Packers + Capers = Peppers?

This idea might sound crazy, but it’s crazy enough that it might work.  But like any good idea, there’s multiple parts to it.  I feel that this could turn around the Packers defense for years to come.

Step 1: Hire Dom Capers.

The vacancy Bob Sanders left at defensive coordinator is particularly glaring for the Packers.  The defense, although ravaged by injuries, always seemed to be a step behind the offense in certain games, most notably the Packers 51-29 defeat against the New Orleans Saints.  After a 2007 season where the defense was fantastic, the Packers defense looked old and out of sync in 2008.  The schemes were stale and bringing in Capers would add a breath of fresh air.

But if the Packers want Capers, they will have to move quickly.  The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys also have interest in Capers as the Giants lost Steve Spagnoulo to the St. Louis Rams and Dallas fired Brian Stewart.  The Cowboys could be an enticing option for Capers, as owner Jerry Jones has deep pockets and the Cowboys already run a 3-4, Capers’ preferred scheme.  Capers also has ties with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, making the Giants look like a good option to him.  However, Dallas is currently a cesspool of unrest and the personnel in New York is more suited towards a 4-3 defense.

The Packers have been a 4-3 team for as long as I can remember, but head coach Mike McCarthy has said that he is open to changing the scheme to a 3-4.  A 3-4 defense could work pretty successfully in Green Bay with the right personnel.  Which brings us to…

Step 2: Sign Julius Peppers.

The Carolina Panthers freak athlete/defensive end wants out of Carolina.  From a Toronto Star report:

Four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers has decided he won’t sign a long-term deal with the Carolina Panthers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent Feb.26.

Peppers, who grew up in tiny Bailey, N.C., starred in college at North Carolina and was the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2002, believes Carolina’s defensive system is not for him – even after recording a career-high 14 1/2 sacks this season.

Agent Carl Carey said Peppers wants to play in a 3-4 defence. The Panthers use a 4-3 alignment.

The key to this is that last line.  “Peppers wants to play in a 3-4 defence.”  Bringing Capers up to Green Bay and inserting the 3-4 would make an inviting situation for Peppers.  The Packers had difficulty getting pressure on the quarterback this season.  Aaron Kampman was steady as always, but Cullen Jenkins was ill-suited to be a defensive end before his season-ending shoulder injury, leaving the Packers with Jason Hunter, Michael Montgomery, and rookie Jeremy Thompson to get pressure on the quarterback, which was not too successful.

Signing Peppers would allow the team to move Jenkins back to defensive tackle, allowing him to team with Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, and Colin Cole, and push injury-riddled super-bust Justin Harrell out of the lineup until the Packers can finally figure out what’s wrong with him.  Teaming Peppers with Kampman would give opposing offensive lines and offensive coordinators headaches for weeks.  Peppers, being the freak athlete he is, could be used as the fourth linebacker as well, adding more versatility to the defense.  The Packers would be able to have their top four linebackers, Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, Brady Poppinga, and Brandon Chillar, on the field at the same time.  Young Desmond Bishop would also get more time to see the field.

The catch to this is that I don’t see Peppers signing with the Packers unless Capers and the 3-4 is in place.  This would mean that the Packers have to move fast on signing Capers, giving Peppers time to see that Green Bay would be a welcoming scenario for him.

Peppers will command a lot of money, but he would be a big splash for a team that has been quiet on the free agency market for the past few years.  Even the signing of Charles Woodson was low-key, but has turned into a great move for the team.  Ted Thompson can’t be afraid to make a move right now.  It’s not the end of the world if the Packers miss out on Capers and Peppers, but it would most definitely turn the Packers into a contending defense.

Some of you will argue that the Packers need to shore up the secondary before they can focus on the front seven.  Sure, Woodson and Al Harris are aging, and Tramon Williams, Jarrett Bush, and Pat Lee aren’t the best options out there, but teams in the past, most likely the Super Bowl XLII Champion New York Giants showed that a great pass rush can help cancel out shoddy defensive backs.  Did you really think that Corey Webster and Sam Madison would be Super Bowl Champion corners against an the explosive New England Patriots offense?  Not really.  But the relentless pass rush of Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck turned a decent defensive backfield into a Super Bowl Champion defensive backfield.

Don’t underestimate what the addition of Capers and Peppers could have on the Packers in 2009.

Topics: A.J. Hawk, Aaron Kampman, Al Harris, Bob Sanders, Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar, Brian Stewart, Carl Carey, Carolina Panthers, Charles Woodson, Colin Cole, Corey Webster, Cullen Jenkins, Dallas Cowboys, Desmond Bishop, Dom Capers, Green Bay Packers, Jarrett Bush, Jason Hunter, Jeremy Thompson, Jerry Jones, Johnny Jolly, Julis Peppers, Justin Harrell, Justin Tuck, Michael Montgomery, Michael Strahan, Mike McCarthy, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Nick Barnett, Osi Umenyiora, Pat Lee, Ryan Pickett, Sam Madison, St. Louis Rams, Steve Spagnoulo, Ted Thompson, Tom Coughlin, Tramon Williams

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  • Tim

    I’m not sure I would want Peppers due to the fact the Panthers will want something for him.  Most likely high draft picks, which I think would be a waste.  The previous season Peppers did very little for the Panthers… he is an up and down player.

  • mike

    peppers is a stud, you dont know what you are talking about.   show me another 6’8″ man who runs a 4.4 in the 40.  if you honestly think we couldn’t use him, i want to hire you as the GM for the vikings….haha

  • Brad

    This is the kind of shake-up that is needed – little “tweaks” won’t do it for the pathetic Packer defense – sure they had injuries, but everyone does – they need an overhaul and a new scheme and bringing in Julius Peppers (a Reggie White -like move) is the right kind of  move–

  • blak ice

    bring in peppers or haynesworth, one of them need to be in the green and gold jersey, next year. once we get one of those players, we r back in the mix. “ted thompson” needs to go! i mean that with a passion! plz get rid of him!

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  • Jay

    Just think Peppers, Pickett, and Kampman.
    Then draft a linebacker. 
    I can’t imagine that not working

  • Tom

    Peppers to Green Bay is the closest thing to the “Reggie White Overhaul” we are ever gonna see( in the next 10 years at least). We dont need Haynesworth, cause with Peppers we can slide Jenkins in at tackle. If Ted doesn’t pull the trigger on something this year, I will officially hate the guy until he is out of the Packers organization. I like some of Ted’s moves. Grant, Jennings, Collins, and even Rodgers, although I wanted Favre for one more year, but come on you cant stay silent on every FA market!!!

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  • Donald

    I agree with you Tom! Julius Peppers would be a huge free agent acquisition for the Pack. I think that it’s about time that Ted Thompson makes a splash into the free agent market. Having Peppers at DE and moving Cullen Jenkins to DT would be huge, as it will provide an excellent pass rush and would be scary to opposing QBs.

  • Mike

    Yes.. Peppers would be great… also Ray Lewis means Super Bowl.

  • Mike

    Yes.. Peppers would be great… also Ray Lewis means Super Bowl. The Pack can score big points, lock the defense in , and it is OVER . Rodgers will shine bright…
    We want Peppers and Lewis…

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