It seems that every offseason the question is asked whether defensive coordinator Dom Capers should keep his job. Yet, every time head coach Mike McCarthy is posed with this question, he pleads an unyielding loyalty to Capers. This loyalty is understandable, and if you look at the New England Patriots and consider their prolonged success, it is not difficult to understand how keeping a coaching staff together can help team performance. It is pretty obvious that this must be what McCarthy is trying to replicate, since the performance of Capers’ defenses have been less than outstanding over the last couple of years.
This leaves Mike McCarthy in a predicament. He likely recognizes that improvements are needed from the defense, but should he risk losing the continuity of the staff and the players by firing Capers? If he does decide to fire him and a new coordinator is brought in, the players would need to learn new defensive terminology and a new playbook. This would result in an adjustment period, and it would take some time for the players to get acclimated to the changes. It is a difficult decision, and McCarthy must think long and hard about whether it is worth losing Capers’ system that the players are already familiar with.
Despite this, it is time to let Dom Capers go.
Despite having some good defensive players, the Packers’ defense has been average, at best, during Capers’ tenure. During Capers’ time in Green Bay, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Clay Matthews, and Julius Peppers have all made the Pro Bowl. This year, their best defensive player is Blake Martinez, who is the team’s leading tackler. They also brought in cornerback Davon House, and drafted impactful defensive players early in this past draft to shore up defensive holes. Despite having an abundance of talent, Capers’ defenses rank in the middle of the pack, no pun intended, in nearly every major defensive statistics. This is simply not good enough for the fans, and is definitely not good enough for Aaron Rodgers.
It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So as Packer fans why should we be satisfied with the consistent mediocrity that we see every year from a Dom Capers defense? Aaron Rodgers is already 33 years old, and with him we have only won one Super Bowl. With Rodgers getting older, the championship window will begin to close in the coming years.
Could you even consider two total Super Bowl victories a success, while Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre were playing quarterback? Sure, making the playoffs every year is cool, but having a good quarterback can accomplish this most years. In the case of the Packers, we have had two of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time under center, and have had very little to show for it.
Consider the Patriots again for a second, the reason they win so many big games is because they have a defense that is capable of carrying a team if Tom Brady were ever get injured. This has never been the case for the Packers, and the way that the team has fallen apart this season after Rodgers broke his collarbone confirms this.
When Rodgers went down, the defense should have been expected to pick up the load and perform better for the offense, however, this has not happened, and the defense has allowed 26 points, 30 points, 16 points and 23 points since the Rodgers injury. This blame falls directly on the defensive coordinator. In fact, the Packers’ defense has been mostly healthy this season (which has often been used as an excuse to defend Capers’ poor defenses), yet the results have still been mediocre. This confirms that something needs to be changed.
One can wonder if winning only two Super Bowl are enough, while the Patriots have won five Super Bowls under Tom Brady’s tutelage. Because of this, the question persists, are the Packers truly maximizing the Aaron Rodgers era? If one were to think objectively about this, the answer to that question is no. As a result, some changes need to be made. These changes can start with firing defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Despite being the longest tenured defensive coordinator in football, the results of his defenses have not been great lately, and as a result, has not justified him keeping his position as coordinator in the future. There is talent on the defense, and if a new coach is brought in it will help them play up to their potential, which Dom Capers routinely struggled to do. With that said, improvements in the defense will go a long way in making the most out of the Aaron Rodgers era.