Dom Capers - new defensive coach??

We've been hearing rumours that Capers would be the new DC. Well that didn't turn out to be the case, but there are continuing rumours that Capers is still being sought for one of the defensive coaching positions. So who is Mr. Capers...

Dom Capers has been everything from a defensive secondary coach to a headcoach at the college and pro ranks since 1975. He played LB and SAF in college. After graduation he coached for several Division I teams mostly as a secondary coach from 1975 - 1983.

After a two year stint in the USFL he was hired as backfield coach for the Saints. Capers had been an assistant to Jim Mora in the USFL so when Mora went to the Saints he brought Capers along as backfield coach.

Under Capers the Saints bounced between 26th and 2nd in pass defense between 1986 and 1991: 86 - 21st, 87 - 6th, 88 - 18th, 89 - 26th, 90 - 19th, 91 - 2nd.

After the 1991 season he was hired as defensive coordinator by Bill Cowher when Cowher became HC of the Steelers. Under Capers the Steelers immediately improved from 22nd in defense in 1991 to 2nd in scoring in 1992:

  • 92 - 291yds(13th), 344pts(22nd)
  • 93 - 283yds(3rd), 281pts(8th)
  • 94 - 270yds(2nd), 234pts(2nd)

It's not clear how much of this was do to Cowher, to Capers, or to their dynamic LB coach Dick LeBeau.

In 1995 he was hired as head coach for the expansion Carolina Panthers. For an expansion team the Pnathers immediately assembled a good defense:

  • 95 - 314yds(7th), 325pts(8th)
  • 96 - 298yds(10th), 218pts(2nd)
  • 97 - 311yds(15th), 413pts(13th)
  • 98 - 413yds(30th), 413pts(27th)

His tenure with Carolina was highlighted with an upset of the Cowboys in divsional playoff and an appearance in the NFC title game against GB. 1997 was a let but and in 1998 the wheels came off the cart. Ray Caruth was arrested for murder and Kerry Collins was disintegrating from alcoholism. Capers was fired but quickly picked up as DC for Jacksonville. Again he immediately turned a defense around:

  • 98 - 347yds(25th), 338pts(17th) year before Capers
  • 99 - 271yds(4th), 217pts(1st) - first year as DC
  • 00 - 302yds(12th), 327pts(16th)

After the 200 season Capers was hired as the HC for Houston. From 2002 - 2005 his teams were consitently mediocre defenses and inept offenses, setting a record for sacks allowed. He was fired after the 2005 season and went to Miami first as a special assistant then as DC. When Miami's entire staff was fired after the 2007 season Capers went to NE as a special assistant to the backfield coach.

What's to Like

  1. Doesn't seem wed to any particular system,
  2. Has a record of turning defenses around,
  3. Seems well respected in the coaching fraternity.

What's not to like

  1. Teams seem to have had trouble maintaining consistency
  2. Seems better suited as DC than position coach
  3. No history of working with Nolan

Anything else anyone has to add?


This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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