Dom Capers Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card All Green Bay Packers All the Time
dom capers
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers

1) Introduction:  Ever since the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2011, Capers’ defenses have been banged up, overmatched, pushed around and just plain lousy. The backlash against Capers has gotten so loud in Green Bay, there is actually a small backlash to the backlash going on. You know the backlash is bad when people start backlashing against the Capers backlash.

2) Profile:

Dom Capers

  • Age: 63
  • Born: 8/7/1950, in Cambridge, OH
  • NFL Coaching Experience: 28 years

Biography and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Build a more physical defense. It worked the first part of the season. Then injuries started wiping out key players and most of the middle of the defense completely disappeared.

The Packers in 2013 weren’t a complete mess on defense like they were in 2011. At times they were even better than they were in 2012. But at no point in the season did you ever feel like this defense was good enough to step up and carry the team for an extended stretch, if needed. They just weren’t good enough.

4) Season Highlights/Lowlights:  With Aaron Rodgers out and the Packers needing late defensive stops to have a shot at stealing games against Chicago and Philadelphia in weeks 9 and 10, Capers’ defense went in the tank. The Bears held the ball for almost 9 minutes to seal the game and the Eagles for 9 minutes, 32 seconds to wrap up the victory. The defense also looked absolutely helpless in a blowout loss to Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Highlights included holding the Lions (without Calvin Johnson) to nine points in week 5 and coming up with a gritty performance the following week against Baltimore to help the Packers win despite several key injuries.

5) Contribution to the overall team success:  I don’t know…do we give Capers credit for Sam Shields’ interception against the Cowboys? Do we pat Capers on the back for not allowing the Bears to score after the Rodgers-Randall Cobb miracle in Chicago?

This is where it gets tricky with Capers and why the people backlashing against the Capers backlash have a point: We get all ticked off at Capers when the Packers defense gets run over, then give credit to individual players instead of Capers when the Packers defense does something positive.

Is there a defensive coordinator in the league who could have success with Clay Matthews out, BJ Raji taking half the season off, and bad to mediocre players up the middle like A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings?

Then again, doesn’t Capers deserve blame for the aforementioned players underperforming or not developing?

There’s also the question of Capers’ scheme being overly complicated, and the general perception that the Packers just try to hang on when on defense instead of taking it to the opposing offense.

Yes, people backlashing against Capers and the people backlashing against the backlash both have points. Bottom line: The Packers defense once again wasn’t good enough in 2013.

6) Contributions in the playoffs:  The playoffs were another sort of bright spot for Capers. The playoff loss to the 49ers was on the offense. Rodgers and the offense should’ve been able to muster more than 20 points and win that game. But when the game was on the line, the Packers defense couldn’t reign in Colin Kaepernick (again) and lost.

Season Report Card:

(D-) Level of expectations met during the season

(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(B-) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D


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 .


36 thoughts on “Dom Capers Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

    1. Players are regularly out of position and fail to respond especially in the secondary. I blame this on the coaching and game plan. Lousy tackling as well.

  1. Back lashing the back lashing and more back lashing to come…but it is apparent who’s back you’re lashing.

    I’m not a full on Capers supporter but I can’t easily as some put the total blame on him as is being done here with an Overall Grade D.

    The very fact that with nearly all of the defensive guys getting a grade C- or a struggling C+ isn’t all the fault of the DC and no way can you place it on him(a suspect) as done so in this evaluation by giving him a grade lower than the actual perpetrators of the misdeeds on the field.

      1. So an upgrade in talent would have no bearing due to the scheme.If that’s the case,what would the point be in getting into FA and a guy like Byrd..wouldn’t he then become just as inept because of Capers scheme still being in place…Please call TT and tell him it won’t matter or is it your opinion that TT already knows this and is why he refuses to indulge in FA.

        1. we are upgrading every year. he is not a guy that developes talent he is that guy that loves vets. dom is a failure. the last 3 years we have put more new defensive guys in green bay and he has not done anything in 2012 draft we drafted nothing but defense til the 7th round . no excuses for dom at all other than the game has passed him by

            1. No, but let’s look at the first game last year against the Bears. AR is taken out of the game on the first offensive series. The defense (with all the major defensive players still healthy) watches AR leave the game. At this point the defense knows they have to step-up their game if the Packers are going to have a chance to win the game. And what did that healthy defense do? They gave up 17 points in the first half and 27 points for the game.

              A major part of a coach’s job is to motivate players. We can ague all day whether the 3-4 scheme best fits the Packers players, but there is no arguing that Capers doesn’t have the ability to inspire his defense. He is a technician.

  2. I have not kept track of the previous two years, but I have to believe that the grade cannot possibly be better than D. I respond to Jersey Al regularly and I have said for three years: “Get rid of this guy and his outdated sceems”. Now that he has received a vote of confidence from the coach, I am sure that my rants will continue as it is certain that our D will continue to be at the bottom of the league. BUM

  3. Caper’s job is to put together a defense using the talent he is given and adjusting to talent changes throughout the season giving players available there best chance for success. He did a great job of this during the 2010 season, Not so much since. I think the D grade is fair.

    1. No expert, just a fan. What premiere defense in the NFL is built around CB?

      How can any defensive player in the NFL mill around a loose ball. Lombardi would have committed hara kiri.[suicide, not BB announcer]

      IS Dom the worst DC ever or are ALL these guys that Wonederlic deficient?

  4. Sorry this is a silk purse/sow’s ear debate. Big, non-mobile D-linemen, some of which don’t show up. One good linebacker and maybe one decent one beyond that. Two good corners and no safety to speak of. Yeah, Dom Capers is the main problem.

    Capers probably tried a dozen things to get some side-to-side pursuit from this quilt of UDFA and injury ridden crew. The fact that it didn’t translate to a top ten defense simply means that he isn’t a miracle worker. The D-line needs another stud or two. We need a stud safety and our middle linebackers need upgrading. Factor that into Caper’s grade.

    1. Razer – I totally agree. Last years draft was chocked full of serviceable safeties and with about 10 picks – Ted takes 0. Come on. TT hates dead money on the salary cap – when does Hawk’s contract end? It’s like Rickie Weeks of the Brewers – one last year at $11 million – Thank God. Signs Brad Jones to almost 12 million? 7th round draft choice? Now they are stuck with him for another 2 years ? A 3/4 Defense is all about LB’s. Look at the old Steelers & present day 49ers. Pro Bowlers everywhere. We’ve got 1 – and he gets hurt a lot.

    2. Razer, valid point–but Dom Capers defense is STILL a POOR TACKLING unit and that is DEFINITELY a reflection on the coach. It was a big enough problem late in season that even McCarthy spoke about the poor tackling to the media. And it seems to be a recurring problem even as far back as the 2010 SB title season when Michael Turner of Falcons and LaGarette Blount ran all over the defense. Turner and Blount both had big games vs. Pack and runs that nearly the full defensive unit hit both players and still couldn’t tackle them. That’s FUNDAMENTAL FOOTBALL and Dom Capers’ defense don’t consistently get it done. It doesn’t matter IF they are PRO-bowl caliber or rookies-he is responsible for not correcting the problem.

  5. All:

    Don’t focus so much on the final grade. If it were up to me, I’d get rid of the A to F grading system (I lost that argument with Jersey Al) since that’s all most people bother reading or looking at.

    If you’re going to criticize this Capers eval, criticize the content of the piece. Quibbling over whether he deserves a C or D is pointless.

        1. Yeah, but I heard that as he’s getting older, he’s taking more plays off.

  6. the grade should be F he really cant coach young rookies look at the proof 3 years at the bottom of the rankings

  7. We definitely need an upgrade in talent across the defense, as well as staying healthy for once. But a lot of the blame does fall on Dom.

    The players don’t seem to understand his zone defense, leading to gaping holes in the secondary week in and week out. There were times last season I saw our safeties running in the opposite direction of the receiver they were supposed to pick up. It is the coaches jobs to make sure the players understand the system. If the corners & safeties were getting beat because they weren’t fast or skilled enough, I’d put that on the players and TT. But, when they don’t know who they’re supposed to pick up or where they’re supposed to be, it’s on the coaches for not doing their jobs. We’ve had this issue for three straight seasons now. It needs to be fixed.

    And, McCarthy’s as responsible for the defense as Capers is. When the offense isn’t playing well, no one complains about Tom Clements. McCarthy’s the head coach and should be feeling heat for this as well as Capers.

    I know it isn’t happening, but I’d love if the Packers fired Capers and hired Kris Richard (the Seahawks secondary coach) as our DC. He’s turned a bunch of late round picks (other then Earl Thomas), into one of the best secondary’s of all time. They play hard and hit hard. Every player in their secondary looks like a Pro Bowler. It’s called “coaching players up.” It’s something our defensive coaches need to learn to do.

  8. It seems that many sense the players cannot understand the Capers defensive scheme.Can it be that physical measurements of players has taken over or rather diminished the value of football intelligence to the bottom?

    I read here and other sites from writers,posters and all,that this guy is a specimen and this guy is a physical freak and they become members of the must have list.Does real football knowledge matter or is it easier to simply blame the coach for each players in-ability to retain a scheme.

    It’s easier to just replace coaches than to accept the players who are suppose to be this and that..just aren’t,and we have too many that just aren’t.

    1. If intelligence was more important than physical abilities, the league would be filled with guys from Harvard and Stanford. The Ivy League would be the SEC. They don’t need a bunch of rocket scientists running around, they need a scheme that the players can execute effectively and coaches that can get the best out of their players.

      A few years ago, the case could have been made that the 49ers didn’t have many talented players on defense. Then Jim Harbaugh was hired. You really think coaching doesn’t have that big of an impact?

  9. Ooohhh Boy! Get the Popcorn out! This is gonna be goooood!

    ps: Dom looks like a grown up version of Beaver in that pic. 😉

  10. If the players can’t understand Capers defense is that truly on him or in the players? If I’m a professor at a college and I’m not well versed enough in the textbook I’m supposed to know that I can’t teach my students do you blame the person(s) who wrote the book or do you say the professor isn’t doing his job?

    1. I totally agree that the secondary looks like the Keystone Cops. All DB’s running around expecting help from someone else. Now that is Dom’s & the secondary coaches fault for sure. And it’s been that way for far too long – not just last year. Over Roger.

  11. My take on Capers. “Doing the same thing 0ver and over again and expecting a different result”

    When Holmgren & Fritz Shurmur were running the defense, if it didn’t work the first half, they would adjust and usually the 2nd half results a were a lot better.

    Yeah I suppose it was easier with guys like Reggie White and Gilbert Brown, but what’s the deal with Capers?, teams run the same plays we couldn’t stop in the first half again in the second half and we still can’t stop them.

    Level of talent and injuries have an impact but really coaches are expected to get the most out of what they have to work with. I don’t think we are getting that from Capers’ defense.

  12. Bearmeat: He does! Also looks a bit like a Baptist preacher. The ’90s-era tie doesn’t help; I think that photo is pretty old.

  13. I was originally a Capers supporter. However after 3 seasons of ineffective defense, especially during 2013 when Rodgers went down I have come to the point where I believe that Capers should go. The defense should have stepped up when Rodgers went down and instead they disappeared for the Bear, Eagle, Giant, Vikings and Lions game and reappeared during the 2nd half of the Atlanta game. That was unacceptable. The defense did not suffer the same level of injuries as the offense yet they fell to 25th or 26th ranking while the offense played to a #3 ranking in the league. There is plenty of experience on this defense. Burnett, T Williams, Shields, CM3, Raji, Pickett, Wilson, Neal, Hawk, Jolly, plus a few others all have 3+ years of experience and should be able to step up, communicate,make plays and at least tackle. The failures on the defense were everywhere in 2013 and the coaches including Capers should be held accountable. Even the SF playoff game, the defense did play heroically, but again could not make a stop for the final 5+ minutes allowing SF to run out the clock and kick the winning FG. Adam, if the offense got the ball back they would have scored more than 20 points in the game. Also, during extremely cold games like the SF game it is difficult to move the ball. Note, 2007 playoff with NYG won by NY with the same score in OT. Note GB victory iover Oakland back in the mid-90s played in frigid GB won by the Pack 20-0. Ice Bowl, GB 21 – Dal 17. ’62 NFL title game played in very cold and windy NYC, won by GB 16-7. Only the ’61 NFL title game did Pack score more than 21 points in 37-0 win over NYG on a very cold day in GB. Rare to have high scores in frigid cold. Bottom line defense needs to make plays and ours didn’t for most of 2013. In any case Capers is staying so 2014 will be another season where we will have no confidence in the defense. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. I thought the D played its heart out in the SF game. Last drive, capers calls great play and Bush loses contain and an extremely hobbled Mulumba can’t run down Kap. His soft zones bug the crap out of me but if our D is healthier next year, I see a defense more like the first 6 games of the year than those games later in the year without CMIII. — we don’t need a top 5 defense to win it all. We need a respectable defense and I think we will have that next year IF TT comes through this offseason and we stay relatively healthy. GoPack!

  14. It’s all about RESULTS. Forget about everything else. The product on the field is result of millions of dollars spent. If the results are not produced something has to change. Sorry all you Caper lovers I don’t care about injuries, I don’t care about talent. RESULTS is what he is paid for. If he can’t per duce he has to go. Three strikes and you out.

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