A new defensive coordinator was atop most of Packer nation’s christmas lists this holiday season. Dom Capers has been the butt of a lot of jokes when the defense struggles and missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years won’t help. Capers’ approach is outdated and the personnel he has is not responding to the schemes he’s implemented. Dedicating another draft to the defense clearly is not going to work for GM Ted Thompson. Capers’ time in Green Bay has run its course and now it is time for change.
Maybe Mike McCarthy has kept his ear to the ground this time. His offseason agenda officially started last week once the Packers were officially eliminated from playoff contention. “I think you have to make sure you look at everything, and be direct and honest and keep the emotion out of it. I think having two weeks to think about it will take the emotion out of it,” McCarthy said.
We all hope there will be no emotion towards keeping Capers who has been by McCarthy’s side for the last nine seasons. There is no denying that defense has held Green Bay back from winning more Championships over this tenure.
The 2017 Green Bay defense looks a lot like it did before Capers arrived. Ranked in the low 20s and allowing over 330 yards per game. Under Capers, the defense has finished in the top-10 in total defense twice (2009,2010). The last time they were even close was 2012 (11th). Since then its been: 25th, 15th, 15th, 22nd, and now 22nd once again.
You can attempt to argue that the talent at his disposal has been lacking, however there are key examples to dispute that. Micah Hyde is now a pro-bowl safety for the Buffalo Bills. Last offseason he tweeted that the Packers never even contacted him about coming back. Chargers corner Casey Hayward was just named to his second pro bowl in 2017. Since leaving the Packers he has made 11 interceptions in two years (so far) and is now widely considered to be a shut down corner.
Hayward tweeted out this not-so-subtle jab at Capers after Hyde’s pro bowl announcement:
Super happy for my brother @micah_hyde I'm proud of you bro. I guess we will be teammates once again lol. I'm glad you get to show your true skills with the Bills. love you bro.
— Casey Hayward (@show_case29) December 20, 2017
When former players are calling you out, it is safe to say that the environment you have created is toxic. There are a number of ways the Packers can go in replacing Capers, but here are my top choices of who they should consider.
- Perry Fewell- Fewell is currently the defensive backs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The most shutdown defense in the NFL. They are second in the league with 21 interceptions as a team, which almost doubles Green Bay’s 11. The Packers need to get back to generating more turnovers. Fewell was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants from 2010-2014. His defense was a key reason they upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. As a coordinator his defenses finished third in the NFL in interceptions in 2012 and sixth in 2011. Fewell would implement a 4-3 base defense that could help emphasize one of the Packers lone strengths on defense. The defensive line.
- Carnell Lake- Lake has been the defensive backs coach of the Steelers since 2011. It is now evident that he is ready to take the next step. Pittsburgh’s secondary under his tutelage surrendered the least amount of yards per game his first two seasons. This season, Pittsburgh ranks fourth in total defense and fifth against the pass. Lake was a five-time pro-bowler during the 1990s as a defensive back. He would be able to relate to the modern-day player much better than a 67 year old Capers.
- Brent Venables- Rarely do I commend college guys, but Venables is something else. This guy has the fire to coach on the NFL level. His defenses at Clemson have been ridiculous and helped make him the second highest paid assistant in college football. Of late, his defenses have been on a tear ranking 8th in 2017, 15th in 2016, 13th in 2015, and 1st in 2014. If McCarthy is serious about change, then he may want to go big and bring in a guy like Venables.
Other names to consider:
Josh Boyer- Cornerbacks coach of the New England Patriots
Nick Rapone- Defensive backs coach for the Arizona Cardinals
Darion Hobby- Defensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.