At his press conference today, Mike McCarthy announced that Packers associate head coach (offense) Tom Clements will not be returning to the team next season. McCarthy also noted that general manager Ted Thompson will be back next year.
While holding a postseason press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy said Clements “is going to move on to some other interests.” That will be the one change to our staff.” While this likely explains Clements’ departure in part, it should also be noted that his contract is set to expire.
McCarthy profusely thanked Clements’ for his contributions to the offense during his 11-year tenure with the team. Clements has 24 years of professional coaching experience, originally joining the Green Bay staff in 2006 as the quarterbacks coach. Clements then served as offensive coordinator from 2012-2014 and helped lead Green Bay to the third best scoring offense (27.8 PPG) in that span. After being promoted to associate head coach/offense in February of 2015, Clements was extended playcalling duties for the first part of the 2015 season, with McCarthy stepping back from the role after the offense’s infamous hibernation in the waning moments of the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. But without Jordy Nelson, the offense sputtered somewhat, and McCarthy took over playcalling responsibilities later in the season.
It’s interesting that Clements is leaving after one of the greatest runs of Rodgers’ career, as he’ll likely always be linked to the thrower in some way. After all, this is the guy who was quarterbacks coach during Favre’s late-career resurgence and Rodgers best statistical season (2011), which to this day is easily one of the best statistical seasons by a quarterback. But things do get stale over time, and with Dom Capers and Ted Thompson having stronger strangleholds on their respective positions, it’s possible Clements was the scapegoat after a season that was dangerously close capsizing. Or perhaps he’s just ready to leave the team or leave football entirely to be with his family and pursue “some other interests.” Clements is also a licensed attorney and has served as an associate adjunct professor for the Notre Dame Law School.
Since Clements was no longer the team’s offensive coordinator, replacing him isn’t an immediate concern. But as the assistant head coach of the offense, he likely took plenty of responsibility off McCarthy’s shoulders so the head coach could spend more time in meetings, watching film and scheming for the next game. Green Bay has often looked inward for help under GM Ted Thompson’s direction, so one name to look at is offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett.
Bennett was one of the most successful running backs in Packer history and has been an offensive coach for the entirety of McCarthy’s tenure in Green Bay, moving from running backs coach to wide receivers coach and finally to offensive coordinator in 2015. Bennett deserves lots of credit for developing receivers Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and especially Davante Adams, and is now “in the spotlight” per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. It remains to be seen whether Bennett will be promoted and retain his position as OC, or if Thompson will look elsewhere. Alex Van Pelt is the current quarterbacks coach and a potential candidate, while it is still possible Thompson looks for a replacement from outside of the organization. The only big offensive names on the market that come to mind are Chip Kelly and Norv Turner, though both are very unlikely candidates.
In other news, McCarthy announced in his press conference that Ty Montgomery is committed to being a running back (and will sadly change his jersey number), the team still wishes to re-sign running back Eddie Lacy, and the jobs of defensive coordinator Dom Capers and general manager Ted Thompson are likely safe.