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Mike McCarthy makes it clear he’s in charge of defense

Dom Capers, Mike McCarthy AP

While former outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene’s abrupt departure from the Packers coaching staff raised some eyebrows, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he accepted and understood that it was for family reasons.

And he also made it clear that in the Packers family, he’s in charge.

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com asked McCarthy if he asked defensive coordinator Dom Capers to make changes to his coaching staff.

“I wouldn’t discuss that if I did anyway,” McCarthy replied. “But for the record, I control the coaching staff. Dom doesn’t control the defensive staff.”

The Capers-Greene relationship goes back decades, from Capers’ time as defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh in the 1990s and bringing him with him to Carolina when he became head coach.

So it was a reasonable conspiracy theory to view Greene’s departure as a bit of a lean on Capers, especially considering they didn’t replace with another outside linebackers coach, but gave inside linebackers coach Winston Moss control over the whole group, and named Scott McCurley assistant linebackers coach.

“Having Winston oversee the whole group, I think the communication there just from a structure standpoint will improve,” McCarthy said. “It’s nothing against Kevin or the other guys, it’s just the fact now you’ve got all those body types in one room if you do want to have more flexibility. Scott has been preparing, I’ve been preparing Scott for this opportunity for a long time, so this was all part of the potential options for the future planning of the coaching staff.”

Capers has drawn scrutiny in Green Bay in recent years, but the Packers have dipped considerably since winning a Super Bowl four years ago. McCarthy’s done a solid job, but he’s also entering his ninth season, and that’s a long run for any coach in one spot, so you wonder how many more changes he’ll get to make.

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63 Responses to “Mike McCarthy makes it clear he’s in charge of defense”
  1. deflateddome says: Feb 24, 2014 12:43 PM

    Sorry Mike, if you want changes in defense, it might start with a pink slip for Capers.

    It also might help that TT has not provided very good personel, and better picks are needed…

  2. thehatefulnerd says: Feb 24, 2014 12:46 PM

    Dom needs to get it together.

    But I’m more worried about the training staff.

  3. ariani1985 says: Feb 24, 2014 12:50 PM

    And I want to make it clear your defense is the laughing stock of the nfl.

    #greenbaygiftswraps playoffwins.

  4. chris6523 says: Feb 24, 2014 12:59 PM

    I wouldn’t read anything into the Winston Moss move at it pertains to the Kevin Greene situation. McCarthy has a very high opinion of Winston Moss. The official statement is Greene left because he wanted to spend more time with his family. Absent anything significant to suggest otherwise, it’d be a good idea to assume that is the case. But of course, I’m not running the NFL’s equivalent of the National Enquirer.

  5. theleaguesbest says: Feb 24, 2014 1:02 PM

    Greatest coach in the NFL today. The next 7 years in the NFL will belong to the Green Bay Packers.

    Don’t worry lowly Vikings fans, your new arena will sellout and be filled with green and yellow twice a year.

    #13WorldChampionshipsAndCounting

  6. linemanguy74 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:06 PM

    Great news for rest of NFC North

  7. trollsetter says: Feb 24, 2014 1:07 PM

    It’s not as if their defense could get any worse. They’ll be in the running for the last wildcard spot.

  8. tangysizzl says: Feb 24, 2014 1:15 PM

    I like what im hearing from McCarthy when talking about the potential changes in the defense. Sounds like they will start using more of a hybrid 3-4/4-3 front and hopefully get away from the 2 gap attack Capers likes on the defensive line.

    I would also expect better roles for the talent they have like playing Nick Perry more on the right side and allowing him to play his more natural position of 4-3 DE at least some of the time.

    On this team who doesn’t use FA to fill the roster your scheme needs to adapt to the personnel you have and that hasn’t always been the case. Last year injuries decimated the LB corps and Capers never really adjusted. Just kept trying to plug in lesser talented players into the cookie cutter roles defined in his scheme.

    Screw looking for 3-4 DEs or 3-4 OLBs just find good players no matter what scheme they fit in and get after people.

  9. shaggytoodle says: Feb 24, 2014 1:18 PM

    I don’t think TT has been completely awful finding defensive players, Matthews, Hayward was candidate for DROY, Sam Shields and Tramon.

    I think they just have bad luck when it comes to injuries as of late, Hayward and Worthy missed all of last season. There luck is bound to change.

    Perry has missed a lot of time so I am unsure if he can play consistently at the NFL level.

    I think TTs weakest spot at drafting, is DL. When Cullen Jenkins left in FA that seemed to change the whole defense.

  10. leonem1 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:19 PM

    Offense is super bowl worthy, defense is bad. Need a playmaker in the secondary, someone next to Hawk who can create the nasty play, and someone on the DL who can cause havoc and we will be right there. DB’s are solid with Williams, Shields, Hyde, Haywood, Hawk is fundamental but wont win any awards, DL hasnt been the same since Jenkins left for the eagles.

  11. sgl24pack says: Feb 24, 2014 1:24 PM

    The Pack would be really scary as long as they patch up the defense in free agency/draft and stay healthy all year. Something needs to be said about the strength and conditioning coaching staff in GB.
    Go Pack!

  12. meatcarroll says: Feb 24, 2014 1:24 PM

    Capers was once an outstanding defensive coordinator but it’s clear he’s lost his touch. I mean, imagine being literally 0-4 against a joke like Kaepernick, geez.

  13. Frazier28/7 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:25 PM

    Defense wins championships and he’s an offensive minded coach, so that’s not good if you’re a packer backer. All McCarthy cares about is offensive numbers and stats and knows nothing about defense. The owner should really step in and fire Capers. Also, did anyone notice how simplistic the offense is how and easy it was for defenses to stop Green Bay without Rodgers playing?

    How is Rodgers going to feel in a few years when instead of drafting a defensive player to help win another championship they draft his replacement? Favre was thrilled. Not.

  14. purpleguy says: Feb 24, 2014 1:27 PM

    As fun as it would be to trash him, MM always seems to say the right thing. He should still dump Dom and his comb-over though. . . . .

  15. ihateyoujeff says: Feb 24, 2014 1:30 PM

    Capers isn’t the problem in my opinion. He’s running the same system they did when they won the Super Bowl, only now they’re missing a few playmakers… mainly at Safety and defensive line. The loss of Nick Collins solid play at safety was a huge loss, along with the pass rush from the d line in Cullen Jenkins. It only got worse over recent years with Woodson falling out of him prime and then leaving the team all together.

    Will be further compounded by the loss of Raji and Pickett in the offseason. If they lose CB Sam Shields to FA along with Raji and Pickett they could be fighting for a wild card spot instead of the division.

    Again, the system hasn’t changed, the players have. You can’t blame Capers.

  16. nwfisch says: Feb 24, 2014 1:37 PM

    Mike McCarthy makes it clear that they play clown music at Packer practices.

    Green Bay Packers personified=Barney Fife

  17. bart15np says: Feb 24, 2014 1:38 PM

    Keeping their playmakers on the field is definitely an issue. Bad luck, S&C coaches who knows. A pass rush would be nice and they really miss Nick Collins.

  18. drsportsjock says: Feb 24, 2014 1:41 PM

    I believe it was Albert Camus who said, Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. Pretty pertinent to this sitch, IMHO

  19. roadbiscuit says: Feb 24, 2014 1:43 PM

    So the worst defense in NFL history, the incompetent Dom Capers and a head coach who’s been there too long and is out of touch. The Packers have been to postseason 5 straight years and haven’t had a non .500+ season in that time. Unless you’re a Pats fan you can sit down and shut up.

  20. filthymcnasty1 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:47 PM

    McCarthy projects the kind of confidence necessary to contend again this season, and make another valiant run at a coveted NFL record 14th World Championship.

    At the very least, knowledgeable NFL observers are expecting the Packers to win their 3rd straight division championship.

    And while not an impressive feat, everyone on the planet expects Green Bay to take the 5th straight season series from the hapless and tasteless Vikings. Though granted, that’s become some what of a given.

  21. fartweasel says: Feb 24, 2014 1:50 PM

    Green Bay defense has been bad for years, formerly covered up when their offense scored 40 points a game. Once that stopped happening, the defense was revealed to all for what it was, is, terrible.

    Packer fans can make fun of the Vikings all they want, they deserve it, but in reality, Green Bay really is in no better position to get to and win the super bowl than the rest of the average teams in the NFC.

  22. imbetteratlifethanyou says: Feb 24, 2014 1:51 PM

    Meanwhile, the vikings will lose 10+ games this year. Again…..

  23. realdealsteel says: Feb 24, 2014 1:52 PM

    Well, all I know is that you’d better do something about those cornerbacks because the Bears two wide receivers are absolute beast!

    And the Bears are taking Jernigan (in the draft) to stop Eddie Lacy from running up their gut.

    And once they take Lacy away, it’s all on Rodgers and that’s not what you want.

  24. ninefingers9 says: Feb 24, 2014 1:54 PM

    Schism!

  25. clayshair says: Feb 24, 2014 1:57 PM

    They lost a HOF in Chas Woodson, they lost perennial pro bowler in Nick Collins, and a solid DL in Cullen Jenkins, then CMIII has been hurt for most of the last 2 years and their two def 1st round picks have been injured (Perry) or not effective (Datone Jones). Losing great players and not replacing them plus injuries is not going to make any coach look good.

  26. koreystringerswidow says: Feb 24, 2014 2:02 PM

    The Vikings play Taps at practice, unfortunately.

  27. The Great Ted Thompson the Genius says: Feb 24, 2014 2:03 PM

    Maybe McCarthy should worry more about the defense and less about how many donuts are left in the cafeteria.

  28. filthymcnasty1 says: Feb 24, 2014 2:06 PM

    Here’s the complete list of William Hill’s 2015 NFL title odds:

    5-1: Broncos, 49ers, Seahawks.

    12-1: Packers, Patriots, Saints.

    20-1: Eagles.

    22-1: Bengals, Chiefs, Panthers.

    25-1: Colts, Steelers.

    30-1: Bears, Chargers.

    40-1: Cardinals, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Lions, Ravens.

    50-1: Dolphins, Texans, Rams, Redskins.

    75-1: Jets.

    100-1: Bills, Browns, Buccaneers, Raiders, Titans, Vikings.

    150-1: Jaguars.

  29. saints12013 says: Feb 24, 2014 2:13 PM

    But your gonna be mediocre on D if every offseason your not at least somewhat aggressive in free agency. TT is a cheap dude. Not to mention their gonna lose Raji, Shields, James Jones on O. They said they want to get faster and more athletic on D, but to me, that’s not the way you should build a D in the NFL. Their gonna have a finesse team all the way around. Lacy is the real deal though.

  30. ariani1985 says: Feb 24, 2014 2:14 PM

    Who is gonna be the first troll to bring up green bay losing in the first round of the nfl playoffs for 5 straight years?

    Oopppps…guess it was me.

  31. stellarperformance says: Feb 24, 2014 2:28 PM

    The Packers endured a first round loss only twice in the last five years, 2009 and 2013. 2010 was the SuperBowl year…hardly a loss. 2011 and 2012 were Divisional Round losses. And the Packers OWN THE VIKINGS. You left that part out.

    Plus, they were one fumble-fingered interception from keeping San Francisco from advancing. One or two pieces….that’s it. That’s all they need.

  32. linemanguy74 says: Feb 24, 2014 2:31 PM

    all these excuses for bad defense are good excuses but really none of them are acceptable !!

  33. jonkoethe says: Feb 24, 2014 2:32 PM

    He’s being pretty defensive about it

  34. noladat says: Feb 24, 2014 2:42 PM

    The problem with the d is more with the o. The flat refusal to commit to the run will get TOP out of control. The d then plays a ton more downs. If it is your weakness you hide it by keeping the ball on long drives. I know they ran the ball better last year but mostly when Rodgers was down. A change in o the possession being the most important stat would do wonders for that d. Capers is a great coach he is not the only problem.

    This is coming from a saints fan. Top went up snap count went down by like 200 over two games worth and went from worst ever to top 5!

  35. sumkat says: Feb 24, 2014 2:44 PM

    Oh, so if McCarthy is in charge of the D, that make him responsible for it….why does he still have a job

    GB has more individual talent than most defense, that it routinely finished well behind in the rankings. At some point, that has to fall to coaching. You can get away with these type of things when you are scoring 42 points a game

  36. usdcoyotesfan says: Feb 24, 2014 2:57 PM

    I think one of the biggest problems for the Packers’ defense is the league office. They’ve been playing scared the last season and a half or so, because roger goodell (lowercase intentional) won’t let us play. Last year, we got the short end of ridiculous “illegal” hit calls followed by fines several games in a row.

  37. leatherface2012 says: Feb 24, 2014 3:04 PM

    ok seriously mike, if dom doesn run the defense, why is he even there?. for that matter, why do you have any assistant coaches at all? you seem to be able to do everything, so handle everything

  38. esotericmindguy says: Feb 24, 2014 3:10 PM

    It’s time for MM to go. We’ve seen what this team does without Rodgers. It’s a joke. The playoff record with AR, outside of the epic play by Rodgers in 2010, is 1-4. That 1 win came against the Joe Web led Minnesota Vikings. That’s unacceptable in a QB driven league. Packers are wasting the prime of Rodgers’ career with bad defenses.

  39. jhtobias says: Feb 24, 2014 3:20 PM

    this is coming from a packers fan not a queens fan. Dom capers in my opion did a great job last year with what he had to work with and that includes injuries and players…

    Dom capers doesn’t draft players doesn’t sign fa well packers seem not to do this either.

    Mr. Thompson has got a lot of credit for drafitng studs, but since the new gm in seattle left and his other right hand man in scouting left can’t remember the name look at all his non productive defensive draft picks … Yes daniels hayward (injuries) have been decent but come on how many wasted picks on guys who cant plug a hole against the run rush a passer ..

    Personally whether it is dom capers or anyone else they can only work with what they have and that has been consecutive playoff appearances not bad mr capers..

    nick collins aint coming back what the heck 4th round for mcmillon come on

  40. 2manyconcussions says: Feb 24, 2014 3:21 PM

    At least it is clear that the this disaster of a defense falls on the shoulders of the head coach. I like a man who takes responsibility.

  41. ✦ Pittsburgh is the City of Champions ✦ says: Feb 24, 2014 3:26 PM

    Blame Dom all you want. That D has no talent.

  42. deltaoracle says: Feb 24, 2014 3:39 PM

    Yeah, McCarthy’s on thin ice.
    It’s not like they’ve suddenly fallen off the map like Pittsburg or something. Three years as division champs following a SB win doesn’t get you a ticket out of town, at least in Wisconsin.

  43. deltaoracle says: Feb 24, 2014 3:42 PM

    … and for the reading impaired, the article said MM controls the defensive staff, not that he’s in charge of running the defense.

  44. whatjusthapped says: Feb 24, 2014 3:51 PM

    The Packers defense needs to and will improve in 2014. For all of their problems last year, losing a lead in the final 2 minutes like the Vikings did 5 different times is more a sign that the DC needs to go.

    Fortunately for the Packers, they get to play the Vikings twice every year and that helps pad their win total.

  45. pftisfulloftrolls says: Feb 24, 2014 3:51 PM

    I’m pretty sure that Mike McCarthy is just a beneficiary of Aaron Rodgers and the latter part of Brett Favre’s Packer years.

  46. hodag54501 says: Feb 24, 2014 3:53 PM

    Little said about Ted Thompson here. It was said several times after the season that they didn’t have the “personnel” to fit Capers’ scheme.

    The Packers ranked in the lower 1/3 in total defense.

    The Packers were near the top again in the number of games lost due to injury.

    The Packers were once again nearly the youngest team in the league.

    Whatever McCarthy is doing for conditioning it isn’t working. Thompson isn’t supplying the right players on defense though he’s spent many draft picks on it.

    Thompson keeps the team extremely young, and therefore, little depth.

    This era is reminding me a bit of the Mike Sherman-Brett Favre era. The team could score at will, but if they had found a defense, they would have been dominant.

    It all adds up after awhile.

  47. ninefingers9 says: Feb 24, 2014 4:19 PM

    Pack rubes will turn on McCarthy and Rodgers just as quickly as they turned on Holmgren and Favre!

  48. jerrahsucks says: Feb 24, 2014 4:34 PM

    Better get him a bag of cheeseburgers, he sounds cranky.

  49. imbetteratlifethanyouisamoron says: Feb 24, 2014 4:47 PM

    What a joke the Packers are. Couldn’t even beat the Vikings at Lambeau, backed their way into the playoffs, and then had to have a bank and the local Fox affiliate buy their playoff tickets to avoid a blackout. They are the Kings of hapless and tasteless.

  50. shaggytoodle says: Feb 24, 2014 5:01 PM

    Raji hasn’t done much to miss him at all lately, I think the last time he recorded a sack the Vikings had won back to back games.

    GBs defense would be much improved if they could just get lucky and say somewhat healthy this season.

    Spending money in FA may give you a piece here and there to put you over the top, but the most consistent teams are built in the draft. DBs and WRs that wind up going to FA are wind up being not quite true #1s that expect true #1 money.

    You get your franchise into jams, handing out those contracts.

  51. donsjohnson says: Feb 24, 2014 5:03 PM

    TT is not a “cheap dude”. He may ‘appear’ more cautious than we’d like regarding dipping into free agency, but no approach will win you the Super Bowl every year in this salary cap era. While we Packer fans don’t like to admit it, we also have to face the reality that most free agents don’t want to come to small-town Green Bay unless you’re offering them significantly more money than the nearest suitor. So TT’s “draft and develop” approach is somewhat necessary, although it has also shown some success (one Super Bowl so far), along with drafting well and signing your own who’ve ‘earned’ it and are still in their prime. I’ll take this approach rather than the “go for bust” approach in free agency by attracting/signing a couple top free agents to big contracts like Washington or Minnesota does. I mean, seriously, how that has worked out for them? e.g., signing our “sloppy seconds” like Greg Jennings to a big contract when he’s on the wrong side of 30, slowing down, and was never fast to begin with. Yeah, Spielman is a real genius!)

    For sure, other approaches which dip into free agency more can work too, signing mid-level free agents to smaller/shorter contracts, provided you are drafting exceptionally well in the process. So yes, you might hit a homerun like Schneider has in Seattle, that is, as I said, you do exceptionally well in the draft which he has, but even he recognizes that such an approach gives you a time ‘window’ as a SB contender which will be much smaller (e.g., once they have to renew their Russell White’s contract). While I do agree with the motto “SB or bust”, nevetheless, for Green Bay’s situation, TT is following an approach which gives them the most potential for success and a bigger window for contending.

  52. longtimefanhtr says: Feb 24, 2014 5:21 PM

    Equal blame goes to Capers and Thompson. Capers is yesterday’s news and Thompson can’t provide the talent. Methinks Schneider and Dorsey had a lot to do with Thompson’s draft success which was prior to 2010. Perry, Jones, and Worthy are abysmal.

  53. dcviking says: Feb 24, 2014 6:09 PM

    packers are just lucky he hasn’t taken charge of the cafeteria…

  54. leatherface2012 says: Feb 24, 2014 6:25 PM

    a lot of cheeseheads keep saying the nfc north is the worst. so gb ought to go 11-5 or 12-4 every year, but yet they are one and done in the playoffs

  55. khmer379 says: Feb 24, 2014 6:47 PM

    Packers own the bear and lions not the vikings #Fact

  56. purpleforroyaltygreenandgoldforbugars says: Feb 24, 2014 6:50 PM

    Hey hes let Clay Matthews do whatever he wants on defense for years now, what a brilliant mind. We all saw what the pack was without Rodgers…. keep holding your breath and crossing your fingers. And Hey enjoy the warm weather over there as we experience true winter over here. The coldest nfl game will soon belong to mn in the next two seasons.

  57. filthymcnasty1 says: Feb 24, 2014 7:50 PM

    The Packers haven’t won a Superbowl for just over 3 years. They’re due.

  58. palmercot says: Feb 24, 2014 9:39 PM

    It’s good that he is in charge of the defense because that means he will be in charge of his last days as coach of the Packers. He and old man capers can read about their last days as they sit in the snow and cold in Green bay.

  59. palmercot says: Feb 24, 2014 9:50 PM

    Would all you Packer nuts get off winning the super bowl that was ancient history. Wake up and don’t believe they are a good team because the won the division. The other teams just stunk more than they did and they got lucky on top of that. The time is now and now there defense is terrible and getting worse. Their offense is injury prone and their qb is in constant danger, one play away from breaking more bones with the line they have then its done for the season. The Packers are no power house, no team to contend with. I expect they will be very lucky to go 9 and 7 this upcoming season with the defense below 20.

  60. dinofrank60 says: Feb 25, 2014 12:13 AM

    I’m starting to think that McCarthy lucked out into winning that Super Bowl. The planets were in alignment.

  61. mountaindont says: Feb 25, 2014 5:03 AM

    Although I’m not a capers fan I must admit he has little to work with. No leader on defense. No hard hitters in the secondary. Other than Matthews who is above average player on defense?

  62. diehardpackfan says: Feb 25, 2014 9:05 AM

    MM, if you’re in charge of the Defensive staff AND the Defense, then FIX IT. It’s really sucked for the past 3 seasons.

  63. bill4544 says: Feb 26, 2014 9:32 AM

    The last couple of years have proved you can’t win it all with just a good QB, no matter how good that QB is . Time to do something about that defense and get somebody good to run it . And not you .

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