When your offense scores the most point in the entire NFL, boasts the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and has very little player turnover, you’re in pretty good shape.
That’s part of the reason why Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy thinks the biggest adjustment he’s had to make this offseason has nothing to do with the players on the field. It has to do with the coaches.
“My biggest adjustment is in the staff meeting room,” said McCarthy following Tuesday’s minicamp practice.
The Packers didn’t have a lot of turnover on the offensive coaching staff, but they did have a chain reaction of changing responsibilties.
When former offensive coordinator Joe Philbin left to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, ex-quarterbacks coach Tom Clements filled the void.
That, in turn, allowed Ben McAdoo to switch from coaching tight ends to quarterbacks, Jerry Fontenot to jump from running backs to tight ends, and then Packers rounded out their staff by hiring former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt to tutor the running backs.
So as the Packers work their way through the offseason trying to rebound from last year’s exit in the divisional round of the playoffs at the hands of the New York Giants, one of the biggest challenges at this point of the year has been for the coaches to adjust to new roles.
“The offensive staff has a lot of continuity,” said McCarthy. “We’ve been very creative and aggressive––I think the players would echo that––as far as the way we’re going to coach this season offensively. It’s important for us to meet the challenges that defenses across the league will bring upon us.”
Given the importance of the quarterback position in the NFL and the high profile of a player like Aaron Rodgers, the relationship he forges with his new quarterbacks coach will come under scrutiny this season.
The year 2012 will mark a departure from the norm for Rodgers. He’d been working closely with Clements ever since the McCarthy era began in Green Bay in 2006, the quarterback even considering him a close friend.
As comfortable as Rodgers has gotten with Clements, however, Rodgers also realizes it’s a good thing that his mentor is allowed to advance his career by being promoted to offensive coordinator.
“I think you get to a point where seven years together, understanding each other,” Rodgers said in an interview with the local media. “I know how to read those pictures on the sidelines.
“And I think Ben needs to be allowed to coach, and I think he’s a bright young coach in this league. He’s got a great opportunity to put his niche on the quarterback room. And I think both Graham (Harrell) and I really appreciate the way he’s worked with us, and I think he deserves the opportunity to make his own way.”
It’s not as if Rodgers won’t be interacting with Clements any more either. Clements hasn’t left the organization like Philbin, he’s just working in a different capacity.
Rodgers had positive things to say about all the coaches on the offensive staff.
“I think they’re doing a great job, I really do,” said Rodgers. “It’s been great working with Ben. Tom is still in my room a lot of times, but I think Ben is a great young coach.
“Jerry Fontenot has been a guy who’s moved to three different spots in three ears, but I think the guys really appreciate his approach to the game. Edgar (Bennett) made the switch a couple years ago to receivers. He’s done a great job with those guys, really emphasizing ball security. Having Alex in the mix as well adds a guy with a very sharp brain. It’s been fun to get to know him a little bit more too.”