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.
- Fire Capers
- Hire Capers, and then fire him immediatelyagain to repeat the wonderful feeling of firing him
- Cut Randall Cobb. He has zero breakaway speed anymore and is eating way too much salary cap.
- 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.
- 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.
________________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.