Rams linebacker coach Joe Barry served two seasons as “the other coordinator in Washington” during the era when Sean McVay was calling plays for the pre-Football Team. McVay hired Barry to be his assistant head coach and to work with the linebackers when he went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.
Could this be the year that McVay loses Barry to another defensive coordinator opportunity?
It was reported earlier this week that the Las Vegas Raiders would be reaching out to the Rams for permission to interview Barry to do that job. The Raiders fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther late in the season, replacing him on an interim basis with Rod Marinelli. It is expected that Marinelli will remain in the Las Vegas organization but perhaps not as the defensive coordinator; Barry served as defensive coordinator under Marinelli with the Detroit Lions, including during their 0-16 record in 2008.
The @Raiders are expected to ask for permission to talk to @Rams assistant head coach/LB coach Joe Barry about their defensive coordinator job. Barry played a big role in the development of Cory Littleton from UDFA to Pro Bowl LB from 2017-2019.— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) January 4, 2021
Barry has served four total NFL seasons as a defensive coordinator, ranking 32nd in points and yards allowed during both of his campaigns with the Lions, then 28th in yards allowed during both of his seasons in Washington, plus 17th and 19th in points allowed those years, respectively.
Of course, like many coaches that have come across Jay Gruden and Sean McVay, Barry served as an assistant on Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As linebackers coach with the Bucs, Barry worked with Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, though of course Brooks was already on his way to a Hall of Fame career.
With the Rams over the last four seasons, Barry helped developed Cory Littleton — who signed a three-year, $35 million contract with the Raiders last offseason — as well as work with Alec Ogletree, Mark Barron, Robert Quinn, Dante Fowler, Samson Ebukam, Leonard Floyd, Micah Kiser, Clay Matthews (at the end of his career), Troy Reeder and Kenny Young. But the Raiders may be more interested in his work as assistant head coach under McVay and Brandon Staley, who helped orchestrate the NFL’s number one defense in 2020.
Not on the number one defense: Littleton, who expressed frustration and misery throughout his first season in Las Vegas, finishing with abysmal numbers across the board and worse play on film.
“I missed 10 times as many tackles as I did the previous year, which is uncharacteristic and something that can’t happen to a good linebacker,” Littleton said.
The Raiders can’t interview Barry this week while he prepares his team for the wild card game on Saturday. They might get to him eventually if they get their chance though and that could be another Rams assistant under McVay who moves on.