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Capers finds ways to motivate

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Bob McGinn
January 17, 2011
— Dom Capers has a reputation among his coaches and players for being as good with statistics and clipping newspaper articles as he is coaching defensive football.

Although the details remain more than a little sketchy, the Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator unearthed comments he attributed to Atlanta fullback Ovie Mughelli that properly incensed his players before the NFC divisional playoff game Saturday night at the Georgia Dome.


“No. 34, the fullback (Mughelli), kind of fueled our fire a little bit,” nose tackle B.J. Raji said after the Packers whacked the Falcons, 48-21. “He was talking a little crazy in the paper and that was the first thing coach (Capers) put up this week.”


According to Raji, Mughelli supposedly made his remarks about Green Bay’s defense not long after the Falcons defeated the Packers, 20-17, on Nov. 28.


Raji said he didn’t know exactly where Capers found what Mughelli said.


“He was saying after the first game how we were soft,” said Raji. “When somebody challenges your manhood, you have to respond. It had nothing to do with football. It was just strictly being a man. We responded well today.”


If truth be told, the Packers were somewhat soft back in Week 12. They missed 12 tackles on defense, including three by A.J. Hawk, as running back Michael Turner carried 23 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.


“We really felt disrespected by the way some of them talked after the first game,” defensive end Cullen Jenkins said. “They could have that win in the regular season. It doesn’t mean anything. Winning now is what counts.”


Turner carried nine times for 37 yards in the first half Saturday night, including a 12-yard touchdown, but had just one carry for 2 yards in the second half.


“I think the game plan they would have liked to have had, run the ball to set up the pass, didn’t work out,” linebacker Clay Matthews said. “Obviously, when you stop the run and force him (Matt Ryan) to beat you with his arm, we were going to turn the dogs loose. That’s why we had the sacks.”


Capers replaced a defensive back with a defensive lineman for a 4-4 look on five snaps in the first half.


“The first game was more schematic,” said Raji. “They were running the ball outside forcing our DBs to tackle. So Dom brought in a ‘hippo’ (4-4) package. It forced them to run the ball between the tackles.”


Raji disputed that the Falcons, who ranked 12th in rushing, employed a physical ground game.


“They’re not physical at all,” said Raji. “It’s a zone blocking scheme, which is not indicative of being physical. Get you out of your gap and get you misaligned. Do a lot of pulling. Misdirection stuff.


“You watch their film; they’re not knocking anybody off the ball. They have a physical running back, but their offense is not physical.”



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