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Packers' McCarthy looking for more impact players

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 8, 2014 at 4:52 pm •  Published: January 8, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Packers coach Mike McCarthy's offseason started way too early for his liking.

Three days after the San Francisco 49ers ended their season and the Packers are in the thick of starting to look ahead to 2014. For all the strengths on offense, it's the defense that again needs a tuneup.

"We need more impact players. We need more players making plays on defense. I think that's stating the obvious," McCarthy said Wednesday in his season-ending news conference. "I feel that those guys are here, but do we have more coming in? That's really what the offseason is for."

Green Bay finished 8-8-1 but benefited from stumbles by Chicago and Detroit to take a third straight NFC North title. That might be considered a huge accomplishment given the injuries that ravaged both sides of the team, particularly to quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) and linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb).

Rodgers went down for when the Packers were 5-2, and the team went 2-5-1 before he returned to help win the season finale against the Bears to claim the division. His absence was the defining factor to the Packers' fortunes.

But just as concerning was the collapse of the defense at about the same time as Rodgers' injury. The Packers started getting porous against the run. They went nearly the first three months of the year struggling to force turnovers before coming up with a bunch in December.

All of which has led to questions about whether defensive coordinator Dom Capers should go.

"Well once again, we're not even 72 hours away from the game, OK. Dom Capers is an outstanding football coach. No one will be evaluated today," McCarthy said when asked if Capers would be back.

Evaluation of coaches will take place the next couple weeks, though it doesn't sound like McCarthy is planning to change things up drastically.

"I'm not going into this looking to make big changes," said McCarthy, adding that he was glad Capers was on the staff.

It also doesn't sound as if Capers is looking to move on, either.

"I have no plans of not coaching, I'll say that," he said.

Green Bay finished the regular season ranked 25th in total defense, giving up 372 yards per game. Even without Matthews, who finished with a team-high 7 ½ sacks, Capers is satisfied with the pass rush. The Packers were tied for eighth in the league with 44.

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