Packers Defense Does Not Measure Up to Its Talent

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time

lombardi_quoteBefore school started this year, I ordered three motivational tin posters for my music classroom. One of these posters features Babe Ruth, while the other two feature none other than Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach. Each one is a black and white photo prominently displaying an inspirational quote, and I often reference them when my students need some guidance.

After the past few weeks, with the struggles of a Packers team sans Aaron Rodgers, I have been unable to get one of those quotations out of my mind:

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” –Vince Lombardi

I selected this particular poster, because it suggests that measuring ourselves against others is a fool’s errand. As I have often said, there will always be people out there better than us at something, and there will always be people who are worse than us. We should be looking at success as a measure of what we’ve been able to accomplish from where we’ve started.

How does this apply to the Packers’ current situation? Like many other fans, in my frustration with this injury-riddled season, my contempt for the defense and its failures has grown. Every year since the abysmal 2011 season – and a defense that, on average, gave up over 400 yards per game – I’ve been praying that Dom Capers would turn it around.

“Just get some good players in the draft, and we’ll be set,” I told myself. “Then we can get back to the 2010 defense that allowed the second fewest points per game in the league.”

Of course, this year, I started the season with a different tune. “Just get some key players healthy, and this defense will be unmovable.” Names like Casey Hayward, Morgan Burnett, and eventually Clay Matthews and Nick Perry kept popping up in this conversation. Green Bay just needed to get over the injury bug. That’s all.

It hasn’t gotten better, though. And average quarterbacks are making the pass defense look downright silly.

Unlike some fans, I’m not going to point my finger at Ted Thompson. I believe that he is good at acquiring talent for this team. Guys like Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Eddie Lacey were unbelievable draft picks. Then consider players like David Bakhtiari, Morgan Burnett, and Josh Sitton, who have been some solid acquisitions in the middle rounds. And don’t forget the undrafted diamonds like Sam Shields and DuJuan Harris that Thompson has unearthed.

With a defensive roster like the Packers boast, I refuse to believe the problem is a lack of talent. There are too many good players who have done great things for this unit to be as bad as it is. Green Bay has a deep cornerbacks corps, a solid set of defensive linemen, and some linebackers who can get to the quarterback and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

The problem as I see it, then, is that the Packers are not doing enough with what they have. Or, more to the point, defensive coordinator Capers is not doing enough.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think this is necessarily a schematic problem. An anonymous poster over at CheeseheadTV who goes by the pseudonym “Paul Ott Carruth” wrote an interesting article on this issue. In “X’s and 0’s: Capers? Or the Players?,” Carruth examines a few plays from the Packers’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. His overall point is that players need to be responsible for their execution of the plays. (I would suggest reading the entire article, by the way.) In other words, we can’t just blame failures on the coordinator’s play call selections.

That said, we are seeing many of the same mistakes over and over again. Bad tackling. Poor zone technique. An inability to secure turnovers. Letting receivers get behind the coverage.

It is at this level that I point my finger at Dom Capers. And to be honest, this is a change of heart for me. I’ve been a Capers apologist, because he showed us a dominating defense in 2010. The next two years, I would convince myself, were merely flukes. There were other factors at work.

Well, these flukes have now become a trend. For some reason, Dom Capers is not able to make the most out of his available players and their talent. Is it because of how he runs practice? Is it because he’s a cerebral rather than an emotional leader? Is it because he’s timid? Is it because he doesn’t know what to do without Charles Woodson and/or Nick Collins? Have other teams figured him out?

Those are the harder questions to answer.

The point remains, though, that if we are measuring the Packers defense based on what they have, then they’re not passing the test. They are not playing up to their potential. At this point, it falls on the coaching. I don’t advocate a midseason change at defensive coordinator; however, I do think it’s time for Green Bay to bid farewell to Dom Capers in the offseason.

It’s time to look for a coach with a fresh approach, one who can get the players to rise up to levels we know they can achieve. It’s time to look for a coach who can do more with all the talent the Packers have provided him.

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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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  • NYPACKER

    I’ve questioned this for awhile now. Capers’ tenure have been marked by a reacurring trend…his defenses peak (top 10 within his first 1-3 years), but then tail off afterwords. My take is that he is a cerebral coach, but not a strong motivator or emotional leader. The players do not appear to fear for their jobs….or the system is too complex for them to intellectually grasp.

    • Savage57

      Going to get in my way-back machine and ask an ‘old school’ question as to how Packer fans deal with coaching issues.

      Does Capers have a dog?

  • John

    For the most part, Packer fans have bought into the Ted Thompson mystery. There is a dearth of talent, yet he gets credit for being a great roster builder. The defensive line is good against the run, thanks to the addition of Jolly. They are very poor at consistently harassing the QB. The linebackers are poor against the run, very poor at covering running backs and tight ends and poor at consistently harassing the QB, obviously, Matthews is excellent. The “deep cornerback” pool finds it very hard to cover any receiver, running back or tight end. The separation achieved by receivers is usually 5 to 10 yards. These same cornerbacks give up too many deep balls and commit too many penalties. Where is the greatness!!! As for safety play, it is very ugly. Burnett is paid on promise, not production. His play has been below average. The other safeties are worse. So I ask you again, where is the talent. The same can be asked on offense, except of course for Rogers.

    • Robert Patreus

      John, As Bill Clinton used to opine, “I feel your pain.” You are correct…Burnett is way overpaid. He is no Nick Collins. Where are the picks? Where are the big hits? He is below average. As far as our great DB’s…how many picks do we have this year? Tramon Williams is a bum….and he’s supposed to be the ‘leader’ of our DB’s? He is the leader in only one area: pay.

    • Chad Toporski

      I disagree with there not being talent, but I can’t really argue with you. This is one of those issues that has no clear answer, because we don’t have all the information. Coaches vs. players is always going to be that way.

      The most that I can say is that there’s a good amount of carryover personnel-wise from the Super Bowl defense. Can you tell me that the defensive line from 2010 was significantly better than this year’s? Heck, they won the trophy with Howard Green from off the street. And they also won with Clay Matthews and Walden/Zombo as the OLBs.

      Do Charles Woodson and Nick Collins make that much of a difference? Perhaps. But the SS was also Charlie Peprah. And Williams/Shields showed some of their greatest potential that year.

      Like I said, it’s a hard argument to make, because we can’t really quantify the ability level or potential of players. But in my opinion, we have enough talent to be performing better on defense. Even if it’s just being in the top half of the league rather than the bottom half.

      • John

        I agree with and like your comments Chad. The real problem with our defense, as well our offense, is a missing Rogers. The Packers have less than average overall talent, but they also have a top 3 QB. He makes everybody look better and gives the Pack a chance to win a Super Bowl. Rogers effects the the Packers defense because he usually gives us a multiple score lead and makes the opponent offense one dimensional, thus giving the Packer defense an advantage, thus making them better. Our personnel should be better. Thompson had had the opportunities to improve it, especially at weak positions such as safety.

    • Archie

      I don’t see any other way to evaluate the situation the Pack is in. It’s all about backing into the playoffs in 2010 and AROD/STARKS getting hot as a pistol at just the right time. Also, it helped being on teh rosd that year because Pack is better built for dome shoot-outs than Lambeau. They are also better built for 4-3 than 3-4. if you ask me, TT is clueless at building a defense. He was just as bad in SEA. SEA reached the SB AFTER TT left and by reversing TT’s policy re: FAs. The first year TT was gone, they rebuilt their entire defense and went to SB. I see same problem in GB.

      • JimR_in_DC

        Interesting comment, Archie. I hadn’t considered that about TT. However, I still think it’s more likely a Dom Capers issue. His track record at his previous coaching stints is consistent with what we’re seeing in Green Bay. Just my 2 cents.

  • JH9

    Chad, I agree with your analysis and conclusion. Yes, we’ve had many injuries but every team in the NFL has to deal with injuries. We had injuries before AR was hurt and we still won four games in a row. However, once AR was injured the defense has shown an inability to step-up their play and limit the scoring of opposing offenses. They have played like an average defense.

    Maybe that’s all they are–an average defense, and TT has drafted one mistake after another. But I would argue that a great coach can make players play above their level. As you referenced in your piece, that’s what Lombardi did.It might be unfair to compare any football coach to Lombardi, but look how Rob Ryan has turned around the defense of the New Orleans Saints.

    After seeing what has transpired in these last three games, I think we have only two choices to make. Either we make massive changes in our defensive personnel, or we change coaches. The first option would take us years to implement, while the second option could happen quickly. I think TT and MM are smart enough to know which option makes the most sense and I think we will see a coaching change after this season.

    • Archie

      Or BOTH. But I’d guess you are right, TT/MM will can Capers, making him the fall guy for the mess they created.

  • Tarynfor12

    Lombardi was able to get players to reach their potential. Yes he did, but perhaps it was because he saw the level of potential each actually had inside them.

    Why are so many convinced that these players have such a high/higher level of potential that is being witnessed?

    Potential for some seems to get expanded with every win and excuses and finger pointing elsewhere when they lose.

    Potential is something that needs to be apparent even more so when in a losing situation…and this all too often is proof of the level of potential at its max.

  • Razer

    I too have been a Dom Capers apologist. Injuries, talent, depth, youth have all been used to deflect inconsistency and poor results. While all those do contribute to the end product, I agree that there are some fundamental missing elements. Like special teams, defense is truly a team effort and our parts don’t seem to mesh. When you play so much of the game in the soft coverages and drop all these people to guard against the pass and deep throws, you would expect better results. Why is this not working and then, why are we still doing it?

    As much as I wonder about Dom, I look to the head coach to ensure that this facet of the team is moving forward. As the play caller and offensive “mastermind” of this team, who is taking care of the bigger picture. The head coach needs to address the failings of the defense but can he. Three years of mixed and sub par results is handicapping this team. Somebody needs to pay more attention and influence the direction of the defense. Dom either needs help or a push.

    • Robert Patreus

      Scoring 13 points a game against two below average defenses, shows the Packers problem is offense more than defense. They will get beat again at home vs. the weak Vikings. Right now, they are the worst team in the league. After they lose at home, to the pathetic Vikings, the only people who will disagree, are those who also believe Pres. Obama is honest and the ‘Affordable Care Act’ is a good thing for all Americans…

      • Chad Toporski

        I would agree… but what about those games against San Francisco and Cincinnati this year? We had Aaron Rodgers and a high-scoring offense, yet the defense performed miserably.

        Also, please leave politics out of this. Nobody really cares what anyone else thinks about the government, except to argue.

      • Razer

        Lose to the pathetic Vikings is not going to happen. Have a little faith. The team and its fans need to push harder in the face of adversity – not give up and cry.

        • Big T

          Razer, its not about giving up and crying… have you watched the last 3 games.
          Chad, it was actually a good analogy, but you are correct it is political.

        • John Willard

          Having watched the past three games, the Vikings will defeat us, and rather easily, in Green Bay this weekend. Right now, we are like a ship without a rudder…My other thought, to disagree with Chad, is we are talking about now, not 7-9 games ago…Now…The Green Bay offense is way too predictable and inept in the Red Zone. Without Rodgers, we are at the bottom of the league…
          The defense is average, but, not giving up over 27 points a game. Tramon Williams actually got an interception! How many is that in the past year-and-a-half?…He is way overpaid! Good luck keeping this over-the-hill DB next year.

      • John Willard

        Robert, you are on the money. Without Rodgers the Offense is pitiful. Points scored against two mediocre defenses such as the Eagles and Giants, as well as the depleted Bears, is pitiful…
        Someone mentioned this right after Rodgers was injured…Without Rodgers playing, we will lose every game. At this time, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Oakland, would kick our butts. Two more losses and this season is a write-off…

    • Archie

      Bottom-line, no defense plays poorly for four years unless there is something seriously wrong. Only two possibilities: DC or TT. I believe the answer to be both but more TT than DC. GB’s defense plays its worse when in conservative mode yet DC has a penchant for leaning that way heavily. Ditto the offense and MM, especially sans AROD.

  • mark

    I just looked it up. The Ravens did replace their offensive coordinator in the middle of last year. The Packers ought to do this with their defensive coordinator. Obviously, things aren’t working. Except for 2010 the defense has struggled. Lets try something different. Maybe the season can be salvaged yet like the Ravens’ season was last year.

  • Since ’61

    There are 3 essential problems with the Packers defense. The first is poor tackling. This keeps the defense on the field by allowing extra yards after contact, resulting in 1st downs on 3rd down plays and allowing 2nd down plays to become make able 3rd down plays. That is on the players, not the coaches or the scheme. If they put a helmut on the ball carrier they need to wrap up and finish the tackle. 2. Lack of pressure on the QB. The Packers have a decent number of sacks, but about 2/3’s are coverage sacks. They also have very few hurries or knock downs. This results in even average QBs becoming comfortable and looking like Johnny U. against the Packers and prevents the Packers from forcing turnovers. Is it schemes or players, I think it’s some of both, but ultimately players have to execute and win their one on one battles. 3. To me this defense lacks a clear leader like the offense has Rodgers. I am not sure that CM3 is that leader, like Woodson, or Collins, or Reggie White or Ray Nitschke were leaders of the defense. Maybe CM3 will continue to evolve into that role but to me he is not there yet. Thanks, Since ’61

    • Chad Toporski

      “Is it schemes or players, I think it’s some of both, but ultimately players have to execute and win their one on one battles.”

      But therein lies my point… If these players are not winning their one-on-one battles, then whose job is it to coach them up on their technique?

      • Tarynfor12

        ” If these players are not winning their one-on-one battles, then whose job is it to coach them up on their technique?”

        Looking at this from a boxing point of view. The trainer can teach you to master the speed bag, the heavy bag, footwork, breathing, counter punching etc, etc…..however, it doesn’t guarantee success against the opponent who is training and learning the same things.

        Heart and desire come into play hugely, and when you watch other games and players, the speed and will they explode/impose onto their opponents is at times scary and for the most part, the Packers have no such players and coaching them up until eternity will not infuse into them what isn’t there.

        Technique will only get you so far….thirst and hunger gets you over the top….I see neither in our guys.

        • Chad Toporski

          Agreed. There are definitely more factors involved. The hard part is figuring out which factor is the biggest root cause.

          • PA PackerBacker

            Players getting paid too much and playing when they should be sitting!

          • Since ’61

            This is why I brought up the point about leadership. This defense does not have a player who can take over a game, the way a Reggie White did by stopping the run completely to his side plus getting consistent pressure on the QB. No one like Woodson who made a big pick or sack at a critical time or a Nitschke who just dominated the game with plays all over the field. Coaching helps and directs but does not go out and play and dominate. We have some talent but they are not getting the job done. Someone needs to lead on the field. On the offense, Rodgers dominates the game when he is healthy. We have no equivalent in the defense. Thanks, Since ’61

      • Archie

        People seem oblivious to your point. The problem has nothing to do with scheme. It has to do with knowing your role on each play and execution. These players have failed that test. Is that because they are receiving poor coaching or because they lack the talent and mental wherewithal to do their job? I’d have to conclude the latter but I think this coaching staff is partly to blame because the defense rarely plays the game fired up.

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Chad it was the exact same defense in 2011 as it was in 2010, until the Carolina game in week two. They had still given tons of yards up in 2011 but Collins was gone replaced with Peparah. Woodson was suddenly old and Jenkins, who made Raji 100 times better was gone. They banked on a bust of a second round pick in Neal, who by the way was said to be a 5 th round talent at best. They also banked on Burnett which was nuts considering he hadn’t played but a few games his rookie year. Murphy is a smart man, at least I hope he is. It’s not all Capers fault though his 30 year career suggests it is. Williams got paid and has been no where near his 2010 self. Yes he hurt his shoulder and maybe was only his best with Woodson. House has shown flashes but is part of Teds 2011 class, that spells doom for him. Murphy and anyone else willing to look at this rationally instead of as a passionate Packers fan will see Ted hasn’t restocked the shelves. I eat, drink, and sleep the Packers. But when players can’t cover, block, tackle, orh rise to the occasion when their franchise goes down, you have bigger issues than a scheme.

  • http://www.aol.com mark

    I agree the defensive talent is there. We have been a little weak at D Line however. Dom Capers just has not gotten the def up to championship level.
    The backup QB question has me baffled. Tolzien will be good in a couple more weeks. Why didn’t we bring him in in the pre season or another good back up. Why wait until Rogers is injured and Tolzien is coming in off the street to save the season? Poor planning by McCarthy or Thompson! Wallace was never the answer.

    • Razer

      Tolzien was waived by the 49ers on August 26, 2013. Until then, he was someone else’s property.

    • PA PackerBacker

      How can you two ppl not agree with this?

    • Palmda

      Sorry to say I disagree, the defensive talent is not there. A good defensive player has the ability to react and anticipate the movement of the ball. Watch the badgers Borland, he is always in the play and near the ball. The packers have no stars on defense. Mathews had one move, rush the qb but has lost a few steps in the last two years. You can’t teach or coach players to have as they say “a nose for the ball”, all the great ones do. This is a team of average at best to sub standard players and their achievements show it. Even with Mr. Superman, Rodgers they have had to come up with large scoring games and either chase the score or try to keep from loosing by giving up big plays. Because the division was so poor they have managed to keep in the playoffs the last two years but Detroit and Chicago have greatly improved there games. They will need to not make the playoffs this year and next before the fans will drive the current loosing staff out of town. It is coming but slowly as Green Bay is a very conservative town. If you want to change you have to first admit you have a problem.

  • Slim11

    When I read this and see the poster of Lombardi with his quote, I think of the David Maransis (sp?)book, “When Pride Mattered.”

    Does pride matter with this team anymore? At the beginning of the 2013 season, I sensed an attitude that I don’t see now.

    There is talent on this team. Some of it is injured right now, but it’s there.

    Since 61 also cited a lack of leadership on the defense’s side. During the 2010 season, I recall the team holding a players’ only meeting to set things straight on their own. That time seems to be here now.

  • Outis

    Back on Nov. 7th, Chad posted an article in which he berated those “axe-grinding fans” who “came back out of the woodwork” to criticize Ted Thompson for the Packers deteriorating performance. Then, Chad blamed “injuries.” Today, Chad takes out his own blunt axe to chop off the legs of Dom Capers, whom he now blames and recommends replacing at the end of the season. In one way, Chad has gotten closer to the truth. Someone in management should be held accountable. Chad won’t “point my finger” at TT, though, because he continues to “refuse to believe the problem is a lack of talent.” Therein lies the rub. The problem is a lack of talent. Chad just doesn’t see it. I, too, am an optimist by nature but I am no Mary Poppins wearing rose-colored glasses. Take them off and the lack of talent is glaring in the absence of the best QB in the NFL, and it is not just on the defensive side of the ball. Scapegoating Capers but not replacing him immediately only buys more time for TT. Another year without a fundamental change at the top is another year of wasting the talents of Aaron Rodgers.

    • Chad Toporski

      So you think we should keep Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, then?

      • Outis

        No, I didn’t write that Capers should be retained. What gave you that idea? Keeping or not keeping Capers or any of the other coaches, ideally, should be up to a new GM. Replacing the DC immediately, though, rather than waiting to see the results of an end-of-season change next year, would more clearly reveal that the problems are deeper, not just with the defense, and that it is the GM who should be replaced.

        • Chad Toporski

          Just looking for clarity, since your were vague about it in your comment. Although, for some reason, you still refuse to give your own opinion and answer a simple question.

          That’s your prerogative, but don’t hide behind some silly excuse that it’s “up to the GM” so therefore you shouldn’t provide your own opinion. By that logic, you should leave the decision to fire Ted Thompson up to Mark Murphy.

          • Outis

            Chad, my original comment about your article was clear, not vague. You deliberately misread it as a means of “trolling” a response from me. Well, you succeeded. I hope that you are happy. In future conversations, please don’t be so snotty and disingenuous.

            • Chad Toporski

              “Snotty and disingenuous”? This coming from the guy who trolls my articles simply because he got into a little spat with me earlier? You are casting stones without any regard for your own vices. Discuss things like a civil person, and perhaps you would be treated as such. But up until now, I’ve seen mostly childish remarks and comments from you.

              • Outis

                I suppose that you were being “civil” by writing “don’t hide behind some silly excuse,” and “. . . you still refuse to give your own opinion and answer a simple question.”

                Clearly, you intentionally misread my original comment, which wasn’t made to you directly but to other readers of your post, to provoke a response and to make a mean-spirited reply. Again, congratulations! You succeeded.

              • Chad Toporski

                You mention my name 6 times in a comment on my own post, and you expected me not to respond? And then there’s this wonderful string of suggestive writing:

                “The problem is a lack of talent. Chad just doesn’t see it. I, too, am an optimist by nature but I am no Mary Poppins wearing rose-colored glasses. Take them off and the lack of talent is glaring in the absence of the best QB in the NFL, and it is not just on the defensive side of the ball.”

                Did I respond with harsh words despite your demeaning post? No. I simply asked you a question, because I wasn’t clear on whether you actually agreed with my call to change defensive coordinators… since really, that IS what this post is about.

                All you had to do was respond with a “Yes, I think Capers should be let go” or a “No, I think the Packers should keep Capers around.” Instead, you reply: “No, I didn’t write that Capers should be retained. What gave you that idea?”

                If you can’t treat others with respect, then don’t expect any to come your way.

            • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

              Namecalling and being a general unpleasant dude? Congrats Outis – You’ve just landed yourself on my personal “Never Read His Comments List” along with a few dudes from CHTV.

              I guarantee you I’m not alone in this. Don’t be a jerk.

              • Batavia Greg

                Sorry, Bearmeat, although I generally value your opinion, on this one I disagree with you. From my viewpoint, it does appear that Chad is the one who baited Outis into making a reply so he could make some insultingly catty and condescending remarks. IMHO, I think that Chad should apologize to Outis and to us, his readers, for letting this discussion get outside the boundaries of polite discussion.

              • Chad Toporski

                I’m sure that sharing an IP address with Outis has absolutely nothing to do with your support of him, right Batavia?

              • Oppy

                Chad…
                That was awesome.

      • Big T

        I think he believes we should go to the top and start firing… crap runs downhill

        • Chad Toporski

          So why not start with Mark Murphy?

    • John

      Exactly, exactly, exactly!!!

    • Archie

      I’m with you Outis but TT is going nowhere under Mark Murphy. TT won a Super Bowl. That buys him at least 10 more years in GB. Unfortunately, 2010 was like catching lightning in a bottle. AROD and Starks played perfect football and ditto Woodson, Collins and Tramon Williams. Jennings and Jordy were top notch as well. CMIII had a great rookie year too and made the game clinching play in the SB when he caused the fumble by Mendenhall. Williams made a very good play to end the game. The only two players left from those named above and still contributing at a high level are AROD and CMIII. We have added a few good contributors in recent years e.g., Cobb, Lacy, Datone Jones and Mike Daniels but that is not enough to make up for the talent that has left. There is no doubt the talent on our defense has gone backwards. TT has got to draft us some defensive studs. The lower we fall this year the higher our draft picks will be in the spring. Maybe TT will get us real OLB to complement CMIII and a real S and a complement for Datone Jones on the DL and some big CBs like SEA has. That could take 2-3 more years even if TT picks the right guys. We can’t complain too much with TT’s drafting on the offensive side of the ball but except for CMIII it has been dismal and abysmal on the defensive side. We are seeing the results on the field. MM is right about one thing: It is not DC’s fault that our defense stinks. It is our GM’s fault. Unfortunately, TT feels no urgency to address this or any other personnel issue. According to him, he likes all his guys.

  • SchenySchen

    I am not a Dom Capers apologist but I am a Vic Ketchman apologist. Here is his response to a poster who asked “should we dump the coaches?” -No, I don’t think it’s time to do that, Justin. At the risk of being accused of toeing the company line – you accept that criticism when you take this job – I think this is a very good coaching staff that has amazed me with its ability to teach the game of football. Allow me, please, to paint a picture for you: Aaron Rodgers is out. Randall Cobb is out. Jermichael Finley is out. Casey Hayward has been out nearly all year. Bryan Bulaga has never been in. Rodgers’ backup is out. Sam Shields is out. Nick Perry is out. Don Barclay is out. Clay Matthews is just back. Did I miss anyone? We’re talking about star players missing long stretches of the season. I know of no coaching staff that could endure this kind of attrition. That next-man-up stuff sounds nice, but that’s coachspeak and I’m a reporter/marketing copywriter, and I deal in plain talk. Add up the cap hits those players represent, and then subtract that from the team’s cap and ask yourself if it would be your expectation that the team should win playing with that kind of cap disadvantage. Packers fans have wonderful energy and enthusiasm, but I would prescribe a dose of reality right now.– In other words, fluctuating roster issues have plagued this team all season. No coach can make up for game after game of lost talent. Not only for that game but cohesiveness is lost over the course of the season. I disagree that every team has to deal with inuries, not every team has had even a sniff of the number of starters the Packers have lost over the course of the season. When two of them are top 5 players in the league on offense and defense, its going to create issues. GoPack!

    • JimR_in_DC

      At different times this season, many of those players were “in,” and yet, the defense was not good.

      The large number of injuries, seemingly year after year, is another problem that the team is failing to address. Either TT has been drafting fragile players (I doubt it), or the Packers have perennial worse “luck” with injuries (unlikely, IMO), or the strength & conditioning is sub-par (more likely).

    • Chad Toporski

      This is true, and injuries are another factor to consider, but this problem has been brewing since 2011, not the beginning of this season.

      • JimR_in_DC

        How long have we had the same strength & conditioning staff? IMO, Capers Slocum, Campen, and the strength & conditioning staff are sub-par. And MM, on many game days, is borderline. Of course, I could be full of …. :)

  • SchenySchen

    We were a top ten scoring defense earlier in the year?

  • http://realtyt.com pack1best

    This deffense lacks tuffness leader ship play makers. Every down hustle players that show a edge nasty ness to them.

  • Turophile

    The blame seems to fall on TT, MM, Capers or the players.

    I think the position coaches are getting too much of a free pass. Surely Darren Perry and Joe Whitt should be shouldering a significant portion of the backfields failures to cover, tackle and intercept as well as their talent suggests.

  • Tom

    Since A-Rod went out, our offense has had to many three and outs and to many turnovers. The defense is on the field to much and getting tired. Defense still needs to improve but this doesn’t help at all.

    • Razer

      Great point Tom. The offense needs to stay on the field longer. They also need to make the opposing offense play from behind and take chances. Until the offense does these things our defense is pulling uphill.

  • aj

    all of us are angry and worried about the team,and IMHO i think thats was the time for send a message to the entire roster..CUT DOM CAPERS..he is too passive and in this kind of situations as we are now..is necessary to turn to 180 degrees…we need someone in the team that shout that motivates that has the warm blood…DOM CAPERS HAS BEEN STEALING SINCE 2011…but he is not the only guilty…TT AND MM are complicit…
    we need a change in GB right now…i dont care if is now or in the end of season…
    when i see the OL of brady wow its a fu….FORT…when i see the OL of peyton is again the F$%&&%..FORT….
    we need a leadership and nobody in this team has the property to be that leader…all the league know us like the PACKERS FINESSE TEAM…im tired of that!
    we need a change in the philosophy in the mental aspect…look the niners of 3 years ago…there arent nothing…and came harbaugh and change the mentallity and that team is tough…imagine if our PACKERS has that kind of mentallity….men maybe we would be invincible…
    1.-FIRE DOM CAPERS
    2.-HIRE A OFFENSIVE COORD
    3.-FIRE AJ HAWK
    4.-INVESTIGATE THE MEDICAL COACHES STAFF
    5.-CHANGE OUR MENTALITY…

    when you have talent and only talent and only talent you got nothing…
    WE NEED HEART AND HUNGER AND FIRE DOM CAPERS

    • John

      Totally agree. Look what Schneider and Carroll built in a very short time in Seattle with judicious use of free agent money and good drafting.

      • Nopainnogain

        comparing apples and oranges. One organization is at the beginning of their window while all their young talent is cheap rookie/mid level contracts while the other has already had to pay for their studs. Let’s see how much Seattle can use free agency when they lose ~$30 million a year in cap space once it comes time to pay Wilson, Sherman, Bennett, & Thomas. Then we’ll see if they can sustain success while they lose players, coaches, & front office guys to other teams.

    • SchenySchen

      Fire AJ hawk?? He has been easily one of our most consistent players this year….I have had years I wish he could contribute more but he’s having his best season as a packer this year. GoPack!

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    I’m a big proponent of not overreacting in response to our current state, we have had an unbelievable run of bad luck & lost a ton of key talent. One thing that does worry me is the long term downward spiral of the defense despite a crew that is largely intact now and past efforts to replenish the players. I can’t help but think that something is wrong beyond lack of talent. How can AJ Hawk look so good for a few weeks and revert back to the old anemic hawk. What happened to Williams for the last year, now that he’s back at least for one game? They tackle like gangbusters after stinking for weeks. Where did the turnovers go? How can the middle of the field be so open play after play. Did the loss of Woodson and Hayward cause this? And to top off the mystery, they seemed better without Matthews, Hayward and perry. Mediocre qbs look like hall of famers against us lately. I don’t get it. There’s a problem that goes beyond talent on defense, It has to get fixed for them to get very far.

  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    Great article Chad. I am now also on the “fire Capers” bandwagon – for the first time.

  • http://jersyal.com tim

    If Dom could pull a fix like in 2010, I’m for him staying. I got my fingers crossed, but I’m loosing faith.

  • SDPackfan

    There is not a lack of talent at the safety position? Seriously?

    Don’t get me wrong, Capers has not maximized the D’s production and after the embarrassment of the 2011 season and last year’s playoff debacle he absolutely needs to go.

    But let’s not pretend that just because TT gave Burnett a huge new deal he is any good because at this point he is nothing more than average. And Jennings, Banjo, and McMillian are bottom feeders.

    It is going on 3 years since Collins played and everyone was clamoring for a safety last offseason and what does TT do? He overpays Burnett and refuses to acquire any new talent.

    I know there is a need to support TT at all costs amongst some but Capers cannot be held accountable for the crappy safety play, that is on TT.

  • http://allgbp.com Thegreatreynoldo

    There is talent, IMO, but it is too one-dimensional. “The defensive line is solid.” Raji, Jolly, Pickett, and Wilson are good run-stuffers w little pass rush. Opposing QBs see them, they pass, knowing they will have 3+ seconds or more. With that kind of time, a lot of QBs will look like Johnny Unitas. I like Daniels; improving against the run, and has a good motor/pass rush, so a lot of his sacks and pressures come when the coverage holds up for 3 seconds or longer. Love Datone. Need him to be a stud against the run and as a rusher. It is starting to come, but there wasn’t much production the first 6 games. Worthy had little production, which happens to rookie D-linemen. Boyd is inactive. Same issues LBs. CM is good all around, rest have some serious deficiencies. Hawk can’t cover. No ball hawking DBs w/o Hayward. Some can cover, some are decent against the run, not both. DBs seem confused too often and have lapses. Most players are good at some things and not so good at others. Packers seem to have guys who might be good at one thing but are positively bad at others.

  • jtmax

    Capers is problem is he tends to lapse into more prevent mode. Not having the D play aggressive enough kills us. Likes Nickel and dime with DB’s backing off giving too much space for receivers to run around. QB has all the time in the world.

    • Archie

      Agreed, that’s one of his many problems.

  • Archie

    Prediction: If Pack’s defense can not contain MN’s offense this week, there will be hell to pay in GB. DC and his staff will have to go even IF it is not their fault. Somnebody has to pay for how badly we suck and it can’t be TT because he’s the top guy. TT put every guy on the roster that plays defense for us. And he 100% supports the job DC is doing. So what does that leave? That TT is the problem. His defensive draft picks suck. Yes, Hayward was a good pick and Datone Jones may be a good pick and Mike Daniels has turned out to be a good pick. But all three of these guys don’t play in our base defense. And, three guys is way too little when the last two drafts have been heavily defense oriented (more 2011 than 2012). Stop bringing in HIPPOs who can’t pass rush and who can’t pursue. We need taller, faster and more athletic DL in the modern era of pass first football. Somehow, current braintrust believes the answer is stop the run first and to stop the run we need 3 HIPPOs on the DL. No, we need a pass rush and big fast DBs that can cover and hit.

  • Kurt the Turk

    Seconded.