Dom Capers’ Time of Reckoning Has Arrived All Green Bay Packers All the Time
NFL, Green Bay Packers, Packers defense, Dom Capers, Mike McCarthy, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Packers fire Capers, Fire Dom Capers
Dom Capers will have Mike McCarthy looking over his shoulder more frequently in 2014.

It might be a year or two too late for some Green Bay Packers fans, but it seems head coach Mike McCarthy has finally put his foot down and had it up to here with shortcomings on the team’s defense.

His message to defensive coordinator Dom Capers, especially in the wake of last week’s NFL Draft, is crystal clear: the defense has to get better in 2014…or else. An increasingly loud section of the Packers’ passionate fan base has been calling for Capers’ dismissal at the conclusion of each of the past two seasons, but McCarthy has stayed steadfast in his support for Capers.

Until now, or at least it seems that way.

The first cracks in the steady wall of support McCarthy has had for his defensive coordinator began to show this offseason when the head coach said his season ending conversation with Capers was “harder” than it had been in the past. That was the first sign Capers was being put on notice for 2014 but it wasn’t the last.

General manager Ted Thompson then went out and brought in free agent Julius Peppers to help shore up the pass rush in a very rare move for the Packers.  Peppers is 34 and does not fit the profile of a normal free agent the Packers would look at signing. Perhaps this was McCarthy speaking through a personnel move that a lack of a pass rush is no longer going to be tolerated?

As if that weren’t a clear enough signal, Thompson added even more talent on defense via this spring’s draft. With the selection of HaHa Clinton-Dix in the first round, the Packers have now spent three straight first round draft picks on defense and each pick helped a layer of then defense (Nick Perry for the linebackers in 2012, Datone Jones for the defensive line in 2013 and Clinton-Dix in 2014 for the safeties/secondary).

With the addition of Peppers and this year’s draft class, it is truly “put up or shut up” time for Capers in Green Bay.

McCarthy also mentioned he was taking more of a hands-on approach on the defensive side of the ball this season.  Since the head coach is normally so focused on the offense, this is a big warning sign for Capers. When your boss suddenly takes a hand in what you are doing, you are usually on the brink of being let go.

With McCarthy taking on a larger role with the defense, the Packers also seem to be shifting away from the traditional 3-4 they have run since Capers arrived in 2009.  One just has to look at their new additions to see proof of that. Peppers has never played in a 3-4 and will be playing the “elephant” role with the Packers meaning he will be moved around the front seven.

The Packers also drafted Khyri Thorton in the third round of the draft to help the defensive line and he is smaller than the defensive lineman Green Bay has had the past few seasons. Combine that with McCarthy reiterating after the draft that the Packers will be very multiple on both offense AND defense and suddenly the team has an out if they want to change schemes–and coordinators after the season.

The fact that Carl Bradford, taken in the fourth round this year, is an outside and not inside linebacker shows the Paxkers are at least somewhat thinking about a scheme change. The pieces are in place for Green Bay to move to a 4-3, or even a more hybrid-style base defense without too much difficulty.

Oh, and when McCarthy says part of his team will be improved and that we can write it down “in big letters,” you know he means business.  McCarthy said the same about the running game last year and it worked out pretty well and that was even before Eddie Lacy was drafted

It’s taken longer than many would have liked but the writing is finally on the wall for Capers.  McCarthy will never come right out and say it but in this case, where there is smoke there is definitely fire.

Capers had better hope his unit improves in 2014 or that fire will burn him right out of Green Bay.


Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and


117 thoughts on “Dom Capers’ Time of Reckoning Has Arrived

  1. I agree that the heat is on Capers but I can’t say that I see this as a Capers problem. The Packers have been sending miscellaneous players to this defense and hoping for pro bowl performance. You cite Nick Perry (1st rounder) but don’t mention his injury prone, fish-out-of-water under performance. Datone Jones is okay but that is about it. Safety was a disaster and we didn’t have a warm body solution. Our ILB are so average that we are still crying about it after the draft. You get the picture.

    Capers is at the helm so he takes the hit – that’s the way it works. We shouldn’t care that he is remapping an under achieving Mike Neal to play another position or training Andy Mulumba to hobble after Kapernic or working around having Clay Matthews for half a season. As far as I can see, we don’t have the horsepower to field a real NFL defense. Stupid Capers.

    So now we give Capers a 34 year old Peppers, one safety and some projects and he is on the hot seat. I will say this, if anyone can do it, it is Capers. I was proud of the effort that our cobbled defense put together in the playoff game against San Fran. Despite the lack of talent, they played with heart.

    1. Razer,

      Much more intelligence in your post than this article. The poor performance of this defense goes back to long before DC came to GB. It goes back a decade to when TT first showed up. That TT has the worst draft performance on the defensive side of the ball over the past decade is beyond dispute. At some point you have to look in the mirror and admit the king has no clothes on. Capers may be a bad DC at this point in his career, but he never really had a fair chance in GB. Then again, he chooses to put AJ Hawk and BJ Raji on the field. If they aren’t two of the softest players in the NFL I’d like to know who is. My 2 cents.

      1. at the beginning of last year the defense started off brilliant, even without Mathews. A prime example is the game against the Ravens. In that game Hawk was great, look at the numbers. With Mathews out, the defenses schemed for Hawk to make plays, and he did.

        I dont get people being so down on Hawk. I’ve seen profootball focus’ take on his play, but I dont see it myself. I do wish he was faster though.

        1. I don’t have to look at the numbers – I watch every Packer game at least three times, going through most plays in slow motion several times. Hawk is simply the worst player in the NFL, bar none. That alone tells me TT/MM/DC/WM are crazy.

    2. I think we can get 1 good year out of elephant ears Peppers. Juice him up with the max amount of roids and we’ll be fine.

  2. Razor, I wish I could be as supportive of Capers as you. You say Mike Neal is an underachiever. Well, I could say this whole defensive unit has been underachieving for the last three years and that,I believe, is a coaching problem.

    Let’s go back to last year and the Bears game where AR got hurt. It was the eighth game of the season and the defensive unit was relatively healthy. On the first series of the game AR got hurt while the defensive unit looked on. Immediately every Packers fan knew without AR we were in trouble. We had no back up QB and it would be up to the defensive unit to step-up and shut down Chicago’s offense if we were going to have a chance to win the game.

    Now, if the fans can understand the situation the Packers confronted at that moment, is it reasonable to think the defensive coaches and players understood the situation too? I think so.

    And how did the defensive unit perform after AR went down? They gave up 17 points in the first half and another 10 in the second half. Their sense of urgency and play didn’t improve at all. To me, that game more than any other showed how poorly this team was coached.

    With the addition of some new players, another year of experience for the young guys, and, hopefully, with improved health, I expect our defense will play better this year. However, one year won’t mask the play of this team we have seen for the last three.

    1. sense of urgency? this isn’t a Disney movie. just because a defense struggles doesn’t mean they are playing without a sense of urgency or not trying. btw, Chicago averaged 27 pnts per game the entire season (#2 behind Denver)

      1. No, you’re right. The 2013 season was not a Disney movie. The Packer defense ranked 25th in the league. 75% of the teams in the NFL played better defense than the Packers. I wish what I saw last was fiction.

        1. I wish what I saw last year was fiction.

          (I love this website, but it would be great if had an edit feature!)

  3. I started out as a Capers supporter, but after the last 3 seasons I find it difficult at best to continue my support for him. Like jh9, I lost whatever confidence that I had left in Capers when the defense failed to rise to the occasion when AR was injured. No urgency in either the Bears or Philly games. Nothing against NYG and then failing to stop the Vikes after the great 4Q comeback. Terrible defense and unacceptable under the circumstances. Yes, they played valiantly against SF, but again could not get off the field during the last 5+ minutes and allowed SF to kick winning FG. I called for Capers dismissal at the end of the 2013 season but he is still with us, so there is no point in taking up that point. I believe that we have experience and talent on our defense, especially if they can stay healthy. To me what’s missing is a sense of urgency and a bad attitude. We play soft, we hit soft and at times we look very slow, almost like we are not trying, especially the safeties. That needs to change. We’ll see if Ha-Ha is the guy to bring a hit to this group. As for all of the LBs, including Mathews, can we lock them in a room and make them watch tapes of Nitschke until they get it. Because right now Mathews, Neal, and Jones run themselves out of too many plays and of course Hawk is usually lost out there but make s a tackle after the runner goes by him. As for the DL they need to commit to not being pushed all over the field. Maybe Peppers and Thorton will help with that. We’ll see, but I hope that Capers has been warned and is on a short leash, because his time has come. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Since ’61 said “can we lock them in a room and make them watch tapes of Nitschke until they get it.”

      You absolutely made my day with this sentence!

      1. Jim – glad you enjoyed it! Let’s face it, they need a new attitude! Thanks, Since ’61

        1. I was hoping for Pryor to slide rather than Dix, not for his coverage skills because–by all accounts–Dix is the superior coverage safety. But rather because my hope was that he would bring a more physical, hard-nosed attitude to the defense. Now I’m hoping we’ll see that from Bradford.

  4. Since ’61 said…

    “To me what’s missing is a sense of urgency and a bad attitude. We play soft, we hit soft and at times we look very slow, almost like we are not trying, especially the safeties. That needs to change.”

    This is just as important as the talent available to the defense. All the talent in the world won’t make up for a lack of motivation. Money is not enough of a motivator and they get plenty of it.

    After the playoff loss to the 49ers, Mike Neal said publicly he was seeking to be a leader on the defense and was looking to take on that role. With Peppers’ arrival I wonder if that remains the case for Neal.

    In any event, I agree Capers needs to put a much improved defense on the field for GB in 2014. Improved health for the defense will go a long way toward a better defense.

    1. Emotional leadership, energetic leadership, and FIRE are some of the things that the relatively gentle in public but maniacal on the field Cullen ‘Big Sexy’ Jenkins brought to this team.

      His value as a DT/DE was never questioned, but what he brought to the team in terms of setting the bar for energetic, passionate play om the field is often overlooked.

      He stoked fire in the belly of his defensive team mates with his reckless assault.

      Mike Neal does bring some of that fire, and he has the physical tri-fecta of speed-weight-strength to wreck havoc as a LB.. But I think MIKE DANIELS’ play is more suiting of the pure aggression, never-quit style that can pump up defense. Between Daniels, Neal, and Matthews, there should be no lack of emotional leadership on D. I’m starting to think for all of his ability and prowess, Clay Matthews is nowhere near a natural leader. I have a feeling Neal can be, and Daniels might already be one.

      1. You are right about Jenkins. Makes you wonder why TT ran him out of town, twice. You are wrong about CMIII. Watch him play, you are missing out on a great football player.

        1. Never doubted Matthews’ play.. But I do doubt his leadership.

          I actually started doubting it the day they interviewed Clay about the drafting of Nick Perry. He all but said it wasn’t his job to teach him anything.

          Most shocking, Tom Silverstein of the MJS did CMIII and the Packers a huge favor by paraphrasing Matthews’ response, conveniently editing out the sentence about not how Matthews doesn’t feel like he should have to teach the rookie anything.

          Beyond that, i don’t see Matthews rallying the troops much on the sidelines. Usually just wetting down his hair.

          That’s okay, not everyone needs to be a leader. Not everyone can be. It doesn’t take away from his excellence as a player.

  5. Lets not forget the running record of the defense including the fact that we gave up more yardage than any team in football history two years ago. Two fat guys rushing on third and twelve doesn’t work. For two years I could predict the D on any third and long. McCarthy is very tolerant but I agree, things have to get better. I wont lose any sleep when Capers is canned.

    1. Don’t knock it – I have won much money the last couple of years because of those two fat guys rushing on 3rd and 12. 🙂

    2. I’m laying down easy money that you can’t predict butkiss on third down.

      Yelling “3 man/2 man rush” isn’t anywhere near calling a defense.

      Side note, if I had a dime for everytime a Packers fan yelled “PREVENT D”. when the defense, in fact, was not in PREVENT D, I’d be typing this post from my getaway home in the Bahamas.

  6. I agree it’s put up or shut up time for the defense. I also agree that a hybrid scheme could be in the works. CM3 is the only real indisputable 34 piece we have. Still. Yes, CM3 is an all pro when healthy, but at this point, I count on him being gone between 4-8 games a year.

    The thing that gives me comfort is MM’s BIG LETTERS promise that the D will be much better this year. He said that about the running game and followed through last year. He said that about the defense in 12 and (mostly) followed through (considering injuries to important pieces).

    We shall see.

    1. Much easier to make a running game go when you have #12 as your QB and a young Eddie Lacy at HB. The malaise on the defense is through and through. A bunch of tweeners playing out of position. Jolly, Raji and Pickett can’t get off the ball. Hawk Jones and the S are mush in the middle. I call it the AJ Hawk curse. Ever since we drafted him we have been unable to draft anybody worth their salt on the defensive side of the ball other than CMIII. He was TT’s great mistake – as in he’s actually a great player.

      I don’t believe Peppers is the answer. He was terrible last year and the Bears were smart to cut their losses. A R1 S won’t turn this defense around either. Either everybody in that front 7 blooms this year or we are looking at another year of being unable to stop anybody. If so, Capers gets hired and TT gets another big contract? That would be a great mistake. I don’t believe TT/MM can turn this defense around over the next two years. So we go 12 years w/o a defense and then we rehire the guy that has been drafting these bums for the last dozen years? That would be insanity. But I get the feeling that most Packer fans would be good with that. 12 years of failure and no accountability just because AROD/STARKS were great enough for 6 games in a row to win a SB. Those 6 games make the pother 11 3/4 years not count?

      1. “…just because AROD/STARKS were great enough for 6 games in a row to win a SB.”

        Sometimes that’s all there is to it. Just ask Eli Manning.

    2. I think Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and.. hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen.. Justin Harrell, may have been the only front 7 players drafted by the Packers that fully project as protypical 3-4 personnel.

      BJ Raji could be thrown in there for his physical traits as a NT, but he didn’t have the skill set for a true 0 technique nose tackle.

        1. Al, I’m going to respectfully disagree with you because it is almost the M.O. of all 3-4 teams to look for tweener DE talent to convert to 3-4 OLB.

          It was one of the major advantages of running a 3-4 during the last 15 years when the 3-4 was in a “down” phase (in terms of how many teams were implementing it as their base D). While other teams were fighting over the same top OLBs, teams like the Dolphins and Steelers almost had their pick of the liter of collegiate DE’s who were too small to play DE in a 4-3 and too large to play traditional LB spots in a 4-3.

          I think it is one of the things many fans wrongly bemoan- the transition picks for OLB are nothing new and almost expected.

        1. How did you miss Nick Perry’s production last season before he broke his foot, when you watch every Packers game at least three times, each play in slo-mo, multiple times?

  7. Maybe with his job firmly on the line Capers will finally bench Hawk – IMO the single biggest reason his Defense has been so atrocious. How anyone can watch game tape of Hawk flailing around and looking like a middle schooler playing with High School kids and still keep sending him out there is beyond me. Yes, Hawk is available every week – because instead of tackling ball carries he runs himself in the soft bellies of the opposing offensive linemen, picks up his helmet and does it again.

    1. He has to play Hawk. TT hates dead money on the salary cap. And Hawk’s contract runs through 2015. Yes – 2 more seasons with Hawk. And I think Brad Jones deal was for 3 years – so 2 more years with him as a starter. TT has the philosophy that he takes care of the salary cap & the coaching staff is paid to coach-up the players TT gives them. That’s why TT didn’t draft any ILB’s. If he did – then Capers might just bench one of those 2 & TT would have a heart attack.

      1. As I recall–and others can comment on this–neither Hawk nor Jones would cost the Packers that much to let go at this point. Hawk’s restructure would’ve made him costly to let go last year, but that’s not true now. The flip side of that is that the Packers don’t make much back against the cap by letting them go, either.

        This is, in part, why I was hoping the Packers would invest in an ILB or two in the draft as either or both of Jones and Hawk really are expendable if a better player materializes.

        1. I think Bradford is interested to project at ILB simply because he is physical enough, strong enough, explosive enough, to play Hawk’s position and keep the other LB clean, but he seems to be aggressive and instinctive enough (as well as good at shooting gaps) to play Jones’ position as the tackling machine.

          I mentioned elsewhere that if you put him on the field as one of the ILB positions, Capers could use him to disguise who the “MIKE” is- the first and most important call the offensive line has to determine.

    2. “…because instead of tackling ball carries he runs himself in the soft bellies of the opposing offensive linemen, picks up his helmet and does it again.”

      Because in the two-gap scheme, that’s what Hawk’s assignment is. I’m not defending the play of the defense as a whole or Hawk’s coverage or any of that other stuff, but taking on blockers is what his assignment is in this scheme.

      Now…back to the previous beating…

      1. What Hawk started doing in 2012 is hysterical. After getting dragged for 4 or yards – he brings the guy down. Then he jumps up as fast as he can. Like ” it wasn’t me “.

    3. Dobber gets it.

      Sadly, Joel, you and a great number of Packers fans do not.

      Here’s a quick, two paragraph primer on JACK and MIKE Linebackers (the two, distinct ILB positions in a 3-4 Defense):

      Jack Inside Linebacker: His entire job is to keep the Mike ILB clean; by keeping the Mike clean, the Jack’s sole responsibility is to take on the offensive guards and keep them away from his running mate. He needs to be very strong at the point of attack – a downhill thumper if you will. It’s a dirty and underrated ability, but keep in mind that there’s a reason Rex Ryan made Bart Scott his first big free agent signing. Scott excelled at this job in Baltimore, and he’s now a big part of the Jets’ defensive success, despite the modest statistics.

      Mike Inside Linebacker: This is Ray Lewis in Baltimore. His job is simple: follow his instincts (ed. note: using his peripherals, of course), make plays, and clean up the mess. Ideally, he won’t have to shed blockers because of the Jack, so he can just go hog-wild with attacking the ball carrier and point of attack.


      1. BTW, that’s not my positional break down, that was an excerpt from the first online source I found after googling “3-4 defense linebacker responsibilities”. I believe it was from the Buffalo Bills site.

      2. “Dobber gets it.

        Sadly, Joel, you and a great number of Packers fans do not.”

        The funny part is, my name is actually Joel, also. I’m just not the other Joel.

        OK…maybe not so funny…

    4. did you bump your head hawk was the only part of the defense that was working last year

  8. Let MM take over the defense and have Capers call the Offensive plays. I think I am on to something…

  9. Lot of guys citing bad ILB play, non existent safety play, fat Dline, yada yada as evidence of Caper’s failure. Consider that we only have three guys that the Packers deem worthy to lock into long-term deals tells you something (and we will see if Tramon Williams will survive). If we had a talented defensive squad and they played uninspired or sloppy football, I would won’t type a word in support of Capers

    1. I think the talent is there, but they’re not being prepared or put in a position to succeed. We’ll have to see how things unfold this season.

  10. Chicken or the egg? Is it the fact Dom’s time has passed, his schemes are ridiculoulsy predictable, his players (especially the safeties) are always out of position and the defense, aside from CM, has no fire? Or is it the fact TT has drafted poorly, resigned losers like Hawk, B Jones, Raji and Burnett and avoided talented need filling free agents for the past 10 years like the plague? (aside from Charles) And…….plays it brillianty, panics and spends $10 million a year on Shields?? So, who is it? Combination of the two? Bad coaching, worse GM? No major changes to the debacle d of last year. Peppers at 34? Rookie Ha Ha? Forget the 4 above…….they suck! Perry? Datone? Rookies? In other words, instead of addressing and plugging, it’s yet another year of MM’s declarations, TT’s indiffernce and finger crossing.

    1. To me the defense has two major problems: their names are TT and DC. MM belongs on the list too because DC and Winston Moss are his hand-picked guys that he has long supported.

      Question at Winston Moss HC Interviews:

      So what have you been doing the last 10 years?

      Answer – Coaching up AJ Hawk.

      1. Guys like you don’t want to hear this, but AJ Hawk does the job he is asked to do extremely well.

        Is he a huge playmaker? No, definitely not. But that’s why he’s not in a playmaker roleHe- he’s often asked to soak up any lead blocks not accounted for by the DL so the other LB has a clean lane to make the play on the ball carrier.

        When you understand what Hawk is being asked to do, you start to appreciate that more often than not, he gets his job done.

        This defense is all about being held accountable to your assignment and trusting the other players on your team are accountable to theirs.

        AJ Hawk is a saint taking all the fan heat he gets without calling out the other guys on the field who are failing to get it done.

        1. R U kidding?? He was the the #5 overall pick! He makes plays 6 yards downfield, can’t cover worth a shit and is basically a pile circler. He’s not calling out the other guys for not doing THEIR job? What’s his job? Look busy and lose the helmet? He’s been deemed the great communicator. He stays healty and shows up every Sunday because he doesn’t hit anybody hard enough to get hurt. Actually a very nice family man who just happens to be an extremely mediocre football player. He’s still around for the same reason fat lazy ass Raji’s got resigned. An albino owl top 10 selection!

          1. The reason why AJ “makes plays 6 yards downfield” is because it’s hard to go do someone else’s job when you’ve been doing yours at the LOS.

            There is a problem when people so strongly critique a person’s job when they don’t know what the job responsibilities are.

            In the modern age of internet access, it is very easy to look up the basic information on the 3-4 defense. You can get everything from a general idea of how it works to a very deep, strategic layout of every nuance, check call and adjustment.

            We’re all entitled to our opinions. They become more valid if you take the time to educate yourself before voicing them.

  11. I think the article is spot on. Capers is on the hot seat. I will give him a pass (a bit) for the misery the defense has delivered over the past few seasons because of the injuries. I don’t think any team in the NFL has been affected more than the GB defense. But, Capers has everything he needs and more this year. He must succeed or he will be succeeded.

  12. dom is a great coach if he has vets but dom is a piss poor talent developer . the last 3 years so many guys have been drafted and none of them have been coached and developed to their potential . i honestly dont think dom can develop players. sure he has always been that guy to come to a program and do good a year or two but when the vets get weeded out and younger players comes in his defenses went down hill . dont believe me look at his track record dom has been fired from every job he has had after a few years the same amount of time as it is for rookies to develop and take over. i honestly think this could be he last year of dom at green bay because i dont think he will listen to what mccarthy wants and will continue to use what few vets we have no matter if we have younger talent that can play better

    1. Good insight. Our vets suck and DC is addicted to using them. Makes sense to me.

    2. Dom Capers is the defensive Coordinator. Heavy emphasis on ‘Coordinator’.

      Then there are “Position Coaches”. Emphasis on “COACHES”. Those are the men who take the playbook and direction of the D-CO and make sure the players are trained and proficient in the techniques needed to implement the defense as necessary.

      Position coaches are in charge of developing the talent. If incoming players aren’t reaching their potential, it’s not directly on Dom Capers.. It’s indicative of poor coaching, not coordinating. Now, if the positional coaches aren’t clear on what techniques the players need to implement the defense effective, then we might have a word with the D co about development.

      Food for thought.

  13. Top 12 scoring defense. This coming year, barring only a CM3 serious injury. That’s my opinion/prediction. That will certainly be good enough to put this team over the top. GoPack!

  14. I think someone mentioned it above but Dom’s defense is so predictable and the opposing O-Coordinator can easily defeat the defense. I keep hearing how creative Dom is but it does not show on game day. If he fails to a put a top 15 Defense together this year – he will be gone. IMO two years too late! He will have pieces to work with this year and hopefully the Packers can avoid the injury bug this year for once! If Dom play that ridiculous three man rush on 3rd and long – he should be fired on the spot – 90% of the time they still give up a big play with 8 in coverage. I am excited to see Ha Ha in the mix at Safety and hopefully a couple of the young guys make the jump from year 1 to year 2. I think Peppers will bring the extra element to the Defense and we can get consistent pressure on the QB which make the DBs better. The Defense cannot allow a QB to sit back in the pocket for 5 seconds – i dont care whole you have on the field a QB will pick you apart. ILB play needs to improve or it will be a looong season! – Go Pack Go!!!

    1. PAPA KC,

      The 2013 Green Bay Packers Defensive Efficiency on 3rd down was 38%, good for tied at 17th in the league.

      Sure, plenty of room for improvement, but that’s almost dead-center in the middle of the league. I highly doubt the Packers 3rd and long efficiency is only 10%, as you claim, because that would mean that they were almost perfect in all other 3rd down situations.

      Average is not abysmal. It is Average. They need to improve, but let’s not get crazy.

      1. For added perspective, the best in the league was Detroit with 30%. The worst was Atlanta with 46%.

        Right. in. the. middle.

  15. If Raji, Matthews, Peppers, Perry, D.Jones, Dix and Hawk are playing at the same time this upcoming season(which I would expect to be frequently, barring injury), that would be 7 first round picks out of eleven positions.

    You can make a case they were overdrafted, but most experts at the time they were drafted would say otherwise. Everyone of them had first round grades by most of the GM’s, scouts and draft experts at the time.

    It’s hard for me to believe with seven 1st rounder’s and with two of the highest salaried guys on the team who are not 1st rounders(Tramon & Shields), the defense will suck this year. If so it’s either TT acquired unmotivated players, or Capers schemes have been exposed. It would seem more likely to me to be the latter.

  16. Datone, Worthy, Perry, Daniels, Neal, Hayward, and Hyde are young guys who may surprise this year. Injuries and position changes have held them back but the talent is there for at least most of these guys. Tramone late last year played very well and Shields is still an as sending player. Add in a blue chip rookie safety and an all pro versatile linebacker in Matthews and the D should be able to win a few games this year.

  17. Kris, I’d argue that Julius Peppers is exactly the kind of FA signing that TT goes after.

    It’s not that Peppers is uncharacteristic of what TT goes after, it is simply that these types of players in these circumstances don’t come along frequently.

    Peppers is a guy who is highly talented, probably a guy TT and his scouts had very high grades on coming out of the draft and continued to be high marks in pro scouting, and was released while the scouting dept must have felt he still has juice in the tank.

    They let the market settle, and when the dust cleared, Peppers was still available. There was no bidding war, just negotiations with the player and his agent.

    There is inside history with Peppers via DL Coach Trgovac.

    They reached a contract agreement that was very Packers-friendly, extremely low risk.

    This is exactly the kind of FA dipping TT is all about. It just isn’t often you find players like this that fall into these circumstances. The last ones were… Woodson and Pickett.

    1. For letting the market settle, Peppers signed within 24 hours of being released by Chicago.

      It’s more accurate to say TT doesn’t let markets develop — Pickett in 2006 never got to the next stop on his Free Agency tour either.

      1. The Bears were actively attempting to shop Julius Peppers around the league for about a full week before his release on March 12th.

        The Packers signed Julius Peppers on March 15th, and if I recall, at the time it was noted that nobody made a serious inquiry (that was publicly noted at any rate, I even did a quick search for any articles but came up empty handed) into signing him outside of the Packers.

        Between the Bears unable to find a partner for a week- which indicates the league knew he was on the market- and seemingly no interest when he was released by the Bears (which the league was expecting as a move to avoid a huge cap hit), I feel okay with my statement, although I can see where the argument can be made that it’s not a lot of time that passed by.

        I guess my intent was to convey the Packers weren’t in the thick of a bargaining war for his services.

        1. The Bears were trying to **trade** Peppers, meaning a team would have to give up a draft pick or player in return. no team does that anymore, not when they know the player will be cut due to salary by a certain point.

          1. But that’s the thing. No one came knocking with a serious offer for almost three days after he was cut.

            1. 3 days is one day to field offers, one day to negotiate and decide, and one day to fly to the new job, take a physical and sign.

              That isn’t ‘slow’ at all, especially considering that this year all of those ‘1st’ firs day signings on Marc 11 were able to start talking to other teams on March 8 (if they were going to be true UFAs instead of cuts like Peppers).

              The nominal average pay (10 m per year) is higher than any of the other DE contracts except Greg Hardy’s Franchise tag.

              That is not a ‘cheap, low cost after the market settles’ contract at all. It is fairly cap friendly to the Packers in years 2 and 3 if Peppers doesn’t play any longer, but 50% of the money, Signing bonus + 1st year salary, is effectively guaranteed, which is a lot higher % than many other players got.

              So I can’t agree with your opinion on Peppers’ signing and contract

              1. Money isn’t an issue for the Green Bay Packers. There isn’t an owner who is worried about a profit margin. Every dollar the Packers generate either goes into the community, the bank, or back into football. Their coffers are stuffed.

                Cap space is important to the Packers, it’s the only limiting factor the Packers have to be concerned with when it comes to contracts.

                Julius Peppers’ contract is a no-brainer for the first year to kick the tires for the Packers. They could cut him during training camp and be perfectly fine. Yes, he’s guaranteed in the neighborhood of 7-8 million. However, if he doesn’t work out and the Packers cut bait, it’s only a 3.5m cap hit.

                That’s a Packers-friendly contract. It was well thought out and implemented to mitigate the risk of a 34 year old player who might not still “have it”. It gives the Packers a very safe year to see what he’s got. After one year, the contract becomes more entangled for the Packers. My guess is that if they actually like what they see out of him, they will ask to restructure at the end of this season and front load a rewritten two year deal to give Peppers another large chuck of guaranteed cash up front in bonus and reduce cap hit for the remaining two years which will give them another easy option to bail.

              2. Oppy, your reply doesn’t really contradict anything I said about the Peppers signing. Money per se (as opposed to cap room) may not be all that hard to come up with for GB, but I will bet hard money that getting the second highest yearly average total for any free agent at his position this year was very important to Peppers and his agent.

                So I will continue to think that Peppers’ contract was not a ‘cheap, low cost’ after the market settles’ kind of deal.

                We may wind up just disagreeing on this one.

      2. Ed, I’m not sure about Ryan Pickett. I did some scratching around and I found a message board for the Bills where fans were asking if Pickett had shown up for a tryout yet (around March 13th) it seemed there were conflicting reports as to if he indeed did try out or not.

        However, a fan on that message board posted a link to a Bob McGinn article that stated Pickett visited with the Packers, but left without a contract and headed to Buffalo for a visit.

        All I can confirm is that he did sign with the Packers on the 16th. 😉

        1. Oppy, thanks for looking. My memory is reading something (I think on that Pick never made it to Buffalo, but stopped at a layover and flew back to GB for a physical and contract signing.

          But it is just a memory, the interwebs don’t do so good at keeping details from that far back.

          1. That’s pretty awesome if it went down like that. I wonder what happened at that layover!

    2. Packers friendly? Are you on drugs? If they let him go after year 1 they will have paid him a fortune, almost twice what they gave Shields. Awful deal unless you assume he has 3 great years left in him. Ask the Bears about that. Did anybody hear watch him play last year? Sack total cut in half (7) and not a one came in 2nd half when it matters most. Bears had the worst DL in football last year. That’s why they blew it up.

  18. Look, we’re all armchair GM’s and coaches to some extent. We’re fans, short for FANatics. ‘Nuff said, right?

    However, let’s be realistic. A bunch of us Armchair GM’s and Coaches like to go on about how ‘antiquated’ and ‘predictable’ Dom Capers’ defense is, how easy it is to beat.

    Yet, real world GM’s, Head Coaches, and most importantly, Offensive and Defensive Coordinators, hold the utmost respect for Capers and his defensive philosophies, many going out of their way to state how difficult and challenging it is to go up against Capers because he is going to schematically challenge your offense on every level.

    Perhaps it is time to concede, arm chair GM’s and coaches of the world, that Dom Capers scheme isn’t the problem. That’s not to say Dom isn’t in the hotseat..

    But perhaps the issue isn’t as simple as “He’s predictable”, “His defense hasn’t kept up with the NFL, it’s outdated” or, “3 man rush is bad”.

    While I DO believe TT knows how to run draft and collect talented players, I think an awful lot of stress is placed on Dom Capers, because collecting talented football players doesn’t always equate to drafting players that fit Dom Caper’s defense. Dom is in a situation where McCarthy is asking him to run a ‘multiple’ defensive front because, let’s face it, TT isn’t going to draft a guy who fits the scheme, he’s going to draft a guy who he feels is the most talented player, REGARDLESS of scheme. Look no further than Guys like Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Jerel Worthy.. These aren’t 3-4 linemen. They’re interior pass rushers.

    Yes, Dom took the job and knew the deal, so I guess we should hold him accountable. But all the talk about predictability and ineffectiveness of his scheme? He can’t even run his bread and butter scheme, between mismatch personnel and injury.

    More food for thought.

    1. This is what I’ve thought for a few years now Oppy. It’s possible that Dom and TT just aren’t a great GM/DC combo. Dom wants to mess with opposing OC’s and QB’s heads – well, this also takes a big mental toll on OUR defensive players and coaches. And with TT, the team is ALWAYS going to be in great shape with the cap and ALWAYS going to be young.

      Also, I seem to remember reading awhile back that Dom’s D’s have ALWAYS tailed off after his 2nd year in the position, and that once a team in the division plays Dom a few times, they usually know what’s coming. Perhaps this is the case with every coach though. GB always seems to know what’s coming from Minny and CHI when Lovie was coach….

      Food for thought.

      1. The issue I have with that reasoning (based on Dom’s past defenses) is that it is too convenient, and it doesn’t account for the success he has as well.

        If it’s the same old, same old, anyone could watch old tape and know what’s coming the FIRST time they play Dom.

        Second, nobody seems to appreciate that Dom is half of the force that pioneered the 3-4 zone blitz scheme that Pittsburgh still utilizes. It’s nearly the exact same stuff. Dick Lebeau has further honed some man/zone coverage principles in it, but it’s still the same general defense.

        Kevin Greene owes a portion of his HOF numbers and success to Dom Capers’ scheme.

        1. Summed up, Correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

          I know the fanbase and the bloggers jumped all over Dom’s 3-and-out history, but it always seemed like a lazy analysis and doesn’t sit right with me. Perhaps one day I’ll muster up the fortitude to dig a little deeper into those stints and see if there were other things happening or not.

  19. It appears that MM is pushing Dom to implement a more attacking form of the 3-4, one in which dlineman try to split gaps rather than just eat up blockers. We need more disruption along the front, which in turn should create more turnovers.

  20. I think Capers has lost it, I mean his schemes only seem to work against inferior QB’s or terrible offensive line groups. He makes Kaepernick look like Joe Montana and Anquan Boldin look like Calvin Johnson, look how they faired the rest of the year. That was week 1 with everyone healthy so no excuses. Time and time again Capers doesn’t take away the other teams bread and butter. the end.

  21. In general, I don’t understand all the fan hubbub about the supposedly new and upcoming “Multiple/Hybrid defense” and the addition of the exotic “Elephant” position.

    There is literally nothing new in either of these things. Capers D in GB has always been a multiple front. It has always been somewhat of a hybrid. There has been Elephant.

    The only new thing is the PR emphasis.

    1. Well, and new players that actually fit the position at Elephant (Peppers) OLB (Bradford) and, most important, attacking DL (+Thornton, – Pickett and Wilson, a lot of addition by subtraction) there.

      Could they have done better, maybe.

      Will it work? We’ll see.

      1. We’ve had Kampman, Perry, Neal, Jeremy Thompson, Cullen Jenkins- all could play the 3-4 OLB who is a little closer to the DE side..

        And we’ve been adding(or had) interior pass rushers along the line who aren’t really 3-4 guys for years. Daniels, Neal, Raji(arguably), Wynn, Worthy, D. Jones, Corey Williams.

        Thorton really isn’t a spectacular change in terms of “attacking” than what the Packers have tried to acquire for years. It could be argued that he’s actually closer to a 3-4 skill set coming into the NFL than most, because he was constantly taking on double teams.

        Julius Peppers, of course, is an entirely different beast, simply because of his freakish athleticism. You really can’t compare Peppers to any other athlete in football, at least not when he was young. Even at his age, there are things his is capable of that no one else is. Let’s hope he’s still got gas in the tank!

        1. *’Elephant’ is basically, IMO, nothing more than a 3-4 OLB who’s closer to the DE measurements than the LB measurements. A ‘large tweener’, so to speak.

  22. People bitch that the D is too simple and easy for opponents to figure out, and then turn around and bitch that it’s too complicated for our rookies to learn. Which one is it? Injuries. Say it with me “injuries” – they force you to limit and or change what you do. You can’t expect rookies who were intended to be special teams players to execute the way your better players would. If we stay reasonably healthy, this defense (and dom’s scheme) will be fine. GoPack!

    1. Voice of reason.

      I do think we need urgently needed safety help. Got it.

      Could stand to upgrade elsewhere, but it’s not critical.

      Injuries killed this defense last season.

  23. BAD DEFENSE inferior 3-4 defensive lineman, lack of talent and playmaking in the LB group. I don’t think the safety position is to blame even though it has also been below average since Nick Collins got injured. Hard to be an elite 3-4 defense when you only have one above average linebacker in my opinion.

    1. I agree, I think between a lack of aggressively finding top-tier talent for OLB, and some serious bad luck with injuries, our base defense has struggled due to a hole at OLB opposite Clay.

      I think Jeremy Thompson could have been a solution, I think while he was slow to convert, the injury came as the light switch was starting to flip.. And I also feel that Perry, who was showing awesome production last year until breaking his foot (which he played through for a game, IIRC) also was clearly starting to be the playmaker needed at OLB before his season folded.

      I have no issues with converting tweener DEs to 3-4 OLBS- it takes the right player and its projection but it is fairly standard operation for 3-4 teams- but I do feel like the Packers have tried to do so with less-than-top tier talent many times over the years.

      I think they would do better if they found more productive tweener-type DEs to convert, rather than just pure physical specimens who weren’t necessarily overtly productive collegiate DEs.

      Bradford looks promising perhap outside or inside. excited about him.

  24. We all have our opinion as to why our defense sucks. No point in getting too riled up because there is nothing we can about it now for 2014. The cake is in the oven. Let’s all watch what happens. But if we have another bad year I want everybody’s head from TT on down.

    1. You’re nuts. First of all, unless we go 2-14 (which isn’t happening), MM is completely safe. Ditto TT. If we fired TT/MM, about 25 teams would snap them up in an instant.

      Now Dom? Probably only 10 teams would snap him up. (IMO) The coaching staff on D is well thought of down the line. Ditto on O, with the possible exception of Campen.

      Almost every single member of our front office and coaching staff would have a job – very quickly – if they were fired.

      It is said that the more people want you the better you are… If true, we really do have it better than at least 28 out of the 32 franchises currently.

      Archie – are you as unhappy in your “real” life as you are on these boards? Cause if so – man I pity you.

        1. While I have butted heads with Archie on a number of occasions, that last post he specifically says “let’s not get too riled up about it”. While I don’t agree with his opinion of firing everyone, I appreciate his take about “the cake is in the oven, let’s just watch what happens”. That’s all we can do at this point. GoPack!

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