One of the few remaining bright spots on the resume of Dom Capers is his track records against rookie quarterbacks, though even that has faded in the last few years.
Earlier this week, a Chicago Tribune writer suggested Chicago Bears rookie Mitchell Trubisky could, or perhaps even would, light up the Green Bay Packers defense the same way Matthew Stafford did on Monday night.
Let’s put aside the LOL-worthy claim that a player who has never thrown for more than 164 yards in a game, or isn’t even completing 50% of his passes in four games would suddenly complete nearly 80% of his throws for 10+ YPA and 350 yards.
But before we move on ... LMFAO.
For the sake of argument though, let’s assume that happens. And maybe not to Stafford levels, but let’s say Trubisky goes out and sets career highs in yards and throws more than one touchdown (no, he hasn’t done that all season either) and the Bears generally torch this Packers defense.
In that case? It’s bad. Like really bad. Like someone can’t be here anymore bad.
Advocating the loss of someone else’s job makes me feel icky. I’ve lost mine and it sucks. There are always more factors to what goes on during a game than fans and media members realize.
And Green Bay, for all their issues this year, isn’t even the kind of decrepit defense its fans say. They’re 20th in weighted DVOA, which is below average, but not by that much. In fact, this Packers defense is 11th in rush defense DVOA and 23rd against the pass.
Situationally though, where coaching shows up the absolute most, Green Bay ranks 27th getting off the field on third down, and a pathetic 30th in red zone defense, where they’re closer to Cleveland at 32 than Carolina at 29.
It’s not how bad this defense has been, but rather how it has been bad. And I don’t mean just schematically, though that’s been a cluster of its own sort.
Let Ben Fennell explain:
Hated this play so much I had to narrate... Just play 2man!!!! Hate this hybrid combo crap... pic.twitter.com/3arQdwBuW9— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 8, 2017
But even if I forgave all of that — and let’s be clear, I don’t — this team is too talented to be this bad. They’re not even that bad, but there’s too much talent to be a below average defense.
Period. Full stop.
We’ve been through this before. Yes, they need a field-tilting pass rusher, but when they’re playing wonky coverages and letting guys run free, it doesn’t matter.
The Patriots defense has long been predicated on containing the quarterback rather than pressuring him. They rush four, drop seven, and cover their butts off (or at least they did). Even in a season where they’ve struggled, they shut down Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, something Green Bay certainly can’t say.
Complain all you want about Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, but that is a team that won a Super Bowl with Troy Brown playing corner.
Don’t tell me the Packers aren’t talented enough. They do less with more than anyone in the league.
Now, back to the Bears.
Mitchell Trubisky is a rookie coming off a 13-game college career. The Bears have been so afraid of him throwing the ball he only did it seven times against the Panthers. His numbers are bad, though he’s made two or three great throws in big spots for Chicago.
The difference between the Bears and the Packers is Chicago’s defense can allow their young, inexperienced quarterback to not have to win them games.
Green Bay’s team isn’t built that way and hasn’t been under Aaron Rodgers. It hasn’t had to be.
This Packers defense isn’t good enough to just let Brett Hundley throw the ball 12 or 15 times.
And here’s what it comes down to: the Bears are going to run it, then run it again, and when all else fails, they’ll run it. Every 8th run they’ll mix in a pass to a running back.
That’s the whole offense.
They have no competent receivers, their best tight end just nearly lost his leg, and Tarik Cohen has been seemingly banished from this offense.
If Dom Capers can’t stop this team, one that already plays left-handed because they can’t throw the ball, then there’s no point in him being the coach for this team. And I don’t just mean this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back and at the end of the year they have a press conference to announce Capers is retiring.
If Mitch Trubisky torches the Packers, it’s, “Dom call your family and tell them you’re having Thanksgiving at home,” time.
I don’t mean to be glib. Capers never got enough credit for his defenses early on in his tenure in Green Bay. He’s a well-respected coach in the organization and around the league. Again, I don’t like calling for someone to lose his job. But that’s sort of what they pay me to do.
It might not seem fair to give him the boot in the middle of the season. But fair is where pies are judged. This is the NFL.
Green Bay would get to hand the reigns to a young coordinator like Darren Perry, Joe Whitt, or Winston Moss and see if anything changes. If it does, great — and maybe they have the DC of the future.
If it doesn’t, the search will be on. With the season on the verge of being lost regardless of what happens defensively, now is the perfect time to make a drastic change to a formula that hasn’t worked since Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams were patrolling the Green Bay secondary.