D-Coordinator Capers Back in Green Bay
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Dom Capers hopes coaching for the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field goes better than his last trip their 12 years ago as an opponent.
Capers was the coach of the Carolina Panthers then and lost in the NFC championship game to Green Bay. Capers hadn't been back until his interview Friday and Saturday with coach Mike McCarthy.
"I feel much better about being here this time than the last time I was here. I've always believed when you go into a stadium you carry with you the feeling you had the last time you were there, and it wasn't a very good feeling when I left here," Capers said. "We lost the championship game and Green Bay went on and won the Super Bowl.
"Hopefully we can get back there."
Capers will revamp the Packers defense into a 3-4 scheme with three down linemen and four linebackers. How quickly and effectively the Packers can make that transition will determine whether they're more like the team that went to the NFC title game in 2008 or the team that stumbled this season to a 6-10 record.
Capers didn't talk about how the Packers' current personnel would fit in the new scheme.
"How gradually you evolve into the 3-4 always depends on your personnel," Capers said. "I think you make a tremendous mistake if you come in and say you have a cookie-cutter 3-4 defense and, 'This is what we're going to be,' and try to fit your personnel to that."
The player who could be most affected by the change is defensive end Aaron Kampman -- a two-time Pro Bowl selection who may have to convert to outside linebacker. Capers likened Kampman's situation to that of the Jaguars' Tony Brackens, who had his only Pro Bowl season in 1999 when Capers used him as both an end and a linebacker.
"I know Aaron Kampman has been a very good football player and has had a lot of production," Capers said. "I think the No. 1 thing you do is you try to adapt what you are doing to your good football players. If a guy is a good football player, we're going to find a way to use him."
Capers has also been defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh (1992-95), Jacksonville (1999-2000) and Miami (2007). In between those stints, he was head coach of two expansion teams -- the Carolina Panthers (1995-98) and the Houston Texans (2002-05).
Capers spent last season as a special assistant and secondary coach to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)