Dom Capers

Lions Add Dom Capers To Defensive Staff

Friday afternoon brought Dom Capers closer to hitting for the NFC North cycle. The former Packers DC and Vikings assistant will be a part of Dan Campbell‘s Lions staff next season.

The Vikings and the former head coach parted ways at season’s end. Capers spent nine seasons as Green Bay’s DC but has bounced around in recent years, serving in a senior defensive assistant-type role in Jacksonville and Minnesota. He will be a senior defensive assistant in Detroit as well, per the Lions.

While the 70-year-old Capers has not been with the Bears in his 30-plus-year NFL career, he has served as head coach for the Panthers and Texans — helming each as expansion teams — and was a defensive coordinator with the Steelers, Jaguars and Dolphins prior to his lengthy Green Bay stop.

He will join Aaron Glenn‘s defensive staff in Detroit. Glenn was with the Texans for most of Capers’ stay in Houston, serving as a starting cornerback from 2002-04. Capers served as Houston’s HC from 2002-05. With Glenn a first-time DC, the Lions adding one of the NFL’s most experienced coaches — and one who is familiar with the current NFC North makeup — makes sense.

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Vikings, Dom Capers To Part Ways

The Vikings and Dom Capers will part ways after a one-season partnership. Capers’ contract will be allowed to expire, with the Vikings announcing he will not be back in 2021.

Minnesota brought the former head coach and longtime Green Bay defensive coordinator in as a senior defensive assistant last year. While roster turnover and injuries gutted Minnesota’s defense, the unit ranked as by far the worst in Mike Zimmer‘s seven-year tenure.

Cuts of Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph preceded free agency defections of Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Everson Griffen. An injury sidelined Danielle Hunter for the entire 2020 season, and Anthony Barr was lost for most of it. The Vikings traded Yannick Ngakoue soon after as well. The new-look defense ended the year 29th in points allowed and 27th in total defense, though DVOA respected the undermanned unit’s work a bit more (18th).

Capers, 70, spent the 2019 season as a senior defensive assistant in Jacksonville. He came to a Vikings team that had parted ways with defensive coordinator George Edwards and installed Andre Patterson and Adam Zimmer — Mike’s son — as co-DCs. The former head coach for multiple expansion teams — the Panthers and Texans — Capers has been an NFL coach since 1986. His most recent role of note was as Packers DC from 2009-17.

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Vikings Add Dom Capers To Defensive Staff

Minnesota made a key offseason addition to its offensive coaching staff last year, adding Gary Kubiak in a non-coordinator role. While Kubiak now serves as the Vikings’ OC, Mike Zimmer is bringing in another experienced coach this offseason — this time to help his defensive staff.

Dom Capers signed on to join Zimmer’s staff Monday, making a move back to the NFC North. The former Packers defensive coordinator coached against Zimmer’s staff for several years; he will return to the division after a one-year stay in Jacksonville. Capers will serve as a senior defensive assistant for the Vikings.

Kubiak’s predecessor as Texans head coach — the franchise’s first — Capers also was tabbed the Panthers’ coach when they began play in 1995. The 2020 season will be Capers’ 33rd season as an NFL head coach.

The 69-year-old sideline mainstay will help newly appointed co-defensive coordinators Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson keep the Vikings’ defense as one of the NFL’s best. The Vikings moved on from George Edwards, Mike Zimmer’s only DC during his six previous seasons leading the team, after their 2019 season ended.

Also Bill Cowher‘s first DC in Pittsburgh, Capers worked with Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville during the Jags’ best season (their 14-2 1999 slate) and became Miami’s DC after the Texans fired him as head coach following the 2005 season. Capers’ Green Bay defenses became less stingy as his tenure wore on, but the Packers did claim their fourth Super Bowl championship partially on the strength of Capers’ No. 2-ranked defense in 2010. The ’20 season will be Capers and Mike Zimmer’s first season together on an NFL staff.

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Jaguars To Hire Dom Capers

The Jaguars are set to hire Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Capers will provide support to defensive coordinator Todd Wash as they manage one of the league’s top young defenses. 

Capers, 68, served as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. His most recent employment came with the Packers, but after Green Bay ended his nine-year tenure as their DC, he did not coach in 2018. The Dolphins and Bengals both chased Capers, but the Jaguars ultimately won out.

The Bengals would have made Capers their DC, but the coaching veteran opted for a lesser title in Jacksonville instead. At this stage of his career, Capers may actually prefer a less demanding job.

Dom Capers is one of the most respected defensive coaches in the game today, and he has been for many years,” head coach Doug Marrone said in a press release. “His defenses have long been among the most effective and productive in the NFL. He has career experiences and accomplishments that will benefit our coaches and our players. He adds a unique perspective and veteran presence that will be valuable assets to immediately help us. I look forward to working with Dom and having him on our staff.”

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Dolphins Hire Jim Caldwell

The Dolphins have officially announced Jim Caldwell as their assistant head coach/QBs coach. Interestingly, their press release did not mention the hiring of Dom Capers as defensive coordinator, a move that has been expected over the last week. 

Caldwell, the former Colts and Lions head coach, interviewed with the Browns, Cardinals, and Jets this offseason for their head coaching vacancies. The Lions made the postseason twice during Caldwell’s tenure in Detroit. And, with the Colts, his teams went 26-22 with one AFC title and two divisional championships.

New Dolphins head coach Brian Flores does not have previous head coaching experience, but Caldwell can provide valuable counsel for him in his first year at the helm.

Capers, 68, recently turned down the Bengals’ DC job, leading many to believe that he would be sign on for the same role in Miami. As of this moment, that has not happened.

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Dom Capers Declines Bengals DC Job

Dom Capers has turned down the chance to become the Bengals’ defensive coordinator under new head coach Zac Taylor, according to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Capers’ likeliest destination is now the Dolphins, where he’d serve as a senior defensive assistant, while the Jaguars are also a possible landing spot, per Marvez.

At age 68, Capers is 33 years old than Taylor, and like the other defensive coordinator candidates linked to the Bengals’ DC job, he’d bring a wealth of experience. Not only has Capers served as a defensive coordinator for multiple clubs, but he’s been a head coach at two stops (Panthers, Texans), meaning he could presumably offer counsel to Taylor as he enters his first head coaching job.

Capers was one of six coaches who have been tied to the Bengals. Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen received an extension from New Orleans, while former Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is no longer considering the job. Ex-Bears head coach John Fox and Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan have been mentioned as candidates, while Cincinnati earlier tonight requested an interview with Rams cornerbacks coach Aubrey Pleasant.

Capers was thought to be a candidate for the Cardinals defensive coordinator job under Kliff Kingsbury, but that position ultimately went to former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph. If he joins Miami, Capers would advise a first-time head coach in Brian Flores and a rookie defensive coordinator in Patrick Graham. In Jacksonville, Capers would join a relatively established staff lead by head coach Doug Marrone and DC Todd Wash.

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Dolphins, Jaguars Interested In Dom Capers

Two former Dom Capers employers are interested in bringing the veteran defensive-minded coach back to Florida.

The Dolphins and Jaguars view Capers as a candidate to join their respective staffs as a senior defensive assistant, according to Alex Marvez of Sirius XM Radio (on Twitter).

These AFC teams join the Bengals in pursuing the longtime Packers defensive coordinator and two-time expansion team head coach (in each of the Panthers’ and Texans’ first four seasons). Capers, 68, served as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in the two years following his Panthers tenure, 1999-2000. From 2006-07, Capers was part of Miami’s staff.

After the Packers ended Capers’ nine-year tenure as their DC, he did not coach in 2018. He was connected to the Cardinals’ DC search, however.

Miami appointed Patrick Graham to be its DC, but GM Chris Grier said Monday his first-time coordinators — Graham and likely OC Chad O’Shea — will have veteran presences on staff as well. Jim Caldwell is signed on to coach on Brian Flores‘ staff, and Capers would have interest in coming aboard, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, unless he can land a DC job. The Bengals are the only team in this trio with a vacant DC position.

Promoting two position coaches, the Jags have rearranged their defensive staff to some degree this offseason. Capers coming to north Florida would pair him with incumbent DC Todd Wash.

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Bengals Interested In Dennis Allen For DC

The Bengals will formally announce Zac Taylor as their next head coach tomorrow, and the team has already tabbed Brian Callahan to serve as Taylor’s offensive coordinator.

There is less clarity on Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator vacancy, though a couple of big-name candidates have been mentioned as possibilities. Reports from two weeks ago suggested that Jack Del Rio and John Fox are potential targets, and now Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio has added another name to the mix.

Per Marvez (Twitter link), the Bengals are interested in Dennis Allen, who has served as the Saints’ DC since taking over for Rob Ryan during the 2015 season. Allen has rebuilt his reputation in coaching circles after a difficult stint as the Raiders’ head coach from 2012-14, and his name has popped up as a head coaching candidate in the last couple of years. His unit ranked second in the league against the run and tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks in 2018.

In a separate tweet, Marvez appears to suggest that Allen is the Bengals’ top choice for the job and that Del Rio and Fox may no longer be under strong consideration. Marvez reports that, if Cincinnati cannot get Allen, the club will turn its attention to Dom Capers, who worked as the Packers’ DC from 2009-17.

We recently learned that Allen’s contract with New Orleans is up, so he is a free agent at the moment. The Saints reportedly want to keep him, but they now have some serious competition for his services.

Regardless of whom the Bengals hire as their next defensive coordinator, it looks as though they want an experienced candidate to pair with rookie head coach Taylor and rookie offensive coordinator Callahan.

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Cardinals Interested In Dom Capers For DC?

Longtime NFL defensive coordinator Dom Capers‘ name has been “kicked around” by the Cardinals and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Kingsbury is just 39 years old and has never coached at the NFL level in any capacity, leading Arizona general manager Steve Keim to remark that landing a veteran DC would be an “ideal” outcome (Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com). Moreover, given their history and personnel on defense, the Cardinals are interested in hiring a coordinator who will primarily deploy a 3-4 front.

Capers would fit both of those parameters. At age 68, he’s nearly 30 years older than Kingsbury, and he’s been coaching in the NFL since 1986 (with ample collegiate experience dating back to 1972). Not only has Capers served as a defensive coordinator for multiple clubs, but he’s been a head coach at two stops (Panthers, Texans), meaning he could presumably offer counsel to Kingsbury as the latter enters his first pro job.

Capers also runs a 3-4 scheme, and did so during the duration of his most recent NFL gig, a nine-year stint as the Packers’ DC. Green Bay’s defense admittedly struggled near the end of Capers’ run: in 2017, the Packers ranked just 22nd in total defense and 20th in defensive DVOA.

Arizona’s defense, meanwhile, ranked 17th in DVOA last season, and that figure may be even more impressive that it initially looks. Opposing offenses — on average — started their drives against the Cardinals on their own 29.5-yard line, the seventh-easiest starting position in the NFL. Additionally, Arizona’s offense’s drives were the shortest in the league in terms of elapsed clock (two minutes, sixteen seconds on average), meaning the club’s defense was constantly on the field.

Kingsbury will be calling offensive plays, tweets James Palmer of NFL Network, so he’ll need an established defensive mind in place. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, Kingsbury’s collegiate background could mean he doesn’t have the pro connections required to build out a staff. With that in in mind, Kingsbury says he’ll lean on Keim as he formulates his inaugural coaching group, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

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Packers Shake Up Coaching Staff

The Packers have decided to make dramatic changes in their coaching staff, the team has announced. Among the bigger news released today was that defensive coordinator Dom Capers officially been fired. It was already reported that the longtime coach was going to be let go a few days ago, but the news just confirmed by team officials today. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and linebackers coach Scott McCurley were also officially relieved of their duties.

“I want to thank each of these men and their families for all that they gave to the Packers during their time here,” head coach Mike McCarthy added. “We enjoyed a lot of success together and they directly contributed to our accomplishments. These are difficult personal decisions and we hope for the best for their families moving forward.”

Tom Pellisero of NFL.com has also reported that current offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett will be reassigned to another post and that the Packers will allow quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt‘s contract to expire this offseason (Twitter link). It should be noted that both of these reported decisions are still awaiting confirmation from the team.

Edgar Bennett (Vertical)

Bennett had been on the Packers staff for awhile, serving in many roles, including the team’s player development, running backs, wide receivers coach since he joined the organization in 2001. He had been promoted to offensive coordinator at the start of the 2015 season. His role change will allow the team to hire an offensive coordinator from outside the organization.

Van Pelt was hired as the team’s running backs coach in 2012 was promoted to handle the team’s quarterbacks in 2014.

Both coaches have had the benefit of working with All-pro signal caller Aaron Rodgers over the past few years. But the offense showed significant flaws when Rodgers went down with injuries for a much of the 2017 season. Today’s news essentially confirms the speculation that the Packers could drastically alter their coaching staff in the weeks ahead since they missed the postseason for the first time since 2008.

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