GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Clements hasn’t lost his deadpan delivery. When asked what brought him back to Green Bay, the once-retired quarterbacks coach gave a one-word answer. “Delta,” he said, referring to one of the airlines that services Austin Straubel International Airport.
In fact, the real answer was two words: Aaron Rodgers.
When the Packers lost quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, who became the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator this offseason, Rodgers began his efforts to talk his old coach out of retirement and eventually connected him with coach Matt LaFleur.
“It was after the season that Aaron contacted me,” said Clements, whose first stint with the Packers was 2006-16. “He had talked to Matt, [who] wanted to gauge my interest in coming back.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’d talk about it’ and then talked with Matt a couple times. We got together, talked, talked a little bit more with Aaron and it just worked out.”
All the while, Rodgers had not made public his decision on whether he would return to the Packers for the 2022 season. That didn’t come until nearly three weeks later.
“That was my first question to him, ‘What are you thinking?'” Clements said Tuesday. “And we just talked about it and I felt good, fairly confident that he was coming back. The team and he have had some great years and still [have] a good chance to contend for the Super Bowl.”
Clements said he knows why Rodgers came back.
“I know that’s what he wants: He wants another Super Bowl,” Clements said. “And that was one of the things that intrigued me also.”
Clements last coached in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals in 2020, then spent last season in semi-retirement. He had no plans to return.
“I didn’t have the itch to come back,” the 68-year-old said. “It was because of coming back to Green Bay, with Aaron, [and a] chance to win a Super Bowl. Those were the primary considerations.”
Clements’ charge now will be to help Rodgers adjust to life without his favorite receiver, Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders. With or without Adams, Clements likes the way Rodgers has played since LaFleur took over three years ago.
“Looking at it from afar, I thought he was playing a style more like when he was younger because he’s playing more under center, play-action passes,” Clements said. “In the later years that we were here, it was more of a not-too-much-under-center [offense], exclusively shotgun, more of a spread offense. And in the early years, we relied on the running game and the play-action pass and got in the shotgun more on third-down situations like that, and that’s more the style that I saw. When you can run the ball, it opens up a lot of things, and there’s been a lot of explosive passes over the years off the play-action pass game, and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
Clements was one of nine members of the coaching staff who were either hired this offseason or promoted to new positions who spoke with reporters Tuesday. The group also included special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who came to Green Bay after spending last season as the interim head coach of the Raiders.
While Bisaccia deflected questions about whether he should have gotten the full-time job in Las Vegas, he had his reasons for taking over one of last season’s worst special teams units in the NFL.
“It’s the Green Bay Packers,” Bisaccia said. “For me, personally, the opportunity to be at one of the marquee National Football League teams that sets a standard and has an expectation to play to that standard every day, along with my excitement and my new energy after meeting and visiting with Coach LaFleur, what he’s done here in a very short period of time, it’s unprecedented. He’s all football, and to be back with [defensive coordinator] Joe Barry, who I’ve been with before at two different places, and again to be part of a franchise that expects to win and the standard is winning it all, and to be a part of something like that to me is energizing.”