On Now
Coming Up
  • Sun., May. 31, 2015 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM CDT Packers Coaching School

    The Green Bay Packers are set to host the team’s second annual “Green Bay Packers Coaching School” at Lambeau Field on Sunday, May 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    The complimentary coaching school has a curriculum exclusively designed for youth football coaches, and can accommodate a maximum of 300 coaches. The event will feature innovative classroom sessions in the Lambeau Field Atrium, as well as on-field football instruction from top local high school and youth football coaches in the Don Hutson Center.

  • Tue., Jun. 02, 2015 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM CDT Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Three of the Packers’ upcoming OTA practices will be open to the public at Clarke Hinkle Field.

    The three open practices, weather permitting, will take place on May 28, June 2 and June 10. All practices are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

  • Tue., Jun. 02, 2015 1:35 PM - 2:05 PM CDT Live Mike McCarthy press conf.

    Head Coach Mike McCarthy available in Media Auditorium

  • Wed., Jun. 03, 2015 3:00 PM CDT Mentor-Protégé Program Fourth Session Celebration The Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program is set to recognize the successes of the program’s fourth session participants on Wednesday, June 3, at a reception at 3 p.m. in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
  • Sat., Jun. 06, 2015 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM CDT Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic The 18th annual Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic is set for Saturday, June 6, inside the Don Hutson Center, the Packers’ indoor practice facility.
  • Wed., Jun. 10, 2015 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM CDT Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Three of the Packers’ upcoming OTA practices will be open to the public at Clarke Hinkle Field.

    The three open practices, weather permitting, will take place on May 28, June 2 and June 10. All practices are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.

News

Print
RSS

Packers' design on defense rests with offseason decisions

Posted Jan 8, 2014

Offense No. 3 overall and could be better in 2014


GREEN BAY—Dom Capers and Tom Clements stood in the same hallway answering questions that would offer perspective to their units’ season, but the two Packers coordinators were standing on very different ground.

Clements’ unit just got an “as good as any offense in the league” seal of approval from the Packers’ head coach, Mike McCarthy. Capers’ unit continues to be a work in progress and the process could include major defections and significant change in 2014.

What has to happen for the Packers defense to be what Capers wants it to be?

“We have to figure out what our group’s going to be and we’ll design what we’ll do off what our group is going to be,” Capers said.

It’s an answer pregnant with speculation. The Packers defense could lose as many as four starters and several key backup personnel in free agency. Veteran nose tackle B.J. Raji’s contract is about to void, sending him into free agency well in advance of the scheduled departures for Sam Shields, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, C.J. Wilson, Rob Francois and Mike Neal.

“We’ll design what we’ll do off what our group is going to be.” Does that mean the Packers could be headed for a switch in defensive philosophy?

The most pressing question during Wednesday’s season-ending interviews with McCarthy and his assistant coaches was: Will Capers return as the team’s coordinator? McCarthy said, “I’m glad he’s on our staff,” but was otherwise noncommittal.

When Capers was asked directly about his future plans, he said: “I have no plans (for) not coaching. He added that fan criticism is “part of the business.”

The Packers finished the season as the NFL’s 25th-ranked defense, down from No. 11 in 2012, but it must be said in Capers’ defense that he was playing with greatly depleted ranks.

For example, Capers designed a role last spring for defensive end Mike Neal to be a reserve outside linebacker. As it turned out, Neal was a starter at outside linebacker in nine of the Packers’ final 13 games, including the last three.

“Our plan was for Mike to play inside and outside. As it turned out, Mike played more snaps at outside linebacker than any other outside linebacker,” Capers said.

Clements’ offense had to play much of the season without its top two stars, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb, but when the regular season ended with those two hooking up for a division-clinching touchdown pass, it became obvious the offense’s arrow is pointing straight north.

“I have a sheet of about 10-15 statistics. We improved in about 10 categories. We weren’t as good in the red zone, but we improved in a lot of areas. I think the guys should feel good about it,” Clements said.

The No. 1 area of improvement is the running game, which rookie Eddie Lacy helped take from No. 20 in 2012 to No. 7 in ’13. Despite Rodgers missing nearly half the season, the Packers finished with the No. 6 passing attack and the No. 3 overall offense.

“We feel good about where we are offensively. The defense has to defend against everything. As long as you can execute, it makes playing offense fun,” Clements said.

There’s reason to believe the offense will even improve in 2014 on its production in ’13. Tackles Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod are expected to return to give the Packers amazing depth on their offensive line.

“It was great for Derek after his long rehab to be on the roster for a bit. Bryan got hurt early so his rehab, I’m sure, is on schedule. They’re both good players and they’ll add to the depth of the position,” Clements said.

The focus this offseason will, again, be on the defensive side of the ball, where change and how the Packers react to it may again determine the team’s fate.

“We’ll see how things play themselves out,” Capers said.

Additional coverage - Jan. 8

 
blog comments powered by Disqus

You May Also Be Interested in...

Recent Videos

  • Packers Wrap Up First Week of OTAs

    (2:49) Posted 8 hours ago

    Packers Analyst Larry McCarren breaks down more key storylines from the Packers offseason. McCarren looks at the return of both B.J. Raji and Jared Abbrederis from injury, the work ethic of backup QB Scott Tolzien, and how cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. is handling the new faces in the secondary.

  • On the Clock: Packers select UCLA QB Brett Hundley

    (8:23) Posted 11 hours ago

    Check out QB Brett Hundley's NFL Draft journey (appears at 1:08 and 6:36).

  • Top 10 Green Bay Packers of all time

    (7:38) Posted 11 hours ago

    NFL Media's Elliot Harrison gives you his top 10 list of the greatest Green Bay Packers players in NFL history.