Despite Limitations, Capers Getting The Job Done

It hasn't been pretty, but Dom Capers is doing a lot with a little.

Regular readers of this site (not to mention my Twitter feed) know that I have my issues with defensive coordinator Dom Capers. He runs way too much zone behind his blitzes (and yes, I understand this is the nature of a fire-zone team) and if I see another 3 man rush on third and long there's a good possibility I will go postal.

These things notwithstanding, I think Capers deserves a ton of praise for the work he's done the past two weeks with the motley crew he's had assembled for him. When you've got T.J. Lang in on short yardage situations, well, you're pretty much in uncharted territory as an NFL coach, but Capers has put together two excellent efforts against the Redskins and Dolphins.

Yes, it was beyond maddening to see Chad Henne have all day to throw, but it was clear the Dolphins were just going to max protect all day and let Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess work downfield, either finding holes in the zones, or waiting for them to clear on crossing routes when they were matched up man-to-man.

The play of Desmond Bishop and B.J. Raji has helped immensely, as both have played a ton of snaps at positions that have traditionally had a deep rotation in the Packers' lineup.  They have done yeoman's work the past two weeks but especially yesterday.

If Capers gets Matthews, Pickett and Neal back this week, I like his chances at finally winning a matchup with Brett Favre.

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Comments (26)

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hyperRevue's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:03 pm

"@Aaron_Nagler
I have a hard time believing that Adalius Thomas and/or Shawne Merriman wouldn't be better options than Robert Francois."

Well I never thought I'd see the day that Nagler jumped on the Thomas/Merriman train.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:31 pm

Just watching the game again and thinking - how do they NOT bring more than Francois? Seriously.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 18, 2010 at 04:03 pm

I know the trade game is pointless with Thompson (at least when it involves players he hasn't previously cut), but if the Raiders are having a fire sale, I wonder if Kamerion Wimbley could be had.

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 18, 2010 at 04:19 pm

I agree Aaron,what ever they have left can at times be highly beneficial and the OC would need to figure them in alot more than Francois the Croissant.

On another note,thoughts on Cam Cameron as HC-OC,Capers as DC and Greene to SPT's.Cameron is OC now and wouldn't leave Balt unless for HC.

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PkrNboro's picture

October 18, 2010 at 05:55 pm

Cool to hear you say that...
...I got my shit jumped for mentioning that yesterday.

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george's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:34 pm

not to mention the pack should get bigby and harris back which will improve our secondary a ton.

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Wiscokid's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:49 pm

I still like Capers. I think he would make a better head coach than McCarthy.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

October 18, 2010 at 06:41 pm

Disagree. I think Capers' calling is at DC. He's had his shot(s) at being a HC.

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Wiscokid's picture

October 18, 2010 at 07:02 pm

The last time Capers was a head coach, he came into Green Bay with a crappy Texans team and took down the McCarthy led Packers. Hard to hold two expansion teams performance against him. I stand by my comment.

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Jersey Al's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:53 pm

Capers has done the best he could with the personnel handed to him. I said it all last year (even after the AZ game)and I say it still. I've never understood the Capers criticism. He started with a boatload of 4-3 players last season and with some more additions this year, has transformed them into a very competent all-around D. Now more help is coming in the form of Smith, Harris and Bigby. If Matthews can stay healthy, they will "be fine."

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hyperRevue's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:56 pm

I agree with all of this. Assuming Pickett, Matthews and Neal come back healthy - and they should -- coupled with the arrival of Smith and Harris, they're a capable Matthew's compliment away from being a dominant defense.

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Wiscokid's picture

October 18, 2010 at 04:15 pm

It's been the offense that has let down this season. If you can average 23 points a game, you'll have a winning record. What happened to the offensive juggernaut that we were supposed to have this year?

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Ruppert's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:57 pm

I think Capers has done on hell of a job this year. Woodson is either getting old or playing very hurt. The nickel back from day 1 has been an undrafted rookie, Shields. And then the injuries...my God, Bigby, Burnett, Martin, Matthews, Pickett, Neal, Barnett, Chillar...all these guys have missed games, or worse. And in spite of all this, it hasn't been the defense that's lost us a single game so far. THAT is amazing.

And on top of ALL THIS, the man has to coach Jarrett Bush?

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hyperRevue's picture

October 18, 2010 at 03:59 pm

I assume that when Harris comes back (this week? cross you fingers!) he'll be the nickel back?

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alfredomartinez's picture

October 18, 2010 at 04:06 pm

3 man rush on a third and long, i fucking hate seeing that...that being said, having to scramble and piece together a defense plagued and filled with injuries, isnt an easy task to just come and patch up...so give the man his due...kudos capers, kudos, now go balls out and rip favre's head off cometh sunday, you can do it!!! (rob schiender's voice off)

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D.D. Driver's picture

October 18, 2010 at 05:20 pm

I will commend Capers on the defense's play from yesterday, but overall there is not that much to get excited about.

Even when the Packers were at full strength, how many three and outs does the defense force? Not too many. Good/great defenses get off the field.

The Packers are getting killed in field position because the defense seldom forces three and out possessions and the offense unfortunately does.

It's great that he is getting the most out of his scrubs, but I'd rather he get the most out of his studs.

Capers gets a C. Maybe a C+ is I am generous.

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D.D. Driver's picture

October 18, 2010 at 05:23 pm

I should also mention that I have a high opinion of the talent that Capers has to work with when the team is at full strength. Guys like Matthews, Woodson, Raji. And you have players like Pickett, Jenkins, Tramon Williams, Nick Collins.

This is freaking talented team. Why aren't they better. Has there been a more talent defense in GB since the Super Bowl years?

Why does it seem like the whole is significantly less than the sum of its parts?

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Tommyboy's picture

October 18, 2010 at 05:38 pm

Don't care about those as much if they're only giving up 13-20 points. They also are battling time of possession differences. So, they are keeping points off the board despite several extra opportunities caused by our own offense getting excessive three and outs. Also, the poor field position this year is more from poor special teams play than defense. The defense keeps the point totals low...at least low enough that the Pack should be winning.

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nerd's phone's picture

October 18, 2010 at 05:49 pm

On defense, the whole is almost always greater than the sum of it's parts. On offense, it's almost always far, far less. Especially in the first half of the season.

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Asshalo's picture

October 18, 2010 at 06:32 pm

One thing is for sure, the status quo will not be maintained for good or bad.. To even stay .500, all three phases, especially the offense, will have to be more reliable and quit consistently taking off plays.

The schedule gets tougher and if the current problems linger, their affects will get worse and worse. The defense didn't start out horribly at the start of 2008, but the same problems lingered and compounded two fold. Same will happen this year.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

October 18, 2010 at 06:40 pm

"If Capers gets Matthews, Pickett and Neal back this week, I like his chances at finally winning a matchup with Brett Favre."

Adjacent over hypotenuse.

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Ruppert's picture

October 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I agree as well. And I'm glad you didn't go off on some meaningless Opposite over Adjacent.

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WoodyG's picture

October 18, 2010 at 07:36 pm

Have to give some credit to Capers for keeping GB in the game defensively (even with all the injuries) but I'm not as lenient as most who have posted here ...... NO sacks & only a handful of pressures resulted in only 1 TO by the Dolphins & allowed Henne to look better than he really is ...... In fact, I don't believe GB has had a sack since CM3 left the Washington game ......

Capers had all week to plan w/out CM3 as an option ...... Although the main culprit in the loss is the bumbling offense ..... Capers will have to do better with or w/out CM3 against BF & the Vikes to go to 4-3.

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PackerAaron's picture

October 18, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Poppinga had a sack vs WAS after CM3 left the game (in overtime)

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NickGBP's picture

October 19, 2010 at 01:20 am

Great post. Glad he's getting props.

But man, seeing us line up with two down lineman in our 2-4-4 on obvious running downs must be killing him. It's been weeks since we've had a full group of guys to spell our DLine (have we even had a single week full? I guess the Skins were as close as we've gotten). As you said Raji has done a hell of a job and I wouldnt be surprised if he lost 10 pounds after each game after all the time he's on the field.

When we can't even line up in our 3-4 regularly against a running team on first down you know you're in trouble. And that's the only problem I had with the defensive showing...the Dolphins ran AND passed successfully and Capers couldnt do anything about it because of all the injuries on the line.

Last year we took away the run and made teams one dimensional. I mean NOONE could run on us (except the early Cincy game). Too bad the talented passing teams could take advantage of poor play by our secondary even when we knew theyd pass but thats another story. This year the secondary has played better than can be expected with all of the injuries...but the run defense has dropped more than I expected it would without any solid backups to keep the guys fresh.

I honestly think having Jolly on our team would have won us this football game. Probably crazy talk but I think it's true.

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Oppy's picture

October 19, 2010 at 06:25 pm

"But man, seeing us line up with two down lineman in our 2-4-4 on obvious running downs must be killing him."

What's really got to be killing him is seeing them line up with only 10 players on the field ;) :P

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