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Dom Capers, full defensive staff expected to return to Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy still hasn't announced all of his coaching staff changes, but it appears the Green Bay Packers will have all of their defensive assistants back next season.

Last month, McCarthy fired two offensive assistants, running backs coach Sam Gash and tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot, but left defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his assistants untouched.

For Capers, 65, it will be his seventh season in charge of the Packers defense and his 31st in the NFL. He showed no signs of slowing down last season.

"If the Packers want me back," Capers said shortly after the season, "I'll be back."

Five of Capers' defensive assistants -- Winston Moss (linebackers), Scott McCurley (assistant linebackers), Darren Perry (safeties), Mike Trgovac (defensive line) and Joe Whitt (cornerbacks) -- have been with him since 2009, his first season in Green Bay.

All five are expected to return. So are Jerry Montgomery (defensive front assistant) and John Rushing (defensive quality control). Montgomery joined the Packers staff last season after a long college coaching career, and Rushing moved over to the defensive side in 2014 after spending five years as an offensive assistant.

The Packers finished 15th in total defense, including 21st against the run and sixth against the pass.

"I've said the last two years I feel like we start out and we play a lot of young guys," Capers said of his defense in 2015. "We've had some guys playing different positions and that type of thing. I think our defense has grown as we've gone through the season. I felt like we were playing our best defense. You go back to the game here against Minnesota, I mean they had 200 yards against us, 201 I think. The way guys responded against what I thought was a good offense, an explosive offense against the Redskins and then I had the feel [in the playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals] that through the course of the game, against Arizona, who is the No. 1 or No. 2 offense in the league, and all the explosive people that they have, that we were able to play them more like we like to play in terms of mixing pressure and coverage together."

At some point soon, McCarthy is expected to announce Ben Sirmans (formerly of the Rams) as his new running backs coach and Brian Angelichio (formerly of the Cleveland Browns) as tight ends coach. He also has an opening for an assistant offensive line coach to replace Mike Solari, who left for the New York Giants. Coaching administrator David Raih is expected to be considered for that job.

McCarthy is also expected to add a full-time receivers coach after quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt handled those duties as well last year. The leading candidate for that job is offensive quality control coach Luke Getsy.