Notebook: Capers defends 4th-quarter strategy

Tom Silverstein
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers

GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said he wasn’t happy with way things went in the fourth quarter against Chicago, but he said it was wrong to characterize the failures as a result of sitting back in coverage once the Packers had a lead.

The Packers did play a lot of zone in their secondary and as a result, Bears quarterback Matt Barkley was able to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter by throwing lots of short, easy completions. It seemed like Capers took his foot off the gas and started playing the clock when the Packers got ahead, 27-10.

But Capers said when he got aggressive, the Bears beat that, too.

“The problem is if nothing's working so that's when you have an issue,” Capers said. “But you go through stretches like that in a game where you're searching, you're trying to find something to make a play to get things turned around.”

Capers said things turned quickly in Chicago’s favor and turning to the blitz didn’t work.

“I felt really good about the way things were going there and then all a sudden, it's a play here, it's a play there, we get a roughing-the-passer penalty,” Capers said of the drive that ended in Jordan Howard’s 9-yard touchdown run that made it, 27-24. “We blitz, give up a touchdown on the blitz and yet we came back to the blitz.

“I mean we ran our red-zone blitz three times in that game, the last two snaps (of Chicago’s final drive) to make plays.”

Full go: A week after sitting out the two biggest practices of the week with a sore calf muscle, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was a full participant in practice Wednesday.

“It certainly helps,” offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said of Rodgers being back. “Some plays (he) can operate and play without taking the entire number of reps and still be ready to go play. But it certainly helps as far as maybe the other guys, and that’s what it’s really all about, it’s about the teammates, everybody being on the same page and in sync.”

Guards T.J. Lang (foot/back) and Lane Taylor (hip) both were limited participants after getting hurt late in the Bears game. Cornerback Damarious Randall was off the injury report for his groin but back on it for a shoulder.

Among those who did not participate in practice for the Vikings were receiver Stefon Diggs (hip), guard Brandon Fusco (concussion), running back Adrian Peterson (knee), safety Harrison Smith (ankle) and receiver Laquon Treadwell (ankle).

New receiver: The Packers signed receiver Max McCaffrey to the practice squad on Tuesday.

The 6-2, 200-pound McCaffrey, entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders.  He was released after training camp. In 53 games with Duke, he caught 117 passes for 1,341 yards (11.5 average) and 12 touchdowns.

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