Welcome to the offseason, where news runs as slow as molasses in northern Wisconsin during winter. As a way to pass the time and still get a healthy dose of Green Bay Packers football, we’ve put together a series detailing some defensive formations utilized by Dom Capers.
Every day this week we’ll bring you a breakdown of a particular Packers’ defensive formation. Hopefully it will help you build a better eye for the game and get you to see things you might never have noticed before.
When the Packers fired Bob Sanders and hired Dom Capers in 2009, it signified a fundamental shift in defensive philosophy. Mike McCarthy wanted to transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense, and Capers had a history of making these changes work, as well as being a founding father of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ legendary scheme.
“I’m big believer in the 3-4 defense for a number of different reasons,” McCarthy explained after hiring Capers. “From an offensive standpoint, it gives you targeting problems and allows you as a defense to [better] use your personnel. It really cuts the menu of the offense in half of what you would normally do against a 4-man front.”
But as we’ve seen, games are not merely played in 4-3 or 3-4 fronts. In fact, the Green Bay Packers have mostly used “nickel” formations the past few seasons, which primarily consist of two defensive linemen and four linebackers. It’s a response to the modern NFL and its pass-heavy tendencies. However, it also shows that there is more to a defense than just its “base” formation.