With the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs for the first time since 2006, anything seems to be possible. At least when it comes to change.
At the top of pretty much everyone’s list would be defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Once again the Packers needed the defense to step up and once again, it did not. The Packers currently rank 26th in total defense.
Usually we have these conversations after the Packers flame out in the playoffs. This year, there won’t be any playoffs. This year, the Packers’ final two games of the season will mean nothing. And it sounds like coach Mike McCarthy has already started to evaluate potential change. It sounds like Capers — finally — may not be safe.
“We have to be honest about the patterns of negativity and positivity,” McCarthy said. “What comes from that, how do you learn from that, how do you improve? To win championships, you have to go through adverse moments. We’ve had plenty this year. Not hitting our goal, not playing to the standard of the Green Bay Packers is definitely an adverse situation we need to learn from.”
While we fully expect team president Mark Murphy to keep the status quo, McCarthy runs the coaching staff and is free to make changes there as he sees fit.
He certainly didn’t seem opposed to that when he spoke on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, I can do that right now,” McCarthy said. “That’s the unfortunate part of where we are as a team. Listening is probably the most important part of communication. Watching is another very important nonverbal information that you can gather in these next two weeks. I think you have to make sure you look at everything and be direct and honest and keep the emotion out of it. I think having two weeks to think about it will take the emotion out of it. We have to get better through the adversity that we’ve been through this year.”
We don’t know what’s going through McCarthy’s head, but he clearly isn’t happy with how this season has gone. Unlike past years when the Packers actually made the playoffs and then flamed out, McCarthy would call it a successful season. He obviously isn’t calling this a successful season.
If we had to bet, some sort of change is coming. Capers has coordinated some very successful defenses, but none of them have been in Green Bay lately.
The Packers haven’t had a top-10 defense since Capers’ second season as coordinator. Is that all on him?
Not necessarily. Capers’ defense only works when the team is able to rush the passer effectively. So some of the problem is lack of strong enough personnel. We know this, the Packers know this and GM Ted Thompson knows this. Thompson hasn’t done a good enough job of supplying the defense with what it needs.
Still, it seems somewhat clear that the game has passed Capers by.
Remember the revolutionary nitro package the Packers developed this season? Well, when the hell do they use that anymore? Certainly, injuries are an issue, but we expect that with the Packers every year. To assume anyone on the Packers will be healthy for 16 games is a fool’s errand. It never happens.
While I am certainly not opposed to Capers hitting the road, he definitely isn’t the only culprit in the failure of this season.