Big-Name Coach Ruled Out as Joe Barry Replacement

Packers fans shouldn't expect former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to be the next defensive coordinator.
Dec 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur looks on
Dec 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur looks on / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers are in pursuit of a new defensive coordinator after it was reported on Wednesday that Joe Barry will not be returning next season.

Barry spent three seasons with the Pack, where his defenses were ranked 13th, 17th, and 10th in points allowed. With Barry departing, Green Bay will start interviewing a host of candidates to fill its vacancy.

However, fans shouldn’t expect them to go after former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, even if wants to take a defensive coordinator job this offseason.

Matt Schneidman of The Athletic said on 97.3 The Game in Milwaukee Thursday that “even if Vrabel is willing to take a DC job, it’s not going to be in Green Bay.”

It’s not surprising to hear this about the former Titans head coach, who potentially still has desires to be a head coach next season. Thus far, Vrabel has interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and Los Angeles Chargers. 

Among those three teams, the Panthers and Chargers have hired their new head coaches in Dave Canales and Jim Harbaugh. Vrabel still has a chance at the Falcons’ job but hasn’t received a second interview yet.

If Vrabel doesn’t get another head coaching gig, he will be one of the top defensive coordinator options if he goes that route. 

The last time the 48-year-old was a defensive coordinator was in 2017 with the Houston Texans. The Texans were ranked 32nd in scoring defense (27.3 points per game) and 13th in opponent rushing yards per game (109.2).

Nevertheless, whoever takes the Packers’ defensive coordinator job will need to improve their run defense (128.3 yards per game, 28th in the NFL) and create takeaways (18, 23rd in the league).

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