Little did Tom Clements know that his next job was just a short completion down the hallway from his old job. That’s how far Clements will move the contents from the office of the Packers’ quarterbacks coach, to the office former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin vacated two weeks ago to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.
In the least-surprising news of the NFL postseason, the Packers officially promoted Clements on Thursday to the position of offensive coordinator following six years as the team’s quarterbacks coach. The promotion was expected.
“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 told packers.com on Thursday. “I’ve been a coordinator before, only for a few years. I’ve always wanted to get back to doing that and 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.”
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said: “Tom has been an integral part of our success and our staff, making it an obvious decision to promote him to offensive coordinator. He has earned this opportunity and we look forward to continued offensive success in 2012.”
Under Clements’ tutelage, quarterback Aaron Rodgers grew into the league’s premier passer, as Rodgers was the start-to-finish top-rated passer in the league in 2011. Most of all, Clements hopes Rodgers will lead the Packers back to the Super Bowl.
“We had an outstanding year offensively, obviously, but what we’re all about here and will continue to be all about here is winning championships," he said. "That’s the ultimate goal, so all of the statistics and the things we did offensively are nice, but we’re not playing in the final game. I want to try to get back to the Super Bowl and win a few more championships.”
The Packers’ offensive system will remain the same. Head Coach Mike McCarthy will call the plays on game day; Clements will assume all of the other duties, which culminate each week in the creation of the Packers’ offensive game plan.
“There might be subtle changes, just in the way we do things, that the players will notice but the casual observer will not. Joe and I are similar. We have a system in place. We have an approach in place. There’s no reason to change it. Don’t fix what isn’t broken, but we’re always looking to make improvements in the way we do things,” Clements said.
Clements’ track record as a quarterbacks coach includes time spent with the Saints, Chiefs and Steelers. In his native Pittsburgh, Clements was hailed for the work he did in resurrecting the careers of Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. When Mike Mularkey left Pittsburgh to become the head coach in Buffalo, he made Clements the Bills’ offensive coordinator, a job Clements held for two years until joining McCarthy’s staff in Green Bay in 2006.
“You have a great player at quarterback, you have other outstanding players. Hopefully, we’ll continue to roll and have more fun and win more championships,” Clements said.
Late in the 2011 season, Clements became a top candidate for the vacant head coaching job at Penn State. His name seemed to surface in connection with every job that came open.
“I’m not disappointed. Being a head coach would be great. I did interview with Penn State and Tampa, but all along I’ve said this would be a tough place to leave. It’s a great football town, the fans are great, we’re a young team and have a chance to be good for a long stretch of time. It would’ve had to have been the right situation to go. I wasn’t looking to leave just to go, because this is a great place to be,” Clements said.
The Packers had the NFL’s third-ranked offense and third-ranked pass offense in 2011. Two areas that are likely to be addressed are sacks (41) and a running game that dropped two spots to 27th in the league.
“The ultimate goal is to score points, which is what we did pretty well. If we could shore up the sack area and be more solid in the running game, maybe we could score more points as well,” he added.
For the official press release, click here.