The Green Bay Packers are an organization built on toughness, class and a desire to win. The organization tries to build a successful team and wants the tradition of winning to be installed into every player that steps foot inside that locker room. The same is said about the coaching staff. This year, Dom Capers is the man to look at.
Capers has been the defensive coordinator for the Packers for five years now, and many of the fans are on the fence about whether or not he should stay or go after this season.
Last season, the Packers were simply abysmal on defense. Forget all the injuries they had, there is no excuse for the lack of production by the defense and the blame has to start at the top. In 2012, the Packers’ defense was 29th in the NFL in points allowed with an average of 34.0 points per game and 31st in the league in yards allowed with an alarming average of 494.0 yards per game. Those numbers are simply inexcusable and will never put your team in a position to win a championship.
On top of the horrific regular season numbers, Capers had to face a barrage of questions during the offseason about the beat down the Packers received at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers and specifically, Colin Kaepernick last year in the Divisional Playoff round. Many players on the defense were critical of Capers and said they never practiced against the option offense and were simply confused and overmatched.
To Capers’ credit, however, he took the time in the offseason and visited Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin to learn about defending the read option. His studying paid off in week one as the Packers held the 49ers to just 90 yards on the ground but allowed 412 in the air. Thus raising the next question, “what do you do with the secondary?”
In Week 2 vs the Washington Redskins, the defense played much better. They stymied the Redskins’ offense, shutting them out in the entire first half. The defense recorded a sack and interception of Robert Griffin III and for the most part played a prevent the entire second half with the game in hand.
This entire season, the Packers will be tested on defense. They lost veteran defensive back Charles Woodson to the Oakland Raiders and have question marks in the secondary because of health concerns. Cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward both are dealing with nagging injuries, and the Packers must rely on a pass rush that includes players such as Nick Perry (coming off a lost 2012 due to injury), rookie Datone Jones and of course the animal that is Clay Matthews if they hope to be successful.
Only time will tell if this defense can become the defense they were during their Super Bowl run in 2009. One thing is for sure; if they don’t step up, Capers may be on the coaches free agent list come February.