Packers DC opening: which candidates have a path to the job (and which don't)
The Packers fired Joe Barry, but now the real work begins.
After three seasons, the Joe Barry experiment has come to an end. The Green Bay Packers relieved their embattled defensive coordinator of his duties earlier this week following meetings between head coach Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff.
While Barry will not run the Packers defense in 2024, the future of the other assistants on that side of the ball remains uncertain. Outside of Barry, the team has so far only dismissed longtime strength-and-conditioning coach Chris Gizzi. Green Bay will wait until after selecting the next DC before determining the fate of the other defensive coaches.
But for now, the Packers will primarily focus on choosing a new defensive coordinator. The job holds considerable appeal in the coaching world given the team's potential to compete for a Super Bowl as early as next season. The runway provided by LaFleur and 25-year-old quarterback Jordan Love offers security that other openings can't, and the presence of defensive field-tilters such as Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark, and Rashan Gary could help springboard Green Bay's next DC to a head-coaching position.
The Leap spoke with a variety of contacts in and around the NFL and college ranks to gauge how the Packers will approach their DC search and which candidates will appeal to them. Though some ambiguity remains at this stage of the process, a few names and trends have already emerged.
The selection of coaches below might not feature every DC candidate the Packers pursue, and some of those included might not ultimately sit for an interview. Instead, these names surfaced during discussions with sources as potential fits for the job. In approaching the search this way, The Leap aims to provide better insight into Green Bay's options and process than the unvetted lists that litter the internet provide.
To that end, we will begin with coaches that, despite being connected publicly to the Packers' DC opening, appear unlikely to land the job for one reason or another. Next, we will detail the candidates that arose during our reporting who have previously worked as defensive coordinators in the NFL followed by those without that experience on their résumés.