Dom Capers

Some Panthers Coaches Could Stay On Staff; OC Thomas Brown Not Expected To Be One Of Them

While several fans will be awaiting the news of the firing of their team’s head coach in the next two days, Carolina fans have already processed their loss. The normal sequence of events whenever there is a changeover at head coach for an NFL team sees most of the accompanying coaching staff also lose their jobs as the team tends to clear house, allowing the new hire the opportunity to build their staff exactly as they desire. The Panthers, with owner David Tepper at the helm, are not a normal team.

We’ve already seen an example where Tepper asserts his authority, encouraging head coaching candidates a year ago to retain special teams coordinator (and current interim head coach) Chris Tabor and offensive line coach James Campen. Both assistants were retained by the now departed Frank Reich. Whether a direct correlation or not, rookie Bryce Young ended up as the second-most sacked quarterback of the season, and Reich lost his job. So, with Tepper likely to flex his influence once again, who is likely to be vouched for to the candidates who may replace Reich?

Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is a no brainer. Despite giving up the fourth-most points in the NFL this season, the Panthers defense allowed the third-fewest yards this year. The offense routinely put the other unit in bad situations, but the Carolina defense did their best to limit the damage throughout the year.

Evero, though, will be a popular candidate for open head coaching jobs, as he was last year, as well. If the Panthers hire a young, offensive-minded head coach, holding onto Evero could be a perfect recipe for success. Coordinators who leave for head coaching gigs tend to bring their staff with them, so holding on to Evero would likely result in the retention of key defensive assistants like defensive line coach Todd Wash, linebackers coach Peter Hansen, safeties coach Bert Watts, and senior defensive consultant Dom Capers.

Though Evero and his staff could likely depart for greener pastures, it’s even more likely that the staff on the offensive side of the ball won’t return for the Panthers in 2024. The likeliest to return would be Campen, who Tepper continues to back despite a brutal 2023 campaign for the Panthers’ offensive line. Campen is still a highly respected coach in the NFL and delivered a strong offensive line for Carolina in 2022. His most likely route out of Carolina may be due to his connections with Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who seemingly has an outrageous amount of pull in New York.

The rest of the offensive staff, namely offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, face a much different situation. Brown is considered a rising, young mind in the league, earning several head coaching interviews last year before accepting his first coordinator position in Carolina. The coordinator title seemed mostly nominal when he arrived, though, as Reich retained play-calling duties for the offense to start the year.

This fit Brown just fine, as Brown’s best coaching qualities are more leadership-oriented than offensive. That didn’t stop Brown from providing dissenting opinions about the direction of the offense with Reich this year, leading to multiple arguments in house. Brown did lead Young to his only two wins as a play caller this year, but ultimately, the Panthers offense did not flourish under his eventual reign as play caller. There’s a chance that Brown, alone, could be retained for his leadership abilities, if Carolina does in fact hire a young, offensive-minded head coach, but the rest of the offensive staff would likely be replaced by the new hire’s preferred assistants.

Lastly, Tabor seems invincible in Carolina. While he doesn’t seem likely to receive any serious consideration for the permanent head coaching job, Tepper continues to favor Tabor for his leadership as the interim head coach and his record as a special teams coordinator.

All of this stands as mere speculation, though, until Carolina is able to secure their newest head coach. And with Tepper employing six coaches (including interims) as skippers since buying the team in 2018, he’s developing a reputation that may make it difficult to lure in top talent. According to ESPN’s David Newton, sources around the league believe that Tepper’s impatience for head coaches, coupled with his recent drink toss that led to a $300K fine, will impact the team’s head coaching search, making it difficult to nail down the candidates of their choice.

Still, a head coaching opportunity is the pinnacle of the profession, and someone will be sure to nail down this newest opportunity in Carolina. They just may be pressed to include some of the above coaches in their new staff.

Panthers Add Josh McCown, Dom Capers To Staff

Frank Reich‘s Panthers staff continues to take shape, and more familiar names are headed to Charlotte. Per a team announcement, Carolina has hired Josh McCown as quarterbacks coach and Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant.

McCown, 43, spent two seasons (2008 and 2009) with the Panthers during his journeyman playing days. That stretch saw him attempt just six passes, but he is nevertheless a hire who, like Reich, has experience inside the organization. This position will be his first coaching opportunity at the NFL level, but certainly not the first which he was connected to.

Following the end of his playing career in Houston in 2020, McCown was named as candidate for the Texans’ head coaching vacancy. The same was true in the 2022 coaching cycle, and he was reportedly a finalist for the position before the team’s eleventh-hour decision to pivot to Lovie Smith. McCown said this past September that he would be open to taking on a non-HC role despite the repeated interest showed in him by the Texans.

In Carolina, McCown will join a highly-regarded bench boss in Reich, who figures to be heavily involved in the development of Carolina’s signal-callers (the identities of whom will, in all likelihood, be noticeably different by the start of the 2023 season than they are now). Interestingly, McCown’s hire has come before that of an offensive coordinator.

As for Capers, this news comes as little surprise. The 72-year-old will hold the same title in Carolina that he did in 2022 with the Broncos. That, of course, allowed him to work alongside defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. The pair helped guide Denver’s defense to a strong showing in the latter’s debut season at the coordinator level. Evero was hired by the Panthers to helm their defense this past weekend, and he will continue to have an experienced voice in Capers as a resource during the next chapter of his coaching career.

Capers was the head coach of the first team in Panthers history, one which was quarterbacked by Reich. He also worked with Evero during their time together with the Packers in 2016, and has given him high praise for his work as both an assistant and coordinator. Expectations will be raised for the Panthers in 2023, given their relatively strong finish to this past season, along with the acclaim and familiarity found on Reich’s staff.

Broncos To Hire Dom Capers

Dom Capers has lent his services to three different teams since his time as Packers defensive coordinator ended. The former head coach is now set to head to Denver.

The Broncos are hiring the longtime defensive staffer, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Capers will again serve as a senior defensive assistant, adding decades of experience under Ejiro Evero, who is expected to become Denver’s new defensive coordinator following Super Bowl LVI. Evero is set to be a first-time coordinator.

Since 2019, Capers has worked with the Jaguars, Vikings and Lions as a senior defensive assistant. Two of those seasons featured multiple game-planning weeks against Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense ahead of NFC North matchups. Hackett was not in Green Bay during Capers’ nine-season stint as Packers DC, though Aaron Rodgers obviously was. The Broncos continue to be linked to the now-two-time reigning MVP, but several hurdles remain on that path.

Capers will turn 72 before the 2022 seasons begins. He has been coaching since 1972 and served as head coach for two expansion teams, taking over the Panthers in 1995 and Texans in 2002. Carolina experienced more success under Capers, venturing to the NFC championship game in 1996. In between those stints, Capers served as the Jaguars’ DC. He has been a defensive coordinator for four teams — the Steelers, Jags, Dolphins and Packers — in addition to the HC tenures. While Capers’ Steelers defenses featured top-tier units, his Packers group helped the franchise win its fourth Super Bowl in 2010.

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.

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.

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.

Jaguars To Hire Dom Capers

The Jaguars are set to hire Dom Capers as a senior defensive assistant, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (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.”

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.

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.

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.