A New Defensive Coordinator… Finally!
Things have been a bit strange in Titletown these past few weeks as Coach Mike McCarthy pursued a new Defensive Coordinator. Mike Nolan and Gregg Williams were reportedly offered the position but instead chose to take positions with the Denver Broncos and the New Orleans Saints respectively.
But on Sunday night word was released that the Packers had come to an agreement with veteran NFL coach Dom Capers to take the position. Capers was formerly the head coach for the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Texans and a Defensive Coordinator with three other NFL teams. He is 58 years old and has extensive experience running the 3 linemen, 4 linebackers scheme. His selection almost certainly means that the Packers will convert to the 3 – 4 this year. The choice of Capers seems to be a sensible, safe selection for McCarthy. Given the Packers’ current situation, bringing in a seasoned coach makes a lot more sense than selecting someone without NFL Defensive Coordinator experience.
Cheeseheads might think that any coaching job at 1265 Lombardi Avenue would be the Nirvana of any coaching experience, but coaches on the outside looking at the Packers’ situation right now just might have a different take. If the Packers don’t improve next season on the dismal 6 – 10 record in 2008, both McCarthy and Ted Thompson will be in danger of being fired and that just might take out the Defensive Coordinator as well. NFL coaches are very well paid, but public school teacher tenure they do not have. Younger coaches like Nolan and Williams may have had such thoughts when considering taking the Green Bay position, but at his age Capers is the perfect fit. I suspect the Packers will pay Capers handsomely and hopefully he will be worth every penny.
On another front, the Packers quietly promoted Shawn Slocum to special-teams coach this past week. Slocum served as the Packers’ assistant special-teams coach for the past three seasons. The promotion seems a bit strange as the play of the special teams last year was pathetic. Slocum will replace Mike Stock who was apparently forced into retirement after the season ended.
Special teams account for just about 33% of the plays that typically occur in an NFL contest. Therefore their importance almost puts them on par with the offense and the defense. I don’t know that Slocum is a good or a bad coach, but to promote an assistant to this position seems unwarranted given the poor level of special team play last year. Slocum only has two years of NFL experience, those being the past two years as a Packer assistant. Kind of a head-scratcher it seems to me.
On the play-off front, the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers advance to the Super Bowl. It should be a great matchup with Arizona’s high-octane aerial attack versus the tough iron-curtain Steeler defense. It will be the Cardinals’ first appearance in a Super Bowl and I am sure they will be a heavy underdog against the Steelers.
Talk back! Tell us what you think of this year’s teams. What would you do if you were in charge?
Go to winonapost.com, click on Football Forum to discuss this year’s season.