Green Bay, Wis (AP) – The biggest clue to predicting Aaron Rodgers’ decision to stay at Green Bay came when Tom Clements ended his retirement to start a second term as Packers quarterback coach.
Clements also held that position when he led the Rodgers Packers to the Super Bowl title during the 2010 season. Clements continued to receive praise from the four-time player of the year long after he left Green Bay.
Clements, 68, now wants to help the 38-year-old Rodgers make at least one more appearance in the Super Bowl.
“I know that’s what he wants.” Clements said this week. “He wants another Super Bowl. And that was one of the things that piqued my interest.”
Clements’ return to Green Bay is one of many changes to the Packers offensive team this season as they adjust to life without Nathaniel Hackett, who spent the past three seasons as offensive coordinator at Green Bay before becoming the Denver Broncos coach.
Hackett has hired former Packers coach Justin Otten as his offensive coordinator. Clements takes over the position previously held by Luke Getsey, who departed to become Chicago’s offensive coordinator under new Bears coach Matt Ebervloss.
Although Packers coach Matt LaFleur has lost a lot of his offensive staff, the new players have a lot of knowledge of the organization.
LaFleur has been promoted from the inside by having former attacking line coach Adam Stinavic the new coordinator and former assistant offensive line coach Luke Putkos – nephew of Hall of Fame midfielder Dick Putkus – to fill in the old Stenavic place. New coach John Dunn was a senior analyst for the Packers last season.
They face a huge task trying to make sure Green Bay offense maintains its efficiency without All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who traded the Las Vegas Raiders in the first- and second-round selection round.
“This is going to be quite a challenge,” Stinavic said. “I know our staff and coaching staff work really hard trying to find what works best for them, whether it’s through recruitment or free agency, and I’m really excited about that.”
Losing his top playmaker could make it difficult for Rodgers to maintain the form he showed while being named Player of the Year in the past two seasons.
Rodgers should at least benefit from having Clements back on board.
Clements previously worked with the Packers from 2006-16, first as quarterback coach and later as Mike McCarthy’s crew offensive coordinator. Rodgers said he owes Clements a lot of credit for his development.
After serving as the Arizona Cardinals’ passing game coordinator and quarterback coach from 2019-20, Clements spent last season away from the game.
“I didn’t have the itch to go back,” Clements said.
A conversation with Rodgers helped change his mind.
“It was because returning to Green Bay, with Aaron, a chance to win the Super Bowl,” Clements said. “Those were the primary considerations.”
That conversation when Rodgers was still deciding whether to return to the Packers, ask for a deal or retire. LaFleur told the NFL Boy Scouts that Rodgers had a “Big” A role in Clements’ Return.
“I think we met each other to some level,” LaFleur said at the time regarding his discussions with Clements. “But the conversations we had, it was very easy for me to see why he is such a great coach and developer for the centre-back and such great communication. He has such a great balanced demeanor.”
Although Clements has spent the past five seasons away from Green Bay, he still watches enough matches to monitor Rodgers’ progress. He’s eager to join forces with the Packers star once again.
“Looking at it from afar, I thought he was playing in a style very similar to when he was younger because he plays more under position, passing play,” Clements said. “In the last years we’ve been here, it’s been more of an under-centered rifle, exclusively a rifle, than attack spread. And in the early years, we relied on running and passing play and we got the rifle more into down positions like that, and that’s the approach that I saw him.
“When you can run the ball it unlocks a lot of things, and there’s been a lot of explosive passes over the years from the passing game, and hopefully we can continue to do that.”