Will Packers Defensive Coordinator be up for the Task against 49ers?

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Time for Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers to step up on Sunday.

The fate of Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers likely will not be decided by what happens on Sunday against the 49ers, nor should it be. Decisions on whether to hire or fire a coach should not be made based on a single game.

But if Capers gets outclassed by Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers yet again, Packers general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy would at least have to swallow hard before deciding to stick with Capers for the 2014 season.

Under Capers, the Packers defense has been completely run over by the 49ers. In their last three meetings. San Francisco has:

  • Averaged 483 total yards
  • 200 rushing yards
  • 5.5 yards per rush
  • 284 passing yards
  • Completed 67 percent of its passes
  • Averaged 35 points.

And all of those abysmal performances came with Clay Matthews healthy and playing.

This entire Packers season has been about hanging in there, catching a break here and there among all the injuries and chaos, and eventually persevering. That’s exactly what the Packers need from Capers and his defense on Sunday.

We’re not asking for a shutout or a repeat of the 1994 wild-card game where the Packers held Barry Sanders to -1 rushing yards. A handful of three-and-outs mixed in with a couple of turnovers will be perfectly acceptable. Oh, and consistently getting off the field on third down would be nice.

It’s nice having Aaron Rodgers back and all, but let’s not make him feel like he has to score every single time he has the ball.

In their last three playoff losses, the Packers have allowed 45, 37 and 51 points. It’s time for Capers and his defense to step up in a big spot and come through. Yes, I realize the defense is filled with young and inexperienced players — I don’t envy any defensive coordinator who has to rely on Andy Mulumba and M.D. Jennings as much as Capers does — but Packers fans stopped caring about excuses a long time ago.

Very few Packers fans think Capers is up for the task. Very few Packers fans also thought Green Bay would make the postseason. When the Packers are down and out, they usually end up rising and proving a lot of people wrong.

Can Capers do the same? We’ll find out Sunday.


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 .


42 thoughts on “Will Packers Defensive Coordinator be up for the Task against 49ers?

  1. Adam, Happy New Year and thank you for all of your great posts.Let’s not forget the yards given up on Thanksgiving against the Lions. Let’s not forget the playoff game and how the defense allowed the Giants play after play and how many yards they put up against a rested Packers 15 -1 team.Let’s not forget all of the mediocre QB’s and receivers the Packer defense made look like Pro Bowlers. No, Capers job should not be determined on how the Packer defense plays on Sunday. TT and MM should have already have made the decision. It’s a shame Lovey Smith has already been signed.Lastly, yes against SF the Packers had young and experienced players on their defense but look at the young and inexperienced defense that played in the Super Bowl: Neal, Burnett, Newhouse, Wilson, Shileds, Zombo, Peprah, Francois. No excuse for the young and inexperienced.

    1. I’d about PUKE if the Packers hired LoveChild! He runs the Tampa2 and all its zone nonstop all day long. Hate that kinda Defense!

      1. Since I value your opinion, Stroh, what is it that makes you hate the Tampa 2?
        It’s obviously had success.
        I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but would hesitate switching from 34 to 43.

        1. Its had SOME success, but IMO the best Defenses don’t sit in a zone all day. A lot of the Tampa 2 is designed to force teams to not make mistakes and drive the length of the field. It basically allows teams to do just that. Teams that are patient generally do very well against it. To me its like dying a slow death over and over again. I understand zone D’s are useful and sometime necessary, but I prefer defenses that dictate play more often than not.

          1. A Rodgers success against the Gummy Bears is a testament to that.They take away the deep threat so he works underneath.I would have been curious to see how lovie would have faired with the current Bears defensive personnel if he hadn’t been canned last year. He always had the luxury of having some quality people in his defense when he coached the Bears,but the Bears will need a top to bottom rebuild on defense.Packer fans complain about MD Jennings but Chris Conte is even worse!!! Lovie is a good D Coord but I think he’s over his head as a Head Coach. The ownership in Tampa Bay is simply brain dead. They fired Jon Gruden and replaced him with a moron= Raheem Morris,that speaks for it self!

  2. I did think GB had a decent shot to make the playoffs – even right after the Thanksgiving debacle.

    However, I don’t think GB wins Sunday. I hope to God I’m wrong. But with the exception of the last 1/2 of 2010, the Capers led defense has looked consistently horrid against good offenses – and SF is a good offense.

    We can’t stop the outside run. We can’t cover over the middle.

    SF – 31 or so
    GB – 21 or so – and it’s not as close as the score indicates.

    Sad. 🙁

    1. Last time they played the 49ers two Packer turnovers led to 14 points, Lets hope we don’t turn the ball over and see what happens.I have a deep disdain for Colin Kaepernick(He comes across as a real shiit-head) and Jim Hairball. They need a serious Ass Kicking. The NFL and National Media are in the tank for those red and gold pussies, a win for the Packers would be a belated Xmas present for many of us!

  3. I don’t care if they have to pull their hair, tie knots in their shoes, spit on them, or even if they play dirty. Just BEAT THAT BABY JIM HACKBAUGH AND THE FORTY WHINERS! I HOPE ESPECIALLY FOR CAEPERDICK TO GET KNOCKED SO HARD HE’LL GO CRYING TO HACKBAUGH TO BREAST FEED HIM TO MAKE HIM FEEL BETTER!

    God I hate the 49er’s….. the only team I hate more are the Seacocks…

  4. If our defense can limit SF to field goals 1/2 in the Red Zone instead of touchdowns, we have a shot.

    If that is the case Capers will have done a good job.

    1. “IF” is the key word. The measure of a coach is his overall results, not one game. How did the defense stand in the league? If your not in the top 5 your not a valuable asset or if you fail to make improvement each year your on the wrong track. I think three years of failure is enough time to decide if your going to be a success.

  5. Many fans want Dom Capers fired and perhaps are justified in that desire.However,how many of these same fans think another 3-4 DC can come in and get more from the grade C talent this team is inundated with at the moment and how many of these fans would be quick to jump aboard a 4-3 scheme with the players we have available at the moment.

    I’m not sure the remedy lies in a new DC for a 3-4 or a switch to a 4-3 but,I do feel strongly that either direction requires a big jump in over all talent and depth for any direction taken.

    I know the old adage of it taking 2-3 years for guys to make a step forward but before we crucify Capers,can we honestly say that any of the guys needing to take those steps forward have come close to doing so to offer a salicious drool for the next season…perhaps if the ladder of developement is a step stool in lieu of a step ladder some are slobbering themselves but I’m dying for a glass of water as these guys are nothing more than a desert mirage at this juncture.

    The answer isn’t just the DC..its players also and IMO…more so.

    1. and poor MD Jennings. he was undrafted, and his mistakes come cheap compared to the play of Burnett. i see no difference between the bad play of the two, except that one’s mistakes cost about 14 times in actual dollars than the other’s. was it Adam two years ago or i forget who posted how crucial the safety position is, and the ultimately it is the most important one especially in 3-4 Ds.

    2. No it’s not just Capers but letting him retire would be a good start. The packers can’t be a viable team by trying to always outscore the opposition. The special team’s coaches should also be looked at. Can it get worse? not a lot. These guys are getting lots of money and we are seeing poor results, what is the alternative stay status quo? Time to move on.

  6. While I wouldn’t fire a coach for one game, this is NOT one game. Its 3 games just vs SF that to this point his defenses have but manhandled by SF! He used a large part of the offseason to figure out the read option and SF Offense and to this point has failed miserably.

    Not to mention being ranking in the in the 20’s or worse in Defense 2 of the past 3 years. Capers time has come and gone in GB IMO. Same thing everywhere he’s been. Great taking a defense over and turning it around quickly, as he did in ’09 and ’10, but it has always gone poorly for him from that point. Same has played out in GB. Time to cut him loose and bring in a younger 34 DC that will lead the D. Don’t know why its like that for him (lack of leadership/accountability IMO), but his history is too clear not to notice.

    1. who does Caper’s have to work with that could start on any other playoff team, not CMIII because he is out. Shields, Tramon the way he has been playing lately? that is it.

    2. While we are all aware of the Capers defense losing its luster after 3 years,do you not wonder or at least try to evaluate that with the players he had and lost on those defenses.

      I get the point of coaches of any position can become stale but the lack of talent,the loss of talent and the failure to obtain replacements all need to be considered into the drop off and not just easily pointed to a scheme or time element.

      We lost good-solid players on defense whether through FA,injury or any other reason and that has been a ranting for awhile and yet,many of those who rant about those lost players boast highly about the replacements as being a possible this and or that and only needing time…and yet those replacements play like scabs more often than not and the finger of blame points only to Capers and that is wrong.

      If Capers is to be fired,lets make sure or least attempt to accept that the failing also includes to an equal level of fault by the players themselves.

      1. Also I might add, in the first 5 or so games when Rogers was playing we had a top 10 defense.

        Maybe Rogers is our best defensive player.

        I know I would rather play defense for him than any of the backup QB we put in when he was out.

        Rogers gives the defense more rest so when they do get out there they are not all pooped out and beat up.

        Rogers scores points when he is in there so the opposing offense is more one dimensional and more predictable and under pressure.

        It’s just fun to give the ball over to someone who can actually do something with it and fun to watch.

        Also when you have a QB like Rogers you just play better who or what ever position you play because at least you know you have a fighting chance, and you can take more risk.

        I for one am all excited to see how our defense performs this week, I think we are all going to be pleasantly surprised.

      2. Excellent point Tarynfor. The players making dumb mistakes and not holding outside contain for instance (since it happened last week ad nauseum). GoPack!

      3. Who’s job is it to take the players he has and make them work? He took a bunch of players that were playing in a 43 D and made them into an outstanding 34 D. Why is he having so much trouble now?

        I understand that he’s lost some players but its also his responsibility to develop the players he’s given is it not? We’ll see maybe he sticks around and guys like Perry, Worthy, Datone will make the D great again. But what has he done w/ Raji and Burnett? They are guys he surely had some say in drafting. Thompson won’t give McCarthy players he doesn’t want and that is surely the case w/ Capers D as well.

  7. Believe it or not I am the biggest Packer fan in Montana. You are correct that this game should not be the only factor to determine Capers fate. The last three seasons has to be the reason he is gone. This defense is the most predictable D in the history of the game. The fact that this D has given up more yards than any team in football history is certain reason to get rid of Capers. We need something new, anything.

  8. Chad imagine how I feel I’m a die hard Packer fan living in Cali Bay Area…if there’s any thing more annoying than watching Harbaugh cheer lead all game long is having to see all the band wagon 9er fans everywhere.

  9. This was a great week to be a Packers fan. I have waited till today to switch from the high of beating the Bears, at Soldier Field, for the division crown, revenging Rodgers collar bone by knocking the bears out of the playoffs on one of the greatest 4th quarter come from behind drives in Packers history , to now focusing on the hated 49ers and the big game this Sunday.

    I waited until today to shift gears from last week’s game to this week’s game because it was to depressing going from the bear game ‘high’ to thinking about our bad Defense against the 49ers ‘ low’. The last 3 games played against the 49ers has left a bad taste in my mouth. Our D has no answer, so far, against the physical niners, and now we are playing without Mathews and Jolly.

    As optimists as I want to be about this game, I just have a bad feeling due to past performances. Capers and this D needs to find away to hold kaeperdick and his offense to under 23 points or so and give our offense a chance to win this game.

    Last year our D completely collapsed in the 4th quarter and got run over in the playoff game. I hope we activate 6 D lineman for this game and keep the front D fresh by rotating lineman as much as possible.

    Winning this week against the nines will put me on the moon with excitement. With a decent D performance, some turnovers, playing smart, minimal penalties, and with a little bit of luck, we just might pull this game out. Go Pack!

  10. My hope is that the frigid temp keeps it a low scoring game. Most people would think a low scoring game favors the niners but I’d love to see Rodgers with the ball and a chsnce to win it in the 4th. Go Pack!

  11. The playoff game last year Kaepernick said when the fingers starting pointing at each other on the Packers defense,he knew that were in disarray or to some degree along those lines….so any Packer defender seen pointing a finger while on the field after a blown play should be ass kicked by each on his way to the bench…keep the blame private and discuss it on the sideline,do not ever show malcontent with each other in view of the opponent.

  12. Since this is a defensive based article, I’ll ask this question here: What one defensive player do you think is going to make an impactful play or contribute in a large way toward helping the Packers win Sunday? My answer will be Micah Hyde with better coverage on Vernon Davis than in wk 1. Not saying he will shut him down but will provide enough coverage to not allow Davis to “go off” on our D. Please share your thoughts and opinions……GoPack!

    1. Tramon will cover Bolden adequately.

      Shields will cover Crab just fine.

      Hyde can cover Vernon ok – and SFs TE has a propensity to disappear for long stretches all on his own.

      What concerns me are the outside runs, making Kap hurry to his 2nd read (he sucks at that) and the tackling when Kap decides to scramble IF we play man as described above.

  13. Ross doesn’t fumble that punt in the 49er’s game Pack could have won. Turned the whole game around. Hopefully they make a costly turnover this year.Also where was the play action pass last week against the Bears? Need to see more of them this week and more screens to Lacy and outlet passes to Kuhn.

  14. The problem for our defense has been and still remains that we do not have a defensive player who can take over a game like Reggie White or Ray Nitschke. Even when CM3 is healthy he does not take over a game. We need a defensive player who dominates on defense like Rodgers does on offense. The biggest issue facing the Packers defense this week will be the play of our OLBs. Last week Neal ran himself out of plays without even being blocked. Perry, playing hurt, was terrible in space and Malumba was all over the place. This is where, C. Woodsen, when he was still here made a difference. His experience at reading the play plus his ability to help out the OLBs contain edge made a big difference. We are really missing quality, experienced defensive starters. SF may be able to exploit their weaknesses. The flip side is that due to the weather conditions the game will play a little slower and that should help our OLBs contain the edge. In These cold weather games teams usually want to get to the hole quicker with straight runs to the line rather than trying to get to the edge and cut. We’ll see how the 9ers choose to go. Regardless our OLBs need to get some discipline and hold the edge. I can see some planned runs for Kaepernick in addition to the read option plays aimed at exploiting our OLBs. If we can contain the edge and control the run game we have a shot to hold them and get off the field. Then our offense needs to dominate with time consuming drives. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. The defensive coordinator Has a big voice in picking the talent on defense. He also is responsible for developing the talent to it’s fullest. It would be pretty easy to be the head man if everyone you had on your team were superstars, that happens once in a life time if you play your cards correctly. How many Reggie Whites are breaking down the doors to come to Green Bay and freeze their you know what’s off. A totally white city with little to offer, not many. Reggie made the packers what they were and now the Reggie influence in fading.

  15. Capers JOB as a coach is to Teach his players and he has failed to do that. How many times do you see gaping holes in the “D” with linebackers and secondary coverages. It’s as if Capers is running in the plays on brail. And speaking of brail, A. J. Hawk looks like Helen Keller on most plays. How can you trust him to call the “D” schemes? He’s lost on 90% of the plays, last to the hole and seems to get dragged forward on most runs. His early season success with the exception of a couple of plays has gone south. Let’s face it, Capers message is stale and some new energy and ideas need to come to Green Bay and hopefully pump some life back into this defense.

  16. Capers is horrible, 49’s rip Green Bay apart this Sunday, cold or not.

    Hope I eat these words but Capers schemes suck.

    1. blah blah blah…blah blah….what are the reasons dave ..the reasons why our defense cannot jell….how many games in a row did we have the same players on defense00000000000000000?????????????//

  17. If we hired a coordinator worse than Capers what would the defense look like? How could I tell it was worse? I thought the bears leaving randall cobb uncovered at the end of the game was something our defense would do.

  18. You got to keep Dom. We been lacking talent on D. Our secondary has always struggled with big tight ends and Wides even prior to Dom. His job in the SB against Pit was awesome. Now bring some talent, hope it remains healthy then let the cards roll. When our D is questionable why are we in the hurry up? To get our D back on the field? Sustained drives now we have some type of a running game and limit our defense time and effort.

    1. You answered your own statement. “We been lacking talent on D”. The defensive coach has the biggest voice in picking the talent that is on the field….both in the draft and in meeting and at training camp. If we lack talent it is because he picked that lack of talent. He is also supposed to develop the player he has to become more talented. In the NFL the money is there to get the best of the best and find a few diamonds in the rough. progressive thinking can make a difference. Capers is the bottom line. If his results are bad he has to go.

  19. Packers defense needs a Greg Schiano DC, give them an ATTITUDE, Pack fans!! Capers sits up there in the box above the stadium, has no feel for the momentum of the game or emotions of his players and makes adjustments like he’s watching a video game. Green Bay’s defense is bad BECAUSE of Capers, not because players can’t play. Thompson and McCarthy sticking with Capers any longer is surrendering to mediocrity in the prime of Aaron Rodgers’ career. Time to get some spirit, attitude, nastiness in this unit to make this team better NOW, not after Rodgers best days are gone.

  20. If Capers’ defense flunks out tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind seeing Wade Phillips coaching the D. He was just let go by the new coach in Houston…

  21. Capers is caput in Green Bay. He is a dinosaur. His record is poor and getting worse. He does not seem to have the ability to make course corrections in the middle of the game. Having said that let me also say it is not entirely his fault because of the crappy players he has had to coach. There an no stars on the Defense. Not even average players. The Zone defense seems to mean “Not in the same time Zone”. The defense is terrible at basic’s. The first tackler never tackles the runner or pass catcher it is always 5 to 10 yards down the field. He is probably a great guy but his time has come and gone. Results will seal his fate. Packers are in the bottom of the league in standings this year and he is history.

  22. The ONLY way the Packers can win is if they outscore the points the lousy defense allows the 49’ers to put up. That is a crazy way to have to play football. One flub, one interception, one missed opportunity and your done. The Packers need to score every time they touch the ball and that is next to impossible. Also they can’t make any mistakes or miss any opportunity. Think about that….a perfect game, not very likely.

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