will be hired as a DC any of the other 31 teams? That is quite an indictment.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 06, 2024 at 11:32 am

I'm assuming we're Average-ish on defense, and we're going to lose some of our better players this offseason, and that we're not going to get somebody who is a lot better than Barry.

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GregC's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:43 pm

This is my fear as well, although I certainly will not enjoy it if that's how it plays out. I'm just not convinced that the talent is there for a great defense, with Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark being the only players who are well above average and not perpetually injured. I still think the Packers need to shake things up and try a new defensive approach, however.

-1 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:45 pm

Is a new coordinator not a new approach?

2 points
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GregC's picture

January 05, 2024 at 09:55 pm

Yes. That's what I meant.

-1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

January 06, 2024 at 11:29 am

You are evaluating Packer D player talent based on how Barry uses them...mostly non synergistically, unimaginatively, ignorantly, or stubbornly.

I believe, with a competent DC, the 8 first rounders could change the D overnight. And guys like Slayton, Brooks, Wooden, Enagbare, Smith, McDuffie, Valentine, Ballentine, Johnson, Jr, Nixon would would surprise many.

Lack of defensive talent is not the problem...it is incompetent coaching. Gray was disgusted with the misuse of player talent and expect he voiced his dissatisfaction to MLF and Barry. Even then, MLF wanted Gray to stay who responded with "NO WAY" and could not wait to put Barry Ball in his rear view mirror.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

January 06, 2024 at 11:35 am

And yet, it's been an average defense, despite playing quite a few Day 3 rookies and UDFAs in the secondary. How do you explain that?

You keep saying 8 first rounders. Alexander isn't playing. Neither is Stokes, neither is Savage. Day 3 rookies and UDFAs are. Gary, Van Ness, and Clark have played pretty well. Walker has been up and down.

-1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 12:12 am

What do you think it would take to get this defense performing up to their talent level, or above?

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Spock's picture

January 06, 2024 at 08:57 am

Thanks for the link. Yep, a multiplicity of people who had 'career' (!) days against a Joe Barry led defense. I know people are concerned that a new 'face' would yield the same results, but I have to believe that picking random names out of a hat would yield better defenses than we've seen from Barry!

2 points
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GatorJason's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:15 pm

Surprised Jim Leonhard not on list.
He turned down opportunity earlier hoping to get Badger HC job.
Gambled and he lost. Hope he and Packers give it another try.
Leonard is wicked smart and had great NFL career despite his size.
He would be great matching DB talent with defensive schemes.

https://badgerherald.com/sports/2021/02/03/football-badgers-dc-jim-leonh...

7 points
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GregC's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:39 pm

Leonhard spent enough time in Madison to know that most of the time the Packers' defensive coordinator is Public Enemy #1 in the state of Wisconsin. Would he really want to step into that role and take all that comes with it? Does he have a family?

0 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

January 05, 2024 at 06:04 pm

" Would he really want to step into that role and take all that comes with it? Does he have a family?"

If he had the bona fides for the job, yes. Any qualified Wisconsinite would jump at that opportunity. He has a family. This year he chose to spend time with empty storefront and bloated husk Bret Bielima in Illinois rather than taking the cash and being a family guy until the dust settled. Jimmy needs to get past being butt hurt over the UW job. Which brings us to the Badgers.

Jimmy stepped into Dave Aranda's system at UW when Dave bolted for LSU. Jimmy didn't do anything new. He was a good college D coordinator. He's not a savior because he grew up in Tony, walked on with the Badgers and had a successful NFL career.

5 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

January 06, 2024 at 01:36 am

He wasn't a savior but he kept the train running with overachieving top 10 defenses. Wisconsin wasn't reeling in 4 and 5 star athletes like the power programs. 6 years is enough time to turn over the starter 2 or 3 times and the train kept rolling.

He did spend time with Aranda the year before becoming the DBs coach watching a lot of film on offenses not normally seen in the NFL.

There might be better options out there but there's no doubt in my mind he'd be a huge upgrade.

0 points
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mancl307's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:35 pm

There are 8 assistant coaches on defense. Getting them right is vitally important so I would only consider coordinator candidates who have been in the league long enough to have the contacts who could put together a solid staff That eliminates any college coach for coordinator but I wouid absolutely look to hire college guys as position.guys

2 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:47 pm

Barry's been in the league for 21 years, and who did he bring with him? Nobody. So that's not necessarily a penchant for success.

5 points
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jurp's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:38 pm

I'm sorry, but I strongly doubt that Barry will be replaced, whether we win or not this Sunday. "Consistency", don't you know.

I'd prefer Jim Leonhard to any of these anyway.

-7 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:57 pm

I'm sure you prefer Leonard because of his significant success running a defense of a pro football team.

1 points
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lou's picture

January 06, 2024 at 08:54 am

Please read the great link posted by LLCHESY, it reads like General Custer's Last Stand on automatic.

0 points
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Stinky Cheese's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:51 pm

Is a DC even the most significant obstacle to overcome? We need talent across the board. Jaire is old and slow.
JF1 is going to tear us apart. Belichick himself couldn't coach this group of crap BG drafted. We all know Love will throw balls up for grabs like he has done all year. His luck is running out.

-14 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:01 pm

Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers? Old? He's 26. Slow? What?

Sometimes it behooves a person to just not comment when they have no idea what they're talking about.

9 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:06 pm

I'm guessing this is ImaPayne/Fubared's new account. Get ready for a barrage of these idiotic comments.

11 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:48 pm

What's a Bears fan doing on a Packers site?

5 points
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Tundraboy's picture

January 05, 2024 at 11:55 pm

Shouldn't they be hibernating already?

3 points
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Stinky Cheese's picture

January 06, 2024 at 09:36 am

Ha Ha, good one. We do usually hibernate one week before you guys.

-2 points
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Stinky Cheese's picture

January 06, 2024 at 09:35 am

Bear down, Baby!!

-1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 04:56 pm

Brandon Graham - Raiders DC
The Eagles have to do something with their two-headed coordinators, both of whom are stellar.
as mentioned elsewhere, Mike Zimmer would warrant an interview.
Eberflus is a pipe dream, no way he moves from HC of the Bears directly into a DC at GB.
Rivera? Pass. 85 Bears, not happening.

0 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:52 pm

Brandon Graham almost made this list, but Antonio Pierce has a third of his experience roughly and was named the Interim HC, that speaks volumes to me.

I'm only considering people who'll be available next week, there will be a time for the rest later.

Eberflus is not a HC if you ask me, he needs to return to being a DC. He'll probably get a 2nd chance somewhere else eventually, but he'll probably yield the same results.

I could care less about what happened before my lifetime, and LaFleur would probably feel the same way. This league is too competitive to not entertain all possible avenues. Did you say the same thing when they signed Adrian Amos?

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 06:27 pm

I don't understand your question. How is signing a good safety germane. Whether you think Eberflus is a head coach isn't really a thing, he is in fact the current head coach of the Bears. He'd be a stunning hire, but he'd never take a demotion, nor would I think he would move to Green Bay. I said it about Ron Rivera, head Coach and former '85 Chicago Bear (and failure in both Carolina and Washington)

I won't hold it against you that you're not knowledgeable about anything prior to your birth.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

January 05, 2024 at 09:25 pm

Patrick Graham is a solid candidate if the Raiders implode and he did a great job as the Packers LB coach on a previous stint. The dinosaurs are not moving the needle. Martindale could run the show, but he probably stays with Daboll on the East Coast. Zimmer may not be able to communicate with Gen Z.

0 points
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jont's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:00 pm

I thought I'd share:

"NFL Coaching Masterclass: Joe Barry vs. Justin Fields"

"... Barry’s strategy is simple yet effective: he employs zone coverage and refrains from blitzing. In their last encounter, Barry didn’t use a single snap of man coverage against Fields, compelling him to meticulously navigate the zone, significantly slowing down the Bears’ passing attack...."

https://nesn.com/bets/2024/01/nfl-coaching-masterclass-joe-barry-vs-just...

I have no idea who this NESN is or anything; I just clicked one link after another from somewhere.

Thought you guys would enjoy. "Master class".

2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 03:57 am

JB puttin' on a clinic lol. Yeah that's a hilarious take!

-1 points
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Coachengel's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:29 pm

I'm going to put this name on the radar, Jesse Minter.

He is currently Michigan Defensive Coordinator and has ties to the Baltimore Ravens. Coach Minter is young coach who runs a very aggressive style defense. He would be the missing piece to defensive greatness.

5 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:54 pm

It's hard to analyze college coaches' trajectories, the fact that he's got NFL ties is a plus, but if Harbaugh leaves, I'm sure he's going to throw his hat in the ring for the Michigan job first before leaving for Green Bay.

2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 04:02 am

Coach Engel,

somebody else here has said that the main thing a DC would do is put together his staff and that would mean he should be from the NFL, although he could get position coaches from the College level. So that raises a slew of questions, one of which is which position would he be most apt to coach? The bigger question is what do you think of the idea as stated?

The third question being doesn't the HC pick the staff?

0 points
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GregC's picture

January 05, 2024 at 05:52 pm

This list looks kind of sad to me. Ron Rivera's defense in Washington is last in the league in points allowed, at an even 30.0 points per game--2.9 points worse than the next-worst team. Ejiro Evero's Panthers are #30. Wink Martindale's New York Giants are two spots higher, at #28.

Mike Vrabel's Titans, on the other hand, come in at #16--only two spots lower than Joe Barry's Packer defense, which is #14. So I guess Vrabel is the gem of this class.

Maybe they can dig up an assistant coach on a successful staff who will bring a fresh approach. It's hard to tell if there's much talent at the college level, with offense being so dominant.

2 points
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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 06:32 pm

I think you're evaluating in the vacuum that is this season. Every candidate I highlight has had multiple stops and produced multiple quality defenses. I'd avoid someone who "flashed" for a year, because they may not repeat that performance.

Rivera has traditionally produced Top-10 defenses. The Commanders have had horrible QB play the last couple of years so his defenses have been out there much longer than they should be.

Here's a quick rundown of the defenses Rivera has produced (ranked in total yards allowed) since 2008:

Top-5: 2009 (1st), 2013 (2nd), 2020 (2nd), 2022 (4th)
Top-10: 2012 (10th), 2014 (10th), 2015 (6th), 2017 (7th)

If you can't get on boad with that resume, I don't know what else to tell you.

Vrabel, as I mentioned in the article has produced multiple Top-10 defenses as a coach, as well as a player. Again, consistent production.

Vrabel from 1997-2010 as a player:

Top-5: 2007 (4th),
Top-10: 1997,(6th), 2000 (7th), 2003 (7th), 2004 (9th), 2006 (6th), 2008 (10th)

Vrabel since 2017 as a coach:

Top-10: 2018 (8th)

As a younger coach, he doesn't have the long resume that Rivera does, but he has a winning culture and knows good defense on and off the field.

Evero has only been a coordinator for 2 years, the Broncos were 8th last year and the Panthers are 3rd this year. He's produced two defensive juggernauts when the offenses were some of the league's worst....what's not to like?

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

January 05, 2024 at 07:16 pm

I'll help you with this. Rivera coaching in Green Bay is the equivalent of Bart Starr coaching the Bears. It may not mean anything to you, but Ron Rivera is a Bear in his DNA.

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GregC's picture

January 05, 2024 at 09:58 pm

How are the Panthers 3rd in defense this year? I looked up points allowed per game, and they are 30th.

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JosephR's picture

January 05, 2024 at 10:23 pm

The Panthers are 3rd in Total Defense, as in yards allowed. Total defense is a better metric than points allowed because it shows how many yards your defense yields to the opposing team.

Think about how many times Barry's defenses have instantly given up the lead after the offense took the lead or tied the game, that's total defense. Points allowed can be a bit of a misnomer because it often doesn't account for defensive touchdowns, special teams touchdowns, safeties, field position, or multiple field goals from deep.

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 04:12 am

Both total yards and points allowed are significant measures, but points need to be adjusted to points allowed by defense. Why would you subtract field goals from that?
Panthers being third in yards allowed but 30th in points is a very strange combination, how would you explain that?

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GregC's picture

January 06, 2024 at 08:27 am

Yeah, that's a huge difference. I would not have thought that even possible. I would say that the Panthers' 2-14 record is evidence that points allowed is more important than yards allowed.

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Vachio's picture

January 05, 2024 at 06:31 pm

Brandon Staley! From what I remember, Barry's major selling point was that he learned under Brandon Staley. Let's see if the man himself wants to put his stamp on the Pack defense!

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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

January 06, 2024 at 04:13 am

You forgot to include the /s

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LLCHESTY's picture

January 06, 2024 at 01:50 am

I hope they look at Anthony Weaver, the defensive line and associate HC for the Ravens. He was interim DC for the Texans after BOB got fired so he has brief experience running the show on the defensive side and they have a great scheme going right now. Former journeyman player.

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SinceLombardi's picture

January 06, 2024 at 05:45 am

It worries me that MLF could easily keep Joe Barry.
This is a big game for MLF. I don’t see him as a top head coach. Just an innovative OC.
He better not field a flat team and blow a win and in two years in a row. ( to go along with two blown #1s)
I don’t see him as being here past 2024 without playoffs and by next year playoff wins.
MLF and the Packers really need to give a good account of themselves on Sunday.

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HarryHodag's picture

January 06, 2024 at 08:01 am

Lots of assumptions in the article. One thing that is clear is if the Packers win, MLF is not going to change DC going into a playoff game. Here's another option: he doesn't change coordinators at all. Not that I want him to keep Barry but he might be willing to take the slings and arrows to keep his friendship.

I have always banged the drum for Jim Leonhard. We all forget he forged one the nation's best defenses at Wisconsin with largely inferior talent. A few of his guys are in the NFL now. He spent a lot of years in the NFL with some aggressive defensive coordinators and I doubt you would see a db 10 yards off a receiver when it's third and four.

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WD's picture

January 06, 2024 at 09:17 am

As much as I do not care for Barry it is still premature to be talking about coaching changes during the regular season. Particularly when we have a good chance to be in the playoffs. Let's see what Barry does against the Bears. There will be plenty of time in the off season to assess everything top to bottom. For today, focus on the Bears.

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JosephR's picture

January 09, 2024 at 09:54 pm

It looks like going into Wildcard Weekend we have 5 out of 8 of the aforementioned candidates available. It'll be interesting to see what interest they draw as teams evaluate their staffs and playoff teams are eliminated.

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