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Old 12-23-2005   #1
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Default Great Article About Capers

We could learn a thing or two from Capers


Texans coach on way out, but he's as good a person as you will find

By JOHN MCCLAIN

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

When the Texans host Jacksonville on Saturday, Dom Capers will coach his last game at Reliant Stadium.

No matter how frustrated and angry you are at the team's 2-12 record, and no matter what you think about the job Capers and his staff have done, here's hoping that you at least appreciate how well Capers has represented the organization and the city during his four seasons.

Capers will be fired soon after the last regular-season game at San Francisco, and I have to admit that I wish the Texans had won enough games to justify bringing him back in 2006. They haven't, of course.

Of the eight head coaches I've covered with the Oilers and Texans, I've never respected anyone more than Capers. From Bum Phillips to Jack Pardee and Jeff Fisher, the Oilers had some coaches who were outstanding people, but none had more class and dignity than Capers.

Capers is a football coach, not an entertainer or a politician. He isn't a back-stabber. He doesn't point fingers. He doesn't make excuses. Some coaches whine that their team is too young. Others cry about injuries. Capers never bought into the alibi business.

Getting credit isn't important to Capers, either, but he has no problem accepting blame.

Fans should forget about coaching for a minute and think about what it meant to have a coach with so much integrity. Capers has been as honest as an NFL coach can be. He goes to work every day and tries to do the best job he can. This season, his best job wasn't good enough, unfortunately, for him and the Texans.


Coaches are people, too
I receive e-mails, read message boards and listen to talk shows in which fans who've never met Capers take cheap shots at him. It's the nature of the beast, of course, but I know if those fans knew Capers and watched him behind the scenes, they wouldn't resort to name-calling when they criticize him.

Capers' imminent firing made me pay particular attention to something Chris Mortensen wrote on ESPN.com on Thursday. In writing about the apparent suicide of Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy's 18-year-old son, James, Mortensen told about some words of wisdom he received from the late George Young, former general manager of the New York Giants.

"It reminded me of some wisdom that George Young ... imparted on me during this time of year," Mortensen wrote, "when we have to speculate and report on people's job security.

" 'Just remember to show some compassion,' " Young said. " 'When you talk about firing a coach, you're not talking about how it affects one man. You're talking about how it impacts 14 families the family of every assistant coach. You're talking about 30, 40, 50 people and a lot of them are children.' "

I know that losing this season, especially those three improbable defeats to St. Louis, Baltimore and Tennessee, made Capers sick to his stomach, but he never let it show.

Capers remained on an even keel because he knows that players are often a mirror image of their head coach, and if he's on an emotional roller-coaster during the season, they are, too.

Consistency is important to Capers. His players know what to expect from him. Like Capers, most are realists. They know when you're 2-12, coaches' heads aren't the only ones that are going to roll.

"This is our last time as this group walking out of that (Reliant Stadium) tunnel," said defensive end Gary Walker, the senior member of the team. "There are going to be new faces next year. Nobody knows who. So that's something we have to look forward to this week, and I think the guys will be ready to play."


A first-class act
Not only is Capers respected by his players, but he's admired around the NFL, too. Many who have played for and coached with Capers and many who have covered him for a media outlet have called to see how he's doing during a season that began with so much promise and will end with so much disappointment.

Before he leaves Houston, take a moment to pay tribute to a coach who isn't just a class act. He's a first-class act who's deserving of your admiration as he packs his bags, puts Houston in his rearview mirror and becomes one of the most-sought after defensive coaches in the offseason.

John McClain covers the Texans and the NFL for the Chronicle.
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Old 12-23-2005   #2
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There has been a vocal minority doing name calling on this board, which should not be confused with calling for him to step down. He is a Professional Sports Coach and ones that have four consecutive losing seasons have a short shelf life.

If McClain liked him so much over these four years he would have scooped up some humble pie every once in a while.
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Old 12-23-2005   #3
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I don't know Capers, so I don't know if he's a great guy. I know he has lost a lot of football games that we should have won, and I know that the train is derailed. I think this has to do with Pendry and with the number of young players on Defense this year. How much of this is Capers' fault I don't know. I don't have any front office connections to even get a rumor out of. I hope the best for him, and I know he has the ability to coach. He will coach elsewhere, and I wish him luck.
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Old 12-23-2005   #4
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I feel bad for Dom. I really like the guy but the reality is his system's not working. Getting fired goes with the territory and no one realizes that more than Dom. He makes great money so there's limits to the amount of heartfelt compassion I feel for coaches in these positions. It's their chosen profession and they know what they are getting into. Winning is all that matters in the end and I think this coaching staff has had plenty of time to make it work. That aside, I still feel bad for Dom in ways beyond x's and o's. I wish it would have worked for him here because he is one class act and he will be missed in that regard. If you haven't guessed, I don't feel the same way about Casserly.
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Old 12-23-2005   #5
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Well if he does get fired then he will still be one of the hottest sought after defensive coordinators in this league, so he will not have a problem finding another job. Well will see Capers back in Houston one day....just on the other side of the field. But hey, we will still have Casserly to thank.
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Old 12-23-2005   #6
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i do respect capers and i do not wish anything bad on anyone. That being said, when you have four losing seasons with the last one being the worst, change is inevitable. The majority of the fans respect capers and do not need John McClain telling us how we should act.
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Old 12-23-2005   #7
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I've always advocated keeping our criticism of Coach Capers to football operations. No need to get personal, as he's always projected an image of being a good person and a class act.

That being said, I have to agree with aj about not feeling too sorry for him. Afterall, it's the nature of the NFL beast, and they are well paid. They completely understand the pitfalls of the profession. (Give me that kind of jack and I'll move every 3-4 years, too. I wouldn't want anyone's sympathy, and I'm sure Coach Capers probably feels the same.)

I have no doubt that he'll land on his feet somewhere. Probably as soon as the 2006 season. We'll see him in a DC position somewhere, finally controlling the defensive side of the ball the way we wished he would have done done here as HC.
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Old 12-23-2005   #8
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No doubt - Capers is a total class act, and has represented the team and city as well as anyone possibly could have. I wish him all the best in his future, whereever that may be. I just know that he has been a total failure here, Mclains' lovefest notwithstanding.

OTOH, let's not get carried away with the crocidile tears. I read somewhere where Jack Del Rio is one of the lowest paid head coaches in the league, and he makes somewhere around 1.3 million a year. Nope, can't muster too much sympathy. Moving every few years. Heck, ask an army brat, or many other professions. I feel a lot more sympathetic to that single Mom out there with a couple of kids just trying to skimp by, who was just told this week that she is being laid off. It happens. Those are the people who earn my sympathies.
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Old 12-23-2005   #9
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I think Dom may be one of the "Nicest" and maybe "Well-Meaning" coaches in football. Unfortunately, he's paid to WIN football games.


85% of McClain's take I can agree with. This section just doesn't cut it though.
Quote:
Capers is a football coach, not an entertainer or a politician. He isn't a back-stabber. He doesn't point fingers. He doesn't make excuses. Some coaches whine that their team is too young. Others cry about injuries. Capers never bought into the alibi business.

Getting credit isn't important to Capers, either, but he has no problem accepting blame.
Capers HAS blamed injuries for losses - sometimes appropriate, sometimes not.

Blaming the all-encompassing "failed to execute" qualifies as making excuses (or pointing fingers at players if you prefer).

He HAS specifically mentioned the age of the team/organization as an excuse. (God save us from Casserly's 4-5 year plan)

I've never, EVER heard Capers accept blame for a loss, even when it was due to extremely poor coaching decisions & clock-management.

I figure 1/2 the impetus of this article is that McClain is already lamenting a coach that was so easy to get along with. John will have to start "working for a living" again.
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Old 12-23-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aj.
If you haven't guessed, I don't feel the same way about Casserly.
second that
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Old 12-23-2005   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disaacks3
I think Dom may be one of the "Nicest" and maybe "Well-Meaning" coaches in football. Unfortunately, he's paid to WIN football games.


85% of McClain's take I can agree with. This section just doesn't cut it though.

Capers HAS blamed injuries for losses - sometimes appropriate, sometimes not.

Blaming the all-encompassing "failed to execute" qualifies as making excuses (or pointing fingers at players if you prefer).

He HAS specifically mentioned the age of the team/organization as an excuse. (God save us from Casserly's 4-5 year plan)

I've never, EVER heard Capers accept blame for a loss, even when it was due to extremely poor coaching decisions & clock-management.

I figure 1/2 the impetus of this article is that McClain is already lamenting a coach that was so easy to get along with. John will have to start "working for a living" again.
I emailed McClain about these 2 points because his head must have been in a cloud somewhere--Capers always made excuses and he never took blame. This team would never have improved under Capers because he would not change his philosophies--if only I had a dollar for every time he used the word execute (or some form of it). Finally, making $10 million plus over 5 yrs aint exactly 'pocket change.'
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Old 12-23-2005   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsip
I emailed McClain about these 2 points because his head must have been in a cloud somewhere--Capers always made excuses and he never took blame. This team would never have improved under Capers because he would not change his philosophies--if only I had a dollar for every time he used the word execute (or some form of it). Finally, making $10 million plus over 5 yrs aint exactly 'pocket change.'
Exactly. Mclain acts like the guy is going to be down in the soup line somewhere. Boo hoo hoo. Let's all shed a tear. Please. Why doesn't Mclain write a story about the real people who pay Caper's salary, and just barely make ends meet. I have been laid off Christmas week before. I never had anyone write an article about me, and how great I was representing my company, and how I might have to move. Get your brown nose out of Capers crack, and give us some real analysis of why he failed, instead of the usual "in-depth" he didn't win enough games crud that every two year old knows.

By the way - Merry Christmas!!
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Old 12-23-2005   #13
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Quote:
....He's a first-class act who's deserving of your admiration as he packs his bags, puts Houston in his rearview mirror and becomes one of the most-sought after defensive coaches in the offseason.
Was a nice zinger at the end though... glad John finally recognized Dom's limitations as well.

Dom, love to have ya as the Texans DC, if you could suck up your pride - 'cause you were a good one with Jax. If not, hope your "buddy" system helps you find a new job as I think that same system caused you to lose this one.
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Old 12-23-2005   #14
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I wish he would stick around as the defensive coordinator. Looking back on the season, the thing that got me was that he should have had some more fire and ripped some of the players a new one for messing up. I wish him well.
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Old 12-23-2005   #15
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After the dismal performance of our defensive team this year, almost last in every defensive category, I want no part of a Dom Capers defense.
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Old 12-23-2005   #16
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"the general" has overdone the Capers nice guy thing. He spent at least one radio show doing this same bit. Very few people question that about Dom, but his record in his job is what matters most to us who don't deal with him on a direct personalor professional level.
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Old 12-23-2005   #17
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I have known Coach Capers from the Carolina Panthers days. I couldn't agree more that he is one of the nicest, classiest persons coaching on the professional level today. It annoys me greatly when I read some of the rude, cruel remarks that some of you have written on this board. The year didn't turn out as we all had planned, but the previous 3 years were very acceptable for an espansion team. Perhaps, if you're going to talk about a failing of Capers, you might say he was too nice. However, if you look at the intensity of effort from the players, you have to admit that he never lost the team - they seemed to play hard for him. I don't think in many cases the Texans have the cream of the crop. As my grandmother used to say, " you can't turn a sows ear into a silk purse."
I think he will have no trouble gettin a DC position. With him, though, it isn't about the money.
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Old 12-23-2005   #18
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I don't think for one minute that any of us has questioned Dom's integrity. He is definitely a class act. Just too conservative! He is a good defensive coach, but not head coach material. I still say he was hired for his organizational skills, not his coaching skills!

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Old 12-23-2005   #19
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if he had more tools to work with we would not even be having this thread
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Old 12-23-2005   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touttail
I don't think for one minute that any of us has questioned Dom's integrity. He is definitely a class act. Just too conservative! He is a good defensive coach, but not head coach material. I still say he was hired for his organizational skills, not his coaching skills!

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I agree, man. I think anyone that has attacked Coach Capers personally has been pounced on by the rest of the forum. So I hope other posters can refrain from painting everyone with a broad brush because a few bad apples made doofus comments.

But good points about his conservative coaching style. Weird part is that as a DC, his defenses were much different than the Texans. Sure, they're both 3-4, but we're playing a very soft coverage and lack any pressure on the QB. Our run stopping ability is almost non-existent. His past defenses, as a coordinator, were much more aggressive in getting to the ball and causing things to happen.
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