Capers Firing Begins Packers Defensive Turnaround

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Dom Capers

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.

About The Author

Rodney is a devoted cheesehead trapped in NYC. When he is not watching football or blogging about it you can find him snowboarding, playing with his dog, and editing videos (which never get enough views on YouTube).

12 Comments on "Capers Firing Begins Packers Defensive Turnaround"

  1. MJ

    The Patriots have Gilmore and Butler back there. McCourtney at S is no slouch either. However, their DL and LB corps are filled with “just OK” guys. Decent, but no stars. To their credit, they quicky get guys going in their system, not taking forever to learn the complicated (and often useless) nuances of a Capers-led scheme. They often find veteran castoffs and help them help the team with whatever strength they bring to the table. And they probably know the strengths of their roster enough to be aware of which plays they can confidently dial. I do believe we have better talent than them on the defensive side of the ball, and it’s up to Pettine to make them play up to their potential.

    • PF4L

      The big difference between these two teams from what i see is the Patriots will keep you around if you add value to their team, if you don’t perform, they’ll find someone who will. Its not about the amount of star power, it’s about everyone collectively doing their job, and being on the same page and they do it better than anyone.

      The Packers will keep under performing players around for years. Sometimes, because they drafted them, other times, because they are cheap. You can’t spend a lot of cash when so many of your own players are making double digit millions.

      Sometimes you have to get worse before you get better. I don’t know if that’s the case here, but i do know, they have a lot work to do, and not much time to undo the damage that was done previously. Under the watchful eye of someone whose job it was to give a fuck, but he didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or hurt anyones feelings. Mark Murphy is fucking a clown, he sure as fuck isn’t a leader. But somehow he is still the President of the Green Bay Packers.

      The Executive Committee lost it’s balls. Murphy never had any.

      You want a Championship team? This wasn’t the start they needed. Only one major player replaced, Capers, and he was only about 1/4 of the problem. If you don’t think Ted will still be involved, think again. He needed to be shown the door, given the option to retire. He shouldn’t be the Senior Adviser to the GM, for any team.

      When a publicly owned team starts extending contracts, but keeping them a secret, when they refuse to answer questions for various reasons. It’s not a good sign. Too many of the same people involved, are still in power. The disease is still in the building.

      Why did they do things the way they did? IMO…..they bought themselves another 3 years of employment. McCarthy will get another two year extension by week 10 next season, which we may, or may not be told about it, because apparently, that news is on a “need to know” basis these days. Ted will be kept around to keep an eye on and finish developing his TT District and formulating the game plan each week, all while trying to break up any arguments among some of his people who don’t get along with each other.

      If you’re thinking i’m not buying into this new power structure, job reassignments, untruthfulness, etc. You’re thinking correctly.

      Good luck Aaron. Grab the cash, or grab it somewhere else.

  2. The Pats pick up older free agents, that know what the’re doing and fit right in, Ala James Harrison. You don’t have to wait for 3 years for the light to go on. Hopefully that’s what the Packers start doing

  3. The 22nd ranking for the Packers again does not tell the whole story. The Patriots were ranked 29th. The problem for the Packers was similar to last year. The Packers in a passing league was giving up to many yards per pass attempt, opponent red zone scoring percentage was piss poor, the points allowed per play was piss poor, and this year the 3rd down opponent made % was to high.

    Even though the Patriots have a lower defensive ranking (according to the NFL) than the Packers look at the difference in these key defensive situational stats.

    Opponent red zone scoring, Patriots 8th, Packers 30th.
    Points allowed per play, Patriots 4th, Packers 27th.
    3rd down completion% allowed, Patriots 21st, Packers 28th.
    Yards allowed per pass attempt, Patriots 25th, Packers 30th.
    QBR allowed, Patriots 17th, Packers 31th.

    The Patriots defense had a down year. The NFL would consider the Patriots to have a worse defense than the Packers. The fact is the Patriots was a substantially better defense than the Packers were it counts in allowing points and disrupting the quarterback. It is good to have change. Pettine will change things up for the best, and it will be reflected in the important defensive situational stats.

    • PF4L

      The Patriots defense got off to an horrendous start, but managed to turn it around.

      The Packers overall ranking in 2011 was 32nd with one of the highest ypg given up in NFL history, But points given up didn’t reflect it, although it wasn’t great. I think the 31 interceptions had something to do with it. Capers played a gambling risk taking defense that season. He could afford to, only because the offense scored so much it gave him that luxury of security.

  4. Icebowl

    Nice article Rod.
    Defenses need to constantly be cognitive and adjust to ever-changing offensive strategies such as use of HUGE TEs.

  5. rebelgb

    PF4L – “Why did they do things the way they did? IMO…..they bought themselves another 3 years of employment. McCarthy will get another two year extension by week 10 next season, which we may, or may not be told about it, because apparently, that news is on a “need to know” basis these days.”

    Yep. This group reminds me of Washington politicians, its all about staying in power. They have circled the wagons and are looking to fool the rest of us and the board for the next 3 years and earn a couple more paychecks. If they get lucky and somehow it works for a while they may even get a few more years than that.

    I have no faith this current system works. Mostly because the 2 MM’s are still in it.

    That being said, ive been wrong so many times in my life, why would i be surprised if this was different?

    Besides im a Packer fan through and through; id like to see a run next year.

  6. PF4L

    Yes Sir…I’m down with what you say about being wrong, we’ve all been there my friend and it sucks…Both times i was wrong was like a nightmare.

  7. Gort

    I loathe the Pats and if the Queens were in “the game”, i would bd cheering for the refs and hoping for a scoreless tie. That being said, the Pats have the whole package: personnel and coaching. Personnel – they know who to draft, who to keep, who to pay, who to cut, and how to find good backups. Coaching – they know how to get the best from who they have and how to stop the opponents’ best stuff. They are pretty damn good.

    The Packers needed a COMPLETE rebuild (including MM x 2), but all we got was an oil change.

    It may be enough to get into the playoffs, but I doubt it will be enough to win “the game”,
    unless maybe pad level is perfect.

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