Lions’ Thanksgiving trouncing over Packers indicates it is time for McCarthy and Thompson to reevaluate how to reverse this team’s trajectory to darkness.
I am 23 years old. I have watched the Green Bay Packers since I’ve been old enough to grasp a football game and rarely have missed a game. In that span, I cannot think of a more depressing and uninspired effort as this one. After today’s Thanksgiving trouncing featuring a Lions beat down of the Packers 40-10, it is time for Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson to seriously reevaluate how they intend to reverse this team’s trajectory to darkness.
Inexplicably, in the five years since Dom Capers became the Packers defensive coordinator, its defensive personnel routinely features a porous defense that has has trouble stopping teams on third downs, preventing big plays, and forcing big plays. Aaron Rodgers’ injury exacerbates this team’s weaknesses but there is no excuse for what occurred on Turkey day. The unit is weak, possesses no backbone or mental fortitude. The Packers’ defense has precipitously freefalled since their miraculous 2010 Super Bowl win, Dom Capers and the Green Bay Packers’ relationship must end, the sooner the better..
After allowing a staggering 561 yards in total offense to the Detroit Lions, the defense seems at a loss for words to explain the horrid play. Granted, injuries have caused this team to insert new players in and out of the lineup all year. Any defensive chemistry is nonexistent.
Last week it was veteran secondary players Morgan Burnett and Tramon Williams running into each other, this week it was the front seven that could not set the tone for the game. Inept at stopping the run, Reggie Bush and steady backup running back Joique Bell torched the Packers defense to the tune of a disgusting 211 yards and 2 touchdowns. Missed tackles were routine and became expected as Bush’s athleticism and speed proved too great for just about every Packers defender while Bell’s rugged running style without fail pummeled through pathetic tackle attempts and picked up an extra 4 to 6 yards per carry, it seemed.
The putrid run defense directly translated to the struggles in the secondary. Nearly every drive by the Lions featured extremely convenient third down distances due to the positive yardage Detroit gained on first and second down. It is tough for Capers to dial up pass blitzes when the offense can run and pass to convert with confidence. Detroit converted 75% of their third downs, a shockingly awful rate.
On star wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s lone touchdown catch and run, Sam Shields changed the call from man to man to zone, as he signaled to his teammates. Johnson streaked across the field uncovered due to all too familiar blown coverage. Johnson had at least 10 yards space from him and any Packers defender. After rumbling through two missed tackle attempts, he barreled into the endzone. How many times has this Packers’ group committed such errors?
Such coverage gaffes are the norm with this Capers’ led bunch indicating that either the Packers’ personnel do not match the scheme Dom Capers is calling, Dom Capers is too stubborn to adjust his schemes to better suit his players, or the players simply do not know their responsibilities. My guess is a mixture of the latter two, Capers believes in his scheme and will not stray from that and the players are not prepared to play. At any rate, these three issues seem to be the team’s best consistency in this three loss and one tie spiral that very well could signal a significant turn in the Packers future. It is time to move on from Dom Capers.
At the end of the day, it is Thanksgiving and the Packers can be thankful that the team still has a premiere elite quarterback for the foreseeable future, a luxury a number of teams, like the Vikings, would kill for. But his career may become tarnished if Thompson and McCarthy cannot evolve their vision for the team and come to the understanding that a good defense is imperative to win Super Bowls. It is clear Dom Capers is not the answer.
Best case scenario? And I know this is purely hypothetical and a long shot but, a new impassioned voice of the defense is needed. This past summer, the New York Jets hired a new general manager, John Idzik. Most general managers want “their guy” at head coach. Assuming the Jets continue to lose at their current rate, they have lost three of their last four, suppose they fire Rex Ryan in favor of Idzik choosing his preferred head coach over the defensive mastermind.
What does Rex decide to do? Perhaps Rex Ryan joins his younger brother’s move in becoming a defensive coordinator for a team with an excellent quarterback and a beleaguered defense. Yes, just as Rob Ryan joined Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and the Saints, the Packers should hire Rex Ryan to rehabilitate and transform the Packers defense.
Will McCarthy and Thompson do so? It is a long shot. The likely bet is Capers has “convenient’ retirement and the Packers promote an assistant position coach like Kevin Greene, Winston Moss, or Darren Perry. But it begs the question, do any of those coaches deserve a promotion with the way the defense has played this year or years previous even? Probably not.
Rex Ryan, or virtually any new defensive coordinator, will add a critical sense of urgency and accountability to the team. Additionally, a change in coordinator will provide a new scheme, a fresh beginning for a defense that possesses the talent to win championships. A new coordinator like Rex Ryan would bring needed passion to the team and provide McCarthy an experienced voice for critical game management decisions. Rex Ryan would give the Packers organization the defensive brilliance, attitude, and accountability to reclaim their lofty vision of a Rodgers dynasty.