The Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are again busy interacting the the media onslaught that has descened upon Dallas for Super Bowl XLV. Last night, we featured the press conference quotes of various Steelers players, as well as Mike Tomlin's lengthy chat with the press. Let's change gears slightly and hear from Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who took to the podium on Tuesday. Capers of course is a familiar name in Steeler Nation. He coordinated the Steelers' defense in the early from '92-'94, which coincided with the three years Dick LeBeau was orchestrating the defensive backfield for the Steelers defense following his long stint as the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Needless to say, the two men know each other quite well. They're not just former colleagues, but good friends that stay in contact to this day. And you better believe that both look at tape of the others defense to pluck ideas.
Let's see what Capers had to say on Tuesday about his Packers defense, facing Ben Roethlisberger and the versatile Steelers offense, and coaching in his first Super Bowl against a team that he was once proudly associated with.
Other Monday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- Hines Ward (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- LaMarr Woodley (on BTSC)
QUOTES FROM GREEN BAY PACKERS MEDIA DAY
Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers
(On the planning that is involved in trying to stop Ben Roethlisberger) "It's extremely difficult. The thing that Ben does, he's got great pocket instincts, he's big and strong and obviously hard to get off his feet. He can extend the play as well as anybody in the National Football League and you can have a defense designed where you have a free guy, and many times that free guy doesn't get him (Roethlisberger) to the ground. And the more people you're committing to the rush, now you're stringing out a little bit in coverage and his receivers do a great job when he extends the play of uncovering. With a guy like Hines Ward, they've worked together so long that he knows when Ben is going to step out of the pocket or move to the right and Ben can throw anywhere on the field. It makes him extremely hard to defend."
(On facing Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau) "Well, Dick and I are very good friends. When we first went to Pittsburgh, we roomed together initially. We're both from the same part of the country, both small-town Ohio guys. I have a great amount of admiration for Dick. When you think about what he's done, I don't think anybody else has done it, in terms of being a player who was just inducted into the Hall of Fame and now a coach. This guy has done it for over 50 years, and he's done it on a high level, so there's nothing but respect from me for Dick."
(On his defensive philosophy) "I think our philosophy is based in number one, trying to stop the run and trying to make the game a one-dimensional game. We feel we have many different things that can attack and pressure the quarterback, and we know this is a quarterback-driven league now. If you let the quarterback sit there and he can do everything on time, then it's normally going to be a long game in this league. You have to be able to do something to try to disrupt the quarterback's rhythm, and, if you can do that, it leads to being able to take the ball away. These games, if you've got a 60-play game, they come down to two, three, four plays and who makes those plays. The more you increase your opportunities to make those plays, the better your chances of winning."
(On how he chose the right players to fit into his defensive scheme) "We've made the transition in two years, going from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and your defense is always going to show the flavor of where your playmakers are. I think you have to adapt what you're doing to the personnel you have at the time. We were a different defense last year than we've been this year. Last year we drafted a young linebacker in Clay Matthews, put him on the right side and had to get him ready to play. This year we've put him all over the place. A year ago we moved Charles Woodson all over the place. You just have to try to feature the guys you think have a good chance of winning one-on-one battles and of making plays for you. So we're still in the process. That is probably the biggest difference between us and Pittsburgh. They've been running the same defense since about 1992."
(On making his defense unpredictable) "When people ask me the value of the 3-4, I think you can be more unpredictable in the 3-4 because you've got more people on the field who can rush or drop. So if we're going to rush four, we can rush any combination of those four linebackers, and when we rush five, then there are a lot of combinations having two of your linebackers involved."
(On the evolution of the zone blitz and the 3-4 scheme) "Everything goes in cycles and if you stay in this league long enough, you'll see everything go full circle. I know when I first came into the league, there were an awful lot of 4-3 teams and we had a tremendous advantage at that time because there were only three or four teams that were running a 3-4, so we were looking for different personnel than they (the 4-3 teams) were looking for. Really, when we first started in Pittsburgh back in '92, we had an advantage because of the type of people we were looking for. Unfortunately, now there are more people running the 3-4, so now there are more people looking for similar type of personnel. I think that it starts with adapting what you're doing to the personnel you have, and then trying to gradually acquire the personnel that fit what you want to do. If you do it the other way, you make a mistake. We're a different defense today than we were a year ago because we have a few different players. Then through the course of the season you can look at our team and see we've played six different people at right outside linebacker. We've had to adapt as we've gone through the course of the season to the people we've had available that week because of injury situations."
(On helping to develop new coaches under his guidance) "I know the value of having a good staff. We have an outstanding staff at Green Bay right now. Over the years, when you go back to the early ‘90s and there was myself and Dick LeBeau and Marvin Lewis on the staff there (at Pittsburgh), you see Marvin go to Baltimore and pretty much installs a lot of the defense at Baltimore and you know the guys that have come out of that Baltimore situation. It branches out and we've been fortunate to have two guys on this staff now who played in this defense back in the early ‘90s in Pittsburgh in Kevin Greene and Darren Perry. It's a lot of fun for me when I can sit in the staff room there and refer back to when those guys were sitting out in the media room as players. They can relate to it and they do a great job of relating it back to our players."
(On comparing the 3-4 used in Green Bay to the version used in Pittsburgh) "I think a lot of the foundation is the same and a lot of terminology would probably be the same. The difference is that they've been using it for years and years and years and have been drafting for that scheme. When they get a player that they are getting ready to lose or who is starting to get some age, they have a young guy who can step in. To me, that's a real credit to them that they've kept that system the same. They've drafted for that system and know exactly the kind of player they are looking for. That's why they've been incredibly successful over the years. I hope that we're moving in that direction in Green Bay. I know our first draft, getting Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji were two key components. When we traded up to get Clay and drafted B.J., both of those guys have been extremely productive for us this year. We were fortunate to have a player like Charles Woodson who we use in multiple areas and who gives us flexibility in building our defense. But we're still getting there."
(On still running a successful defense despite injuries) "It's been a lot of fun. We've had a lot of young players step in there. The veterans have done a good job of letting them know that if they go on that field, that they're going to be held accountable to do their job. It's a credit to our assistant coaches who have gotten the guys ready. We've had guys come in, like Erik Walden and Howard Green who came in the week we played the Jets and they both played key roles in that Jets game. Erik Walden, at that time, only knew two defenses that we could play and by the end of the season against the Bears he got NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and has been a real key factor along the stretch here."
(On Outside Linebackers Coach Kevin Greene) "He's done an outstanding job. I had the good fortune of having Kevin as a player at both Pittsburgh and Carolina. He led the League in sacks his last year in Pittsburgh and his first year in Carolina in 1996. He always played the game with passion and always took more film home to study and prepare. He's carried those same qualities as a coach. He takes an awful lot of pride in teaching these young guys. He can relate to them because he's been there. He's got the most sacks of any linebacker in the history of the League and he approaches his coaching job with the same passion he did as a player. I think his players reflect that on Sundays."
(On whether he has to prepare to lose coaching staff due to Green Bay's success) "You don't ever want to lose anybody, but I'm a realist and I understand that these guys are very good at what they do. Eventually they are going to get their opportunities to go and take the next step. That's just the way this business works. But I know that right now they are totally focused on doing whatever they can to help the Packers win this Super Bowl."
(On whether he thinks the talent available for 3-4 schemes will decrease due to its popularity in the League) "History will probably tell you that. If you look over the years, you'll see that it goes in cycles. It kind of depends on who the hot teams are, because, as coaches, we spend our offseason studying teams that have success with things. Then, normally, you see more of those things show up the next year. I've seen it back when we first started doing some things and very few people were doing them. Then, two or three years later everyone was doing them and they weren't nearly as effective. You have to stay on top of things and have new little things each year that you think might complement what you're doing."
(On Charles Woodson) "He's a versatile guy. First of all, he's very football smart. He has great instincts. He's a guy that, if he's around the ball, is one of the best tacklers in terms of tackling and getting the ball out. He's very strong with his hands. He's got great vision and instincts. With a guy like that, you want to keep him around the action as much as you can. In the (past) two years, we've moved him around. He's played true corner for us, he's played inside at nickel, he's played dime, he's played safety and we've blitzed him a lot. He gives our defense great flexibility and I think that is indicative of a year ago when he got Defensive Player of the Year. He understands the game and looks at a lot of tape. He's a good influence on our younger players and helps them learn how to prepare. He's a tough guy."
(On comparing Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers) "I think (the two have) different styles. Ben is bigger, stronger, but Aaron has good instincts and is a good athlete who can get outside the pocket. You've seen him extend plays and he's got the arm strength to throw it down the field. Both of these guys are concerning for the defenses in terms of trying to keep them in the pocket and trying not to let one of the receivers run through your coverage down the field."
(On having larger defensive ends) "Our game has become such a game of situation substitution. Obviously, the bigger those guys are, they aren't going to be your fleet-footed guys getting up the field and rushing the passer most of the time, but there are certain times you want to be able to play the run and keep people from knocking you off the ball. To me, nothing is more frustrating than when people are running the ball at you four, five, six yards a clip at you and no matter what you call, you don't have an answers because you don't have enough girth up front. We like the fact that we have three big guys to put up there if we need them."
(On the new overtime rules) "It certainly is something that, from a game-management standpoint, you have to discuss and talk about. It's something that both teams, I'm sure, have had to spend time talking about, and if it comes down to that then, yes, it will have an impact on the game."