If the Green Bay Packers want to fix their struggling defense, it’s time to turn to the players to find answers.
At least, that’s the position of former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. The retired receiver spoke to Locked On Packers this week and discussed a host of topics, but one at the front of Packers fans minds right now is that defense and Dom Capers in particular.
“It gets to a point where, as players, when you’ve been with a coach for so long -- and Mike McCarthy, he really understands this -- you have to let them have a voice,” Jennings said. “At some point, when your players are on the field and you know that you can trust them, you gotta allow them to be able to tell you, and you listen -- not just hear them, but you listen -- because they see the flow of the game.”
Jennings adds that this taking feedback from players is something that head coach Mike McCarthy was adamant about, as the coach would solicit players’ opinions freely. “He would come in a meeting, and he would say, ‘I mean guys, I can give suggestions all day, but what do you guys think?’ And he meant it.”
In Jennings’ experience “it put more ownership on the player(s)” when they felt that their opinions were listened to and incorporated. “There were definitely times with that defense with Charles (Woodson), and Nick Collins and Tramon (Williams) and Nick Barnett and those guys that they challenged Dom to let them do it. Like ‘trust us, this works.’”
Jennings acknowledges that there are holes on the defense, and that there are plenty of young players who need to be given a direction by the coaching staff: “You have guys on that defense, who on that defense you can trust. Not all of them (laughs), not all of them.” However, the team has plenty of veteran leadership — players like Mike Daniels, Clay Matthews, and Davon House who have plenty of experience in Capers’ scheme. Those players are the ones Jennings feels that Capers needs to look to for help. “You have some guys that you can really pull into your office and say ‘Look guys, what am I missing here?’ And really take those things to heart and go out and implement those things.”
So far, most of the veterans have been vocal in their support of Capers and his scheme. Clinton-Dix, for example, says that Capers “runs a scheme that I like to run.” However, it does seem logical to think that the scheme could do with a bit more input from the players running it.