Packers sought read-option help after loss to SF

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 07, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TODD McMAHON Associated Press Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his fellow coaches went back to school after the team's ugly loss to San Francisco in the playoffs last season. Literally. Coach Mike McCarthy sent his coaches on a day trip early in the offseason to College Station, Texas, to talk football with the staff from Texas A&M. Lessons learned from that meeting as well as subsequent discussions with other college coaches about defending the read option could play a part Sunday when the Packers return to San Francisco for a rematch. Green Bay can only hope for a better outcome. The 49ers, led by elusive quarterback Colin Kaepernick, caught the Packers' defense flat-footed as they ran and threw their way to 579 total yards and a spot in the NFC championship with a 45-31 win. It raised the stakes a bit for this season's opener. ''You can't let it linger in your mind,'' Capers said. ''Every week's a new game, and obviously we're disappointed in the way we played there. But we're looking forward to the challenge this week.'' The Packers have known since April when the NFL released the season schedule that they would be seeing the 49ers again right away. Preparing for another shot at Kaepernick after he set a single-game NFL record by a quarterback with 181 rushing yards in the playoff meeting started several weeks earlier when the defensive coaches visited Texas A&M. Second-year Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin and his assistants covered their version of Xs and Os as it pertains to employing an up-tempo, zone-read offense with the quarterback squarely as the centerpiece. Johnny Manziel flourished in Sumlin's system last season, becoming the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Manziel rushed for more than 1,300 yards and amassed 5,100-plus yards in total offense. ''We had a nice visit with them,'' Capers said. ''We talked on both sides of the ball because obviously they went in and beat Alabama in Alabama. So you kind of wanted to look at that tape and see the things. And, of course, Kevin's run that offense for many years and just talking with him about things that potentially gave him problems.'' Capers downplayed how valuable spending part of just one day with the Texas A&M coaches would be for giving the Green Bay staff some guidance for defending the read option in the NFL. ''It wasn't like we went down there and got a whole new scheme or something,'' Capers said. ''We just kind of wanted to get a feel. ''It's two different animals - college to here,'' added Capers, who has coached 42 years, the last 28 in the NFL. ''But let me say this, 30 years ago, I was having some of the same conversations, because when you're coaching at Tennessee and you're playing against Bear Bryant and you're at Ohio State and you're opening up with Oklahoma, you spend a lot more time talking about that guy handing the ball and pulling it and pitching it and all that stuff. You stay in something long enough, it goes full circle, and it comes back around to where you have to deal with it. ''I'm sure that probably every team in the league is trying to make sure that their players are familiar with it and that type of thing, because it really didn't show up until real late last year. You didn't have a lot to go off of.'' The Packers have made considerable use of the film from their debacle against the 49ers on Jan. 12, when a combination of read-option plays and breakaway scrambles by Kaepernick contributed to a whopping 323 rushing yards by San Francisco. Its 579 yards is the third highest single-game output in an NFL playoff game. ''I've been around the league long enough to know that on any game or any given day, things might not go your way,'' said Capers, the Packers' defensive coordinator since 2009. ''You've got to be able to learn from them and work at it and try to make it better the next time because those things happen.'' Green Bay will see another running quarterback in a Week 2 visit from Washington's Robert Griffin III. Capers also met with new Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda in Green Bay this spring. Previously in the same role at Hawaii, Aranda's defenses had success keeping Kaepernick under wraps when the quarterback starred at Nevada. Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene also talked read option with Illinois State assistant head coach/defensive line coach Spence Nowinsky. ''I think all of your intel out there, everything can assist you, hopefully, in increasing your vision and understanding of the mentality of the attack with the zone-, read-option stuff,'' Greene said. ''You take all of that stuff and you file it away and you come up with the best game plan.'' Linebacker Clay Matthews feels the defense is sufficiently prepared for the rematch with Kaepernick. ''I think just schematically we're much more sound,'' Matthews said. ''We understand what they're capable of doing, the capabilities of not only the scheme but the players as well and what they possess. So I feel like we're more than ready to handle the read option and it's just about executing now.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Logan Morrison curses out umpire CB Bucknor mid at-bat

Raptors jab Bucks on Twitter after Game 4 victory

Report: NBA GMs not hesitant to draft Lonzo Ball due to father LaVar

DeShone Kizer changes course, stands by Tom Brady-Cam Newton quote

Nick Saban doesn't offer much praise of team for 'adequate' spring game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Dennis Schroder admits Mike Budenholzer wants him to avoid trash talk

WATCH: Miguel Sano throws punch as benches clear in Twins-Tigers game

Glen Coffee making NFL comeback after four years in Army, seven years away from game

Fan wears Clemson championship gear to Alabama spring game

NBA reportedly investigating incident involving Patrick Beverley, Thunder fan

Blake Griffin out for the season with toe injury; how screwed are the Clippers?

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: David Fizdale and the Grizzlies won't go down quietly

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

25 times Mother Nature disrupted sports

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

Box Score 4/20: When Westbrook isn't enough

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

White House championship visits over the years

Biggest needs in the draft for every NFL team

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'It's not good to play the King' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Home run hitters are heating up

The 'Even the Browns can't mess this one up' quiz

In some ways, Dan Rooney was just another NFL owner

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The '♫Happy Birthday Simpsons. Simpsons, it's your birthday♫' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: David Fizdale calls B.S.

Kris Bryant can become the next Derek Jeter — and more

The 'Baseball has been very, very good to its players' quiz

NHL youth movement: How the 2016-17 rookie class fared

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker