While the Bengals and Dolphins scramble to assemble their coaching staffs now that the Super Bowl has concluded, it’s fair to say no name is off the table this late in the process.
Both Cincinnati and Miami are courting a well-known name in the modern history of NFL coaching in Dom Capers, if you can truly believe it.
At 68 years of age, Capers is nearly twice as old as Zac Taylor is, and had been coaching for over 40 years since he graduated from Mount Union College, where he played linebacker and defensive tackle. Defense was Capers’ life in the college ranks and the NFL soon after.
- 1972-1974: Kent State (Graduate Assistant)
- 1975-1976: Hawaii (DB Coach)
- 1977: San Jose State (DB Coach)
- 1978-1979: California (DB Coach)
- 1980-1981: Tennessee (DB Coach)
- 1982-1983: Ohio State (DB Coach)
- 1984-1985: Philadelphia Stars (DB Coach)
- 1986-1991: New Orleans Saints (DB Coach)
- 1992-1994: Pittsburgh Steelers (Defensive Coordinator)
- 1995-1998: Carolina Panthers (Head Coach)
- 1999-2000: Jacksonville Jaguars (Defensive Coordinator)
- 2002-2005: Houston Texans (Head Coach)
- 2006-2007: Miami Dolphins (Defensive Coordinator)
- 2009-2017: Green Bay Packers (Defensive Coordinator)
Almost 20 years of experience as a defensive backs coach prepared Capers for his first defensive coordinator gig with the Steelers, where he worked with his linebackers coach Marvin Lewis.
In 1995, the expansion team known as the Carolina Panthers kicked off their inaugural season, and Capers was chosen to lead that team from their inception. After finishing just under .500 there after four seasons, he took I-95 south to Jacksonville to coach Tom Coughlin’s defense. 14 wins in 1999 were the reason Capers stayed on Coughlin’s staff for another year, but Capers took on another expansion team a year later.
The Texans officially became the 32nd team in the NFL in 2001, and Capers, once again, took on the responsibility of leading a team from the very beginning. It didn’t go as well as it did in Carolina, mostly due to David Carr becoming a shell of himself by his second year. Capers was let go after four years, just like he was in Carolina.
For the next 12 years, Capers maintained more job stability. He took on the Dolphins defensive coordinator position for a couple years before traveling north for the first time since his days with the Steelers and becoming Mike McCarthy’s defensive coordinator for nine years.
At this point, his stint with the Packers is what Capers is most known for. In his first two seasons, he coached two top-five defenses, with one of them winning a Super Bowl. Following that season, his unit’s were never as good and always floated around mediocre levels in terms of total defense and scoring.
Capers also maintained a scheme based out of the 3-4 front, but by now, that base has been molded with the traditional 4-3 and the two are nearly indistinguishable now.
If the Bengals are prioritizing experience in finding their new defensive play-caller, then Capers is worth being in the conversation, but perhaps for that reason and that reason only.