After a disappointing 2017 campaign, the Green Bay Packers are in desperate need of a change in fortunes. There will be many moves in Green Bay this offseason, but the biggest decision may have already been made — the firing of defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Capers ran the Packers’ defense since the 2009 season so it was a big statement for Mike McCarthy to make almost immediately after the season ended. However, things must change. Aaron Rodgers won’t be around forever, and the Packers need to do all they can to win now while he still has some prime years left.
If the Packers are looking for an example to follow, then they should look no further than the New England Patriots. The Patriots have had a star quarterback for a number of years in Tom Brady and, just like the Packers with Aaron Rodgers, that has put them in a win now mode. The Patriots have had Matt Patricia as their defensive coordinator since 2012 and he has done a great job for the team.
The Patriots have built a defense with players who know their job. They have no superstars or big money guys at the back end, but it works because they are well coached and each player knows his role. Not surprisingly, the Patriots opened as favorites in the online betting world to win the Super Bowl. While their offensive players get the limelight, a big reason they have those odds is their defensive play. Patricia continues to do a great job and his work is something the Packers should look to replicate with new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
The Packers defense finished the 2017 NFL season as the No. 22 ranked defense. This was the fourth time in the last seven years they have finished in the bottom third of the league. The last time a Dom Capers-led defense finished in the top 10 was back in 2010, the last year the Packers won the Super Bowl.
Those numbers just don’t stack up to regular playoff wins and Super Bowl appearances and, ultimately, that is what the Packers and their fanbase expects. Rodgers deserves better and Pettine better deliver.
The Dom Capers era will be remembered for the 2010 season but, ultimately, most believe his scheme became stale and wasn’t innovative. Capers’ scheme always has relied on the pass rush and having playmakers and when that didn’t work and plays weren’t made, the defense didn’t work.
Yet the guy never seemed to adapt his scheme. If you don’t have the personnel, then it’s about the system. The Packers haven’t had the defensive personnel in a while, so clearly they had to change the system.