The Green Bay Packers are riding an eight-season playoff streak matched only by the New England Patriots entering the 2017 season. The obvious constants are back in Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy, but another key member of the franchise has served in his position in each of Green Bay’s recent postseason runs.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be back for a ninth season with the Packers, only he will do so on the heels of an underwhelming campaign. The Packers made a trip to the NFC championship game after winning their division for the fifth time in six seasons, but they carried the league’s No. 22-ranked defense into the playoffs.
Capers hasn’t led a top-10-ranked unit since the Packers’ Super Bowl championship season in 2010.
“Well, going back to the Mason Crosby comment, and obviously applying that to the question about Dom, I think it’s important to recognize, as far answering your question about it being easy to make that change, it would give everybody a breath of fresh air,” McCarthy said during an appearance on ESPN Milwaukee’s Wilde and Tausch show (via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com). “I think all of us in life have always gone through experiences in our past that you may have quit on something just to get that fresh, new start, and it feels good but in hindsight it was not the best thing for you. I know I have personally. So I’ve always held true to that in my decision-making process.”
The Falcons blasted the Packers 44-21 in the NFC title game, marking the sixth straight season the franchise equipped with probably this decade’s premier quarterback will have flamed out before reaching a Super Bowl. Capers’ unit, one ravaged by secondary injuries, dropped off from the No. 14 rankings the 2014 and ’15 Packer defenses occupied.
McCarthy used sticking with his longtime kicker through a tough stretch as an example, but in reality, the Packers frequently operate in this stability-centric fashion. GM Ted Thompson’s team, one that doesn’t have an owner for the front office power structure to answer to, largely avoids free agency to patch up holes, putting more pressure on Rodgers to elevate the roster. This strategy continues to guide Green Bay to NFC brackets, but the team has struggled to close out victories in January.