By Shereen Siewert/Editor, Wausau Pilot & Review
After a dismal season that saw the Green Bay Packers defense finish outside the top 15 overall for the sixth time in seven years, Coach Mike McCarthy could be finally poised to make a change in the defensive coaching staff, ESPN reports.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who has been with the team since 2009, could be out as early as Monday, according to multiple sources within the NFL.
It’s about time.
If the team doesn’t improve from its current 22nd overall defensive ranking after today’s season finale at Detroit, it will be the fourth time in in seven years when they’ve finished in the bottom third of the NFL, including a dead last ranking in 2011.
And Capers hasn’t fielded a defense ranked in the top 10 since the Super Bowl season of 2010, when it was fifth.
Capers ouster is a near-certainty. But questions remain over whether McCarthy himself should be held accountable for the team’s failures. Peter Bukowski, a sports journalist with SB Nation, wrote:
“McCarthy’s failings — the absurd conservatism of the 2014 NFC Championship game, the offensive disaster in 2015 and most of 2016, the failure to develop Brett Hundley yet insisting he would be good etc. — should make him more vulnerable to this question that ever. At a certain point, McCarthy’s inaction with Capers reflects his own inability to be adaptive or creative. Another failed season. The worst situational defense in football. Offensive dysfunction.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
Certainly, Aaron Rodgers devastating injury revealed much about the kind of coach McCarthy is. If McCarthy was truly an offensive wizard who helped Rodgers draw up his plays, then he should have been able to at least make Brett Hundley serviceable.
With every down that the Packers have spent without Aaron Rodgers, it became increasingly clear that he has sustained success in little part because of the organization, but in spite of it. Everybody, from the players to Mike McCarthy to Ted Thompson to Mark Murphy, should be embarrassed.
Sure, it’s only a game, right? But the team’s failures have a widespread economic effect on the Green Bay area and throughout Wisconsin, where hotels, restaurants, and taverns will certainly miss the team’s $15 million-per-game impact by missing the postseason and turning the last few games into matchups as meaningless as preseason scrimmages.
The team’s performance this season should really make everyone call into question whether the right people are in charge.