Joe Barry helped Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles earn a total of seven Pro Bowl nods during Barry's first six years as the Buccaneers' linebackers coach
When former Linebackers Coach Joe Barry left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching staff after the 2006 season, the team replaced him with an up-and-comer named Gus Bradley. After two fine seasons in the job, Bradley is leaving the Bucs, too, to become the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.
Fortunately, the Buccaneers have found the perfect replacement for Bradley: Joe Barry.
After two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, Barry is returning to the post he held so effectively in Tampa for six seasons (2001-06). The Buccaneers announced the hiring of Bradley on Friday; as is team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Barry coached a star-studded linebacking corps for a defense that ranked in the NFL's top six during five of those six campaigns. Linebackers Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles earned a total of seven Pro Bowl nominations while playing under Barry, and Brooks was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2002.
Though Barry arrived in Tampa in the final year of Tony Dungy's stint as the Buccaneers' head coach, he was retained the following season when Jon Gruden arrived. Barry was a critical part of the coaching staff that helped guide the Bucs to their first Super Bowl championship in 2002, culminating in a win over Oakland that was sealed by Brooks' interception return for a touchdown.
Barry's return gives the defensive staff an added dose of stability in a year in which that group is seeing its most extensive changes in more than a decade. Long-running defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has left for the University of Tennessee and has been replaced by Raheem Morris, who was promoted from defensive backs coach. The Bucs will obviously have to fill Morris' post with a newcomer, but Barry should be able to step seamlessly back into his previous role.
Barry left the Buccaneers in 2007 to join another departing Tampa Bay coach, Rod Marinelli, in Detroit. Though Marinelli and Barry's tenure in Detroit came to an end after the Lions' disappointing 0-16 season in 2008, the team had appeared to make some strides in its first year under the new leadership. Barry's defense, for instance, tied for third in the NFL in takeaways in 2007 and finished ninth in sacks.
During Barry's first stint with the Buccaneers, the team's defense finished second in the NFL in fewest yards allowed (285.7 per game) in that six-year period and surrendered the fewest rushing touchdowns (51). The team also allowed only 17.4 points per game during that span, second-fewest in the league, highlighted by the 11.3 points per game allowed in 2002, the fifth-lowest mark ever in a 16-game season.
Before joining the Buccaneers in 2001, Barry had spent a season as a quality control coach for the San Francisco 49ers. That was his first foray into the NFL after six seasons of coaching on the collegiate level, beginning with a graduate assistant post at his alma mater, USC, in 1999. He later coached linebackers at Northern Arizona and UNLV before jumping to the professional ranks. Barry played linebacker at USC, earning two letters.