As a defense, there has been the same glaring problems for each of the past 4 seasons: mediocrity and finesse
The offense – can and is – playing like the juggernaut that it is with Aaron Rodgers at the helm. He has shown onlookers why he is the prototypical quarterback, and why quarterbacks are so important in this league and to their respective franchises.
As a defense, there has been the same glaring issues for each of the past four seasons: mediocrity and finesse.
In the chart below, are the defensive ranks by the last four seasons of Packers defense.
As defensive coordinator, Dom Capers has had more than a fair share of chances to prove that he can coordinate a defense.
However, since the Super Bowl win in 2010, the Packers haven’t done much to impress anyone, and subsequently haven’t been able to stop their opponents from outgaining the offense.
From a defensive perspective, much is needed to take the next step, and there are 4 choices to taking that next step.
The choices are as follows:
• Option 1: Stick with Dom Capers and his 3-4, but hire advisors to add a new thought process to the play calling, a new attitude in the locker room, and add new concepts to change the way they break down during most second halves of football games.
• Option 2: Stick with the 3-4, but get a new defensive coordinator who can change the vibe on and off the field. Outside of two major positions, the Packers have a decently talented team on defense, and with the right coach, could change this “finesse” team into a powerful smash-mouth group.
• Option 3: Hire advisors for Ted Thompson for his weaknesses in drafting, and get him to tweak his philosophy so he is filling needs in the first two rounds. On the defensive side of the ball, Ted Thompson has done OK, but there have been too many busts on that side of the ball, and in positions that are still in glaring need.
These two glaring holes are at inside linebacker and nose tackle; two very scheme specific positions where you need a specific type of player to make the system work properly.
As a 3-4 inside linebacker, you need to have speed to cover large distances on the field quickly and be large enough to stop run plays quickly and without help.
At nose tackle, you have to be large and strong to take up space and require multiple offensive linemen to block you so you can fill gaps and stop the run.
The Packers do not have either of these.
Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers
• Option 4: Switch to a 4-3 or even a hybrid 4-3 with a new defensive coordinator. This change is more dramatic in a lot of ways, but may be necessary to change these losing ways.
The secondary will most likely stay the same (depending on if Tramon Williams is re-signed), and Clay Matthews can switch to the hybrid DE/OLB, while the rest of the front four will need to be retooled.
Switching to a 4-3 will mean a dramatic shift in team philosophy as well as personnel, and I’m not sure the Packers, as an organization, are confident enough that a shift of this magnitude will yield results, but it is an option.
My personal recommendation is to hire a new 3-4 coordinator, and get Ted Thompson to trade up and draft for immediate need in the first two rounds of the draft to shore up questionable defensive players that are crucial to the 3-4 defense; mainly ILB and NT.
One thing that Seattle’s John Schneider (Ted Thompson’s apprentice) has done is build through the draft the same way Thompson has done, but when the talent level is thoroughly established on the team, he started drafting for need and filling holes to become a powerhouse.
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Ted Thompson needs to understand that this team is close enough to a championship caliber unit, and filling holes with players who can step in immediately and fill holes is crucial to taking the next step. And taking the “best available player” at this point, with this team, is only kicking the can down the road for another lackluster season.
This team is one or two players away from become a powerful team, it’s just a matter of getting them on the field now, not a few years down the road.