The Lass Word: Okay Joe Barry, No Pressure

All you have to do is produce an elite defense.

Funny how things change.  When the 2021 NFL football season began last September, many Packer fans, secure in the knowledge that Aaron Rodgers had returned to captain the offense, were saying “if we can just get average play from our defense, we’re going to be Super Bowl contenders.”  Yes, we were hoping for just average. 

After a disastrous start against New Orleans, something unexpected began to happen.  As the season continued to unfold, the improvement on the defensive side of the ball started to become palpable.  The  front was holding up blockers.  Preston Smith and Rashan Gary were starting to get to the quarterback on a regular basis.  De’Vondre Campbell was patrolling the short middle, squashing screen passes and running down sweeps behind the line of scrimmage.  Eric Stokes was developing at corner, while Rasul Douglas came out of nowhere to be a big playmaker.   

We had to rub our eyes to make sure what we were seeing was real.  This defense was not just playing average football.  It was......dare we say it.......good!  In week ten they actually shut out the Seattle Seahawks.  Shut them out!  We weren’t used to seeing stuff like that.  Not since the 2010 championship team anyway.  Then in the playoffs, the defense played an inspired contest against the explosive 49ers, holding them to a pair of field goals.  It was the one positive to come out of a heartbreaking loss. 

We braced ourselves for the impact of the coming offseason.  Surely the salary cap crunch would force the dismantling of this promising unit.  But the front office went to work, restructuring contracts, making strategic cuts and trades, and with the dust now settled we find, much to our surprise, that the defense survived remarkably intact.  The only significant players lost were Za’darius Smith, who wasn’t a factor in last year’s resurgence because of injury, defensive back Chandon Sullivan, who only counts as a starter if you consider slot corner a starting position, and Tyler Lancaster, a rotational member of the defensive line. 

On the plus side, all pro corner Jaire Alexander will return, veteran D-lineman Jarran Reed was signed off the free agent market, and General Manager Brian Gutekunst used both of his first round picks on exciting young defensive prospects.  Quay Walker should be a significant  upgrade over Krys Barnes, and will instantly start at inside linebacker alongside Campbell.   Devonte Wyatt will add speed and athleticism to an already impressive rotation on the D-line. 

With talent dripping from all three tiers, it’s hard to control one’s excitement for what this defense could do.  And should do.  The fans have every right to expect something resembling elite play.   

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry doesn’t have to concern himself with what fans think.  But he does have to take notice of what his bosses think.  Listen to what Gutekunst had to say about this year’s defense immediately after the draft:  ““I would say there’s high expectation for our whole football team, but specifically our defense, is very high,” Gutekunst said, per Packersnews.com. “And I thought they played really well last year. They ended on a very high note playing at a very high level. And we got some guys coming back that'll be here in their second year that I think will be important.  And I like the way that group is growing together. Again, it's a new season, and they've got to put in the work and the time and chemistry and all the things that go with that. But I think the expectation level for that group is going to be high.” 

You couldn’t blame Barry if he let out a huge “gulp” upon hearing that comment from the front office. Clearly, the translation is: You had better produce a top notch defense this year, or else.  

Barry is profoundly aware that, even though his unit was vastly improved in 2021, there were still matters of concern. The defense experienced a gradual decline after the shutout of the Seahawks, before reviving in the playoff game. Even there, the Packers D could not come up with the big stop when the team needed it the most. Everyone remembers the blocked punt which tied the game. But fans tend to forget what happened after that. The offense had a horrific three and out, and the defense couldn’t stop the Niners from driving down the field for the winning score. Particularly disappointing was allowing Deebo Samuel to convert a third and seven on a running play, which put San Francsico in field goal position and gave them control of the clock. 

Against that backdrop, Barry will be expected to send a unit out onto the field in week one that will dominate and control the game. Anything less will bring the wrath of the fans down upon him. Green Bay’s defense raised the bar in 2021. If Barry doesn’t field a top five unit, his job may be on the line. Such is the price of high expectations. The good news for Barry....he has the talent to make it happen. 

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

NFL Categories: 
8 points

Comments (80)

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

May 06, 2022 at 07:45 am

Great piece, Ken. Rather than “pressure,” to deliver, I think Joe Barry has a level of “excitement,” equal to that of Aaron Rodgers & Matt LaFleur.

Last week’s draft turned out to be a remarkable talent infusion on both sides of the ball. With the expected healthy return of Jaire Alexander, Barry has every box checked for his defense, allowing him to run his system as intended.

Gutekunst added THREE Top 100 Players to Barry’s Defense in Quay Walker, Devonte Wyatt & Kingsley “JJ” Enagbare. ILB, 3-Tech & EDGE - while at the same time adding FOUR Top 100 Players to LaFleur’s Offense in Rhyan, Tom, Doubs & Walker. OT/OG, OT/C, WR & OT.

It’s all there. Pretty exciting stuff. Dynamic players up and down that defensive roster at every starter position. Everywhere. This doesn’t even take into account the depth added in DT Jarran Reed, CB Keisean Nixon, ILB/S Tariq Carpenter and NT Jonathan Ford.

Gutekunst isn’t done. He has options to in-fill with more talent at the #3/4 S and #4/5 CB positions in FA or via trade if need be.

This is the first time Barry has had this in Green Bay: Quality players at every starting position specific to his scheme.

While there might be pressure, I’d imagine he feels more excitement. Kind of like Aaron Rodgers has walking into the garage at 1265 Lombardi Ave. and seeing all the FAST new cars he gets to drive.

Remember turning that key for the first time on the hottest car you ever drove?

Let’s go for a ride…!

AGNFB

15 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:01 am

Love it GG! I appreciate your knowledge, but really dig your optimism! I call SHOTGUN!... let's go play hooky.....

(my first car was a 76 Toyota Corolla)..it was so rusted out, my pops and I used treated 2x4s for the rocker panels. :) Man, I loved that car!

3 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:30 am

Pants,
Not a car guy but my fist vehicle was a Dodge pickup. Very old and rusted out vehicle that was available by default because none of my older siblings wanted it.

Not sure but must have been bad springs because even while sitting in park it had a huge list to the starboard side (passenger side). The floor boards were rusted out and gone. You could see the road as you drove and in the winter snow off the road would come up inside the cab. However, the worst part is when you hit the brakes it immediately pulled hard right, so you had to anticipate how hard you were going to step on the brakes and how hard you would need to turn the wheel counter clockwise to counter act the pull to the right. Called anticipation! Now I hope these defensive players from 1st round have the same kind of anticipation necessary to succeed. :)

The things one does when young, uninformed about vehicles, and 100% broke.

3 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:16 am

Knock the Snot, that is an awesome story and so true on many levels! Thanks for sharing, I was smiling, nodding and laughing the whole way through. Still laughing...👍👌

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 07, 2022 at 07:18 am

In 1988 my dad bought a 67 Ford Galaxy 500 for me for $500. 5/8 cylinders worked. It had a huge dent in one side of the car. One winter night I was leaving a girlfriend's house and hit the other side on a telephone pole. The car was in such bad shape my parents never noticed.

Normally, in order to get it started, I had to pop the hood, lift off the cap of the cable connecting the batter to the starter off, and spit on it.

The summer before I left for college I convinced my dad to swap cars with me. The brake pedal would go all the way to the floor and I didn't think it was safe. My dad thought I was being a wimp, so we switched. We lived on a relatively gentle hillside two blocks above a busy T intersection. One afternoon he was coming home and he could not get the car to stop. It rolled downhill, up to the T intersection, and he almost had it stopped but not quite. He T-boned an elderly couple in their brand new pick up. They had just gotten it from the dealership that day and were on the way to Des Moines to show it off to the grandkids.

The Galaxy was a replacement for my brothers' 79 Chevette. It also had "open air" flooring. I was steering it around a icy curve in November of 87. I slid and the front passenger wheel bumped the curb at about 5 mph. No big deal normally, except the axel came off the car. The whole front axel.

My dad offered me a used car while I was in college. I declined. In 92 my future father-in-law gave my future wife an 88 Le Baron. Kind of a nice car with some bells and whistles. We dumped it a year later for a new bare-bones Cavalier after the repair bills killed our bank account. I wasn't brave enough to take a chance on another used car for 20 years.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 07, 2022 at 09:57 am

Great story Mark! Those memories and I have a lot of similar car stories like that back in the day. Those memories are like the 1970's and 1980's Packers meaning best to be forgotten! :)

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 08, 2022 at 07:32 am

I've had a few beauts as a young man. I had a 1974 Town and Country station wagon that I had to pop the hood and use a screwdriver to connect the solenoid to start it. The driver's side window would fall all the way to the ground if someone was unwary enough to try to roll it down even a little. That happened eventually and I drove it with a hefty bag for a window. I could see the road through the floorboards as I drove. I had a '71 Firebird with no speedometer, no odometer, often no dash lights, and which had a hole in the floorboard. A difficult car to drive home in from the bars.

I can think of 12 rebuilt salvage cars I've purchased over the years, including 4 for my children, a couple for nieces and nephews, one for my parents (for a 2nd home), a few for myself. It does help to know someone well who is good at rebuilding cars, to have some contacts in the auto industry and to know a bit about cars as well.

0 points
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Spock's picture

May 07, 2022 at 11:14 am

My 1st car was a '65 Plymouth Fury in cherry condition in 1977 (quite literally owned by "a little old lady") with only 30,000 miles on it. Paid $900 for it, put another 100,000 miles on it and re-sold it for $500! I'm currently driving my 1997 Honda Accord WAGON (it was the last year Honda made a wagon and is somewhat of a collectors item.) I put about $10,000 into it just before the pandemic, including a new paint job. It only has 155,000 miles on it and I'm the original owner. This year I got "Historical Vehicle" plates for it from the state as it is now 25 years old. Had a few lemons in between, but my first and (probably) last cars have been real jewels. Hopefully, the "new car" players will be more like those two cars than like the so-so vehicles I had in-between! GPG!

0 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:53 pm

I don’t know S. I’m really just a lifelong fan. Total geek, who likes/loves the Personnel side of my Packers, Brewers & Bucks. I follow each team fervently like that.

1 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 06, 2022 at 01:58 pm

all that and you didnt even mention watson...

1 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:00 pm

Hahaha! I know! How about THAT? No need… everybody knows…

I did that on purpose.

LOL

0 points
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murf7777's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:51 am

Ken, you described our defense and Barry very well in this article. The expectation must be Top 5 with an opportunity to be Top 3. Most years the winning SB team has a top 5 D.

The Packers have gone “all in” regarding the defense. They resigned the two most important additions from last year. They spent the top 2 first round draft picks on defense. They added to the DLine in FA.

This is a defining moment for Coach Barry. If he fails, I doubt he will get more opportunities with a top rated team. If he succeeds, and manages a top 3 D who wins the SB he will be considered one of the Best D Coordinators in the league today. Good luck Barry, you have the players to make a SB run.

8 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:34 am

Murf,
This defense will be a very good one but it will only be as good as its weakest link. The weakest link is lack of quality depth at key positions. Will we see significant improvement from 2nd year players and rookies at Edge, Safety, and DB?

Let's hope we miss any serious injuries at positions where we may be weak with backups.

2 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:53 am

I don't think there is any NFL roster that has quality depth at every position. The way teams have to build rosters and stay within the salary cap while paying top talent makes it very hard to have quality backups everywhere. There is always going to be a drop off in play to a certain extent. However, Gutey's team has shown the ability to find quality, even in a street free agent like Douglas. Kind of like the guys Ted grabbed during the injury ridden year we last won a Lombardi. Guys like Howard Green and Erik Walden. They lost Jermichael Finley that year and then somehow got it done with TEs like Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree. I would imagine Gutey's pro scouts have for some time been looking at OLBs, safeties and CBs to shore up those positions.

4 points
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murf7777's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:24 pm

Westcoast...that's correct, the SC won't allow it. Next man up, that's how the great teams do it!

1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:11 am

Nothing to add, nothing to opose regarding your article Ken...

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Lphill's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:18 am

It’s fun to watch a good defense at play, just the return of Alexander at 100 % and the improvement of Stokes and Slayton would have raised the stakes now add in Reed and the rookies and this defense can be a number 1 if all falls into place .

8 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:36 am

LP,
Whether they are in top 5 or not isn't it just fun to be in the conversation this year about having a promising young defense? Can't recall the last time!

5 points
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Lphill's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:20 am

agreed

-1 points
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wildbill's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:45 am

Have always been a defense first guy, watching the 60s Packers was such a thrill. The 96&2010 were great but Jim brown never gained 100 yards rushing against a Lombardi defense. Ok so they only played 3 times but one was a championship game.

3 points
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Spock's picture

May 07, 2022 at 11:20 am

I'll always remember the time the Packers held BARRY SANDERS to negative yardage (IIR -1 yards) for an entire game. It was awesome!

1 points
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GregC's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:33 am

It will be interesting to watch Devonte Wyatt. The front office showed a lot of belief in him by drafting him at #28, instead of drafting Christian Watson, who they then had to get by making a great sacrifice a few picks later. This means that Devonte Wyatt was more important to them than Christian Watson. It also shows how important defense is to the front office. And Aaron Rodgers was fine with all this, at least in public. Amazing what $150 million over three years will do for a guy. On the other hand, Rodgers may be sincere. The Packers have been trying to win in the same way for the past few years, assembling everything around the Rodgers-Adams nucleus. It was time to tweak the formula.

7 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:30 am

FWIW, an argument can be made this was nothing more than really smart drafting by Gutekunst.

Devonte Wyatt Rankings:

#10 Overall - PFF

#17 Overall - Ourlads

#41 Overall - Athlons

#18 Overall - The Sporting News

Christian Watson Rankings:

#58 Overall - PFF

#74 Overall - Ourlads

UNRANKED - Athlons Top 100 Players

#44 Overall - The Sporting News

*Athlons Top 100 Players is published months in advance of the draft every year, going back decades, and is never updated once decided upon.

“Player fit” on your team factors into any VALUE equation. Every team’s board is different because of such factors. The rankings shared above are meaningless to the teams doing the drafting. They are mere guesses to help us fans gauge where a player sits on a board.

Not every player ranked lands on a team’s board.

As fans, we just see the rankings, hear the buzz, watch & build mock drafts. Teams spend MILLIONS $$$ scouting, interviewing, investigating, discerning team fit, assessing coachable traits, etc.

Let’s take Christian Watson’s highest listed rank of #44 Overall. Let’s say the Packers removed, as an example, 8 players ranked above him from their own Draft Board. To the Packers, they might have had Watson ranked as the #36 Overall Player on their board, saw him as a perfect team fit, and they merely traded an R2 away in order to secure Watson to their roster at Pick #34.

2 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:12 am

I wonder if they just roll their eyes at this stuff or if they say, "Hmmm, maybe we are the smartest team in the NFL and can get these guys later..." I'm guessing more the former than the latter. I'm sure they think strategically about what other teams might do so they know who they can trade with, but I suspect the only time that they look at PFF rankings is when they are in the bathroom and are surfing their cell phones. Not that anyone does that...

2 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:41 am

100% psssssh, rolleyes, head shaking & chuckles.

The industry is loaded with former team scouts, GMs, HCs, players, agents, and Personnel Executives along with others who’ve made drafting their livelihood, ALL OF THEM opining, publishing, broadcasting their attempts at guessing what teams pour MILLIONS $$$ in research to know.

That’s the crux of the draft biscuit.

0 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:44 am

CHTV Draft Guide had him (Watson) #10 Overall on our board, so based on that, #34 overall is a steal.

Devonte Wyatt was 17 overall on the CHTV board.

Quay Walker was 88 Overall on CHTV Big Board.

Sean Rhyan was 62 Overall on CHTV Big Board.

Romeo Doubs was 103 Overall on CHTV Big Board.

3 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 07, 2022 at 07:24 am

As I noted during the draft party, the CHTV Big Board and the CHTV positional rankings did not line up. The only board that matters is the one the Packers put together. They only way to judge the draft is three years down the road. Time will make fools of almost all of them. If Carpenter turns into an All-Pro Safety, who won't look dumb?

1 points
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greengold's picture

May 07, 2022 at 12:48 pm

BINGO.

There’s a lot of dumb looking MFs 3 years down the line from any draft…

(Raises hand!)

0 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:43 am

Good post GG!

To simplify it all....Gutey knew they were lucky to get Wyatt and the impact it would make to the team. That as much as they wanted Christian that Wyatt would not be there with his move up in round 2, but Christian likely would be. It was a calculated gamble and while costly it played out the way Gutey hoped. The front office spent that whole night after round 1 discussing the Watson selection and the cost. That in itself makes me feel better knowing that because the decision was not a knee jerk decision in the middle of the draft. It was thoughtfully discussed and analyzed.

1 points
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murf7777's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:33 pm

GG....Regarding Watson, I will say I wasn't hyped up on him as others, but the more tape, especially at the Senior bowl, I was impressed with his footwork and cuts off the line. He missed a couple balls and made some really good catches. I just hope he can fix the dropsies.

Rodgers always had difficulty timing up on long passes to MVS, if he does better with Watson watch out, because his play speed is fast.

2 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 03:26 pm

Geez, murph, I totally missed on him. Didn’t really deep dive as I had gotten behind in studying these guys, and mistakenly wrote him off on level of competition. It wasn’t till late, just before the draft that I started catching on to what he can do, and then more so after we traded up for him.

Started adding it up, his really dynamic offerings as a player, his open field blocking, character, then learning his father a former player… wow. I mean, I made a lot of assumptions (hands, limited route tree, low receptions totals, limited experience, etc.) - all of which was in error, that had me literally scratching him off my list.

Have to say, I like him better than any of the WRs selected ahead of him, after learning more. What a fortuitous get by Gutekunst - at least, I think he might turn out to be so.

We’re all human, make mistakes. That was a big one to me, and I learned a lesson.

Like yourself, I can see the huge benefits to the Packers drafting him, especially if Aaron Rodgers, himself, had expressed his desire for Watson to be selected if they could swing it.

The greatest benefit is knowing Rodgers will be there to help him become the best Pro WR he can be. Chances are, Rodgers might do same with Doubs & Toure. THAT is huge, in my eyes for odds of real success this season.

That aspect of this gives me great hope where I literally had none. I was so dejected after all that occurred last year. Nice to see some real light at the end of the tunnel.

1 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

May 06, 2022 at 04:12 pm

The 59th pick is not a great sacrifice.
It's a super tiny one.

1 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 04:36 pm

I think so too. Maybe it works, and the Vikings of all people, really did “help us out?” Maybe not, but, I like our chances one helluva lot in coming out on the winning side of that one, knowing what we know today.

0 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:28 pm

I maintain we fleeced them.
Why didn't they take the first offer? They held 32 and 34.
Did they really believe the ONE guy they wanted would be gone a pick later?
Rookie GM. Why didn't he have 5 'one' guy he wanted and take 2 of them and be happy?
Then they make basically the same trade the next day.
It makes no sense.

0 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 07, 2022 at 07:30 am

At 53 was Alec Pierce. Skyy Moore and Trey McBride were also still available. At 59 the Packers could have taken Bonnito at Edge, Bryan Cook at Safety or Drake Jackson at Edge. Time will tell, and I believe in Watson, but one can certain make the argument right now that Pierce plus Cook is better than just Watson.

-1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 07, 2022 at 09:48 am

Mark,
You and I think 100% alike on this! It definitely tempered how I felt about the draft haul after such a good draft in round 1. Let's just hope Christian is another James Lofton type who will torment the Vikings and others for years to come.

1 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:53 am

Good morning! I am stoked to see how Barry (and Bisaccia) can get these men ready. Yes, LaF will have to keep up the great start to his HC career but learn from what didn't work in the past in the playoffs. Obviously, they have to get the players ready and the players have to execute. But, I love defense and the potential spark in ST that propels a team to a deep run in the playoffs. Here is hoping they can all get on one page... It's the front page of the Green Bay Gazette (still around?) sayin' Super Bowl Champs, your GBP! Super Bowl MVP is Kenny Clark (donning Superman's cape).

3 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:44 am

I CANNOT WAIT to see the Packers 1st PR and/or KR for a TD.

2 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:05 pm

shades of Roell Preston!!!

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:07 am

Well the Wrath of Fans last year was triggered by what I would say was the worst opening game I have ever seen, having seen all of them since 1993. People born and raised as Packers fans I'm sure will remember worse, but that was a debacle. Point being they don't have to light the world on fire starting in week 1 (although I'd take it) but not shitting the bed would be good.

The thing I loved about drafting Wyatt was that for the first time since Mike Daniels left there is a second potential star on the DL. The Packers have been very fortunate that Kenny Clark has stayed relatively healthy over the years. If everyone is healthy, great, Wyatt can ramp up. If the shit hits the fan, hopefully he can step up. I don't have similar expectations for Walker and Enagbare. I think Walker is going to have to develop. Enagbare is funny: he has an above-average RAS (6.2) but it is a disappointment so he drops from the 2nd round to the 5th? He's got bend. He's got a bull rush. Anyway, yes, Joe got a lot of new toys, but they are going to need some time to get charged up. Week 1 won't be the peak.

6 points
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Johnblood27's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:08 pm

mccarthys first game in 2006...

Regular Season
Sun 9/10 1 2 3 4 FINAL
Chicago (1-0) 7 9 3 7 26
Green Bay (0-1) 0 0 0 0 0

Holy shit!!! duh bares!!!

1 points
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MarkinMadison's picture

May 07, 2022 at 07:38 am

Ooh, good one. My expectations were a lot lower that year. Last year, I expected this team to win the Super Bowl. Stumbling out of the gate was unexpected for me.

1 points
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Razer's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:23 am

The investment in our defense has been steady since Gutekunst took over. I particularly like the addition of linebackers and D-linemen in this draft and over time. Both areas were problem spots for the Packers over the years and now they are becoming strengths. We will be better against the run, stronger through the middle and able to collapse the pocket with D-linemen not called Kenny Clark.

Bottomline is that Barry now has the talent to field a top defense. The task is to organize the talent and get them playing as a cohesive unit. If he can get these guys to play assignment sure, fast football - this could be a top 5 defense. From what I saw last year, this seems to be Joe Barry's strength. Packer football is changing. YES.

8 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:30 am

Razer, I love that you looked back in this overall re-build of our roster after Ted Thompson’s tragic demise.

Brian Gutekunst had much to fix.

Remember Jersey Al’s mentioning Cory Littleton this week? I suspect that Brian Gutekunst desperately wanted in on bringing Littleton to GB as an FA, but already spent his wad on the Smith Bros, Amos & Turner the year prior.

He wanted what the Rams were doing. He drafted that very prototype in Kamal Martin, who sadly didn’t pan out. Two years into LaFleur’s term as HC, they finally pull the LB Guru, Joe Barry away from those same Rams.

A year later, here we are, with Quay Walker & Devonte Wyatt added to a loaded tool chest for Joe Barry to complete the fix.

Pretty cool.

*Yes. I will be playing ZZ Top’s “Manic Mechanic” at sonic levels later today…

YOU WANT TO RACE?
IF YOU INSIST!

Ha-ha-ha-ha!
HOOOOOOOOOO!
That’s right!!!

3 points
4
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iamiz's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:27 am

Ken, your reference to Deebo Samuel's first down run got me thinking. Much like the year we drafted 3 straight DBs after being embarrassed by Randy Moss, i have a hunch our newfound affection for middle linebacker, as seen by the Campbell signing and the drafting of Walker with our first pick, is a direct reaction to that run. Maybe I'm oversimplifying here, but something has to explain the shift away from a decades-long aversion to the position.

6 points
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Return_To_Sanity's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:52 am

Packers didnt draft Walker because of 1 run. They drafted him because they have a defensive coordinator who heavily emphasizes the inside linebacker position. This speaks to Gutekunst's willingness to adapt his philosophy based on the wishes of the coaches he hires.

4 points
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:12 pm

Agree, RTS.

Man, that CHTV Draft Party is always fun, but Pete Dougherty popping in an hour before the selection, calling Quay Walker our pick at 22??? DAMN, THAT WAS AWESOME!

****
On top of that, he went on to explain Joe Barry had told him how meaningful All-Pro ILB tandems Derrick Brooks & Shelton Quarles at TB, along with Patrick Willis & Navorrow Bowman at SF… (5 and 4-Time All-Pro players respectively) can help teams be absolutely dominant on Defense. I’m paraphrasing, but, that kind of insider info is meaningful in this discussion.

That’s what Joe Barry was after, as well as LaFleur & Gutekunst.

****

This oughtta be really fun to watch this season and beyond. The beef up front will allow for Campbell/Walker to flourish, and possibly become that next All-Pro pairing at ILB.

When Quay was the pick, it blew my mind. Bullseye! 🎯

2 points
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:57 am

Mannn, why can't we play the NYG in Ireland?!?

Barry and the D can kick the festivities off with the fine folk in Dingle. Maybe make some T-shirts referencing Dingle Barrys D? Or, Dingle Barry's T?
Hmmmmmmm

1 points
2
1
Since'61's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:01 pm

Our defense does not need to be elite although that wouldn't hurt. They need to be very good. That should be enough to get us to the playoffs. Come the playoffs and assuming a healthy unit that's when they need to step up as they did last season. As I've posted before that was the best post season effort by a Packers defensive unit since the Lombardi era. If not for our STs they would have allowed a measly 3 points.

I would like to see improvement in 2 areas. First, getting off the field on 3rd and long situations. We still give up too many of those plays and enable drives to stay alive. Second force more turnovers, especially interceptions. Picks not only get us the ball but depending on field position they either prevent a score of any type or they put our offense in excellent field position. Given our mostly new receiving corps we are going to need additional opportunities with a short field especially early in the season as players are still learning the offense.

I enjoy watching solid, tough, physical, defense. Gary looks like he has reached the point where he can take over a game and wreck the opponents offense. With our revamped DL Campbell and Walker combined should be a force in the middle of the field (finally!). With the return of Alexander our secondary looks very strong.

The talent is there it's a matter of attitdude, aggressiveness and in game adjustments. I'm expecting our defense to start out the season good and evolve into a dominating unit in time for the playoffs. Health and coaching will be the keys because the talent is there. Looking forward to seeing it all come together.
Thanks, Since '61

8 points
8
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:38 am

Preach it, Buddy! Agree 100%.

You & I were BOTH pining for interior DL help last draft. Since that time we’ve added NT TJ Slaton, 3-Tech Jarran Reed, 3-Tech Devonte Wyatt and NT Jonathan Ford.

Adding Quay Walker at ILB with the 22 pick - along with a very solid EDGE in JJ Enagbare - is icing on the cake.

Talk about an epic run-stop fix!

2 points
2
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Since'61's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:50 am

No doubt gg. We need to win the LOS on both sides of the ball. It's beginning to look like our front 7 has a great chance to make that happen. Thanks, Since '61

2 points
2
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:32 pm

Yeah, man. “The game is won in the trenches,” is a maxim for a reason. It’s true.

Look at this draft, with 6 of our 11 selections dedicated to the trenches with Wyatt, Rhyan, Tom, Engabare, Ford and Walker.

It’s a beautiful thing. I’ll take this over Alim McNeil, ANY DAY!!! Lol.

3 points
3
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:53 am

As many of you I like the direction of the defense. We don't know about this upcoming seasons injuries, or the development of young players on both defense and offense. However, we all know some of the positions right now where either key contracts will be up after the season, or where there is a lack of depth of talent. My mind wanders and while way to early it makes me ponder if Gutey once again in 2023 focuses the #1 and other key draft picks to the defense to make it elite, or does he switch to offense to strengthen TE, WR to try bringing the offense closer to the defense for balance.

1 points
1
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murf7777's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:34 pm

61' I respectfully disagree. To win the big one, our Defense needs to be dominate.

3 points
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Since'61's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:04 pm

As I wrote in my post, our defense needs to start out good and then be dominant in the playoffs. Teams evolve during the course of a season. Hopefully the Packers will peak at playoff time in the 2022 season. Thanks, Since ‘61

3 points
3
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:55 pm

I’m buying all of this, Since’61, and I think it’s going to be really cool seeing a DOMINANT DEFENSE evolve this season from our Green Bay Packers. I always think immediately to that 1996 team on this subject, but, that 2010… they became dominant, then sadly lost Nick Collins.

When Ted failed to re-sign Cullen Jenkins, didn’t even offer him a contract, I knew immediately it was over. I was stunned. That one crossed the line for me. One of his worst decisions. Top 3 for sure.

1 points
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Since'61's picture

May 07, 2022 at 10:42 am

Never understand why TT did not try to retain Jenkins.
We lost him and Collins by 2011 and then Woodson in 2012.
That was pretty much the end of our defense for about a decade until Barry in 2021. What could have been? We’ll never know. Thanks, Since ‘61

0 points
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murf7777's picture

May 07, 2022 at 07:49 am

Ok, 61’ my bad I didn’t decipher that portion of your post.

1 points
1
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Since'61's picture

May 07, 2022 at 10:39 am

No worries Murf. It’s an ongoing issue with e-Communications. I’ll always believe that we would all be much clearer if we could sit down and discuss all this over a brew and a nice steak. Thanks, Since ‘61

4 points
4
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greengold's picture

May 07, 2022 at 11:19 am

Understatement of this era. Well put.

1 points
1
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dobber's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:43 am

This felt like a fluff piece until the last two paragraphs, so I thank Ken for not glossing over those white-knuckle rides the defense gave us in the last 7 weeks of the season (surrendering 28-ish points per game). They played very well in that playoff loss, so they got it together, then. There were some really good defensive performances in the middle of that schedule and many that relied on game-saving INTs, duelling missed FGs, stupid opponent play calls, and the like, but in the end they won 13 games.

In all, this defense should be improved. It's thin on experienced backups in the secondary (as yesterday's piece pointed out), and if there's a spot where injuries could derail this season in a hurry, it's S or CB. They'll need to find playable depth at both positions before week 1. But the pieces should be there (with subs at LB and DL)--and with a year under the defense's belts in this system, they should be playing even faster. The question really is whether--in a league that's built to promote scoring--they'll be good enough?

6 points
6
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PhantomII's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:17 pm

More quality player depth on the DL and collapsing the pocket at a higher rate and the good OLB's should increase the turnover rate and help get more 3 n outs which should help out our offenses opportunities with the new WR's, etc. I see a lot more RB receiving out of the backfield and dual RB combos.

1 points
1
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:51 am

"The question really is whether--in a league that's built to promote scoring--they'll be good enough?"

Dobber, they will be good enough...I bet my brother-in-law from Chicago on it!

4 points
4
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dobber's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:56 am

You might need to throw in a little more than that...

1 points
1
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:00 am

my wife? (if I play this right, I might be a winner either way....shhhhhhhhh) :()

1 points
1
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dobber's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:01 am

I don't think I'm getting myself into the middle of that...

1 points
1
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:05 am

You have always struck me as more of an even-keeled intellectual type.

(on a side note, you do seem to really know your stuff...high Football IQ). Me, I am that damn mosquito that won't leave the tent. Eventually, SpLaT!...a tennis shoe sole does me in :D.

2 points
2
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dobber's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:08 am

I'm more of an even-keeled faker. ;)

2 points
2
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:10 am

Faker till you maker Dobber...faker till you maker! :D

1 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:26 am

Did someone mention Maker's Mark?

; P

2 points
2
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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:51 am

Holy shat B-Dog, my head did a full 360° like that girl in the Exorcist...!

1 points
1
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:07 pm

LOL!

0 points
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HarryHodag's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:15 am

The story can be summed up this way: hold the opponent to a touchdown each half, you do the same and all you need is a field goal to win.

The secret to winning is not scoring 6 touchdowns but holding the other team to two. Not easy to do with modern athletes and systems(and rules) but that is the goal. The Packers are closer to the two touchdown rule than the 6.

Gute has always drafted with the idea of the second year. So if Rodgers leaves after this season, the team will be in a position to win even with less offense.

6 points
6
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:59 am

True!

I also believe the Love selection will likely define Gutey. Huge risk! Going to be extremely interesting to watch Love's development in 2022. This is the year! No more excuses! Either Love takes significant steps forward or not. He needs to stay healthy and he needs to be given significant opportunities at every opportunity this summer, pre-season, and during regular season. I am the biggest Jordan Love fan and hoping for the best but he has to show a take charge leader attitude with significant improvement.

4 points
4
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Johnblood27's picture

May 06, 2022 at 03:23 pm

clements needs to speak with him about how he holds his non-throwing hand.

the karate chop aim and motion is tipping the secondary where he is going with the ball!

he also needs to purse his lips more, that gives a very determined contenance...

2 points
2
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greengold's picture

May 06, 2022 at 04:41 pm

I was so not gonna say that!
LOL.

0 points
0
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splitpea1's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:08 am

It's been quite a shift in the balance of the team in relatively short order. The defense is going to need to play at a high level, especially in the first few games as the new receivers get incorporated into the offense. That being said, we have a nice mix of young and veteran talent, and I don't see "the wrath of the fans" being directed towards Barry at any point. He's already proven he was the right man for the job. Any struggles will probably be due to a multiple injury situation in a position group.

1 points
1
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PatrickGB's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:06 pm

I love the prospect of an improved Defense from this draft. Yet at the same time I am aware that a lot of teams have improved their offense while our own offense may struggle a bit. I am ok with low scoring games as long as we win.

2 points
2
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Minniman's picture

May 06, 2022 at 03:14 pm

“Anything less will bring the wrath of the fans down on him”.

I’d say that Gute will be the one initially on the hotter seat if the defense underperforms.

Personally, I just can’t see the Defense taking a step back this coming season - no major player losses, returning high grade starters and the bolstering of lower performing position groups.

Also, Philosophically Barry designs a percentages based defense - contain and constrict up front to take away the run game and make the opponent throw to beat you……… this isn’t the ‘all or nothing’ get after the QB Dom Capers approach.

1 points
1
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Jonathan Spader's picture

May 06, 2022 at 08:42 pm

The defense didn't cost us the Championship game. Special teams was our main weakness. GB has what I hope is a vast improvement at ST coordinator. Way past time we brought someone in from outside. Aaron Rodgers only targetting 6 times a player not named Davante Adams or Aaron Jones stifled our offense. There's no more Adamas so he will have to spread the ball around. Hopefully he doesn't replace Adams with Cobb. I have high hopes and expectations for our defense this year. Super Bowl bound.

2 points
2
0