Packers in advanced COVID protocols amid concerns of 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 should be tested daily and wear a mask even if they are vaccinated. Barry will still be part of the preparation for Thursday night’s meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, but must do so virtually. Head coach Matt LaFleur said all Monday’s coaching meetings will be virtual.

Monday’s “majority” will be spent planning the game for Thursday night, according to LaFleur.

However, virtual reunions aren’t the only hurdles the Packers face ahead of their clash with the undefeated Cardinals. LaFleur did not go into details, but he believes there may be other issues with the staff. Coaches and players who have had close contact with Barry are also expected to miss Thursday’s game if they are positive.

The defense doesn’t want to be without Barry for an extended period. In his first season, he was one of the main reasons for Green Bay’s defensive recovery. The Packers are ranked seventh in total defense and allow 20.9 points per game. Both are improvements over last year’s defense under Mike Pettine.

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

“It’s something we’re working on right now,” said LaFleur. “However we do it, it will be a collective effort. “

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

“We definitely have people who we think are capable of doing the job,” said LaFleur.

When Green Bay takes the field against Arizona on Thursday, it’ll be the best offense they’ve faced all season. No matter who calls the games, the Packers need to have a solid performance to secure their seventh straight win.


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