Packers in advanced COVID protocols amidst concerns with coaching staff

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The Green Bay Packers are in advanced COVID protocols following a positive test from defensive coordinator Joe Barry and other potential issues with the coaching staff.

Everyone in the organization must be tested every day and wear a mask even if they are vaccinated. Barry will still be a part of the preparation for Thursday night’s meeting with the Arizona Cardinals but must do it virtually. Head coach Matt LaFleur said all of Monday’s meetings for the coaches will be virtual.

The “majority” of Monday will be dedicated to game-planning for Thursday night, per LaFleur.

However, virtual meetings aren’t the only obstacles the Packers face leading up to their matchup with the undefeated Cardinals. LaFleur did not get into any specifics, but he believes there could be other issues within the staff. Coaches and players who have had close contact with Barry would also have to miss Thursday’s game if they test positive.

The defense does not want to be without Barry for an extended period of time. In his first season, he has been a big reason for Green Bay’s upturn on defense. The Packers are ranked seventh in total defense and are allowing 20.9 points per game. Both are improvements from last year’s defense under Mike Pettine.

LaFleur said it will be a collective effort to replace Barry in Week 8. Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray and outside linebackers coach Mike Smith are the two most likely candidates to call plays.

“That’s something we’re kind of working through right now,” said LaFleur. “Regardless of how we do it, it will be a collective effort.”

LaFleur said he has confidence in Gary, who has coached a top-five defense before. Gary was the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2005 and the Tennessee Titans from 2011-2013.

“We definitely have people we feel that are capable of getting the job done,” said LaFleur.

When Green Bay takes the field against Arizona on Thursday, it will be the best offense they have faced all season. Regardless of who is calling plays, the Packers have to have a strong performance to secure their seventh straight win.

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Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry tests positive for COVID-19, likely to miss game vs. Cardinals

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