Clements' Promotion Gets QB Seal of Approval

Tom Clements, who has been Green Bay's quarterbacks coach the last six seasons, replaces new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. Clements, who was praised all season by Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn, "has earned this opportunity," coach Mike McCarthy said.

When Joe Philbin was named the Miami Dolphins' head coach last month, it was assumed quarterbacks coach Tom Clements would be promoted to fill Philbin's shoes as the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy made it official on Thursday.

"Tom has been an integral part of our success and our staff, making it an obvious decision to promote him to offensive coordinator," McCarthy, who will continue calling plays, said in a press release. "He has earned this opportunity and we look forward to continued offensive success in 2012."

Clements possesses 19 seasons of coaching experience. Of his 15 years in the NFL, he served as Buffalo's offensive coordinator in 2004 and 2005. At the end of the 2005 season, the Bills fired coach Mike Mularkey and the Packers fired coach Mike Sherman. McCarthy replaced Sherman and hired Clements to be his quarterbacks coach. He's held that position for the last six years, with the Packers posting top-10 finishes in offense each season.

Clements' name was mentioned as a possible head coaching candidate, and he interviewed for Tampa Bay's open position. Presumably, McCarthy waited for the last of the head coaching vacancies to close to turn a formality into reality.

"I've said it before: To leave Green Bay, it'd be a hard place to leave because of the situation I'm in personally with the quarterbacks and the situation we're in with the team," Clements told reporters after the season. "We have a young team, we can be good for a number of years. It's great to be in a winning program."

The Packers are a winning program in large part because of his work with two-time Pro Bowl quarterback and presumptive NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers owns NFL records for career passer rating (104.1), career interception percentage (1.80) and passing yards by a quarterback in his first four seasons as a starter (17,037). In 2011, he set the NFL single-season record for passer rating (122.5) and set team marks for touchdown passes (45), passing yards (4,643), completion percentage (68.3), yards per attempt (9.25), touchdown/interception ratio (7.5) and 300-yard games (eight).

"I've got a great quarterback coach who gets me prepared every week," Rodgers said at midseason. "I've got to give Tom Clements a lot of credit for the time that he spends making sure I feel good about the game plan and feel good about what we're going to see out there. He's a great game-day coach."

Clements also tutored backup quarterback Matt Flynn, a seventh-round pick in 2008 who is expected to be one of the most-coveted free agents available next month. Flynn set single-game franchise marks for passing yards (480) and touchdown passes (six) in the 2011 regular-season finale vs. Detroit.

"He's meant a lot," Flynn said in December, when Clements was mentioned as a candidate for the Penn State job. "I've learned a lot from him. I've learned a lot about the game. I wouldn't be the player today if he wasn't in my corner for the last four years."

In 2007, Clements helped Brett Favre post one of the finest seasons of his career as he threw for 4,155 yards and 28 touchdowns with just 15 interceptions for a 95.7 passer rating. With Favre eclipsing the 4,000-yard mark that season and Rodgers doing so in 2008, it marked the first time in league history that a team had different quarterbacks each register 4,000 yards passing in consecutive seasons.

"I'm happy that it's happened and I'm happy for Joe that he's a head coach, and I'm glad I was able to step into his place," Clements said in a press release. "I've been a coordinator before, only for a few years. I've always wanted to get back to doing that and I'm thankful that it's here in Green Bay.

"I think it's a great opportunity. We have a young team. We've had success over the past couple of years. We still have a lot of room to grow and I'm happy to be a part of it."

In Clements' first season as the offensive coordinator in Buffalo, the Bills increased their scoring output by 152 points and reduced their number of sacks allowed from 51 to 38, the fewest by the club since 1999. In 2005, Kelly Holcomb set a club record with a 67.4 completion percentage, surpassing Jim Kelly's mark of 64.1 in 1991.

This year, the Packers set the team record for net passing yards (4,924) and tied an NFL record for the most touchdown passes in a season (51).

There was no mention in the press release of whether McCarthy would be hiring a quarterbacks coach or if Clements would pull double duty.

Prior to joining Buffalo, Clements served as the quarterbacks coach for the Steelers (2001 through 2003), Chiefs (2000) and Saints (1997 through 1999). Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, he spent four seasons (1992 through 1995) on the coaching staff at his alma mater, Notre Dame.

Inducted into the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame in 1994, Clements played 12 seasons in the CFL at quarterback (1975 through 1979, 1981 through 1987) and was a seven-time divisional all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion. He was selected as the league's Rookie of the Year in 1975 and the Most Valuable Player in 1987. Clements also played one season (1980) for the Chiefs.

Clements led Notre Dame to a 29-5 record in his three seasons as a starter (1972-74), including an unblemished national championship season in 1973. He was an All-American in 1974 and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season.

Meanwhile, the Oakland Tribune and NFL.com are reporting that the Raiders have asked McCarthy permission to interview cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt for their defensive coordinator opening. Whitt, 33, just completed his third season as cornerbacks coach.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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