Here are all of the answers to this week’s questions in the latest edition of Packers Mailbag:
Q: So Paul – what about that defense (Sunday)? Who was missing? I realize Clay had a club but pretty much everyone else was in the lineup (Sunday) and we still give up 27 points. The Packers have to move on from Capers. The defense held them to ONE 3 and out. Just one. We make average offenses look incredible. Not only this year, but this defense has held the Packers back for 3 years now. We have had and still have great playmakers – the coaching is just awful. — Tom K, La Crosse
Q: Can you please tell me why Dom Capers is still running the defense? If we had any kind of defense we might have won 3 super bowls in the last 5 years. We cant stop anyone. Forget the quarterback, we need help on D. They need a new front 3 n backers who have speed, our secondary makes me sick. Isnt that Dom Capers? — John Canapinno, Guilford, CT
Q: Defensive backs that look lost at times and 2 straight games where the d cannot stop obvious running plays at the end of the game. This has been a common theme the last couple of years. Will they finally fire capers? — Steve, SunnyP
Q: We need to fix this defense, we had the same problem last year. You need a defense to win games. What does it take to get a pass-interference call? — Glenn Raymond, Rochester, NY
Q: Will this Monday be the day we finally cut our ties with Dom Capers, a shadow of a defensive coordinator, 5 years is way too many for him Bring on the U-Hauls — Bob, San Antonio
Q: I’m not one to jump the gun and call for a coach to be fired but, if you look at the past and every team he’s coached on Capers’ defenses always start good for the first couple of years then the bottom falls out for some reason. Why would this be and if things don’t improve how can we keep him past this season? — Todd, Milwaukee, WI
A: Lots of questions this week about the status of Dom Capers. More accurately, lots of Packers fans angry with Capers.
Mike McCarthy’s cryptic postgame comment after the loss to Philadelphia about “reoccurring issues” began speculation that Green Bay might actually part ways with Capers this week. That didn’t happen, and I’m not surprised that it didn’t. Those type of reactionary moves aren’t typical of this franchise, even though it obviously upsets the fan base at times. Shifting to a different coordinator midseason wouldn’t have been unprecedented (the Baltimore Ravens fired their offensive coordinator in December 2012 and ended up winning the Super Bowl), but McCarthy still believes in Capers.
We’ll see if Capers can get the defense turned around in the final seven games of the regular season. Without Aaron Rodgers for a few more games, the Packers will need their defense to get them a couple wins.
Q: After watching Matthews vs the Iggles, it seems to me that while Matthews has the club on his hand he was completely ineffective. If Nick Perry is 100% good to go next week, do you think the Packers should use Perry at ROLB where his pass rush was much better and switch Matthews to LOLB? I saw a few plays w/ Matthews on the left side, in my opinion getting a pass rush is paramount and Matthews wasn’t able to generate pressure w/ the club cast. Lets give Perry the freedom to rush at ROLB while Matthews is clearly limited. — Stroh, Scottsdale, AZ
Q: Why has the defense become so soft? Why did Matthews play against the Eagles? — Bob Lee, Superior, WI
A: Clay Matthews knew he’d be hindered by the giant club on his right hand in that game, but I don’t think anyone anticipated him to be as ineffective as he was. As McCarthy said the day after the loss, Matthews “struggled” playing with the club because he’s such a hands player. Take away one of those hands and it’s not going to be the same Matthews that we’re all used to seeing.
The problem, Stroh, is that Nick Perry has his own injuries to deal with. He was just recovering from a broken bone in his foot and then suffered an ankle injury against the Eagles. And, oh yeah, Mike Neal won’t practice all week with injuries of his own, and Andy Mulumba has an ankle injury, too. It’s a really banged-up outside linebacker group right now. So while I otherwise might agree to give Perry more freedom off the right edge, his health — or lack thereof — complicates it further.
Q: Scott Tolzien looked pretty good (Sunday) in my opinion better than Seneca Wallace did vs the Bears. Did McCarthy name Tolzien as the starter based on his play? or is it because Wallace is too injured? — Bill Anderson, Chippewa Falls
A: As we found out Tuesday, Seneca Wallace’s groin injury was bad enough that he was placed on injured reserve. If Wallace wasn’t going to be ready to play this weekend against the New York Giants, the writing was on the wall that the Packers would get him off the 53-man roster and find a different quarterback to play behind Scott Tolzien.
But even had Wallace’s injury not been season-ending, yes, Tolzien was named the starter based on his play. Given the circumstances, Tolzien performed very well in that game and impressed a lot of people, the most important of whom was McCarthy.
Q: Why did the Packers wait so long to claim Flynn, when if they would have added him as soon as he was put on waivers, he may have helped win the two games we lost with Wallace and this other guy? — Russell Frehlich, Milwaukee
A: There’s certainly an argument to be made that the Packers missed on an opportunity to sign Matt Flynn when he was released by the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 7. At the time, McCarthy publicly stood behind Wallace as the backup QB, so Green Bay didn’t show any interest in Flynn. But, when Flynn was released by the Buffalo Bills around the same time that the Packers were watching their starting quarterbacks get hurt on a weekly basis, it made more sense now.
I know that Flynn won over a lot of fans with his record-breaking performance in Week 17 of the 2011 season, but it says something that McCarthy — a coach with his own “quarterback school” — preferred Wallace one month ago. So I’m not convinced whatsoever that Flynn would have been any better in helping Green Bay win the games against Chicago and Philadelphia.
Q: We have been hearing that the Packers are going to sign Matt Flynn but have not heard anything on the status of his elbow. It is hard for me to believe he is the same guy that left via free agency a couple of years ago, what are your thoughts? — Jesse Delaney, Waukon, Iowa
A: Jesse, I know you sent this question in before the Packers signed Flynn, so I’ll address the second part of it. Flynn and McCarthy both insisted this week that he’s the same guy that left the team for $10 million guaranteed in Seattle two years ago, but I don’t completely believe that. Flynn’s struggles with the Seahawks, Raiders and Bills would certainly suggest to the contrary.
But as for Flynn’s elbow being the reason for those recent struggles, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Flynn passed all of his medical testing with Green Bay and said that his elbow hasn’t been an issue since training camp. If Flynn wasn’t healthy, the Packers wouldn’t have signed him.
Q: I know injuries have depleted the o-line and other positions, but in my opinion the right tackle position needs to be upgraded big time. Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay just do not cut it. If you agree, do you see GB upgrading that position in the off-season whether it be in the draft or in free agency? — Robert, Beloit
A: I think Don Barclay has been about as good as could be reasonably expected from a second-year undrafted player. However, it’s absolutely not ideal to have a player like that at right tackle for a Super Bowl-caliber team. But next season, there’s almost no scenario in which Barclay is a starter. My very early projection there for next season would be that Barclay is an all-five-position backup and Marshall Newhouse is no longer with the team.
The starting tackles in 2014 would be two of these three: Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, David Bakhtiari. I would still advise Packers fans to not give up on Sherrod’s future. Now that he’s healthy, Sherrod needs padded practices, but as those come, he could still live up to his first-round-pick status in the long term. Whichever of those three doesn’t win a starting job would be a high-level backup, joining Barclay. So, no, I don’t think Green Bay needs to use a high draft pick in 2014 on an offensive tackle. Maybe a mid-round pick to add depth, but not a first- or second-rounder, because the Packers don’t need to draft a starter when they have Bulaga, Bakhtiari and Sherrod.
Q: What are The Green Bay Packers going to do. — Barrie Franklin Jr., Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A: Play football? I don’t know where to begin without writing a novel …
Q: why does mccarthy still throw on third and 1 when we got lacy for that job ? duh!!! — Henry Holman, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin
Q: What does McCarthy have against running the ball on Third and 2 or Third and 1? Nope lets pass the ball with our third string QB. — Troy, Stewartville, MN
A: I admit that there have been several times this season where I’ve sat up in the press box and wondered why the Packers were throwing on 3rd-and-short. It’s one thing when it’s Rodgers, but it seems odd to have Tolzien throwing with that down-and-distance given that Eddie Lacy is averaging 4.2 yards per carry this season.
** Thanks for all the questions this week. We’ll do it again next Thursday (Nov. 21) by analyzing the Packers/ Giants game and looking ahead to the Packers hosting the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12. **