Mike McCarthy won't dismantle staff
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Just as he did in the days immediately after last season, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't make any definitive statements about the future of his coaching staff, specifically the status of defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
But just like last season, McCarthy indicated Wednesday during his season-ending news conference that he has no plans to dismantle things despite another early exit from the playoffs.
That would be appear to bode well for the return of Capers, whose defense struggled at times this season –- but nothing like it did in 2011, when it ranked last in the NFL, or in 2012, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shredded Green Bay for 579 yards in the playoffs.
Although Kaepernick beat the Packers again, this time 23-20 in Sunday's NFC wild-card game, Capers' defense wasn't solely to blame.
"Dom Capers is an outstanding football coach," McCarthy said Wednesday. "No one will be evaluated today. We'll go through just like we did last year.
"I'm not going into this looking to make big changes."
McCarthy, who added that he's glad Capers is on his staff, said he will conduct staff evaluations over the next couple of weeks. His assistants are scheduled to work through the end of this week before taking some time off.
The 63-year-old Capers said he has no plans to retire and spoke extensively about next season.
"It's a normal process; we've started the evaluation process," Capers said. "I'll certainly meet with all the guys on the defensive staff. I'll meet with Mike and we'll go through, evaluate everything we do. That's just standard operating procedure once the season's over. We've already started that process.
"I have no plans of not coaching, I'll say that."
The Packers' defense faded down the stretch in 2013. Green Bay was ranked as high as 11th in yards allowed and as high as third against the run near the midway point of the season but finished 25th in yards and 25th against the run.
Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after Sunday's game that the defense did enough for the Packers to beat the 49ers despite allowing San Francisco to run out the final five minutes and kick the game-winning field goal.
On that drive, Capers called an all-out blitz on third-and-8 from the Packers' 38-yard line. But Kaepernick beat the seven-man pressure and scrambled for 11 yards to get into field-goal range.
"The empty pressure where Kaepernick gets out of the pocket, that's the right call," McCarthy said. "It was a call I wanted because it was important to keep him in there and decrease the time clock of that play and he gets out. That was obviously a huge play that gave them the first down there."
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