There is no silver lining for the Packers in the aftermath of Aaron Rodgers’ fractured collarbone on Monday Night Football. This injury reduces their chances of winning the NFC North, winning a playoff spot ahead of the Bears/Lions and Panthers, and of winning 10+ games (for a fifth successive season). Eleven wins are likely needed to clinch the sixth spot in the NFC and the Packers’ margin for error is exceedingly low. Hate to say it but this is probably a lost season for the Green Bay Packers. The NFC is just too deep and has too many good teams for the Packers to overcome the loss of their beyond-excellent QB Aaron Rodgers.
There is however one man whose future with the franchise can be decided based on the events of the next few weeks. That man is fifth year defensive coordinator Dom Capers. The next three opponents on the Packers’ schedule are the Eagles, Giants and Vikings. Two of these games are at home. These teams are a combined 7-18 on the season. The stat guys I trust at Football Outsiders have the Eagles as the sixth best offense thru the season but have the Vikings and the Giants as the 23’rd and 28’th best offenses in the league. The Eagles have exhibited a high degree of variance in their offensive performances and I think it is noteworthy that their numbers are skewed a bit by exceptional performances versus Oakland, Tampa Bay and New York , teams that have a combined W-L record of 5-19.
I trust that Ted Thompson has put together a deep roster and allocated resources in the best manner possible for the Packers. I believe Mike Mccarthy and Tom Clements will use the cavalcade of wide receivers, running backs and tight ends the Packers do have to generate enough yards of offense to keep the Packers in each game. Between them, these men in charge will do enough to give the Packers shots at wins over the next three weeks. What I am not sure of though is what Dom Capers will do. Dom Capers was outcoached by Marc Trestman last Monday night and could not keep the Bears offense off the field in the fourth quarter. Just like he couldn’t against the 49ers the last two times the teams played each other. Just like he couldn’t versus the Patriots in 2010 and the Lions in 2011 when Rodgers did not start for the Packers.
Dom Capers is highly respected among NFL media and front offices. He is also someone the Packer fanbase is very skeptical of. If he can coax and coach the talent Ted Thompson and team have put together for him to three stout defensive performances allowing the Packers to move to 8-3 on Thanksgiving eve, last Monday night’s montage will be the opening act of NFL FILMS’ America’s game on the 2013 Green Bay Packers. If he fails to keep mediocre offenses down to 17 points or less and ends up overburdening an offense that lost its shining star, he will be and should be replaced as the defensive coordinator of the 2014 Packers.
This is Dom Capers’ biggest test yet. Hope he succeeds.
Go Pack, Go