Why you may owe Dom an apology; Blame the Players, not Capers : Packers Insider

Why you may owe Dom an apology; Blame the Players, not Capers

January 10, 2014 by  
Filed under News

By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor

~Fire Capers.

Those two words were first heard from various corners of Packer Nation following the 2009 NFC Divisional loss to Kurt Warner’s Arizona Cardinals 51-45 in overtime. Remember that game? Warner threw more touchdown passes that day than he had incomplete passes. It was a historic meltdown for the defense and was the best game Warner ever had. He was 29/33 for 379 yards, with 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions. Yes that’s 5 touchdowns to 4 incomplete passes. Perfect passer rating of 154.1. Historically torched via the air.

In the 2009 season-ender, Kurt Warner was near perfect, throwing for more touchdowns than he had incomplete passes. Capers didn’t call a great game obviously. Players also failed to execute time and time again. And that was a healthy Nick Collins and still-young enough Charles Woodson.

You didn’t hear it the next year when the Packers were able to avoid any of the great gunslingers, as the Packers beat Michael Vick, Matt Ryan (before Julio Jones arrived), Jay Cuter, and Ben Roethlisberger to win Super Bowl XLV.

But you heard it again the next year, 2011, when Eli Manning’s Giants came into Lambeau and eliminated the MVP Aaron Rodgers by getting out to an early lead that they never relinquished.

Among Eli’s 330 yards were this back-breaking hail mary for a touchdown as the first half ended. How can you blame Capers for Woodson and Peprah letting Nicks block them both out, and for Bush and Shields to just watch the ball come sailing in and not making a play for it? The Fail Mary in Seattle wasn’t the first time these guys failed to stop a desperation pass.

Manning threw for 330 yards, 3 touchdowns, and had a passer rating of 114.5.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw was also able to chew up 5.3 yards a carry.
And, for good measure, the defense allowed a Hail Mary touchdown to end the first half.

Of course, 2012 was worse as the Packers defense did their best to try and get Colin Kaepernick enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, when they allowed the skinny-legged quarterback to run wild in a 45-31 Packers exit.
Kaepernick set an NFL record for quarterbacks rushing with 181, and not to be discriminatory, the Packers also allowed running back Frank Gore get 119 himself for a cool 300 even between the two.

Eric Walden and Brad Jones were either asleep during film sessions that week, or they both just failed to do their jobs. The sad thing is, compared to this season, the defense was very healthy last year out there as you can see by the guys chasing Kaepernick down the field. They played better this year despite missing Matthews, Hayward, Jolly, Shields, and Neal.

In addition to that historic day on the ground, Kaepernick also out-passed Rodgers by 6 yards (263-257), despite throwing the ball 8 fewer passes.

And now, following another season-ending loss to the 49ers, when they marched down on the Packers defense for a last-second, game-winning, season-ending FG, you’ve seen your defense fail again.

We’re still hearing it from some folks, but not as loudly because of two things: 1) the defense was decimated by injuries. Again. No Matthews, No Hayward, No Jolly, and Shields and Neal checked themselves out on the first drive for San Francisco; 2) The defense held the Niners to 23 points, which should be enough to win.

However, the defense did fail, once again, in the end.
They allowed the Niners to march down the field to win it, and in doing so, allowed too many 3rd down conversions. Included in that were 2 3rd & longs. One was a pass, and the other, the killer, was a scramble by Kaepernick for a long gain and into game-winning field goal range.

How could Capers be so stupid time and time again? That’s what many Packer fans were asking, again.

Well, it’s not as simple as that.
Capers often had the right call, a brilliant call, had the players (each one) done what they were supposed to do.

It’s like a parent who teaches his/her 5 kids to do this or that.
Four of them do as they’re told, but 1 messes up, and ruins it for everyone.

In the following examples, you will notice Jarrett Bush, twice. And you will notice Mike Daniels twice.
The first one, earlier in the game, they did what they were supposed to do, and the result was a sack.

The second one, that last drive killer 3rd & long conversion, both Bush, and especially Daniels, committed fatal mistakes, allowing Kaepernick the wide edge. True, had that been Clay Matthews and not the gimpy undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba, we might have seen this in-bounds this time.

Anyway, let’s take a look at what I am talking about.
After seeing the stills, you will see that Capers called a great play, but Bush and Daniels simply screwed it up.

First, I am going to break down another play from earlier. It was a similar call, not exact. But those 2 guys, the blitzing Bush, and Daniels, maintained their gap responsibilities, and the result was success: a sack.

This is how the play is Designed. By Dom Capers.

He’s always been a master of these concepts, and when they are executed properly, it makes heroes out of players.
These film breakdowns are what the coaches and players routinely see in film sessions following games.
The Fox, NBC, ESPN guys don’t take the time to break these things down for us viewers, whether it’s a good or bad result.

Notice the players. Bush has the right edge, showing blitz. Perry next to him, with Daniels next to him.


Bush comes, but under control and he sits outside. Daniels occupies the left guard, and the left tackle. The center, their weak link on their OL, slid to his right, creating the perfect gap for the stunt Capers had called. Perry would see smooth sailing.

Kaepernick immediately saw two things. Number one, he couldn’t run around the outside as Bush held his outside leverage, and number two, he better hurry to get out of there before #53 came free. He under-estimated the speed Perry had coming.

Bush maintains his angle to the edge, forcing Kaepernick to tuck and try and run to the inside of Bush…… where….. #53 Nick Perry was coming free, untouched. AJ Hawk also saw what was going on, that his guy #21 Gore was tied up with Bush, so AJ was coming in should Kaepernick escape through that small and closing gap.


Kaepernick tries to tuck and flee on those skinny gazelle-like fast legs, but Perry comes in and smothers the 3rd year quarterback to the ground for a sack and drive-ender.


Down he goes.


Drive ended.

Speaking of bad:

Here’s the one that failed. This one is THE SIGNATURE PLAY of the failed season.
Everyone blames Capers or Bush for this. But Daniels also did his best to ruin it. Yes Daniels did make some good plays too. But Micah Hyde’s miss wasn’t the only fatal miss on that last drive. Two Hawkeyes.


Similar setup. The differences being the 49ers only had one RB back in protection, on Kaepernick’s right side. And there was no extra blocker next to the LT Joe Staley. For the Packers, it was Bush again on the edge blitz, but the gimpy Mulumba in place of Perry, who also was hobbled a bit on his bad foot. Daniels and Hawk again filled out the final pieces on that side.

Bush comes in differently than last time, possibly because he saw no protection help from that side initially with Gore being on the other side and no extra OT/TE being on that side. Hawk blitzed up the middle, gobbled up by the left guard. Daniels occupied the LT Staley. Mulumba stayed back, waiting for the stunts to take place ahead of him. You can see there was nobody in front of him. Again, this is a gimpy player on a bad knee, not the Pro Bowler Matthews.

Bush goes in too far to the inside, recklessly, and RB Frank Gore makes a perfect form-tackle on Bush that the Packers corners and safeties could learn a thing about. Gore tackles Bush inwards, allowing the edge for Kaepernick to take off to. Unlike last time. Had the QB had to run straight, he would have met #55 Mulumba.

In a blur, the caped crusader Kaepernick races for the sideline, where he has 2 advantages on Mulumba. One is he is faster, two is he has the angle. A third is he’s healthier. Notice Daniels peeking/leaning towards the inside for some reason. Why?

The LT Staley happily allows Daniels to go to the inside, creating nothing but wide open spaces for Kaepernick to the edge, where the first down marker awaited about 15 yards ahead from where he took off.

Again, that’s not Pro Bowler Clay Matthews. That’s the hobbled, undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba.

Dan Marino and Peyton Manning would never have been able to do this. You cannot fault Mulumba at all for not having enough speed.

Kaepernick sees the promised land ahead.

Once again, 2 horrible things happen to the Packers from Kaepernick. Number one, he killed the Packers with his legs on a big play, and number two, once again he did it without taking a big hit, or even any hit. He always slips out of bounds before a possible hit comes, or slides down. As long as he’s not taking any punishment from guys when he takes off and run, he’ll have no fear to do it again. Someone has to start finding a way to get to him from the side and knocking his shoulder into the ground.


Here’s the play in full- motion from above. Now you’ll know how itĀ happened, and where the breakdowns occurred.

Painful to see. But important that these guys learn. Intelligence is a good thing for a player. I notice here that Hawk did his job perfectly. It was Bush and Daniels who let them down, and who hung Mulumba out to dry. Season over.

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