Lions Name Barry Defensive Coordinator
Wednesday, January 3, 2007; 3:55 PM
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions didn't have to look far for their new defensive coordinator.
The team introduced coach Rod Marinelli's son-in-law, Joe Barry, on Wednesday. Marinelli was quick to say the move had little to do with family ties.
"If we didn't get him, he'd be a defensive coordinator some other place," he said. "I hired the best guy to coach the defense."
Barry, the former linebackers coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, takes over for Donnie Henderson, who was fired Tuesday, two days after the team finished a dismal 3-13 season.
In Barry's six seasons with the Buccaneers, Tampa Bay had a top-five defense five times and won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season. Tampa Bay linebackers were chosen to Pro Bowl rosters six times during his tenure.
"I've been preparing and dreaming about this opportunity for a long time," Barry said. "You have to believe in your head coach, and I wholeheartedly believe in coach Marinelli."
Marinelli was Tampa Bay's defensive line coach for 10 seasons before taking the top job in Detroit in 2006.
The Lions tried to bring Barry here last season, but the Buccaneers would not release him from his contract. Green Bay also inquired about his services in past seasons.
After coaching linebackers and defensive ends at Northern Arizona and UNLV, Barry joined San Francisco's staff as a defensive quality control coach in 2000. He went to Tampa Bay the following season.
He inherits a unit in Detroit that was 28th in total defense. Only San Francisco and Tennessee allowed more points than the Lions.
Injuries and the suspension of 2005 Pro Bowl tackle Shaun Rogers for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy added to the team's problems.
Barry singled out Rogers, tackle Cory Redding, linebackers Ernie Sims and Boss Bailey and safety Kenoy Kennedy as potential leaders in the Tampa cover 2 system he and Marinelli learned under Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Barry met wife Chris when he and Marinelli were members of Southern California's coaching staff. The two began dating after meeting before the 1994 Cotton Bowl. Though his four children call his new boss grandpa, he said it won't affect his working relationship.
"When we are at work I don't look at him as my father-in-law and he doesn't look at me as his son-in-law," Barry said. "Now he's my boss."
The Lions still are in the market for an offensive line coach to replace Larry Beightol, who also was fired Tuesday.