Mike McCarthy Gives Play-Calling Duties to Tom Clements

Mike McCarthy Gives Play-Calling Duties to Tom Clements

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  • Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy handed over the play-calling duties to new associate head coach (offense) Tom Clements on Feb. 12.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy handed over the play-calling duties to new associate head coach (offense) Tom Clements on Feb. 12.

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will no longer call plays for his team.

Instead, that duty now falls on new associate head coach for the offense Tom Clements, per a Feb. 12 update from ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky. Prior to the change, McCarthy had been calling the plays since 2006, his first year on the job. Clements and McCarthy have been working together since then.

McCarthy told Demovsky now is the best time to hand over play-calling duties to someone he trusts:

“This is the time to do it. I think our staff’s ready. I think it’s an opportunity for guys to grow. And it’s an opportunity for them to make an impact. I feel we’ll be better offensively from that. 

“I know I have a lot more to offer to our football team. We’re going to get that.”

Demovsky hailed the change as McCarthy’s biggest change on his staff on offense. It’s also the Packers head coach’s biggest move since he dismissed defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and hired Dom Capers six years ago. 

The last time Clements called plays for an NFL team, it was during his two years as the Buffalo Bills’ offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2005, says Demovsky. Clements told ESPN he had no idea McCarthy would make the move until they discussed it at the conclusion of the 2014 NFL season.

Clements said,”When he told me about it, I was excited. It’s a great opportunity, and I’m looking forward to it.”

For his part, McCarthy said he will devote equal attention to all three game facets, per ESPN:

“I will split my time equally with offense, defense and special teams. Obviously, with my past duties I did not do that. It’s a change for myself, it’s a change in opportunity for a number of guys on the staff and I’m excited about the improvement we’ll make with these changes.”

McCarthy cites Clements’ excellent relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers as the biggest factor in giving up his play-calling duties, Mike Spofford of the Packers’ official website:

“The relationship between the play-caller and Aaron Rodgers is of critical importance. That’s a big part of the decision. Aaron has an excellent working relationship with Tom. The fit with Aaron is the highest priority.”

Spofford goes on to say that Clements’ relationship with Rodgers dates back to the hours the two put in during McCarthy’s “QB school” several years ago. Their rapport evolved as time passed, with Clements being a regular fixture at quarterback meetings when he was named offensive coordinator. 

Clements told Spofford he and Rodgers have the same demeanors. He quipped,”I think we always got along from the beginning, had similar demeanors. I’ve always said with the quarterbacks, to a large degree it’s a collaboration, especially as a quarterback gets more experience.”

The play-calling change coincides with several others within the Packers’ coaching ranks on Thursday, per Demovsky:

  • Green Bay named Edgar Bennett as its new offensive coordinator.
  • Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt will also coach the wide receivers.
  • The Packers promoted Ron Zook to special teams coordinator while Jason Simmons was promoted to special teams assistant.
  • The team also hired former Oklahoma Sooners defensive coordinator Jerry Montgomery to be a defensive line assistant while former San Francisco 49ers offensive line coach Mike Solari was named offensive line assistant. 

McCarthy said his decision has nothing to do with the NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks, per Spofford. What he did say was both Packers GM Ted Thompson and President/CEO Mark Murphy were surprised when he gave up his play-calling duties. 

McCarthy also feels Green Bay’s offense has reached a point when he can already devote more time to other areas, per the Packers’ official website:

“I know I have a lot more to offer our football team, and they’re going to get that. This is a decision that’s made over the long haul. One game doesn’t make decisions on how you run your program. 

“This is not the first time I’ve thought about this. I think this is the time to do it. I think our staff is ready. It’s an opportunity for a number of guys to grow and for them to make an impact, and we feel we’ll be better offensively from that.”

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