Black Monday (Jan. 1) has swept through the Green Bay Packers' organization, and the fans are rejoicing on getting what they want. Ian Rapoport announced that Dom Capers’ position as defensive coordinator has been eliminated. The Packers have also fired his associates, such as defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and linebacker coach Scott McCurley. Green Bay has shown no mercy on providing their fan’s wishes on creating a new clean slate on defensive strategies in the 2018 season.

Looking forward to 2018

Packers fans have been eager to see Capers leave the organization for some time, and nobody blames them.

Green Bay has only had one successful season with Capers calling the shots on defense, and it shouldn’t be any surprise that it was in 2010 with their Super Bowl run. Since that immaculate run, the Green Bay defense has been ranked below the bottom 50 percent in every category. The worst came in 2011 when the Packers were ranked 32nd in defense in the NFL. Weaving through these deplorable defenses, Aaron Rodgers and his electric offense have found a path into the playoffs. Fans have been speculating for a number of years now that perhaps Capers has been riding A-Rod’s coat tails a little too long. After Rodgers’ collarbone injury, all the problems in the Packers arsenal have now been pushed to the forefront.

The Packers have a good amount of playmakers on their defense despite how bad it’s been over the years. Clay Matthews and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have been Pro Bowl selections in the past, and there is more talent hidden among the roster.

Blake Martinez had an impressive rookie season last year as a middle linebacker, and this year he stepped it up by achieving the most tackles in the NFL, that went completely unnoticed. Damarious Randall, drafted in 2015, stepped it up this year by acquiring the most interceptions in the Packers secondary. Kenny Clark has also shown improvement at defensive tackle in his second year on the team.

The right people seem to be there to achieve success, so why has the Packers' defense struggled?

What are the problems?

It’s hard to pinpoint all the problems specifically. The Packers' secondary problems of leaving receivers wide open have been prevalent for a while now. Is it because Capers has a horrible time constructing zone defense? Or maybe it’s because the strategy of “faking” looks in the defense hasn’t fooled an offensive coordinator since 2012? Could it be the fact that every team has five years worth of tape of Capers using the same strategy over and over that they can be picked apart so easily? These, of course, are all speculations, but at least it begs the question whether any of these are contributing factors.

Luckily for the Packers, they have a lot of time during the offseason to find a new defensive coordinator. What may have surprised a lot of people is seeing Green Bay’s general manager Ted Thompson stepping down from his position. Packers fans seem very split on whether they enjoy having Thompson as their GM. As much as he has made very smart moves for the Packers organization since 2005, there is a good amount of criticism that can be said as well. Thompson has given the Packers the right players for at least one championship run. Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and James Starks were all huge assets for their Super Bowl win in 2010 that Thompson helped organize.

As much as Thompson deserves the pat on the back for his early success, it may be time to give a slap on the wrist for his recent blunders.

Drafting a champion

During the 2017 NFL Draft, Ted Thompson promised Green Bay fans that he would find “the best player available” when it came to their 28th pick in the first round. It caused a lot of head scratches when they decided to trade their pick away to acquire Kevin King as the first pick in the second round. King was a solid choice to help their backfield issues but was it worth passing on prospects such as Dalvin Cook and T.J. Watt, who were both on the table? Hindsight always shows a brighter perspective, but Thompson and his Packers scouts should have known the potential in both of those players for their team.

Packers fans didn’t feel that Thompson lived up to his bargain for getting the team the best player.

The criticism followed Thompson during the offseason when so many big names were available in the free agency market that Green Bay decided to pass on. For a short window, A.J. Bouye was looking for a new team to call his home, and Thompson never attempted to make an offer on the shut-down corner. After weeks of letting big named players become signed to other teams, Thompson decided to give the Packers a morale boost by signing Martellus Bennett. As much as Packers fans rejoiced this decision, nobody was prepared to see Bennett give up on the team after Rodgers went on IR. Considering that Bennett ended up going back to the New England Patriots before the end of the season, it makes us wonder what did Jared Cook do wrong to deserve the boot out the door?

A look at Cook

Jared Cook isn’t the only other questionable decision to leave. Thompson decided to let Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward walk instead of offering them a contract extension. Hayward has now become a shut-down corner for the Los Angeles Chargers, and Micah Hyde has played a pivotal role with the Buffalo Bills. Two players who made the Pro Bowl roster that Thompson and the Packers decided they didn’t need anymore.

What about the decision to let go of All-Pro offensive linemen T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton? The Packers O-line has struggled quite a bit without those two veterans to help protect Rodgers. Understandably, it’s hard to not go over the salary cap, and sacrifices need to be made sometimes.

It makes fans wonder that if Thompson wanted to rebuild the offensive line from scratch, then why get rid of veteran defensive players as well? Shouldn’t it be one or the other, but not both? These are the types of decisions that have been made lately that seems to have doomed the franchise, temporarily.

A lot is up in the air right now on what the Packers need to do next. Obviously, searching for a new defensive coordinator is a top priority, and as of right now time is on their side. The Packers could take a lesson on what the New Orleans Saints did. They finally built a defense that works, drafted fantastic rookies in Marshon Lattimore and Alvin Kamara, and gave protection to Drew Brees. Green Bay already has a championship quarterback in Aaron Rodgers.

Now is the time to build a championship team around him. Hope and anticipation have filled the atmosphere of Green Bay for this next offseason. Lessons should be learned from their past to help improve their future. The fans know the talent is still hidden in the depth of the Packers roster, and once the right adjustments are made, there is still a reality of bringing home the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.