The 2017 Packers are Dead

At this exact moment, the Packers are statistically alive to make the post season. We have humored ourselves enough. The 2017 season is over. It was over once Rodgers and his clavicle slammed against the artificial turf at what could have been the site of their 5th Lombardi Trophy. Even had that not happened, would the Packers still be a true Super Bowl contender? The answer is no. Not with the defensive scheme that should have have been scrapped five years ago.

Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. That same thing, of course, is a Dom Capers defense. As has been detailed previously, the 2010 championship was made possible by a defense with over half its players performing at all-pro levels, led by Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. Since then, it has been gashed, year after year, at the expense of one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Aaron Rodgers is in the twilight of his prime, possibly even at the end of it. It has been trashed by a subpar defensive scheme with nary an adjustment made.

Green Bay has the talent on defensive to support a hall of fame quarterback. They don’t have an overabundance, but they have enough to be serviceable. The problem, as always, is the excruciating lack of placing the talent in positions to exceed.

The depth at defensive line is there.

The depth in the secondary is there. This seems controversial, but when everyone is healthy, this unit has the talent to succeed. It’s why they let their #1 corner from last postseason, LaDarius Gunter, walk in the beginning of the season. Injuries and a soft zone scheme put the unit at a perpetual disadvantage, rendering the talent level moot.

The inside linebacking corps is servicable. More help is needed for rushing the passer, obviously. That can be accomplished by a free agent acquisition (LOL), or striking gold in the draft.

The following needs to happen in the offseason in order to avoid the same result.

 

  1. Fire Capers
  2. Hire Capers, and then fire him immediatelyagain to repeat the wonderful feeling of firing him
  3. Cut Randall Cobb. He has zero breakaway speed anymore and is eating way too much salary cap.
  4. Cut Clay Matthews. He has underperformed since the last CBA in 2011 with no drug testing requirements. He juiced his first two years in the leauge; it’s so obvious.
  5. Consider switching back to a 4-3 base. The interior line depth is certainly available. The pass rush at LB for a 3-4 is severely lacking. Put the studs (Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark) in better position to punish the quarterback.

These steps are just a start. The season is over. Maybe they can play spoiler against the Vikings or something. Other than that, shut Rodgers down and tank for a better draft pick. The same ol’ routine ain’t working.

 

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John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.

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  • Old School

    Well, John…..

    I attended UWEC, too, back in the day, but I don’t think that’s the reason I agree with most of what you’ve said. I arrived at the same decision regarding Capers some time ago.

    Here’s the deal: We have Aaron Rodgers under contract for one more year, and if we decide to ride him for another 5 years then we should put the pieces on offense out there and just count on a 35 ppg o-ffense to carry us to the Super Bowl.

    You have to resign yourself to the notion that the 25 defensive players that you keep on the 53 are going to have to be mostly rookie contract guys, and UDFAs, because the money is going to mostly be spent on Aaron Rodgers, weapons, and protection.

    That means a simple, uncomplicated, defensive scheme that focuses on players that can win 1-on-1 matchups. Fortunately, we have some of those guys already. But Capers multi-blitz-create-confusion scheme is not a good match for young players, and the only people we’re confusing is ourselves. Against Carolina, we had a rookie (Jones) split out wide covering a WR near the goal line. Does anybody think that’s the matchup we want?

    We desperately need guys who can cover. King shows some promise….we’ll see what happens next year. Randall, IMO, lacks courage in the run game. House is the frequently-injured guy he’s always been. Hawkins should be released but we can’t because he’s the best we have right now.

    I agree that Matthews and Cobb have been overpaid, and we can save quite a bit of money by parting company this offseason. Additionally, you have to wonder how Montgomery would do in Cobb’s role.

    I also like the 4-3 idea. Rush with four and cover with 7. Put two of those seven on the biggest threat and make somebody else beat you. But I’d keep more defensive linemen on the roster and rotate them throughout the game so we’d have a fresher pass rush in the 4th quarter.

    Two other guys that we’ll have to make decisions on are Bryan Bulaga and HaHa. Bulaga is set to score about $6 million and that’s a lot to pay for a backup and you have to wonder if he’s reliable enough to be your starter. I don’t think he is. But if we’re spending our money on offense, then I’d try to rework his deal and keep him on as a backup at both tackle spots.

    .

    linton-Dix has shown some great flashes, but at the end of the day, if we’ve made the decision to ride Rodgers then we have to replace Dix with somebody cheaper.

    The other option is that we have a firesale and trade up to draft another future HOF QB. I mean think about it…..we’re in the same spot now that we were when Thompson came here in January of 2005. We have a future HOF QB backed up by nothing.

    Personally, I’m kind of in favor of that. Having grown up during the Starr years and having watched Dickey, Favre, and Rodgers, I’ve come to appreciate the advantage that a good QB brings.

    I know the old canard that “Defense wins Championships”. It’s true. It’s also true that offense wins championships, and I could put to quite a few examples of that. We have a rare, rare individual in Rodgers and that’s our best shot at a Super Bowl in the next 5 years.

  • dennis

    UWEC, 72 grad, so? Agree with Clay. Let Perry go, injury factory. Reduce Cobb, Nelson salary. 4/3 and 3/4 don’t exist anymore. Defenses are hybrids of both. We need trash removal of Capers first, then MM and TT. Old, deoxygenated blood!