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Ex-Packers WR: Dom Capers needs to ask players for input on fixing the defense

Former Packers receiver and current Fox Sports analyst Greg Jennings joined the Friday edition of Locked On Packers and he has a simple solution to help coalesce Green Bay’s struggling defense: listen to the players. 

“It gets to a point where, as players, when you’ve been with a coach for so long — and Mike McCarthy, he really understands this — you have to let them have a voice. They have to have a voice. You have to trust them enough to say ‘You know what, this is my defense and I call this defense and I organized it. You guys run it.’ But at some point, when your players are on the field and you know that you can trust them, you gotta allow them to be able to tell you, and you listen — not just hear them, but you listen — because they see the flow of the game, they know the flow of the game, they’re in it.”

Jennings said McCarthy would treat his offense meeting rooms that way when they were going through a difficult stretch and it made the players feel invested in what they were doing.

“That’s the one thing Mike McCarthy was always good at. He would come in a meeting, and he would say, ‘I mean guys, I can give suggestions all day, but what do you guys think?’ And he meant it.

“It put more ownership on the player to say, ‘You know what? This is what you guys wanted to do, make it work.’”

According to Jennings, this wouldn’t be the first time Capers has gone this route either. Early in Capers’ tenure in Green Bay, the Packers had some veteran players who would push back and work with him to come up with solutions.

“There were definitely times with that defense with Charles (Woodson), and Nick Collins and Tramon (Williams) and Nick Barnett and those guys that they challenged Dom to let them do it. Like ‘trust us, this works.'”

And while there may not be a leader or future Hall of Fame player like Woodson on the current Packers roster, they have guys Jennings says Capers should trust enough to listen when they offer input.

“You have guys on that defense, who on that defense you can trust. Not all of them (laughs), not all of them. But you know you have some guys that you can really pull into your office and say ‘Look guys, what am I missing here?’ And really take those things to heart and go out and implement those things.”

Listen to the entire interview here:


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Peter Bukowski is an award-winning writer, reporter and broadcaster living in New York. He has covered the NFL for Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Bleacher Report, Yahoo!, and many others. His work has been recognized by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association and the Society for Professional Journalists. Peter is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He hates your favorite team and makes dumb jokes on Twitter.

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