Five-hundred-seventy-nine yards, 181 rushing yards by Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Those are numbers that will rank right up there with “4th and 26″ in Packers horror lore. Forever, fans and team officials will turn away from those numbers with shock and embarrassment.
Starting the day after the shellacking, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy defended Capers, his defensive coordinator, saying the team would begin the evaluation process and that he had full confidence that they would right the defensive ship.
Indeed the Packers worked on making corrections.
They released longtime CB/safety Charles Woodson, they sent defensive coaches to Texas A&M for a workshop on the read-option in an effort to figure out ways to stop the offensive scheme, they drafted defensive end Datone Jones out of UCLA to help solidify its defensive line, they let outside linebacker Erik Walden walk in free agency, extended a free agent contract to ILB Brad Jones and brought back ILB A.J. Hawk. McCarthy and Ted Thompson, the past two years, have drafted heavily on the defensive side of the ball to give Capers the tools he needs to be competitive.
And though the defense did show vast improvement overall last year, it was that final game that stood out; it revealed every hole and weakness and lowered the Packers from an elite team to also-rans.
The message is clear this year. Capers has the tools to take the team to the next step. His task this off-season was to figure out ways to stop the read-option – and Adrian Peterson. The Packers’ defense will be tested right out of the box when they travel to San Francisco to once more face the 49ers in the 2013 season opener.
And that won’t be the only time the Packers will face the scheme. The Packers play Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins in the second game of the year and there will be other teams that no doubt will throw the read-option at the Packers. Heck, even the Chicago Bears, with fleet-footed (yeah, right) Jay Cutler at the helm, have said they may toy with it.
Yes, the message has been sent … and Capers had better be ready for it.
My thought is that McCarthy and Thompson won’t stand for another failure against the read-option, nor will they stand for another running over by Adrian Peterson. The changes Capers institutes have to work and they have to work well.
If they don’t, I wouldn’t expect Capers to be around long.
What do you think, Packers fans? Will Capers get it figured out and the Packers contain the read-option?