Packers Stock Report: Another Defensive Meltdown Edition All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Packers safety MD Jennings isn’t doing much to help Dom Capers’ defense snap out of its two-week funk.

I’m fine with Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson not firing Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers after yet another defensive meltdown against the Eagles.

Would canning Capers and replacing him with a defensive position coach really make the defense tackle better or the safeties cover more ground and pick off a pass here or there? I don’t know. Maybe.

What I don’t get is the people who argue that firing Capers would be a “knee-jerk” reaction. The Packers defense has been average at best for the better part of three seasons now. In the last two weeks, when Capers and the defense had an opportunity to truly step up and cover for a banged-up offense, they failed. Miserably.

We’ve seen a steady pattern of issues from the Packers defense over the last three seasons:

  • Poor tackling
  • Confusion in the secondary
  • Minimal pass rush from the defensive line
  • Relying heavily on turnovers
  • Playoff meltdowns

That’s plenty of reason for dismissal.

I suppose you could say firing any coach midseason is a knee-jerk reaction in an of itself. But I don’t necessarily agree with that.

When it comes to Capers, the failures are consistent and prevalent enough that his dismissal would not be considered “knee jerk.” Again, I’m not saying it would be the right decision, but it would not be knee jerk.

Anyway, hopefully Capers figures it out and we can add him to the rising category once again.

On to the stock report:


T.J. Lang
All season, Lang has been clearing a patch for Eddie Lacy on the inside. When injuries struck the offensive line Sunday and claimed C Evan Dietrich-Smith, Lang stepped up and played center for the first time in his career. He never screwed up a snap and did an adequate job blocking. Bravo, Mr. Lang.

Jarrett Boykin
Lost amidst all the injury chaos is the emergence of Boykin. After looking totally lost against Baltimore trying to fill in for the injured Randall Cobb and James Jones, Boykin has come to life and turned into a confident and reliable receiver for the Packers rotating stable of quarterbacks.

Clay Matthews’ club
This thing is awesome. It’s bigger than me. If the Packers defense doesn’t turn things around, though, Matthews might take his club and start swinging it at his own teammates in an effort to wake some of them up.


Jordy Nelson
He’s quietly remained one of the most reliable WRs in the league, even with Aaron Rodgers out. Oh, and he caught that pass in the end zone on Sunday that would’ve made it 27-20. I don’t care what sort of discombobulated explanation Mike Carey gave saying it wasn’t.

Eddie Lacy
The numbers were down for Lacy against the Eagles, but he did about as well as could be expected given how the entire stadium knew the early game-plan was to hand him the ball. Then he started losing offensive linemen and yards became even tougher to come by.


Marshall Newhouse
Why is he still on the team? I get that now the offensive line is also banged up, but you can find a lineman as good as Newhouse on the street. Plus, Derek Sherrod is healthy now. Let’s throw him into the deep end of the pool and see what he can do.

M.D. Jennings
The safety position was supposed to be stabilized after Morgan Burnett came back, but it’s taken another turn for the worse. Nick Foles closed his eyes and tossed up a number of dying quails on Sunday and not one of them ended up in the hands of a Packers safety. Oh, how I miss the days of Nick Collins, LeRoy Butler and Darren Sharper. And why is Chris Banjo not getting more snaps than Jennings?

Casey Hayward
How many times can one man injure the same hamstring during the course of an NFL season? Hayward is going on three times and left Sunday’s game early…again. I think it’s time to shut Hayward and see if he can rebound in 2014.



Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


50 thoughts on “Packers Stock Report: Another Defensive Meltdown Edition

  1. I am not a firing a guy mid-season kinda guy. I don’t think this will make things better in the short time remaining. I do think that we need to make changes in how we play with the talent that we have. It is obvious that we don’t have enough secondary talent to drop back into soft coverages so let’s stop this whole prevent approach to defending the long thirds and late game leads.

    In the big picture we need to correct some stuff on defense and the personnel:

    1. Like Adam points out, we have not addressed the missing safety position. Three years without a talent to fill in the big hole left by Nick Collins. Big fail by TT

    2. Project linebackers. I like Nick Perry and I even kinda like Mike Neal but Rodgers will be retired before some of these projects can be remapped into linebackers. If your 3-4 needs linebackers then get guys that have the position in their DNA.

    3. This is a passing league and pass rush is the best antidote. We need to get more pressure on the passer – period. Second string QB’s have ample time to get their reads and pick out an open receiver.

    4. Do your job. Our secondary is very busy bumping into each other and letting balls bounce off their heads. Surely, some of these guys are athletic enough to catch the occasional quail or bump and run.

  2. So who’s fault is it, the players or the scheme. We just signed Burnett to a extension of 6 million a year. If this is the play we get from him at 6 million a year, it’s going to be a long 4 years. Personally I think T.T. looked at what he had at Safety and overpaid for a very average Safety. I mean when you have M.D. Jennings, McMillan, or god forbid Bush as your options, I’d probably overpay too.

    I think it’s a combination of a scheme that doesn’t work and Capers track record proves it, and some bad draft choices. I mean when 60% of the draft you just made 2 years ago is playing elsewhere, you treat FA like the plague, and you’ve got one of the best QB in the NFL injured, this is what happens. The last 2 1/2 the Packers defense has given up a lot of points, but Mr. Rodgers scored more so we tolerated it because they we’re winning. Now without Aaron in the game to save the defenses butt, you get beat by teams like Nick Floes and the Eagles.

    Ted T stepped up and told us the QB issues of the Packers was his fault. We know Ted, waiting until the start of the regular season to sign a backup that’s been out of football for 2 years was just plain reckless.

    Thompson signed two FA when he got here, Wood and Pickett. Considering the play he’s got from those players you’d think he’d at least consider it as a option. Next year this team will have several holes, to many to “Fix” with another draft. Either Thompson fires Capers and considers a few FA to help the cause, or Murphy needs to find someone who will.

  3. The players aren’t doing the job. TT has invested a TON of picks on the defensive side of the ball the last 2 years. To the point that some cupboard at some offensive positions are going to be bare soon.

    The problem on defense is either bad scouting or bad coaching. One of the two.

    MM/TT need to decide which one it is and take care of the problem this offseason. Fire players. Fire coaches. Fire scouts?

    I don’t care. But we’re all sick of the defensive failures Mike. This is going on 7 out of the last 8 years that your defense has been mediocre. Get it fixed. Now.

    1. Bearmeat, maybe it’s time for a change all the way around. Look at Andy Reid, 4-12 last year and 9-0 this year. McCarthy has been here for 8 years, that’s a long time. Take away the SB run of 2010 and he’s 2-4 with wins over the Seahawks in 07 and Vikings in 2012. He’s been one and done in 2009, and 2011 and each time Capers defense was throttled. I as a fan, stock holder, and all around Packer fanatic am sick of watching another year tick away while having the best damn QB in the NFL. Look at what good drafts and FA did in Denver!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Denver has gone al in to win a Super Bowl. It didn’t work last year. It may not this year. The longer Manning stays the more young talent they’ll lose in the process. No matter how long he stays they are a year away from serious cap issues. Right now the Broncos remind me a lot of the 2009 Vikings.

        I’m not saying the Packer d&d method is perfect, but I’d rather have ten consecutive years of a decent chance to win it all than a couple years of a good chance, followed by years of misery. I plan on remaining a Packers fan for life.

        1. Your right BUT all I’m trying to say in today’s NFL, you have to consider FA as a way to improve your team. If anything losing Rodgers should have OPENED your eyes to how much Rodgers covers up the many flaws of this team. If your happy winning 10, 12, even 15 regular season games and getting your ass handed to you every damn year in the playoffs good for you. If you think the Packers even sniff the SB in 2010 without Wood and Pickett, both Free Agents your dreaming.

          1. And how did Denver do last year in the playoffs?

            I’n not against free agents, but more often than not those guys flame out. For every Charles Woodson there is a Jeff Saturday (who, besides playing poorly, set back the development of EDS), a Joe Johnson, a Marquand Manuel. Not to mention The Albert Haynesworths of the NFL. I’m not against free agents per se, but. I am incredibly leery of them.

            And a backup QB is one of the most difficult free agents to get. If you’re Josh McCown, who would you rather sign with? You go to the team that gives yo the greatest likelihood of playing. And the Packers are right near the bottom of that list.

            Yes, I’m quite content over the course of the season. And of course I’m not happy with playoff losses. But 31 of 32 teams go out that way every season. I’d rather be part of that dance every year than to roll the dice for a slight increase in chances for a couple years, followed by years of Vikingesque futility.

  4. It was fun watching the Panthers D dominate the 49ers this weekend. Kaeperdick had 46 passing yards IN that game. Kaeperdick has had a bad year all ttogether, but, than I flashed back to the season opener and I remembered him making the Packers D look like swiss cheese through the air…SMH

    1. I keep seeing this play out for Kaepernik (whatever) and the Packers throughout the season and wonder if our defense is really that poorly designed. Kapernicous has a hayday against us and us alone. Is our defense that easy to scheme against?

    2. I came here after the SF/GB game and posted comments saying the GB defense plays soft and Dom Capers should go as D coordinator. “But we almost beat the best team in the league!” Came the replies, along with dozens of “dislike” votes.

      Today we see how a couple months can change everything.

      1. I’ll admit that I was fine with Capers until this season. I’m finally changing my tune and it’s because his defense has gotten infused with plenty of young talent — outside of S, at least — and still hasn’t succeeded. Also, I think it’s unfair to give Capers credit for the good rush defense: Who the hell is going to have success running at a line of Pickett, Raji and Jolly?

        When it was obvious that Philly was going to use McCoy to run out the clock on Sunday, Capers inexplicably opted for his light, pass-rush DL. Big fail.

        1. Pickett’s got a sore knee, and I think Jolly was dinged at that point, also.

          There’s some explicability….

  5. And by the way, that 2nd td catch the racist made (cooper) as our 2 DBs looked like Pop Warner kids trying to play football, was not a catch. I watched it again on tvo. The ball was moving and the tip touch the ground before he secured it.

  6. Didn’t the Ravens change offensive coordinators in the middle of the year last year? Clearly, the Packers need to try something else. This is disheartening.

    1. Changing the OC mid-season IMO,is more easily seen to succeed as the rules are in place for the offense to do such.

      The new DC for the Packers whether brought in or promoted from within, the same players are in play along with the same inherit flaws of each.

  7. How about Scott Tolzien in the rising category? Any QB who goes from #3 to playing 95% of the snaps in a two week span, and still gives his team a chance to win deserves as much. Just who was throwing the ball to Boykin (rising) and Nelson (steady)?

    We’ll see if we still feel the same way come Monday, but for now, give him some props.

  8. It’s BOTH the players and the failure of the defensive coaches to coach the players to play to the scheme. Our defense once again is clownish. How can that be after drafting so many defensive players the last couple of years? Apparently TT is not picking the right players for this scheme. I think all our OLB but one played DE in college. It is notoriously difficult and time consuming for players to make that switch. Much easier to go the other way i.e., take overgrown S and convert to OLB.

    Having a base defense of 3 HIPPOS = no pass rush from base and no range to support the edge on outside runs. I know, the OLB are supposed to get the sacks. Well that hasn’t been happening. Perry and Neal are NOT big time pass rushers. CMIII is the only one that is. And, have you noticed that when teams run to the outside, they almost always run to the opposite side of where CMIII lines up.

    Our secondary is the biggest joke of all. Undersized. Confused on playing the scheme (screwed up assignments galore). Can’t track the ball when they happen to be in the vicinity. Can’t tackle. We need to blow up the secondary and bring in all new guys. It would be crazy to give Shields a huge contract. We need a secondary like SEA. Big corners who can do it all and S who are heat seeking missiles.

    DC/TT have drafted these guys and trained them in their scheme. They are responsible for this mess. It is as much TT’s fault as it is DC’s. Drafting 4-3 DL to play in a 3-4 front and/or at OLB just doesn’t work. Four man fronts that generate a pass rush are the answer to today’s passing attacks. The back must be able to cover and tackle.

    I don’t see TT/MM ever giving up on the 3-4. But they must replace their current defensive coaching staff. Over the last 4 years the defense has played well in one 6 or 7 game stretch at the end of 2010. We have sucked for 3.5 out of 4 years. That is not acceptable. Bring in new guy and let him identify what he needs and go out and find those type of guys. Don’t pour big bucks into the current guys other than CMIII. Let them go. Go find a couple of quality FA like Woodson and Pickett. Draft the rest.

    Blow it up!

    The good news is the offense does not need many draft picks over next couple of years. Now is the time to re-make our defense.

    1. Archie said : “It’s BOTH the players and the failure of the defensive coaches to coach the players to play to the scheme.”

      You totally nailed it, Archie.

    2. I think “blow[ing] it up is a bit much. This isn’t the Jaguars defense we’re talking about here.

      Fun fact: Packers are a middling defense. Slightly above average against the run, slightly below average against the pass, right smack in the middle in points allowed.

      And yes, we need a secondary just like the Seahawks. So do 30 other teams. We also need a d-line like the Jets and linebackers like the 49ers.

      Is it frustrating to watch the Pack lose? Absolutely. But we’re paying the price of 20 years of success. Low draft picks. Coaches and assistants leaving for other teams. Players who get paid more than they’ve earned because they’re associated with a winning team (I call it the Larry Brown Effect but a more modern example would be Dashon Goldson).

      I’m not saying we should just be content and not want more. But I do think a dose of realism is in order her. And some gratefulness. There are a lot of people who sound like fair weather fans preparing to jump off the bandwagon.

      1. Twenty years of success we’re paying for now? But only two Super Bowl wins and three appearances. Sorry, I can’t accept that. With two MVP QB’s the Packers should have won more than two Super Bowls. I wonder what Lombardi would have said to “twenty years of success…..”

        1. Lombardi is a once-in-two-lifetimes (and counting) coach. A coach who, incidentally, moved on to other pastures just as the Packers’ talent was aging. Not saying that is why he left, but we’ll never know if Lombardi made the players great or if the players made Lombardi great. Most likely it’s somewhere in between.

  9. I said it many times, we have way too many C grade players on the defense and yet this becomes completely ignored when a highlight qualifying play is performed and this is proven when the very player in the dog house is quickly elevated to gold mine status because of it.

    Yes, highlight reels are great and even greater when its one of your own on them but I’ll take the guy the makes the much needed football plays weekly over he who shows up on a reel once in a blue moon.

    We have players that have some fans enamored with them for that very reason and when a more consistant game play is needed for wins via impact from these over revered…head scratching becomes rampant and a glaze of disbelief arrives until the next highlight play that does nothing more than to offer some a reason to scream…’Pay The Man’.

    It appears that once again Capers is the scapegoat for not only the defensive losses because of scheme failure but also the reason why highlights from the overrated C grade players has waned.

    Injuries, development can be use as reasons and or excuses for a teams woes but at some point these players come back to play and all speak loud and clear they are ready and when failure ensues the last thing on the list of whys…they just can’t play better the C grade they are and likely always will be.

    Some say or think FA is the answer and I’m as against that as much as ever and stand by the Draft and Develop program.
    However, though we have seen success with players via this program, the one aspect that it has failed in is leadership and again I’ve said, ‘If your not developing leaders within the D&D program, you failed and this is a major problem for the Packers on the defensive side of the ball…and no,CM3 isn’t a leader and has shown no such trait of becoming one….3..2..1..Go!

  10. The thing that always scared me about Capers is that everywhere he has been has followed the same pattern….his defenses are ranked very high early in his tenure but fall off in the 3rd -4th years & never regain their top 5 standing.

    1. Could that not be because of players of worth leave in FA and then you have squat to maintain the prior level?

      1. Can’t speak as to his other jobs, but it seems like we have as much overall talent on defense now than in his first two years. We have not lost anyone to FAgency that has gone on & been successful for their next team.

      2. Success ultimately leads to failure in the parity league. You can’t keep the full pool of talent. You may be able to keep the best pieces-Farve and Rodgers–but eventually lose too many of the good pieces and have to fill in with okay pieces, unless you can get lucky in the draft. We’ve had a long ride at GB.

  11. Of course, it is a complete unknown if replacing Capers at this time will elevate the defensive play. Perhaps MM’s comments this week are a precursor to such a move if the performance does not improve Sunday. Doubtful, but maybe.

    The practical loss of Hayward for the season has had big negative effect on the defense. Casey was the one impact player besides CM last year. Regardless of what we think of Capers, he has previously said that impact players make the difference.

  12. The Packer’s defense has been playing without their major impact player, CM3. They have also missed Hayward for all but a few games and Tramon Williams is about 75% of what he used to be. Couple all of this with rules that favor the offense and some poor tackling and the defense has big trouble. Now the offense is playing without Rodgers and is ineffective in the red zone. It’s not reasonable to expect the same level of play from a team missing its best and highest paid players on both sides of the ball. You can mention that Seattle and SF have better defenses and that is true but they are not paying their QB’s or any other player as much as Rodgers and CM3. And they have been drafting in the early rounds until the last 2 seasons. Look at SF without their starting WR’s and TE against Carolina, 9 points! The rules and the salary cap prevent great defenses, especially when you are paying to keep skill players like the QB, WR ‘s and a pass rusher. The packers will have some major decisions to make at the end of this season with Raji and others becoming FA’s. The cap affects everything in today’s NFL. Who you can keep, how the team drafts, very limited trading and FA signings. You can’t have 22 starting Hall of Famers. Forget about backups. The league wants it this way. They call it parity. We may not like the impact to our Packers but the league is loving it because they are making more money than ever and are more popular than ever. Stay the course, if and when Rodgers returns, it will get better. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Well said, ’61,

      Everyone who points to the Seahawks or the Broncos or 49ers should think about where they will be in 2-3 years. Those teams are going to lose a lot of talent, and soon.

      Anyone think the Broncos can keep Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker and Wes Welker and Julius Thomas? And Von Miller and DRC and Chris Harris? Even when Manning retires and frees up some cash, they could still be facing a major talent drain. And the Broncos are lucky to be where they are because they won the Peyton Sweepstakes. The biggest FA since Reggie White.

      Niners and Seahawks are going to face cap problems in the coming years, too. I think we’re in kind of the same boat as NO has been. They lost Reggie Bush and Carl Nicks, amongst others. In 2010 we had a cheap Rodgers and CM3, which allowed us to pay players like Woodson and Collins. It was glorious. But, as they say: sic transit gloria.

      With Rodgers and CM3 and a decent supporting cast (those C players we talk about) we’ll be in the playoffs and a threat to win it any given year. That’s as close to sustainable success as you’ll see in the modern NFL.

      1. Thanks Two Bears! Good comparison with New Orleans. Bottom line, there ain’t no Nitschkes on our defense right now. Since ’61

    2. If Williams is 75% of what he used to be, why do we continue to pay him millions for 25% of what he used to be! Williams is absolutely horrible! He got his money, is set for life and frankly could give a damn. At least that’s what his PLAY looks like.

      1. Do you ANYTHING about the salary cap?! Or the consequences of releasing a player w a huge contract? If you did you wouldn’t even be asking such an idiotic question.

  13. We don’t run a 3-4 defense we run a 2-4. Tired of hearing we are a base 3-4. When we play with two defensive lineman for 80% of snaps and short yardage and goal line how can we still call it a 3-4. We play a small defense all game and wonder why we are tired at the end and can’t stop average teams from controlling the clock. When you sub a d-back for a D-lineman you give up what 100lbs/ Almost 10 lbs per man on defense so Capers can play his pet 2-4 defense. We sure can’t be more physical when we really play small on D.

  14. To say that we have holes throughout our D-fense is like saying Anna Nicole married for the money, NS!!! AR has carried this team since he has taken over. Making up for our lack of talent on both sides of the ball. Capers has got to go after this season. TT has to let him go, and if MM doesn’t like it send his FA packing too. AR I feel would rather have someone else calling plays the body chemistry shows that. New DC, and a OC to call the plays on offense would be the first thing to do. Do I wish they would look into the FA more yes, but having cap space is important too. Of course TT would never consider doing something before the trade deadline. Watching the pre- season this year I thought and a lot of people I talk FB with were wondering why we did not keep Vince Young on the squad. He look good in his play and you can teach him the system over the course of the season. I think we would have won the bears & eagles game with him in there. Really Seneca Wallace, WTF saw talent in him. I am not a Vince Young fan member by no means, but looking at Matt Flynn again ???? I get he knows the system, but he couldn’t make it in Oakland, and thats where players go to die. TT you need to fire DC after the season, and bring in someone or get someone different to call the plays. If MM does not like it then get rid of him. A lot of coaching talent would love to have a QB like AR on there side. Fix the O-line, get another receiver do not sign these untalented D-backs, For god sake get a MIDDLE LINEBACKER,so tired at looking at a mediocre at best AJHAWK. Try free agency a little more. If you keep this up we will be looking at the ass end of the Lions or Bears in the coming years, with the best QB in the game

    1. Couldn’t agree more with the AJ Hawk comment. They need an enforcer at inside linebacker BADLY!!! Jones and Lattimore are good at what they do, but a thumper replacing Hawk would change everything, and make those guys even better!

    2. We didn’t keep Vince Young on the team for the same reason we haven’t signed Tebow: the Packers believe that when a QB throws the ball it should be very clear that he is using his throwing arm. That is not always the case with VY, unfortunately.

  15. Here’s a good piece of evidence. Ryan leaves Cowboys to Saints, and they move from bottom to top 5 defense in one year. Did they suddenly influx ‘Playmakers’? No. Look at the impact a good coach can have while working with largely the same group. GB personnel isn’t superb. But they aren’t bottom. It is made up of average to above average players…and that is enough with the right coach and scheme. Think about the sheer magnitude of the change at the Saints. That swings me to the side of fire him now. This season is lost anyway.

    1. I’ll say this: everything picked up in NO after Sean Payton came back. That offense doesn’t turn the ball over, they score points, and they put a lot of pressure on their opponent to feel like they MUST score every time they get the ball. That kind of pressure magnifies mistakes and can make your very average defensive personnel look good.

      Same was true of the 2011 Packers and the 2007 Patriots.

  16. Marshall Newhouse has to go. The guy just keeps getting worse and worse. Let Sherrod get some snaps and see what he can do. It sounds bad, but even if he’s worse than Newhouse and gives up a bunch of sacks, at least it won’t be Rodgers that’s getting hit.

  17. Looking at the defense in isolation leads to false conclusions. All three lead to success or failure in the others. Short fields make the offense look better. Time consuming offense keeps the defense rested and off the field. Dominant defenses give the offense the ball more often. No news to the educated readers of this blog.

    Many of the comments here speak about Capers defense in isolation. How much did the offense put the defense in great situations to “start” the season, and we wiped away the yards/points by saying “garbage points”? Now the offense has a guy named Scott at QB, and although he played well, he’s not ARod. The defense is put into poor situations more frequently as a result.

    They say persecution reveals character. Our defense is bad. Has been bad. The only saving thought IMO, what has Capers produced with a healthy unit that has been together enough to establish team unity?

  18. They probably can’t just go out and find better players at this point, and as long as they’re in the race, I don’t think anything drastic will happen in terms of getting rid of personnel or coaches. Maybe a starter or two benched. They have to get more out of what they have. What really bothers me is a seeming lack of urgency or attitude on the part of the defense. I think that alone could make up for a lot of other sins on defense. They seem kind of passive. That unit is intact for the most part. Whatever is lacking …. play calling, scheming, leadership, motivating…. Has got to change or they’re toast. They’re getting thin on talent on offense, but I think it goes way beyond talent lacking on defense.

  19. Injuries injuries has killedus no lb pass rush then ad linemam dad no rush the qb no to mention a secondary that cant not cover or tackle safetys are terrible cut bush jennins and mcmillan and bring new blood perry and neal injured all the time i will no blemed on campers as much as will ted.

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