Many Green Bay Packers fans were outraged that defensive coordinator Joe Barry was retained after a second-straight season of mediocre-to-below-average defense from his unit. The feeling among many is that 2023 will be a make-or-break year for his standing in Green Bay. Even national reporter Mina Kimes said earlier this offseason that Barry is under more pressure than Jordan Love to be successful.
That being said, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander does not think there is anything wrong with Barry’s scheme. In his opinion, the players have been making too many excuses for the defense’s poor performance.
After practice on Monday, Alexander was asked about the defense’s performance over the last couple of years and what they can do to get better. He responded:
“I mean, you know, Joe Barry can go out there and call whatever call he wants, but at the end of the day we got to execute that call. And I think we’ve been making a lot of excuses for why we wasn’t, especially early on in the year.
“At this point, we all are good enough on the defense to execute the call. So, at this point, it’s not about the call, it’s about executing the call. The biggest thing is that we’ve come together as a defense.”
Alexander then acknowledged that coaching does play a big part in it but insisted that it is up to himself and the players to be accountable for their own play on the field.
Perhaps it is worth noting that, in Barry’s system, Alexander had his best statistical season in 2022. He had a career-high five interceptions and his second-best total of pass break-ups (14). Additionally, the 63.7 passer rating quarterbacks had when targeting receivers Alexander was covering was also the lowest of his career.
When everyone is healthy, the Packers defense will consist of eight first-round picks. The organization has simply put too many resources into the defense for it to be anything other than a top-ten unit.