Green Bay Packers Coach Dom Capers Seeing Red in 2010 All Green Bay Packers All the Time

In 2009, the Green Bay Packers finished 29th in Red Zone Scoring Defense, allowing their opponents to score 76% of the time. To make matters worse, the Packers allowed a touchdown 61% of the time their opponent made it inside their 20 yard line. That landed them 28th in the league. All of this, of course, has Dom Capers seeing “red.”

As quoted in a recent article by Mike Spofford on, Capers said, “…when people get down in the red zone — if they’re going to get there — you have to keep them kicking field goals rather than scoring touchdowns.”

Capers went on to vow that red zone defense would be a major emphasis for the team in the classroom and on the field during OTAs, mini-camp and most importantly, training camp. When the pads are on, Capers plans a lot of very spirited red zone drills against the Packers red zone offense, one of the best in the NFL last season.

And it’s just that performance by the red zone offense last season that can give us confidence that the red zone defense will be much better in 2010. Why is that, you ask? Because in 2009, Packers coach Mike McCarthy made the red zone offense a major point of emphasis in camp – and the improvement was noticeable.

I recall McCarthy talking about it several times in his press conferences leading up to the 2009 season. The extra work brought results, as in  2009, the Packers registered a score 87% (54 of 62) of the time they penetrated the opponent 20 yard line. They would still like to improve their TD percentage (60%), but that’s a different article.

Where were the problems with the red zone defense? Two words: Pass Defense. The Packers allowed a total of only 5 rushing TDs in 2009 (all in the red zone), but allowed 23 red zone passing touchdowns.

“You have to play differently down there,” Capers said. “The field is shrunk, the ball is out much faster, things happen a lot quicker, and you can’t have any hesitation. You have to respond very quickly down there.”

And you saw it happen repeatedly, especially in the second half of the season, with the Packers secondary injuries forcing them to put some inexperienced players out on the field. Just a moment of indecision or confusion (reference Arizona playoff game) can lead to easy touchdowns, and it did.

Now, 2010 brings the Packers a secondary back at near full strength (Al Harris is still a question), and a major emphasis being placed on red zone D in training camp. With these two factors in play, I believe Packer fans can expect to see significant red zone defense improvement in 2010. In fact, I think they should demand it.


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


30 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers Coach Dom Capers Seeing Red in 2010

  1. Now that the team has a year of 3-4 under their belt and Dom has more confidence in their ability to be more assignment-sure, I think he’ll feel more free to throw more at opposing offenses in the red zone. He won’t have to be as conservative.

    1. Unlike a lot of people, I fully support the job Capers did last year. When he appeared to be getting “conservative”, he was just picking the lesser of evils. With all the injuries in the secondary and no pass rush outside of CM3, his best option was to throw as many DBs out there as he could. Unfortunately, Kurt Warner was still able to do what he wanted. That wasn’t Capers’ fault.

      I think with a healthy and improved secondary (return of Harris, Lee, Blackmon and addition of Burnett), he will certainly have more options this year. If he can get the players all on the same page, then it should be successful.

  2. That was indeed a big issue of our D. And when you count in the consistant shitty positions our D was forced to play into, you understand why we were #2 in yards but #7 in points…

    I still think our most pressing issue is playing against spread, quick offenses, though. That should be the main focus.

    1. That field position issue is why I constantly am ranting about our punting situation. And so many people try to tell me it’s not that important – any old punter will do.

  3. Problem identified – plan to fix it underway – Good! Soem changes on the Dline – no change at LB – no change at CB – Slight change at S. I guess it’s an educational issue?

    1. Ron, I’m not used to you complaining unless it’s about the OL. Does that mean you’re satisfied now with Bulaga and Newhouse?

      1. Al, Surely you know me better than that. It’s just interesting that only after the Draft did bring up the issue of Red Zone D.

        I assure you that my observations on the Oline have not yet been changed. Why did Bulaga drop so fast in round 1? At # 5 will Newhouse be a Josh Sitton or an Allan Barbre? I have hope in my heart for the line, but doubt in my brain. And at my age it’s hard to predict which one will fail first.

    2. The games that the pack gave up big yards (pit & ariz) had three cb’s on I.R. Th pack are adding New talent just by virtue of health alone.

      1. But what guarantees that injury prone Blackmon and Lee and an old Harris will be able to play well???

        That’s the question…

  4. Nice article. It is nice to know that we should be able to see some big results by tweeking the defense in the second year implementation. It is still may, but I find myself excited about a season more than I habe been in a long time.

  5. Hey Al, this is just a tad off-subject, but did you ever hear exactly what Pat Lee’s knee injury was? I seem to recall it being reported towards the end of the season that he really didn’t need to be put on IR and that he might have been available around week 10 had they not gone that route. Nowadays I’m seeing where he had a “serious knee injury” that is assumed by some to be a torn ligament. Anybody that can provide a link to a credible report of exactly what his injury was, I would appreciate it.

    1. We’ll you’re right, I google searched for 20 minutes and couldn’t find anything more detailed than “knee injury.” But, I asked Bill Huber, editor of Packer Report, and he says it was a hyperextension only.


  6. So in today’s pass-happy, pass-first, pass-centric NFL, my team put a corner on IR in the preseason because of a hyperextension? Knowing that, I feel better about Lee’s healthy return, but I’d like to slap whoever made that final decision. Thanks for researching that, Al.

    Back to the topic at hand, I wasn’t aware our Red Zone D was so bad. I gotta think this will be one of those things that gets better in year 2 of the system. I get the feeling that last year was all about sticking to the plan of “34 Defense: Year One.” I hope I’m right about that, and I hope they open it up more in 2010.

    1. Not that Lee had any real NFL experience, so who knows if he would have made a difference…

      Yeah, those numbers really hit you in the face. I’m hopeful that with more pieces, Capers will be able to make more moves.

  7. Well done, Al. I’m excited to see what the young guys -Pat Lee, Brandon Underwood, Morgan Burnett- can bring to the secondary. With those new pieces in place and another offseason to learn the defense, the Packers should be much improved.

    Now we just have to make sure we have a consistent pass rush. 😉

    1. You’re absolutely right – best way to help your secondary isd to make their job easier. Don’t give the QB time to find the open receiver. Because there is almost always an open receiver somewhere, just a matter if the QB can see him or find him.

  8. It comes down to who is on the field at critical times, and when Jarrett Bush is out on the field in Nickel coverage during key points, the QB might as well put a bulls eye on the receiver he’s covering. I’m not saying he is the sole reason for the scoreboard lighting up at certain points last year, but the depletion of the secondary due to injury, forcing guys to play who probably shouldn’t have, makes this second year of the 3-4 more interesting. Capers will find more ways to pressure the QB (he had to have learned his lesson in the Vikings, Steelers, and playoff game LY) and the healthy return of the DB’s who were out last season should improve the red zone D.

  9. Hi Al,my thought on Lee and him not playing last year was nothing more than saving a future PLAYER.Why risk a career ender and lose him when he may have been able to play was iffy,just IR him and master the play book and get the time in film room.I think he busts out big for us.

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