In his first public comments since having play-calling duties removed last week, Green Bay Packers associate head coach Tom Clements said he’ll have a familiar role on the coaching staff.
“It’s what it was last year,” Clements said. “I’m an assistant coach on the team. I’m helping the team get ready. On game day, I’m up in the booth observing, reporting and making suggestions just like the other guys do.”
What isn’t clear is how Clements feels about the demotion. When asked for his reaction Thursday, he had no comment. Clements initially was not expected to address the media Thursday, but he spoke for a little more than five minutes.
It would be hard for Clements to have the same role as last season, especially during the week. A year ago, his title as offensive coordinator included running game-plan meetings for the offense. Edgar Bennett has been running those meetings this season after being promoted to replace Clements’ role.
Clements said Thursday nothing will change in preparation during the week.
“I’ve been in all the meetings,” Clements said. “I’ll remain in all the meetings, the quarterback meetings. So that hasn’t changed at all.”
Beyond play calling, one of the biggest changes for Clements’ game-day operation is his location. He stood on the sidelines each of the 12 games he called plays this season. When Packers coach Mike McCarthy calls plays against the Dallas Cowboys last week, Clements moved back up to the coaching booth.
Clements coached in the booth the entire 2014 season. He said there are advantages of observing the game from a vantage point high above the field.
“I focus on the secondary, primarily,” Clements said. “So you can see the entire secondary as opposed to maybe just one side, or depending where you are on the field sometimes you can’t see every player. You can see how what their initial look is and then see how they deploy on the snap of the ball a little better.”
Clements has served on McCarthy’s coaching staff since he was hired as the Packers head coach in 2006. He’s worked closely with quarterback Aaron Rodgers every season since he became starter in 2008. McCarthy said earlier this week Clements will be “very involved” with the Packers offensive game plan.
He’ll also be on a staff of assistants who have coached under him. So familiarity won’t be an issue.
“It’s tough for all of us,” Packers quarterbacks/receivers coach Alex Van Pelt said of Clements’ demotion. “Obviously, Coach (McCarthy) has a responsibility to do what he thinks (is) best. Tom, I thought, called some great games. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. He’s a huge part of our offense and what we do. A lot of it comes from his mind, game-planning. We won’t miss a beat there.”
There is no doubt Clements' new role — or the old role he held last year — is a demotion. He was asked whether he can be excited about his place on the Packers' coaching staff, regardless of having fewer responsibilities.
"I’m looking forward to playing Oakland and getting a win," Clements said. "That’s all I’m focused on."
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