#1 – Joe Barry, Rams Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers
Again, we turn to the Los Angeles Rams as a potential well of coaching talent to draw from. This season, the Rams’ defense was been stellar.
They currently rank first in yards allowed per game (291.9), second against the pass (200.6), fifth against the run (91.3), and allow just 19.2 points to opposing defenses, the second-lowest average in the NFL.
While it may be first-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley who receives a bulk of the credit, taking over for Wade Phillips this season, it’s Joe Barry who might be the answer to the Cowboys’ defensive woes in 2021.
Barry has been the assistant head coach to Sean McVay and the linebackers coach for the Rams for the last four seasons. He’s also been instrumental in helping to develop 2016 undrafted linebacker Cory Littleton into a Pro Bowler. And Barry could be the exact voice needed to guide the Cowboys’ talented linebacker duo of Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith in Dallas.
Another former leader of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history, Barry was the linebackers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2001-2006. He helped to lead Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks and the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory following the 2020 season.
An interesting side note is that Barry’s actually married to the daughter of former longtime Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli. The two coached together with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Detroit Lions.
The 50-year old Joe Barry has been an NFL defensive coordinator twice during his 20-year professional career. Once with the Detroit Lions from 2007-2008. And then again in Washington from 2015-2016.