Green and Bold: This Way, Dom Capers

In 2010, the Packers defense got them into the Super Bowl. In virtually every season since, it's killed them in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers and this offense deserve another ring, and as the window continues to close, perhaps it's time to make a drastic change to ensure they get one. 

When it comes to NFL front-office decisions, I'm fairly conservative. So many factors go into a team performing poorly, and while coaching is often a big one, so too are injuries, team chemistry, strength and conditioning, quality of opponents, difficulty of schedule, momentum, and many more.

If you're going to let go of a head coach or coordinator, there better be someone you believe has the experience and qualifications to be an immediate improvement out there for hire. 

I've covered the Packers in a professional capacity for five years, and this is the first time I'm penning a "Fire Dom Capers" column. Suggesting that a coach be fired is no small action, both on a micro and macro level. First, this is a real person, with a career, a family, bills to pay. And replacing someone at the level of defensive coordinator is no small task; it changes the entire face of a team and could very possibly render some of that team's current players ineffective depending on the scheme and coaching philosophy of the replacement. 

However, after Green Bay's myriad struggles on the defensive side of the ball throughout the 2016 season, and at many times since the Super-Bowl winning 2010 defense, it's time to think about going in another direction at defensive coordinator. 

There are two conflating factors that need to be taken into account when evaluating Capers' role at the helm of the Packers defense: Ted Thompson and his draft selections, and player execution within Capers' scheme. We'll take each on in turn.

Thompson has drafted a defensive player in the first round in the last five consecutive drafts, and in seven of the last 10.

Some of those players, namely free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and nose tackle B.J. Raji, made an instant impact. Others, such as outside linebacker Nick Perry, have only justified their draft status recently. There's at least one bust, in defensive tackle Justin Harrell. And the jury is still out on cornerback Damarious Randall, who has regressed in his sophomore season, and rookie Kenny Clark. 

Thompson has a habit of selecting players who are outstanding athletes or "football players," even when they might not necessarily be the best fit for Green Bay's and Capers' scheme, and that's certainly necessary to consider when evaluating Capers' job performance. 

Then there's the issue of player execution and injuries. Very rarely this season did the Packers have their preferred 11 starters on the field on defense. The cornerbacks were hit hard. Damarious Randall and Quentin Rollins both missed time with groin injuries. Sam Shields missed 15 games. Then, Clay Matthews missed four games, and wasn't super effective upon his return as he nursed a sprained shoulder. 

There's no question the Packers' injuries were extreme this season. But the flaws in Capers' scheme are obvious even when preferred starters are playing. And while the offense has been able to pick up the slack for the defense time and time again in the regular season, it always comes to a head in the playoffs. It was no different on Sunday, when the Packers suffered an embarrassing 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game. 

Pac-12 blogger Avinash Kunnath shared on Twitter how poorly Capers' units have come up in the playoffs compared to how the team has fared historically:

The Packers were completely unprepared to slow Atlanta. In fact, the Falcons scored on seven of nine of their possessions, a feat that only two other teams have accomplished in the playoffs since 2000. That's an absurd onus even for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense to take on. 

Fans have grown increasingly frustrated this season seeing Capers go into prevent defense in the late third or early fourth quarter. The reasoning behind the move is sometimes sound; in order to prevent a quick-strike, long-yardage scoring play with lots of time left on the clock, the Packers defense bends but (ideally) doesn't break as it forces opponents to chew clock time as they dink-and-dunk their way down the field to score. 

The problem with Green Bay's pass defense—which finished the regular season ranked 31st, allowing 269.3 yards per game—is that it's completely pervious to good quarterbacks. Matthew Stafford can kill you on short-to-intermediate throws, and he did so to the tune of 332 passing yards in Week 17 and 368 yards in Week 3. Matt Ryan lit up the Packers secondary for 392 passing yards and four touchdowns last week. 

But the way you could tell that there was really something wrong with Green Bay's pass defense is that even Matt Barkley managed to drop 354 yards on it in Week 15. 

Like Dick LeBeau, Capers was a pioneer within the NFL when it comes to the 3-4 defense. But even the Pittsburgh Steelers moved on from LeBeau, modernizing and improving his tenets by hiring Keith Butler and prioritizing faster, more athletic players.

The Packers have also made a move toward getting smaller and faster up front, and there's no question that Capers deserves recognition for his creativity, such as the "NASCAR" and the "Psycho" packages and the use of the "Elephant" position. 

But the Packers have failed to generate pressure up front. The secondary can't cover while leaving five-yard cushions. The defensive backs are consistently burned in zone defense. 

Perhaps if Thompson were amenable to adding instant-impact talent via free agency, Capers' scheme would have more success. But the Packers run a defense (in sub-packages, most of the time) that depends on having two studs at perimeter corner, a talented nickel corner, a solid middle linebacker, two ferocious edge-rushers, a rangy, hard-hitting safety, a solid run achor in the middle, and an interior pass-rusher. They simply don't have all those players on the field at the same time, and everything tends to fall apart from there. 

As for who the Packers could tap to replace Capers, Greg Manusky could have been a good option, but he was just promoted to defensive coordinator for Washington. That's the problem for Green Bay; it's late in the process. The Packers could look to promote internally, though their best assistant is arguably cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr., who may not be ready, and safeties coach Darren Perry was just charged with drunken driving. Then, there are the ranks of ousted head coaches: Jeff Fisher and Rex Ryan. Both defensive-minded coaches, a coordinator stint for a playoff-caliber team could renew their careers. 

In 2010, the Packers defense got them into the Super Bowl. In virtually every season since, it's killed them in the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers and this offense deserve another ring, and as the window continues to close, perhaps it's time to make a drastic change to ensure they get one. 

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Comments (56)

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Horse's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:26 am

"...modernizing and improving his tenets by hiring Keith Butler"

Go look at Steelers fan blogs. You'll see the same discussion. Young secondary players confused and ineffective in soft zone during a blowout playoff loss against an offense that had too many easy options.

Drafting athletes that need time to develop is fine, but there has to be a way for GB to add a little veteran help for a depleted secondary. It should have been anticipated as a potential need before the #1 CB went out for the season.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:09 am

"Young secondary players confused and ineffective in soft zone"

Same Shitzburg defensive scheme. What a shock...

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NickPerry's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:49 am

After Sunday's game I read several comments on other sites like NFL.com, ESPN, or even Acme Packing Company from fans from other teams. Fans from the Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs to name a few all made the same comment... "Aaron Rodgers and the Packers Fans don't deserve to have a DC like Capers and a GM like TT, they deserve better!"

Lets face it, Rodgers and a few offensive players are the reason the Packers made the playoffs. I thought MM did an excellent job of keeping this team together after going 4-6. His offense finally started to execute, especially after he got Cook back and started to use Montgomery more. They were in "Playoff Mode" from week 11 until week 19 when they just finally ran out of gas. The pressure on the Packers Offense was enormous, so much so offensive players on the Packers even commented on it. They felt they had to score on EVERY series and they did. The Offense gives the defense an 18 point lead for much of the game against Dallas and it almost wasn't enough. Yes they won but what Happens if Dak doesn't spike the ball? Rodgers isn't given 33 seconds to work with and the Packers are praying they win the coin toss. That is the reality.

Obviously injuries are a huge reason. We don't know how much of an effect the injuries Randall and Rollins had earlier in the season later on. But as Michelle pointed out, Matt Barkley looked like Brady against the Packers. The Packers have a lot of questions on defense, just like they have for 6 years and counting.

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carusotrap's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:29 am

I'd love to see how many QBs and WRs had career days against the Packers this season. Or even their best game of the season.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 26, 2017 at 02:42 am

OK, what would Aaron do if Giants were scored on every possession in the first half on that horrible Packers D. Because Aaron and his offense scored on first 5 possessions, right? Oh, wait, they did not... Oh, now I remember... Despite constantly getting the ball on favorable positions on the field that "magic" offense producing 3 and outs...
In the last game, how many scores Aaron and offense scored in the first half? What TOP was for the Packers offense in that first half. Yes, I understand. Offense was playing badly hurt. But Packers D was playing at full health & strength...
You all are just not correct. You do not see beam in your eyes, but ready to spit on someones mote...
I do not care about Dom Capers that much. I know that he will get new job quickly, as Dick LeBeau did...
I just can not see Rex Ryan or Jeff Fisher as Packers DC. That would be ridiculous...
My God!

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James Lutz's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:42 am

Rex and MM in the same building? And TT? That might set a record for the most hard headed stubborn operation in the league. They out to tape that for Hard Knocks.

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NickPerry's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:50 am

OMG... Could you imagine?

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cuervo's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:59 am

Rex Ryan has pretty much proved he sucks as a D coordinator. He had players in Buffalo and they regressed once he got there. He had a few good years at the Jets....he's done.

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zoellner25's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:16 am

Correction. He was a bad HC. He was a terrific DC. See his years in Baltimore as the best example.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:51 am

This is really my first year saying that I think it would be a good move to move away from Capers.

While what happened this season isn't all of Capers fault with the amount of injuries the team suffered, and the lack of players that Thompson has given Capers. I do think that a change could ignite some good into the defense.

The question I have and have had about Capers is does he use the players they should be used?
A few examples of that.
-Casey Hayward. He has a great rookie year and the next 3 years he was bad. Some of it due to injury. Regardless he goes to San Diego this year and is one of the best in the league. So the question to me is, how can Hayward be marginal at best the last 3 years in GB and one of the best in the league in another defense? Did Capers use Hayward to the best of his abilities?

-Clay Mathews. There has been a lot of debate of how Mathews should be used. Whether he should be at ILB, OLB... 2 years ago halfway throughout the year they needed help at ILB and moved Mathews to ILB. But the position he played was a hybrid ILB. Capers schemed to allow Mathews do what he does best and that was attacking. Not dropping him into coverage or having him play a normal ILB role. Similar to how the Steelers used to use Troy Polamalu.
Last year having Mathews playing ILB all year he had Mathews playing the standard ILB role. Which doesn't fit Mathews ability.
So rather then adjusting his scheme to fit Mathews abilities he was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

The question I have, Does Capers use his players to the best of their abilities and adjust his schemes around the players he has, or does he try to fit the players he has into his schemes?

Thompson has spent a lot of high round draft picks on the defense. Is the problem that Capers is limiting their abilities by the style of defense he is trying to play?
Also when Capers first came to Green Bay we saw him come up with a lot of different looks. Moving players around, using different packages to create confusion for the offenses. We haven't seen that in a long time. This year especially he has pretty much stayed with the same formation most of the time.

I think would be a good time to make a change at DC. And to bring someone in from outside the organization would be a really good decision.

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NickPerry's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:36 am

Excellent point about Matthews RC. Just look at the difference in his stats and the Packers team defensive stats in 2014 after the move. Matthews had 2.5 sacks playing OLB the first 8 games and 8.5 the last 8 games once he moved. Not only did it help fix the run defense which was the reason the move was made, but it took full advantage of Matthews biggest strengths.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:57 am

The difference in 2014 to 2015 for Mathews at ILB is how Capers used him at ILB. Mathews spent a lot more time blitzing and attacking or spying in 2014. In 2015 he basically played the normal ILB role, which was a lot more coverage and less blitzing. The normal ILB role does not take advantage of Mathews strengths and were not put into use last year compared to 2014.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:52 am

Great analysis RC. I also think with Matthews, it was a case of caving to his ego and contract as a premier OLB which he no longer was. He is not imo a team player or leader. All the more reason to put him back into a Polamalu role.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:18 am

Just my opinion but I disagree with the him not being a team player part. I think him moving to ILB, and playing with a separated shoulder are proof of him being a team player. As far as leader, that's hard to say. There are different types of leaders.

But I 100% agree that they need to have him playing the role he played in 2014. The 'Polamalu' role at ILB. The hybrid ILB spot. Not pure ILB, not OLB. A mix of the 2. Allow him to roam around a bit and keep the offense from knowing where he is going to line up or what he is going to do.
The problem with him at OLB is the offense knows where he is at the snap. At ILB the offense doesn't know where he will be at or if or where he is blitzing from.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

Too me, this isn't about if it all Capers fault. Of course it isn't. It's about if Capers is the best fit for the Packers moving forward. I find it a tough argument to make that it has worked out or it's going to get better given how the Packers build a roster.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 25, 2017 at 02:18 pm

No, its not all Capers fault. A lot of it isn't. And some of it isn't Thompson's either to be fair. Its not Thompson's fault that Shields went down day 1.
Like I mentioned the other day. Capers was trying to play Euchre with a bunch of 9's and 10's. The cards were stacked against him. I don't know many DC's that could do much down their top 3 CB's for a lot of the year.

Thompson has spent a lot of high round draft pics on defensive players. Is it that Thompson didn't do a good enough job or is it that Capers isn't using them the way he should be?

That all being said, the question i keep coming back to is, could another DC get more out of the players they do have? I don't know for sure, but perhaps some of the players would respond better to someone else. And the problems we have had in 2011 are still here in 2017. Thats to long of a time to have the same problems.

I do think its time to make a change.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 25, 2017 at 02:09 pm

Damn good post @RC

"The question I have, Does Capers use his players to the best of their abilities and adjust his schemes around the players he has, or does he try to fit the players he has into his schemes?"

Funny, when I say the same thing - I'm "spitting on him" according to a certain someone. But nevermind that. I agree with you 100%.

For me, I'm not questioning Capers' ability to help the Pack win, it's his lack of adjustments when starters/2nd string players aren't playing up to par and/or not available that worries me.

To piggy back off of some of your points made:

How many times have we seen Gunter (knowing his recovery speed limitations) left on an island this season?

(This one ran me hot) What....In...The...Hell...Was...He...Thinking...When he decided to call a 2-man rush on a 2nd & 13?!!?

And then there's dropping Peppers into a zone while the opponent is in the Red Zone.

I understand that he may be limited on the "complex" plays he would like to call if he had the talent available, but why can't he create plays or place the available players in positions for the to thrive in?

I called the Matthews & Perry blitzing up the middle in the prediction article and it happened on the first Falcons possession on 3rd & 6 (which should have been 4th down instead of a First). But it led to a QB hit (Center easily beat by Matthews) and Ryan had no pocket (Perry destroyed the Right Guard). Capers gets credit for plays like that, but he then abandoned it. He went from Matthews and Perry rushing inside to Joe Thomas on that drive. *Blank stare*

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 25, 2017 at 04:09 pm

I have to say that Capers is probably one of the best defensive minds in the league. I would love to sit down and just listen to him talk about the game. Tremendous knowledge.

But it seems like Capers is set in his way in how he runs the defense.

The problem for me is that over the last however many years the defense hasn't gotten better. Some of that can be contributed to Thompson, but some of it has to go on Capers too.

I completely agree with you on Capers inability to adjust when things aren't working. I'm not just talking about the Atlanta game, because there are times that you just have nothing you can do. But there have been a lot of games that we don't see any adjustments made.

And also he has been known to go ultra conservative when he got beat by something.
To be honest about Gunter. I really don't know how much he was left all alone. i don't have access to the all 22.

Yeah, that first down should have been reviewed because he was short.

I would have liked to seen Mathews moved around more. Moving him around could have caused some issues. Problem is we didn't see that.

I just think its time to find a younger more energetic DC.

One guy that I have been saying that I would love to see them go after is Dave Aranda. He spent a lot of time with Capers learning his defense. I think the defense wouldn't have a hard time adjusting but the change could be huge.

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GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

January 25, 2017 at 06:55 am

It is time for GB to move on from Capers yes but TT is the bigger problem this guy just doesn't get it. He is the most overrated GM in the NFL. Please Ted just go away!!! I am actually shocked that there isn't and hasn't been more fans calling for him to retire. The loyalty to him is mind boggling. He should have built a dynasty in GBbwith AR he should have had at least 2 maybe 3 rings already.

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cuervo's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:05 am

And if he had behaved like many other GM's, overpaid for free agents and put us in slary cap hell....we could have had a decade of being the Cowboys, Browns, Bears, Jags, etc.

While we all wish he would play in free agency more than he has, one cannot say that he hasn't kept the Packers competitive.

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dobber's picture

January 25, 2017 at 12:12 pm

To quote Dennis Green, "you are what your record says you are". The Packers have been consistently one of the better teams in the NFL for over a decade under TT. Detractors float the ARod argument out there, but the bottom line is that we have absolutely no clue what this team looks like after 10+ years of player management in the absence of ARod. Nobody knows because every personnel decision made since he walked in the door has been made in the light of a team with a franchise QB in place.. It might actually be BETTER if ARod weren't here...

I agree: I'd like to see more activity in terms of FA personnel, but you're right. His longer-term vision of handling players has kept the Packers as a competitive team year after year. That can't be overstated.

In Edit: the quote is Bill Parcells, not Dennis Green. Green was the "they were who we thought they were" coach.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

Once again the FALSE dichotomy. It's possible to find a middle ground between blowing money left and right and refusing to participate at all.

It's Bullshit. It's like if your boss asks why you didn't show up to work saying that "Hey, at least I didn't crash my car and die during the commute!"

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Since'61's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:38 am

Yes, it is time to move on from Capers but since nothing has happened yet this week I think we're in for at least another season of Capers soft defense. It's clear to me that we need a new approach on defense. Thanks, Since '61

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stockholder's picture

January 26, 2017 at 05:44 pm

If MM says Capers is good. Why look for them to get a CB. There is no point drafting players to fix the defense if their in denial. They believe they have the best coaches regardless of any score. So BPA all 7 rounds.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:57 am

I don't know who is out there, but I've got to believe that the world has not yet run out of potential coaches that could improve our D. Never thought a Green Bay team would ever have a reputation for being a sieve. One that when it matters most can not get a stop on 3rd down, let alone 3rd and long, nor protect a 14 to 21 point lead. Sad.

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Handsback's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:47 am

After a season like this, you want Capers fired? By the time the Packers played the Cowboys during the regular season, they had Gunter, and Rollins (hurt of course) as CBs. Because TT drafts defensive players doesn't mean the defense is going to get better if they don't pan out. This is Perry's first year of making a difference (because of injuries again) and how many years has he been in the league? HHCD was All-Pro this year, do you think he really played better than Burnett?
Here is why he needs another year:

Capers is well respected around the league and getting a replacement isn't going to be that easy. (Bill Polian called him a great coach)

Green Bay had more street agents in their defensive backfield than drafted players during the Atlanta game.

Green Bay went two years w/o a decent safety to team with Burnett until HHCD was drafted.

This year was the first time since maybe the SB year that Green Bay started the season with quality players at every level of D. Injuries made a mockery of that after Shields went down in the first game.

Which side of the ball didn't perform against the Seahawks during that Conference game?

It has been very frustrating watching the Packers limp into the playoffs and get knocked out. IMHO, firing Capers isn't the answer. Building up the roster matters and he can't do that.
One last point... everyone, including me, says we need to resign Perry. Do we remember that he's been hurt (missed multiple games) every season except this one. Signing a big contract we are risking a lot of money on a player that might not be available for multiple games. Because Green Bay doesn't have many options, you are forced to take that chance, and when Capers is planning a defense having Perry sitting on the bench doesn't help win any games.

If you want to make changes...I would start at the offensive coordinator position. The slow starts kill the Packers and rely on Rodgers to make it happen. Next would work on the LB coaches. Not enough development at either inside or outside positions.

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croatpackfan's picture

January 26, 2017 at 02:55 am

"Do we remember that he's been hurt (missed multiple games) every season except this one."
Well he played this season, but he missed 3 games and after that he played with club... So, you can not say that this season he was healthy...

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croatpackfan's picture

January 26, 2017 at 02:56 am

EDIT: Double post :-(

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Patric Moncada's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:00 am

I will always say this. When the Packers had Kevin Greene as the OLB coach, I think the Packers defensive players responded better, even if some of those years weren't the best (One was the SB winning team though), the players just seemed to play with ENERGY. Like they liked that.

Just my assumption, since Kevin Greene left, I feel there has been less explosive energy from players on Defense, he was a VERY loud, aggressive, hit-em hard coach.

WITH ALL THAT SAID. I really do feel like it might be... at the very least, interesting, having a "loud", hit-em in the mouth kind of defensive coach, which when you look out there, as obnoxious as it is sometimes, there's Rex Ryan.

I would be all for the Packers giving Rex Ryan a chance to coach our defense. But I also understand if they don't particularly want to go that way.

I think the ATTITUDE is a big problem on defense (not as big as talent/players TT fails to obtain, but still big none-the-less) And I am fairly convinced, by the looks, Dom Capers does not motivate the players.

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Patric Moncada's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:00 am

I will always say this. When the Packers had Kevin Greene as the OLB coach, I think the Packers defensive players responded better, even if some of those years weren't the best (One was the SB winning team though), the players just seemed to play with ENERGY. Like they liked that.

Just my assumption, since Kevin Greene left, I feel there has been less explosive energy from players on Defense, he was a VERY loud, aggressive, hit-em hard coach.

WITH ALL THAT SAID. I really do feel like it might be... at the very least, interesting, having a "loud", hit-em in the mouth kind of defensive coach, which when you look out there, as obnoxious as it is sometimes, there's Rex Ryan.

I would be all for the Packers giving Rex Ryan a chance to coach our defense. But I also understand if they don't particularly want to go that way.

I think the ATTITUDE is a big problem on defense (not as big as talent/players TT fails to obtain, but still big none-the-less) And I am fairly convinced, by the looks, Dom Capers does not motivate the players.

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DaTomkat's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:01 am

I had a dream Mike (I want winners) Singletary & Kevin Greene both want to come & help fix our defense. Then I woke up.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:14 am

It isn't the scheme that makes me think Capers needs to go (although I think that every OC in the league knows it forwards and backwards)' it's the lack of fundamentals exhibited for the last 6 years. I.know the assistants handle this but Capers is the boss, so the buck stops there. What really does it for me is the fact that time after time he gets players that show a spark and play well their rookie year and then, after a couple years regress and get cut. Some go on to play pretty well with other teams.

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zoellner25's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:18 am

I have to believe that although Capers is mostly responsible, can the terrible play of our DBs be somewhat attributed to Darren Perry and/or Joe Whitt?

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stockholder's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:23 am

The patriots run both defense'. 3-4-4 and the 4-3-4. The teams you face in the playoffs know how to throw the ball. Having a poor secondary is not going to matter what defense you use. Fix the secondary. Everyone thought we had talent in Rollins and Randall. Shields is now done. Rollins and Randall are not Shields. The only way you are going to fix or help these guys is get a shut - down corner. Veteran leadership is what this secondary needs. Capers puts to much in the elephants. Their slow. They aren't going to give you anything but a bull rush. TT was to stubborn and drafted picks only to stop a exodus. Now he's got coaches who are lost. Fans who are crying. And a team of players saying show me the money. Loyalty is one thing, Lack of vision is another. Time for a new DC and staff.

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TarynsEyes's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:07 am

"_______&_______puts to much in the elephants. Their slow. They aren't going to give you anything but a bull rush. "

I would place both Capers and McCarthy in those spaces as to the context of this thought by you. One had to suggest and one had to agree regardless of who did what.
I do agree and have said we have too many elephants with one entering the player graveyard of the NFL....Peppers.
Perry is and has been a slug and the vast majority of his sacks were ole type and benefit of another players actual pass rush into him. Sure he made a splash here and there, but even these are few and far between and are readily made heroic by many, due to the lack of such overall as a defense.
There is blame for Capers and McCarthy and Thompson and the players via their talent and lack of it and a fragility that seems a requirement for our draftees.

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carusotrap's picture

January 25, 2017 at 08:26 am

I'm on board with replacing Capers if that's the decision, but nothing, again, nothing changes if Ted Thompson is the GM. Converting basketball players from Division III schools may make for a nice story, but sometimes you need football players who have played, you know, in the NFL, and you need them now. Ted Thompson's problem is that he's always a genius 3 years from now.

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4zone's picture

January 25, 2017 at 10:19 am

The idea of Draft and Develop is to have Veteran starters with young backups who can develop into starters then cycle them in and keep the rotation going.

If you ever find yourself with sub par starters, now you have to draft starters, and the development part gets chucked out the window.

Any given draft pick is a crap shoot to some level. So depending on the draft to immediately upgrade starting talent, or to replace lost talent isn't statistically sound on its own. You have to supliment it with players who have already gone through the development phase, who can step in immediately to replace lost talent or upgrade sub par talent.

Dom works with what he's given. I think TT is a far better offensive talent scout than defensive. TT is too worried about cap nunbers. I don't mind years we have to cut players to get under the cap if we sign enough talent to win the SB every 4 years. We are already out of it most years anyway. So what's the difference if its because we have suck players because we only draft them or because we had to cut pro bowlers to get under the cap. If we go the cut rout, at least we cycle in the talent enough to win SB's ever couple years.

And oh, by the way. In our down years, we get a better draft positions.

GB is a dinosaur living in past glories. We need to merge the past with the future otherwise, all we can expect is the same old thing, year after year after year after.....

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Finwiz's picture

January 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

Thank you for a VERY well researched and insightful article. I agree with you 100% about Capers! His time in GB should be over this week sometime, anybody on the street can do just as good, if not better.
Thanks;
Finwiz

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Denver's picture

January 25, 2017 at 10:51 am

I'm torn. While I think the Packers could certainly use some new blood in the D Coach ranks I'm not sure getting rid of Capers is the best fix.
I am pretty certain, however, that the majority of players he has been given to work worth (even when not hurt) are not quality NFL players. Can't win it all without a few difference makers on D.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:16 am

Remember when GBs defense made Matt Barkley look like Joe Montana and Mohamed Sanu (on two occasions) look like Jerry Rice. That was fun.

Injuries made things rough this year, but GB should have moved on from Dom years ago.

Looking back at the Aaron Rodgers era, folks will point to Dom Capers (and probably TTs unwillingness to use FA in any meaningful way) as the reason he didn't have a full hand of rings when he hung up his cleats.

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lebowski's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:17 am

"But the Packers run a defense that depends on having two studs at perimeter corner, a talented nickel corner, a solid middle linebacker, two ferocious edge-rushers, a rangy, hard-hitting safety, a solid run achor in the middle, and an interior pass-rusher." Is that all?? Sheesh, no wonder they can't perform up to our expectations.

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ironman3169's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:27 am

Injuries? Scheme? D.C.? Assistant coaches? Personnel? Hard to say which are the biggest contributors to our sieve defense. Strangely enough, maybe you might remember that last year, most teams were held to about 20 or so points by the defense. It was the offense that couldn't score 3 lousy td's a game. OUR offense!!!! Perennial playoffs are nice, but Cincinnati managed that for years, too. Something stinks in Packer land.

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S.L.C.Cheesehead's picture

January 25, 2017 at 11:52 am

I respect Dom Capers, but his schemes are antiquated...Most Offenses know exactly what they're facing, and methodically take them apart... The proof is in the numbers; Capers has produced one top ten Defense since 2009.
More to the point, he's averaged in the bottom third on total D almost every other year-and despite what you've read to the contrary (Ask Vic)--Defenses-with few exceptions, still win championships.
I realize injuries happen, and TT should be more proactive, but an ineffective D has wasted six years of Rodger's career--that's criminal.
Give Rodgers a top 5 Defense, and this team is almost a lock to go to the Superbowl.
If your pro Capers, ask yourself honestly: if Belichick were GM, would DC have been in GB past the 2011 season?
In the NFL, like anything else, you adapt or fade away.

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Eveal1's picture

January 25, 2017 at 01:26 pm

Michelle,

I've read a number of your articles on Bleacher Report over the last couple of years. They are generally insightful and well written with facts to back your points. This one feels a little thin.
Explain how the Zone blitz scheme is "Antiquated", please.
In general, I think your article may have some merit, but it's not a schematic issue. I think issues start along the line, We continuously play that Big Nickel package rather than a Base 3-4, why? is the proliferation of passing offenses that are favored by the current NFL rules? YUP.
Does the Zone Blitz work in this High Octane offensive environment? You bet, if you have the personnel. Does Green Bay have that Personnel? I don't know that that is true.
We do have a Nose tackle that was pretty good, while he was at the position for the first 4 weeks of the season; Kenny Clark. But after Guion's return he didn't play there much. We have a ferocious DE in Mike Daniels, who can stop the run and Defend the pass. What about the other end? We've been playing with "Elephants" for 2 years. Those guys are undersized ends usually found in a 4-3 scheme, not the 3-4.
The Linebackers in the middle are very young, and prone to mistakes. The Outside Linebackers are often forced to cover up the mistakes of the youngsters.
We have two tremendous safeties, a tandem to be envied by many and replaced by few. They hold court in the backfield but they cover the errors of our young corners. Both of whom were injured throughout the season and showed signs of regression. That isn't an excuse, but it is a factor. Dom had to do a number of things schematically to cover up these issues and there were a number of times that the cover was blown. It takes 3 years to develop a corner, It's a complex job and there is typically regression in year 2. That jump from year 2 to year 3 needs to be encouraged, nurtured and allowed to happen organically. I guarantee Randall and Rollins will be much improved in 2017. In fact, if they are and we see a significant drop in Defensive QB rating due to their play, I can promise a Super Bowl, all other things being equal.
Everyone has to remember that yielding yards is fine, as long as it happens between the 20s. Bulk yardage is not an accurate measure of the effectiveness of a defense. What matters is keeping teams out of the end zone and getting turnovers. Win the turnover differential and you win the game approximately 70% of the time. If you have a quarterback that outplays the opposing quarterback (as evidenced by the Quarterback rating) then your team will win nearly 89% of the time. Dom knows this, he tracks these numbers and knows that a defense that can hold a quarterback down can win games.
In my humble opinion, THe secret to Green Bays success in 2010 was simplicity. Dom needs to clean out his playbook, and keep things simple. The Ryans have had historically bad defenses ever since the new CBA. Capers and LeBeau have struggled at times as well. It's no secret; the complex defenses are failing because the lack of time coordinators have to teach. Hiring a young buck might help, but the best thing for Capers would be to take a page from Wade Wilsons playbook and simplify. The Broncos were outstanding because they did a few things insanely well. Green Bay has enough of the right people to have that kind of defense...if they simplify.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

January 25, 2017 at 02:56 pm

We should keep Dom Capers ! Why? These players are all no good...none of them.
1. Morgan Burnett 2. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix 3. Mike Daniels 4. Nick Perry 5. Julius Peppers 6. Clay Matthews 7. Kenny Clark 8. Blake Martinez 9. Demaryius Randall 10 Micah Hyde 11. Quentin Rollins 12. Ladarius Gunter

Now I want you to honestly and truly look at some of these names and how they played and how long they have been in the nfl and judge them correctly and you let me know if they should be giving up 30-40 points per game? Because, I just don't see it...I just don't...

The fact of the matter is that Dom Capers 3-4

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

January 25, 2017 at 03:14 pm

We should keep Dom Capers ! Why? These players are all no good...none of them.
1. Morgan Burnett 2. Ha-Ha Clinton Dix 3. Mike Daniels 4. Nick Perry 5. Julius Peppers 6. Clay Matthews 7. Kenny Clark 8. Blake Martinez 9. Demaryius Randall 10 Micah Hyde 11. Quentin Rollins 12. Ladarius Gunter

Now I want you to honestly and truly look at some of these names and how they played and how long they have been in the nfl and judge them correctly and you let me know if they should be giving up 30-40 points per game? Because, I just don't see it...I just don't...

The fact of the matter is that Dom Capers 3-4 is awful and none of the players believe in it anymore. He may be a defensive genius , but he is the only one who understands it. Listen a good defensive coach does not need great players to make the defensive coach look great or make is 3-4 defense look great. But, it is a great defensive coach that can get the best and most out of their players no matter what defensive scheme they are running. Dom Capers scheme of football is predicated on having great, fantastic , talented players. LIsten folks, that will never , ever , ever happen and not in this day and age when every year you get the the 28th pick in the draft and you don't go after free agents. Be realistic !Even if you could there are salary caps. You have to get a defensive coordinator that can put the talents and physical/mental capabilities of these players together with some creative defense that is not so technical that the players don't understand it. Coaching starts with tying there shoes, wearing the right cleats, putting on your uniform, confidence and mental preparation and toughness, communication between players and technique- Move one foot up..move one foot back..move one foot over to the left or right can make or break a defensive play.
How many times have you see bad communication on the Packers defense. Listen folks it is time for a defensive coaching change now. The Packers defense gave up 44 freaking points and only stopped Atlanta 2x and that was not even a 3 and out. Dom Capers may be defensive genius , but he has to go !! Please McCarthy I am begging you. He should have been gone 6 years ago !!!!!!!!!! The falcons offensive coordinator who is ONLY 30 years old made a completed FOOL of Dom Capers who has over 30+ years of coaching experience !!! And, the Atlanta Falcons coach is only in his 2nd year and they are Super Bowl bound ready to win it all. Get rid of Dom Capers NOW !!!!!!!

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Lphill's picture

January 25, 2017 at 04:41 pm

I think Rex Ryan would be a good DC for the Packers he is a players coach he is more in tune with today's needs on defense , may not ever happen but I think it would be a upgrade. As far as Kenny Clark I think he did good being thrust into a pretty much full time role I think he is going to be a force , I think he is around 21 and he held his own against veteran O lines .

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blue eyes's picture

January 25, 2017 at 04:47 pm

There needs to be a new DC or GM in Green.Bay. Capers plus Teds drafting equals a historically bad defense. One of them has to go. How many times do we have to watch other teams with horrible defenses rebound and get better than the Packer's d?
Da Bears d is going to pass up the Packer's d this coming season or the next if they don't do something this offseason. Yes i truly believe that write it down. We are the Colts with Manning, ten plus wins during the season and lucky as hell to get one playoff win.
Maybe they should release Rodgers so he can try to get another ring before it's to late.

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Bert's picture

January 25, 2017 at 07:39 pm

I'm pretty much neutral on Capers. I don't think he's the best DC nor the worst. We had some key injuries and had very little depth to cover for the losses. At the end I don't think any DC would've been able to patch up a respectable defense to compete against Atlanta given their firepower. Wouldn't be a bad plan to get someone with new ideas and energy for the defense though. I doubt if it happens so I'm resigned to Capers again in 2017.

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Point-Packer's picture

January 25, 2017 at 09:13 pm

Dom Capers may be the last American to wear ear muffs.

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Bert's picture

January 26, 2017 at 09:25 am

Very true. Pretty dorky.

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sunshinepacker's picture

January 26, 2017 at 10:04 am

So, I'm slightly confused. Ladarius Gunter is as fast as Joe Thomas (i.e., not fast enough to be a starting corner) so what scheme would have made him faster? What simplified scheme would have given Marwin Evans the experience to be worthy of playing on an NFL field (maybe someday, but too young now).

Capers scheme JUST LAST SEASON resulted in a good defense, his defense is the only reason the Packers even made the playoffs last season!

Also, the round a guy is picked in doesn't mean anything when they get on the field. First round picks aren't given a head start on plays. Thompson hasn't drafted a defensive guy worth a first round pick since Matthews (HaHa might be trending that way but he's not there yet).

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rdent's picture

January 26, 2017 at 04:15 pm

At this point none of this matters, Tom Clements is moving on since his contract expired and MM said no other changes are going to be made,so we are going to see At least another season of defensive ineptitude. I can't f*cking believe it, MM PRAISED Capers in a press release today, already ruined my enthusiasm for next season, again another season of watching a defensive meltdown in the playoffs, if they make there! Again, little to nothing ever changes at 1265 Lombardi Ave. I am disappointed. And Michelle, where did you find that photo of Capers out in the weather with snow on his coat and not in his cozy little booth?

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stockholder's picture

January 26, 2017 at 07:29 pm

MM didn't make coach of the year. Must be because of Capers. MM didn't make the super- bowl. Must be because of Capers. MM didn't have any rookies make the all - rookie team. Must be because of Capers. MM can't make any decisions until after the super-bowl. Must be because of Capers. GONE!

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rdent's picture

January 27, 2017 at 01:00 pm

Seriously did anyone really expect any changes this off-season, I was hoping but should have never entertained the thought,it only leads to disappointment.

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Packatron's picture

January 27, 2017 at 01:35 pm

Suggesting Rex Ryan as D coordinator when he's flamed out everywhere he's been is laughable:

Averages: 22nd place finish overall, 21st in opposing passer rating and 19th in sacks

http://buffalonews.com/2016/01/11/249039/

Bad take.

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