Packers to be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry for Thursday's game

Positive test has put team in advanced COVID protocols

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

GREEN BAY – The Packers are planning to be without defensive coordinator Joe Barry for Thursday night's game at Arizona.

Barry has tested positive for COVID-19, which has put the team into advanced protocols, forcing all the coaches' game-planning meetings Monday to be virtual, and for all football players and staff in the facility to wear masks at all times, regardless of vaccination status.

Barry is vaccinated, so he is eligible to resume regular contact with the team once he has consecutive negative tests, but LaFleur did not expect that to occur before Thursday.

LaFleur suggested defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Jerry Gray, who has been an NFL defensive coordinator previously in his coaching career at Buffalo (2001-05) and Tennessee (2011-13), could take over Barry's play-calling duties against the Cardinals, the league's lone remaining unbeaten team.

"That's something we're kind of working through right now," LaFleur said. "Regardless of how we do it, it'll be a collective effort from everybody involved.

"We feel confident with a guy like Jerry who's called it before and had a top-five defense in this league. Regardless of who calls it, we're going to have to be on our A game. This is a heck of a challenge against the best offense in the league right now."

LaFleur said "there's potentially some other issues" regarding the latest round of COVID testing, but the team is moving forward as best it can with such limited prep time before flying out west.

The Packers will conduct walk-through workouts on Tuesday and conduct some minimal full-speed work on Wednesday before traveling.

Some coaches began game-planning for the Cardinals this past weekend, and then the staff stayed after Sunday's victory over Washington to keep working.

"You have to flip the script pretty quickly when you have these types of games," LaFleur said.

The added COVID challenges are on top of the Packers' injury issues that leave the status of several players uncertain for Thursday.

The offense is hoping to get All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling back soon, and LaFleur said he's taking it day by day and would provide updates later in the week.

The Packers also beat Washington without linebacker Preston Smith and cornerback Kevin King, who were questionable on the injury report but did not play. Their status also presumably remains up in the air.

"Going to Arizona, we're going to have to put our best game up to this date in order to beat the best team in the NFL right now," LaFleur said.

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