A Case For Tom Clements

January 6th, 2012

When Joe’s curious about Cheesehead-related matters, Joe turns to popular local sports radio caller Green Bay Bob, aka Bob Fox, who has long written about all things Green Bay Packers for numerous publications, including now for Bleacher Report, among others. Joe asked Bob what he thought of Tom Clements, the Packers QB coach who’s getting his share of buzz for NFL head coaching openings. Here’s what Bob sent back.


The Glazer family and general manager Mark Dominik have kicked off the process of looking for a new coach and the names we have heard that might interest the Bucs are ones familiar to NFL fans: Jeff Fisher, Mike Sherman, Mike Mularkey, Jerry Gray.

I’m sure there will be several more candidates, one of whom should be Tom Clements, QB coach for the Green Bay Packers.


To me, there is nobody in the NFL better qualified than Clements to help turn around Josh Freeman’s career.

First, look at Clements’ background. For one thing, Clements knows how to play QB and also how to win. Clements was a three-year starter at QB for Notre Dame under Ara Parseghian, and he led the Irish to a 29-5 record. That included an unblemished national championship in 1973.

Clements only played one year in the NFL, but in the CFL, he was a legend.  Clements was named an All-Star seven times in the CFL and twice guided teams (Ottawa in 1976 and Winnipeg in 1984) to Grey Cup Championships. Clements was the Outstanding Offensive Player in both of those championship games. Clements was also Rookie of the Year (1975) and MVP (1987) of the CFL.

Coaching career

Clements has been in coaching since 1992, when he coached at his alma mater for four years. He began there as quarterbacks coach but ended up as an assistant head coach before he left Notre Dame. Before he arrived in Green Bay, Clements began coaching in the NFL in 1997 and has coached the quarterbacks with the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Clements was also the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills for two years before he moved on to Green Bay.

What Clements has done in Green Bay is remarkable since joining Mike McCarthy’s staff in 2006. Brett Favre was coming off his worst season ever as a pro in 2005, when Favre threw 29 interceptions and had a QB rating of 70.9.  Clements worked closely with Favre and by 2007, Favre had his best season in the NFL since the three straight MVP years from 1995-1997. Favre threw 28 TD passes vs. 15 picks for 4,155 yards and a QB rating of 95.7 in 2007.

In 2008, the Favre tenure in Green Bay was over, and the Aaron Rodgers era began.  What Rodgers has done since then is stunning. Since 2008, Rodgers has thrown 131 TD passes vs. 37 picks for 17,037 yards. Rodgers had a QB rating of 93.8 in 2008, and since then it has not dropped below 100 in any given year and this year Rodgers broke the all-time record set by Peyton Manning in 2004 of 121.1, by having a QB rating of 122.5. For his career, Rodgers has a 104.1 QB rating, best in NFL history, plus he owns the best QB rating in postseason history.

Rodgers endorsed and Flynntastic

When asked about Clements last year, Rodgers told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he gave a lot of credit to his quarterbacks coach for his success.

“Tom does a great job at never being complacent with the way I’m playing, and we scrutinize every little part of the game — everything from every step in the drop to my play fakes to my keeps off of a run,” Rodgers said.  “He’s a great teacher of the game,” Rodgers said of Clements.  “He understands that less is more, I think, especially on game days.  He’s got one or two things every time I come off the field.  He’s always very even-keeled.  There’s not any arguments on the sidelines or confrontations.  He understands that there’s going to be mistakes on the field. But he understands how to manage, help manage, our personalities during the game.  And then off the field, he doesn’t let you be complacent.”

Clements also developed the backup to Rodgers in Green Bay, Matt Flynn. Rodgers didn’t play last Sunday vs. the Detroit Lions last Sunday, as the Packers had already clinched home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs. All Flynn did was break a couple of single-game records in Green Bay history. Flynn threw six TD passes and notched 480 yards in the wild 45-41 shootout victory over the Lions.  Obviously, like Rodgers, Flynn was well prepared.

Clements is checking out his coaching options now. And once again Rodgers spoke out on the behalf of Clements when he the news. Speaking on his weekly radio show on ESPNMilwaukee and ESPNMadison, Rodgers said the Nittany Lions job (now filled) will be a challenge for whoever replaces Joe Paterno, but that he believes Clements is up to the task.

“That would be a difficult situation, I think, if you look at the landscape of college football as it unfolds in the next month or so, with the bowl season finishing up. There for sure is going to be some openings. I’m not convinced that’s going to be at the top of many people’s list of places to go,” Rodgers said. “It’s a difficult situation, obviously. You’re going to have to make some changes, but I can tell you what, Tom Clements is a man of integrity, discipline, hard work, sticks to his guns. He’s a moral man, he’s an incredible coach, great teacher, understands the game, has played the game at a high level at the CFL for 13 years, has almost 40,000 yards passing, has won the Grey Cup a couple of times. His record as a player speaks for itself, more than he ever will. It speaks to the kind of guy he is. Great college player, won a national championship.

“He has the pedigree, and he understands how to relate to guys. I have a great relationship, would hate to see him go, but I’ve really enjoyed my time with Tom, and consider him a very close friend, but also someone who I don’t ever want to let down on game-day. We have a great relationship as friends, but also as player-to-coach. I think if anyone could go into that situation and handle it with dignity and class, it would be Tom Clements.”

Bottom line, the Bucs need to make sure that they at the very least interview Clements for their head coaching job.

The proof is in the pudding. The Bucs have many needs as they try to move forward with whoever is the new head coach. Obviously, there are major issues with the defense that need to be addressed. But getting Freeman back on the right track might be the biggest issue the team is facing. Again, Freeman is the face of the franchise in a quarterbacks league.

Based on his recent work with quarterbacks, nobody would be a better mentor and teacher for Freeman than Clements.

45 Responses to “A Case For Tom Clements”

  1. Bobby Says:

    This has been and will continue to be my #1 pick. He has the credentials. He understands x’s ans o’s and he could turn Freeman into an elite QB which we need to have happen to win in this division.

  2. Meh Says:

    Sounds like he’d make a fine OC. No thanks on him as HC.

  3. jvato24 Says:

    Im with you on this Joe … But honestly would like to see more of the person to be named HC. He has been a coordinator for limited time and he should be a strong candidate to be our OC if we got a different HC.

    Not against this guy, just would like to see more.

    My dream scenario is Zimmer HC, Clements OC.

    Someone brought up a good point, if by chance the Offense wasnt working it would be easier to get a new OC then fire a HC again. Either way I would be stoked if CLements ran the Bucs Offense and he doesnt have to be the HC to do that.

  4. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @jvato – Joe didn’t write this. So not sure what you’re “with” Joe on. However, Clements seems like a guy completely worth interviewing and surely a strong candidate for an OC job.

  5. Architek Says:

    Dammit Joe that’s what I’m talking about! (Raheem to Aqib chest bump) this was a Damn good post and he does deserve an interview. Whether he’s a OC or HC who knows but no i one can question his resume.

  6. Bucboi2280 Says:

    @ Joe i really like Clements, but what about him as the OC. I mena you bring in a guy like Russ Grimm for HC, Tom Clements fo OC, and hell Spags or Del Rio for DC. i think they could give us a fast trn around also.

  7. bucfanjeff Says:

    Agree with meh, sounds like a good OC.

  8. chargedcbh Says:

    Clements has the resume, I would love to see him work and design an offense around Free & his skills. All these people saying they want Ryan, Cowher, and even Gruden, what is this based on. People say they don’t want Clements or Moss, why? YOU PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!
    YOU have to have points to back up your choice for head coach. Just b/c they won somewhere else doesn’t mean there going to win ANYWHERE! If it was that easy EVERY TEAM WOULD HIRE THEM!! OMG, I blame Madden (video game) for all this maddness!!

  9. jvato24 Says:


    THe reason everyone wants the top names is because the majority of football fans have no idea who these other guys really are. Only what the media hypes up. NFL Films is the best ticket to get some insight to who these guys really are.

    I wish NFL films had a vault … I would pay $$ per month to have access to that !! NFL Netowork works pretty well.

  10. DannyB Says:

    You assume the Packers would give him permission to interview for the OC position. The Bears wanted him as their OC before they hired Martz and the Packers denied the request.

  11. chargedcbh Says:

    jvato24, I totally agree with you! I just hate when people talk without really thinking. Before Joe Gibbs, Bill Cowher, Sean Payton, all the great coaches that ever walked the sidelines, NOBODY knew who they were…. That’s my point, don’t dismiss people b/c YOU don’t know. Don’t be like Joe and KEEP calling Freeman “a bust in waiting” then the next year, kissing his butt! You shouldn’t put yourself in that position….

  12. Dave Says:

    Bottom line is none of know most these candidates and if they never were a HC in the NFL none of us know how they will do.
    He sounds great to work with Freeman HC/OC either/or… I don’t know. But this is just one article. That is it.

  13. eric Says:

    Not my first choice but definately worth strong consideration, provided Dom lets him pick his own staff.

    Offer Dungy 5% ownership and let him pick the coachs as Team President.

  14. Jimmie Says:

    Great article! Clements is worthy of an interview for the HC Job, if he doesn’t get hired as the Head Coach, he would sure as heck be the Offensive Coordinator at least. Getting a strong recommendation from one of the best Quarterbacks right now in Aaron Rodgers says alot about him as a coach.

  15. A REAL Bucs Fan Says:

    There is a reason the Bucs have never had a strong offense. We’ve never had a head coach that is suited to development of a quarterback.

    Yes, this team was built on defense in the past. But open your eyes, people. Our offense needs less work than our defense does right now, and it is our offense that will have to carry the team for the next 2 years, because there is no way to fix our defense in one year…not with us needing 2 LBs, 2 CBs and a safety…and possibly a DT.

    Even using free agency we can’t fill that many holes in a year. Believe me, I’ve poured over the FA list. We would have to be the highest bid on multiple top guys, and that just isn’t going to happen.

    We NEED a quarterback developing, offensive-minded head coach.

    And we NEED a fantastic DC.

    I’ve been shouting Tom Clements name from the rooftops since Raheen got canned. He’s the Tony Dungy of offense.

    I would “settle” for Russ Grimm though 😉

  16. Architek Says:

    Eric that’s the kicker about the situation…Scooter (Dominik) has too much authority and no proven wins overall to justify his decision making is credible.

  17. A REAL Bucs Fan Says:

    Oh, and by the way…the Glazers will not go with a former head coach…mark my words. So you may as well look at the assistants.

  18. Big Picture Guy Says:

    To some of those who have posted, I would argue he might not be a good candidate for OC. He only had a couple years calling plays, so he doesn’t sound very experienced in this area, and I wouldn’t want him starting with this group on the Bucs.

    But, he is a fantastic manager, teacher and motivator of quarterbacks over time, with a winning history as a player that commands respect. Well written piece from Green Bay Bob! I have no doubt he could translate that success with qb’s to the rest of the team, and someone more experienced at calling plays at OC and DC can operate beneath him.

  19. nybucsfan Says:

    i like Tom Clements as well, he’s definitely worth an interview. however, why is nobody talking about Joe Philbin? he’s the Packers OC, has been there a long time, knows the system in and out and has an extensive offensive line background. i completely disagree about the fact that it’s easier to fire an OC if the offense isn’t working, therefore we need to go defensive for HC. Dungy never could find the right OC and we wasted a great defense for many years because we were putting up 10 points a game.

  20. eric Says:

    Raiders just hired a GM from Green Bay:

    “McKenzie has had the support of former Raiders executives Ron Wolf, Ken Herock and John Madden, who were assisting the team in its search for a new general manager”.

    Wonder who the Glazers have assisting them.

  21. Joe in CA Says:

    Here is the problem:

    As much as he is my #1 guy too, he has no chance.

    Per NFL Rules – Since they did not request permission this week they now cannot interview him until AFTER the Super Bowl. Due to their drastic timing error in firing chucky late last time they settled for sub par assistants (everyone else was already hired.) For example, Spagnolo is a great DC and is now available…he won’t be come February. Therefore they cannot wait until after the super bowl to hire their guy. Chances are the Bucs brass will settle for a guy we don’t want because of their lack of planning – how did they NOT call Clements this week???

  22. Patrick Says:

    Don’t really know about him being the best option for HC, but I would offer Clements some big money to come here as OC. Possibly make him the highest paid one. He’s exactly what Freeman needs!!

  23. TampaRob Says:

    I don’t know why everyone thinks that just because someone can coach a position that they’re qualified to be a HC. Yes, he coached up Favre, but so did so many others… Same thing with a good DC or OC- just because they can run their side of the ball effectively doesn’t mean they can run the whole show (see: Martz, Marinelli, Spags, Frazier, Capers, Turner, etc.)

    It’s great that we can all banter back and forth about these candidates, but people get so passionate about picking favorites based on their work coaching a single position.

    Great that Clements can coach QBs. Can he run the whole show? Can he delegate tasks to his coordinators and position coaches? Maybe, but past success rates say probably not.

    Interviews are OK, but making a case for someone to be a HC based on history as a position coach is, well, not a strong.

  24. Dave Says:

    I do agree on an offensive minded / QB developing HC. If you look at the best coaches in the league right now with the best offenses: NE, NO, GB…

    The way the rules have changed, it seems to be the way to go.

    Then trust them to get a strong DC and get a bunch of good LBs and DBs in here next year.

  25. Snook Says:

    This will never happen. Its not sexy enough for the run-of-the-mill dumb Bucs fan.

  26. MTM Says:

    Olsen was a QB coach as well. Then promoted to O.C. I personally would like someone who has O.C. experience. Clements resume for a Q.B. is tremendous. The Glazer’s need to hire multiple coaches to fix all there issues.

    Make Clements the highest paid Q.B. coach to secure Freeman’s future.
    Hire Mike Murlarkey for O.C.
    Hire Jerry Grey for D.C.
    Hire Fisher for H.C.

    And yes I realize this will not happen.

  27. Jessup Says:

    If we end up hiring Mike Sherman as HC, I think Tom Clements would make a perfect OC. He’s a bit inexperienced as a play caller, but with Mike Sherman as HC there would be enough experience to make things run smoothly.

  28. Jessup Says:

    MTM, you only hire a Head Coach and then he selects his own OC and DC.

  29. gotbbucs Says:

    I cannot wait for this damn coaching search to be over. I can hardly even bring myself to read the comments on this site anymore.

  30. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I’d be very happy with either Clements or Gray. Two totally opposite approaches (offense vs defense) but I think both guys are ready to take that step. It’ll be interesting to see if the Glazers have the cojones to hire someone who doesn’t have HC experience again. Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes, but I hope they don’t get shy because of Raheem. Sherman would be a “safe” pick but also very limited in how far he could take this team.

  31. Mean D Says:

    Additionally this would be such a weak selection that Joe’s beloved Dominik would not have to be exposed as an incompetent.

  32. Joe Says:

    Mean D:

    If it’s all about No. 5, why not bring in a guy who has a proven track record of developing quarterbacks?

    Of course, let’s forget Jeff Fisher’s ability to turn Vince Young into a Pro Bowl player.

  33. Brandon Says:

    Possibly the head coach, definitely the OC. Ron Meeks needs to be brought into be the DC, his track record for turning around defenses is second to none.

  34. OAR Says:

    Don’t forget about 3 time pro-bowler Steve McNair!

  35. Bobby Says:

    Do you people have problems with reading retention or what??? It clearly states he was an OC for two years with Buffalo before moving on to Green Bay. He’s NOT just a position coach. Mike Tomlin on the other hand was a DC for Minnesota for just 1 year before being hired as HC at Pittsburg. Before that he was only a position coach. Try to at least use logical reasoning before you post “Nope…don’t like him!” He can’t be compared to Morris in any way, shape or form. The resumes are night and day. This article clearly lays out his extensive experience and some of you have the stupidity to ask..”Yeah, but can he be a HC??” What exactly do you think a HC is?!? He is first and foremost a guy who understands the game. Anybody want to argue that Clements doesn’t understand the game?? Second he is a great communicator. I think Rogers and Flynn are evidence that he is both a great teacher and a great communicator. Third he is a organizer and a leader. He has proven to be that both on and off the field. He graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame law school. He’s not stupid. Every QB this guy has worked with has reached the Pro Bowl after starting. If you’re going to say he shouldn’t get the job have a valid reason behind your opinion.

  36. eric Says:

    Didnt Fisher win 13 games in 08 with the immortal Kerry Collins?

    Heck of a coaching job there IMO.

    Also Air McNair was CO-LEAGUE MVP with Manning one year.

    Never had an offensive player sniff at that in Buccaneer history.

    Damn shame Dom wont even talk to the dude.

  37. Bobby Says:

    Eric, they won because they had the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL. They were middle of the pack offensively.

  38. DSZ Says:


    And Clements’ offense ranked 25th and 28th in the two years he was an OC. Picking statistics to validate your point is fairly easy. Oh by the way, the statement “every quarterback this guy has worked with has reached is pro-bowl after starting” is ridiculous. Ask the 1997-1999 Saints how many pro bowl qbs they had.

  39. Bobby Says:

    The Saints was his first NFL coaching job. After that every QB he worked with went to the pro bowl. And by the way, at New Orleans he worked with Danny Wuerffel who it turns out had Guillain Barre Syndrome which causes slow paralysis. Think we can gie him a pass for not making it to the pro bowl??? And your argument for Clements not being a good HC is what DSZ?????

  40. DSZ Says:


    I guess you couldn’t just say “I was wrong with my stupid sweeping statement” instead of offering a handful of excuses as to why…but whatever…

    I thought the statement was fairly obvious but maybe you have reading comprehension problems…or you’re tom clements’ son, I’m not sure which.

    He’s never done anything but coach qbs except for two years and in those two years their offense sucked.

    He’s never been a coach at any level.

    This may be a news flash to you but the Bucs aren’t a law firm. Nobody gives a damn where or how he got his degree.

  41. k1ngAdroc Says:

    Clements is about as much as a must hire as you can get. If it’s truly”all about #5″, then we need this guy in our organization

  42. Big Buc Says:

    As an OC, I’d hire him in a heartbeat. As a first time HC, I fear that we might end up in a similar situation with Raheem. Obviously as a coach at any level, Xs and Os are very important, but moreso than any other coaching position, a HC has to know how to lead, inspire, motivate, and unify. I would expect it to be very difficult w/out at least some managerial coaching experience be it as a college HC, NFL HC, or coordinator to jump right in and become a good leader of an entire team–not a group of players who play a position.

    I’m all for Tom Clements as an OC and someone more seasoned as a HC like a Mike Zimmer, who commands respect and drops the hammer if need be. With young players, you definitely need a disciplinarian father figure more than a buddy buddy players coach.

  43. k1ngAdroc Says:

    based on the above comments, we should hire Rich Bisaccia

  44. Bobby Says:

    @DSZ…why do I talk to a guy named dipshiz……

  45. Bobby Says:

    By the way…Andy Reid was a QB coach for the Packers when he was hired by the Eagles.