In the history of the National Football League, there have been dysfunctional relationships between a head coach and his assistants. Chicago head coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan come to mind. They nearly came to blows during halftime of a game against Miami. New Orleans head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams qualify. They kept their feud under wraps until "Bountygate" exposed everything. Oakland coach Tom Cable and assistant Randy Hanson definitely deserve mention. Cable reportedly slugged Hanson in the jaw during a staff meeting. Suffice it to say, those cases are not the norm, but they illuminate the balancing act head coaches face with their coordinators and top assistants. It's indisputable who is in charge, but if he doesn't give his guy some autonomy he's not going to succeed. It is especially a case of trust when a head coach runs the offense and calls the plays as is the case with Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy. When he hires a defensive coordinator, especially one as venerable as Dom Capers, he gives him complete control because there just isn't enough time to be hands-on on both sides of the ball. This off-season, McCarthy got more involved in the defensive planning than ever before. Since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers have ranked 32nd, 11th and 25th and consistently been the weak link on a team with a top-10 offense. Capers is a godfather of the 3-4 defense, but McCarthy is in charge. And as the face of the team, he is the guy who gets fired if things don't go right. He has to provide the agenda everyone else follows. "The vision of your football team comes from your head coach," McCarthy said recently at the NFL owners meetings. McCarthy has stuck with Capers because he respects his pedigree, reputation and experience. And, unlike the fans who want Capers fired, he knows some of the challenges Capers faces always having a young, transient roster.
McCarthy, Capers balance their visions for Packers defense
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Apr 8