Thursday, September 4, 2014
Expect Capers to unveil new looks in opener
By Rob Demovsky
SEATTLE -- You could tell Dom Capers was uncomfortable with the subject.
It was three days before the Green Bay Packers' season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field, and the team's defensive coordinator was holding his weekly session with reporters at Lambeau Field.
And he knows we know.
He knows we have seen it.
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is expecting the unexpected from Dom Capers' defense in Week 1.
He knows, as is the team's right per an agreement between the NFL and the Pro Football Writers of America, that we have been asked to keep any major scheme-specific changes out of our reports from practice.
The most Capers will admit to is there are unscouted looks in every NFL game in Week 1, when coaches finally unveil what they spend all offseason concocting in their offices but refuse to put on film for others to see in the preseason.
But anyone who has spent time around the Packers since they started workouts in April knows this one might be the granddaddy of all unscouted looks.
"Well, I don't think it will be any different from any opening game,” Capers insisted this week. "There’s always a few unscouted looks in opening games. That's just kind of the nature of our business, so I don't think it will be any different from other openers, really."
Let's talk about that after everyone sees what he throws at the Seahawks.
Maybe Capers will just send out his base 3-4 defense on first down followed by the nickel package (a 2-4-5 alignment) on second down and the dime on third down (a 2-3-6 look) like he did so often last season. But the Packers have no desire to field the 25th-ranked defense in the league again, so that's unlikely.
The Seahawks surely know something new will be coming their way, even if they're not exactly sure what.
"Well, you just have to trust your eyes, you have to trust what you see," Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said this week. "I think that obviously Coach Capers, the defensive coordinator for them, is a great defensive coordinator and he knows so many different things and you just study and be prepared. I've played a lot of football games and seen a lot of a lot of different things and so you just try to trust what you see and let rip and be on time, be consistent with your eyes and be consistent with what you're trying to do."
That the Packers now have Julius Peppers, a rare high-priced veteran free-agent signing by general manager Ted Thompson, gives them flexibility on defense. Including Peppers, who will play outside linebacker rather than his old defensive end spot in the Bears' 4-3 scheme, the Packers have 11 linebackers and just five defensive linemen on their roster.
Clearly, there's a reason for so many linebackers and so few linemen.
"It'll be fun to see," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said this week. "I know, as I've seen over the years and as Dom has shown, we keep a multitude of defenses and schemes and formations and this is a team that presents the very same problems, so we'll look to unleash it in Week 1 and hopefully it works in our favor."