Our Most Important Free Agent
Last Updated on Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00 Written by John Rehor Wednesday, 10 November 2010 23:16
Think back to the offseason of 2008. The Packers were coming off a disastrous 6-10 season, one year after advancing to the NFC Championship Game. The defense, which had been led by the oft maligned Bob Sanders, was seen as the biggest culprit for the drop in the standings. The house cleaning which took place led to the biggest free agent splash Ted Thompson had made this side of Charles Woodson, one which has reaped benefits since January 19, 2009.
Enter Dom Capers, the mad scientist designed to reinvigorate the Green Bay defense.
Since Capers was hired, he has led the Packers to a Number Two overall ranking in 2009, leading the league in rushing defense in the process while implementing the 3-4, blitz heavy scheme he has been known for. Charles Woodson earned the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Clay Matthews was unleashed on the league, earning a Pro Bowl berth as a rookie after his 10 sack premiere. The Green Bay defense was back.
2010, Year Two in the 3-4 scheme, has yielded similar results. The defense is currently ranked number two in points per game (15.9), leads the NFL in interceptions with 14, and leads the league in sacks with 28. Despite the rush defense slipping from 83.3 YPG to 114.2 YPG, the defense has held in the most important category, points allowed. Decimated by injuries to starters Nick Barnett, Morgan Burnett, Brad Jones, and Mike Neal, Capers has used spit and glue to keep his defense in one piece with a great use of substitutions and scheme alterations to keep the Packers in every game this year while the offense has struggled to find an identity.
This is what makes Capers an appealing Head Coach candidate after this season. He has added to his already impressive resume with his latest stint in Green Bay.
Keep in mind that Capers has stated that he has no interest in being a Head Coach again and would like to remain a Defensive Coordinator. That will not stop his name from entering rumor central once the offseason begins, simply because he has a history of being able to lead teams to success:
- 1995-98 Head Coach Carolina Panthers, led team to NFC Championship game in second year of existence
- 1999-2000-Defensive Coordinator Jacksonville Jaguars. Team improved from 25th overall in 1998 to 4th overall in 1999
- 2001-2005-Head Coach Houston Texans. Only coach to lead two different expansion franchises
- 2006-Defensive Coordinator Miami Dolphins. Improved overall defense to 4th overall in 2006
Head Coaching experience along with proven defensive mastery. Seems like an attractive possibility to teams suffering disastrous seasons. Dallas comes to mind, as does the 49ers, both of whom are in need of a serious change of direction, something Capers could offer.
I certainly hope that when the rumors start Capers realizes that he is best at running a defense, not leading an entire team. Having mild success as a Head Coach may be just the motivation he needs to give it one more go, to add to his already impressive stat line.
Let's hope the Packers are able to hold onto their biggest free agent once the season is done.