It could definitely be said that the Packers football organization had a rather rocky year in 2017 NFL football season.
While it wasn’t all bad, and there were many high points to look back on, the Green Bay Packers were plagued by injuries across the team.
The most notable injury was, of course, quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone that put him on the injured list for much of the season.
Rodgers was far from lonely on that list though. Almost thirty of the Packers’ players were either put on the Injured Reserve list or were Out entirely over the course of the 2017 season.
Injuries were not the only problem for the Packers though. Their defense which has been admirably strong for the last eight seasons or so led by long-time defensive coordinator Dom Capers was notably shaky this year.
The Packers’ defense has usually ranked highly in the league under Capers, often raking in the top five in many key categories as well as their winning Super Bowl XLV.
At the end of this season though, the Packers’ defense was ranked fairly poorly by the end of the season and Head Coach Mike McCarthy decided that the time had come to make a change. The Packers have decided to let Dom Capers go and are now looking for a new defensive coordinator for the start of the 2018 season.
Along with Capers, the Packers are saying goodbye to two other coaching staff, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and assistant linebacker coach Scott McGarigle.
Feelings are mixed in reaction to this change with some hopeful about positive changes to be made in the defense, but there is also sorrow to see Dom go as he was well liked and will be missed by many in the organization.
Green Bay Safety “Ha Ha” Clinton-Dix commented: “When you look at numbers, you can’t just look at Dom.” “Dom has a job to make calls and you have to go out there and perfect it. When things don’t get done, things get glorified a lot, and I think that’s what it was coming to. I’m going to miss Dom a lot. I’ve got to put my (best) foot forward and keep it moving.”
Head Coach McCarthy is now looking for a defensive coordinator and is envisioning the direction he wants the defense to go in the future. One of the biggest changes he wants to see going forward into the 2018 season and beyond is a decrease in the gap between veterans and younger less experienced players who get put into the action to cover for injuries or for other reasons.
McCarthy said of the state of his defense and the league overall:
“The gap didn’t close fast enough this year,” “And really, I think you can put last year as not far behind. We’re having guys probably play a little too soon and that’s tough. We’re not the only one doing it. I think it’s the state of our league. Our league is very young. The injuries are up throughout the league, so those are all challenges I think most teams are fighting.”
No one knows just what the future holds, but big changes are likely coming to Lambeau Field and it should be very interesting to see how the Packers’ defense shapes up over the off-season and going forward into the 2018 season.