My column earlier this week (http://pck.rs/1ceZfFV) defending Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers generated a fair number of detractors, and today we will offer a sampling from that crowd as well as my responses.
I must strongly disagree with you on your assessment that Capers isn't the problem. All teams have about the same amount of talent. Look at how many college football players there are and how few of them make it to the NFL. You can't tell me that GM's can't see who has the talent to make it in pro football and who won't.
The difference between the winning teams and the rest is the coaching staffs. You need the good teachers/coaches to get the player to play to his potential.
Remember the old saying that if a person doesn't read history, they are doomed to repeat it. Look at Capers history as a coach. His first 2-3 years, his teams or units are ascending, after that it is a continual downhill ride. It's happened everywhere he's gone.
Another history lesson. When you have players defending a coach as strongly as they are about Capers. It's a good indication they have it too easy. Why are the same mistakes happening over and over? They're not being held accountable for their mistakes.
Another coach who has to go is James Campen. Look what the Patriots did this year. They went from a passing team to a running team, and a good running team. How do you think that happened. They have a good offensive line coach/teacher. He taught his men well on how to run block. The Patriots certainly didn't go out and draft 5 new offensive linemen.
McCarthy is too loyal at times. My prediction is if McCarthy doesn't do something about Capers, he's never going to make it to another Super Bowl. I hope I'm wrong. I hope someone tells him to study history.
The fact is, evaluating players coming out of college is a crapshoot. History tells us that GMs that hit on even half of their draft picks are doing well. Former Packers GM Ron Wolf used to say if you hit on one of three draft picks it was a success. Drafting players is an inexact science. Thatís why so many first-round draft choices are busts.
Overall, Ted Thompson has proven to be a good draft evaluator, but in recent years he has swung and missed too many times on defensive players, and the Packers are suffering the consequences. I believe Capers has been given too little talent to work with.
I donít think your evaluation of offensive line coach James Campen is accurate, either. Josh Sitton is a Pro Bowl-caliber guard. David Bakhtiari played pretty well for a rookie at left tackle, an NFL hot seat if ever there was one. Evan Dietrich-Smith has shown improvement. I happen to think the line as a whole did all right, considering it lost Bryan Bulaga in training camp. The Packers offense finished No. 3 in the NFL this season with Aaron Rodgers missing half the year, and Eddie Lacy made the Pro Bowl. The offensive line had to be doing something right for those things to occur.
Mike, after reading your article about Dom Capers Iíve come to two distinct realizations.
1) You have little football knowledge about what happened this season. The excuse you give was that Capers had nobody to play defense, what was the reason the last two years? The last three years Capers finished in the bottom third of defense in the league and they did not have the degree of injuries then. They also were banged up the year they won the Super Bowl, so saying players are the reason is, letís be honest, bull-crap. The secondary was consistently out of position this year, the linebackers were too quick rush the line and try and plug the run gaps and the DL isnít tough. So with that you can say maybe it was the players, but you need to look deeper into this situation. Are there any other teams that have this same situation? Yes, the NE Patriots have a hodge-podge defense, but they are able to make plays because of COACHING. Coaching is what makes teams with okay players, great. If Capersí scheme so complex that his players are always in the wrong spot then maybe Dom should simply it so his players can perform on the field. That is coaching. Letís also be honest, if the Packers would of played SF in San Francisco or a neutral site the Packers would of lost by 14 points or more. If anything the bad weather allowed Capers to keep his job. Are you prepared to defend Dom next year when they finish in the bottom third of defense again??? With Dom as DC the Packers will only be happy with division crowns and one home playoff game. #oneanddone
So this brings me to my second point. Why does the Packers press always have a tendency to defend the team in wake of such glaring mistakes??? The reason I have come up with is, is that with the unbelievable access to the team, the press gives the team a pass on the hard questions in fear of losing access to the team for the inside scoop. Thatís it, you are scared of asking and pressing the hard issues with the Packers, because you fear being blackballed and not allow access to the players, coaches and facility. It has to be the only reason. When Rodgers got hurt against the Bears, in McCarthyís post-game press conference, McCarthy started out saying Rodgers was hurt we wonít know until tomorrow, blah blah, but you knuckleheads spent the next 10 minutes asking stupid questions about Rodgers even though MM just said the team will not know anything until the next day, duh! Why didnít you ask the question, ďDo you think that Ted Thompson adequately planned for the scenario of a back-up quarterback needing to play?Ē When asked if Dom Capers is coming back next season, MM said yes. Why would the follow-up question be, ďDomís defense has finished in the bottom third the last three years, do you really think itís the players or perhaps a new scheme is needed to stop teams like SF, Seattle and Carolina?Ē Does Rex Ryan not get hammered with tough questions from the New York press? Maybe you guys should grow some backbone and not be afraid to press the Packers on the tough questions for fear of getting shunned.
Also what qualifications do you have about football, have you played or coached at any level or did your degree in journalism come with an interim class on sports?
I have no problem with readers like you that disagree with my opinions. But instead of making thoughtful arguments to back up your point of view, you get sidetracked with silly conspiracy theories.
For the record, I played high school football, but so what? Are you suggesting that someone who didnít coach or play the game is unqualified to write about football? With that twisted logic, you must also believe that women cannot cover football because they never played the game, and that no one can offer an opinion on medical treatment unless they have a degree in medicine.
As for referring to media members that cover the Packers ďknuckleheads,Ē weíve been called much worse, so Iíll take that as a compliment. The media members who cover the Packers as a group are well informed and knowledgeable. Iíve spoken to people who have observed how media members cover teams in New York, for example, and have heard itís a myth that coaches and players are grilled and skewered in the Big Apple and get off easy in Green Bay. Your argument that I wonít criticize the Packers because I fear losing access is nonsensical. How would that explain why I criticized GM Ted Thompson for failing to supply his defense with enough talent? The fact is, I call it like I see it, and in this case, Capers hasnít been given enough talent to work with.
I have no horse in this race, and Capers keeping his job wonít benefit me in the least. My job is to analyze the situation and provide my take.
You claim that the Packers overcame injuries in 2010 and compare it to this season. The fact is, in 2010 the Packers had a healthy Clay Matthews, plus two other prime playmakers on defense: Charles Woodson and Nick Collins. They didnít have players the caliber of Woodson and Collins on the roster this season, plain and simple.
And I must correct you on making the claim the Packers were in the bottom third on defense the last three years. In fact, the Packers ranked No. 11 in defense last season.
The Packers donít need a new coordinator -- what they really must have is an infusion of defensive talent???? Mike, are you serious? Count the picks Raji 1, Matthews 1, Hawk 1, Jones 1, Perry 1 Worthy 2, the list goes on!
The problem is the 3-4 giving up all those double teams and then not run blitzing behind it and then dropping 8 or even 9 guys into coverage. A.J. Hawk covering wide receivers 15 yards down field.
It is the scheme. I say a base 4-3 is the answer and a coach like Kevin Green that is on the field. No disrespect to Dom, but he is too fancy, too much thinking by the players on the next play call! They have the talent it is the scheme.
I remember Bill Cowher saying if I didn't get pressure rushing 3 I would send 4 then 5 then 6 and then 7. Dom won't do this.
Of the six high draft picks you listed, five of them could be considered average to below average players, with only Clay Matthews rising above that level. The jury is still out on Datone Jones, Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy, but so far their contributions havenít been plentiful. I think you help make my argument that the talent of the players Dom Capers has to work with is lacking. Just because the Packers invested high draft picks on a lot of players doesnít mean theyíre good. Ted Thompson has missed on too many of his high defensive picks.