It appears that Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers are on the precipice of making a move that should please most fans of the team.
The team is likely to part ways with defensive coordinator Dom Capers after the season, according to a report from Adam Schefter of ESPN. The report is not definitive, as Schefter’s sources describe Capers as “not expected to return next season,” but based on recent comments from Packers beat writers and Capers himself it appears that this move is indeed imminent.
Capers, the Packers’ DC since 2009,had stellar defenses in his first two seasons with the team, ranking in the top seven in both yards and points in 2009 and the team’s Super Bowl championship season in 2010. Since then, however, it has been a precipitous fall; the team finished last in yards allowed and 19th in points in 2011, and after an 11th-place finish in both categories in 2012, has struggled to be better than league average. Currently, the 2017 squad ranks 21st in points and 22nd in yards, but situational stats like third down conversion rate allowed and red zone scoring percentage are among the very worst in the league.
As for Capers’ potential replacement, there is a notable name to watch, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Rapoport describes Fangio as a “free agent,” likely because the Bears are expected to fire head coach John Fox after Sunday’s game. Rarely would a team keep an assistant coach under contract if the head coach is given a pink slip, which indeed suggests that Fangio will be looking for a new job.
In a bit of a twist, Fangio was actually Capers’ defensive coordinator during both of Dom’s stints as head coach — in Carolina in the mid 1990s and in Houston early in the 2000s. However, it was Fangio’s success in San Francisco that really put him on the map, as his 49ers defenses finished outside the top five in points or yards just once - finishing tenth in points allowed in 2014.
Fangio even brought a dismal Bears defense back from the bottom of the league in three years after changing their scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4. In 2017, Chicago currently ranks eighth in yards and tenth in points allowed.
If Fangio does indeed become the Packers’ next defensive coordinator, that hire should be a popular one among Packers fans. However, Capers still remains in the job — at least for the next few hours.
Stay tuned for more updates throughout Sunday and Monday.