Dom Capers, Packers' defensive boss since '09, fired

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers will have a new defensive coordinator next season.

Coach Mike McCarthy fired Dom Capers, who has run his defense since the 2009 season. A source said Capers was let go Sunday night after the Packers' season-ending 35-11 loss at Detroit.

Inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac also were let go, according to a league source.

It's just the third time in McCarthy's 12 years as head coach he has fired a coordinator. McCarthy fired defensive coordinator Bob Sanders following the 2008 season, which was the last time -- until this year -- the Packers missed the playoffs. He also fired special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum after the 2014 season.

It's not known whether Capers, 67, will retire from coaching. He said last month that he planned to coach "as long as I enjoy it."

"If I ever feel like I can't come in and give as much as I've got and do the kind of job that you want to do, then I won't do it anymore," said Capers, who has been in the NFL since 1986 and was a head coach for the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans.

Capers' fate seemed to be sealed two weeks ago after the Packers were eliminated from playoff contention and McCarthy said: "We have to be honest about the patterns of negativity and positivity."

The Packers' defense finished 22nd this season, the fourth time it has finished in the bottom third of the NFL in the past seven years (including a dead-last ranking in 2011). Capers hasn't finished with a top-10 defense since the Super Bowl season of 2010, when it ranked fifth. The Packers have finished outside the top 15 in the defensive rankings six of the past seven years.

Among the Packers' in-house candidates who could replace Capers (should they be retained) are associate head coach for the defense Winston Moss, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr., safeties coach Darren Perry and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. Of that group, only Trgovac has previously served as an NFL defensive coordinator. He ran the Carolina Panthers' defense from 2003 to '08. He came to Green Bay with Capers in 2009.

The Packers also could look at outside candidates. At the top of that list would be Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who was Capers' defensive coordinator in Carolina from 1995 to '98 and runs a similar defensive scheme.