1) Introduction: Many expected 2012 to be a rebound season for the Packers defense. The unit was the team’s Achilles heel in 2011 and it cost them a shot at a second straight Super Bowl. Ted Thompson reloaded the team with talent via the 2012 NFL Draft, so it was up to Dom Capers to turn the defense around. Capers was expected to get the unit closer to 2010 form when it was one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Ernest Dominic “Dom” Capers
- Age: 62
- Born: 08/07/1950, in Cambridge, OH
- Rookie Year: 1986 (defensive backs coach with the Saints)
- NFL Coaching Experience: 36 years
Biography and more
(3) Expectations coming into the season: In a word: improvement. The defense was bad in 2011, but a lot of those flaws were covered up by the record-setting offense the Packers had that year. When the offense finally had a bad game, in the playoffs of all times, how bad the defense really was became clear.
Thompson infused the defense with youth via the draft and Capers was expected to get the youngsters ready to push some of the veterans. The defense was not expected to be the liability it was in 2011.
4)Overachievements/Underachievements: If we were to go by players, Capers got a lot out of rookie Casey Hayward. In fact, Hayward has done the impossible and made it likely the team can survive without the recently released Charles Woodson and in fact maybe even thrive. Hayward also made Tramon Williams a better player and Williams improved over his atrocious 2011.
The linebacking corps would be considered an underachievement, but injuries took their toll with Desmond Bishop, DJ Smith and Nick Perry all finishing the season on injured reserve. Clay Matthews had another stellar season, but the linebackers struggled overall.
Perhaps the biggest failure the defense had (in the regular season anyway) was giving up over 400 yards to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson had a great year and is a very talented back, but anytime a running back gains roughly 20% of his season total on your defense in two games, something is wrong.